The Catholic University of America

Inside CUA Nameplate

From the President's Desk


  Students Marina Phillips, Margaret Senor, and Andrew Laux mark the University's 125,000 hours on the University's service hours "thermometer."

Welcome back. I hope you had a relaxing Christmas break, and that your semester is well under way. I began the semester with a trip to Argentina. While I was there I met with the Rector of Austral University, Marcelo Villar, and the Vice Rector of The Catholic University of Cuyo, Cecilia Trincado de Murúa.

Now that I’m back on campus, I find I have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks. I have headed back into the classroom once again this semester, teaching constitutional law to some of our undergraduate students. Last spring I finished the semester sure that I got as much out of the experience as the students. I expect this semester will be equally rewarding.

I was delighted to learn that on January 25 we surpassed our Cardinal Service Commitment goal of 125,000 hours of service performed by the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Catholic University. I hope you will continue to mark the anniversary year with your dedication to service and that you will continue to record your service hours. Now that we have surpassed the 125,000 hour goal, it will be interesting to see just how far we can go.

Our 125th anniversary festivities continue this semester with a number of events and activities. On Sunday, February 12, at 3 p.m., the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music presents “Songs of Old CUA,” a special multi-media 125th anniversary event featuring live singing, dancing, and musical performances celebrating the rich musical history of Catholic University. This will be held in the Great Room of the Pryzbyla Center. It promises to be a joyful and unique event. I hope many of you will make a special effort to attend. The event is free but reservations are requested. Visit the 125th anniversary site for details.

Each month new members join our Catholic University community. I would like to take special note of two of them. In January we were joined by our new Vice President for Institutional Advancement, H. Ken DeDominicis. Ken brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in Catholic higher education, and will be an invaluable resource as we continue to grow as an institution. He will play a key role in helping us to achieve the ambitious goals set forth in our new Strategic Plan. I am also delighted to welcome to campus John Rist, our first Father Kurt Pritzl, O.P., Chair in Philosophy. Last February we mourned the great loss of Father Pritzl’s intellectual talents and remarkable friendship. We are honored to have such a celebrated scholar occupy a chair marking his memory. Professor Rist will deliver his inaugural lecture as the holder of the Pritzl Chair, God in and out of Philosophy, on February 9 at 4:15 p.m. in the Great Room of the Pryzbyla Center.

Our proposed University Master Plan reached a new stage in development during December and January. We have submitted the 15-year plan to the D.C. Zoning Commission for their review. Part of the review process will include one and possibly more hearings on the proposed plan. The Zoning Commission is scheduled to approve the plan sometime in the spring; the Board of Trustees will discuss it at its March meeting. The detailed Master Plan, which is more than 100 pages in length, can be viewed online. A tremendous amount of thought and work has gone into the plan, and we encourage all the members of our campus community to read it.

President John Garvey with the inductees of the Athletics Hall of Fame.

We received some wonderful news on January 26. A team headed by Catholic University’s School of Architecture and Planning has been selected to participate in the 2013 Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. It’s an intensely competitive process to be selected – only 20 teams worldwide were chosen and it’s the first time any university located in D.C. has made it. We’ll be collaborating with George Washington and American universities in this prestigious competition. The fact that we made the cut speaks volumes about our faculty and students and about the architecture and planning school’s dedication to sustainability.

On January 28 our Department of Athletics inducted five new members into the University’s Hall of Fame. The ceremony was a good occasion to recognize some of the luminaries of our athletics program, and to express our gratitude for the sense of unity our athletic teams bring to campus. It was a very well attended event, with 250 people joining us for the celebration.

Lent begins on February 22 this year. Lent is a season for making sacrifices and avoiding steakhouses on Fridays. It’s not the easiest liturgical season to get excited about. But it’s important to remember why we have this penitential season: to ready us for the celebration of the Resurrection. Make time this Lent to prepare.