The Catholic University of America

Inside CUA Nameplate

From the President's Desk


  Sustainability Pledge
  President John Garvey and Mayor Vincent Gray shake hands during the College and University Sustainability Pledge signing ceremony.

It is hard to believe that nearly a year has gone by since we began collecting hours of service for our Cardinal Service Commitment last May. I was thrilled to announce in February that our students, faculty, staff, and alumni had together completed our goal of 125,000 hours of service. In March the number of hours contributed by our students alone passed the 125,000 mark. I am tremendously grateful that Catholic University is blessed with such a generous, enthusiastic student body. I hope that the service commitment has been an opportunity for our students to reflect on our mission, deepen their faith, and grow in charity.

The Cardinal Service Commitment will formally conclude on April 10, during our Founders Week 125th anniversary celebration. On April 10 Cardinal Donald Wuerl will preside at our Founders Day Mass at 12:10 p.m. in the Crypt Church. At 4 p.m. that afternoon there will be a campus-wide anniversary celebration on the West Lawn of the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center. On April 13 we continue our Founders Week celebration with the dedication of the new Craves Family Alumni Center in Father O’Connell Hall. That evening at 8 p.m. a 125th Anniversary Student Ball will be held outside of Mullen Library. Though we will not cancel classes on April 10 (that would be inconsistent with the spirit of the event, which celebrates our beginning as the cradle of Catholic higher education), I hope you will participate in as many of the 125th anniversary festivities as you can. You can see the full schedule at It will be a joyful week on campus.

On February 29 I joined eight other leaders from D.C. institutions of higher education in support of Mayor Vincent Gray’s College and University Sustainability Pledge to demonstrate our commitment to making D.C. the most sustainable city in America. Our support of the pledge expresses a commitment to be good stewards of the environment, a responsibility we have taken seriously in our University policies, and in our new University Master Plan.

Last month I mentioned that I would be visiting the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in March. The University, which I visited from March 11 to 14, is home to more than 20,000 students and an impressive 18 faculties. It is ranked among the top universities in Latin America. Begun just one year after us, it will celebrate its 125th anniversary next year. We are excited to continue to build our friendship with this very fine Catholic university. On April 4 we will be visited by a delegation from another Catholic university, Fu Jen University in Taiwan.

Members of the University's Board of Trustees spent time serving at So Others Might Eat on March 19. Their volunteer work was part of the Cardinal Service Commitment.

The presence of some special guests on campus in March reminded us of our unique status as the bishops’ university. On March 16 Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles delivered our Dean Hoge Memorial Lecture, and on March 15 Bishop Thomas J. Curry, also of Los Angeles, delivered our annual Cardinal Dearden lecture. On April 30 Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, Cardinal-Deacon of San Lorenzo in Piscibus and President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Cor Unum, will be on campus for a lecture. Speaking of cardinals, on April 27 I will have the pleasure of co-hosting with Cardinal Francis George the 23rd American Cardinals Dinner in Chicago.This dinner, an annual fundraiser for Catholic University, has raised more than $27 million since 1989 to assist academically qualified students who are in need of financial support. We are tremendously grateful for these gifts, and for the opportunities they create for our students.

On March 20 the Board of Trustees met for its regular spring meeting on campus. It adopted the University FY13 operating and capital budgets and received a detailed overview of the proposed new Master Plan. On March 22, the D.C. Zoning Commission held its first public hearing on the plan. We expect the plan to be approved by the commission some time this spring, and to seek final approval from the trustees in June.

We are now in Holy Week, with Easter approaching quickly. I hope you have used the opportunity of Lent to focus on God’s love, a love so great that he “humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross.” On Easter Sunday we celebrate with joy the new life we receive in this love. Take the time to meditate on this unimaginably great gift. May you all have a blessed conclusion to Lent and a joyful Easter season.