The Catholic University of America

April 1, 2015

From the

In the Homestretch

Spring is finally here and we’re in the homestretch of the academic year. I hope you find time amid the end-of-semester scramble to enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Cherry blossoms in front of Caldwell Hall last spring.

Before spring arrived in Washington, I had a preview of it in California last month. Over spring break I travelled to Napa, San Francisco, and Monterey to meet with supporters of the University and a large group of alumni. From California, I travelled to Las Vegas where I had the opportunity to meet with Bishop Joseph Pepe and a number of alumni and donors. Bishop Pepe has been a good friend to the University and serves on our Board of Trustees.

We recognize that, as part of our efforts to increase the academic profile of the University, the University needs effective marketing programming targeted toward prospective students. Our website and social media presence play a big part in this. So the University retained the marketing firm TWG Plus to audit our enrollment communications programing and websites. The audit yielded useful ideas for tailoring our communications and website for prospective students. In the near future we will begin to implement these ideas.

In my December column, I announced that search committees had been formed for several key positions at the University. I am happy to report that all of the searches are progressing well. Our search committee for a vice president for university advancement, chaired by Frank Persico, has found some very promising candidates, the first of whom I interviewed last month. The search committee for the vice president of enrollment management and marketing, chaired by Vice President for Student Affairs Mike Allen, has interviewed nine highly experienced candidates in the last several weeks. Finally, the provost search committee, through extensive research, consultation, and solicitation of nominations built a list of about 200 candidates. They have begun the interview process as well.

We have several wonderful events taking place this month. On Friday, April 10, we will welcome to campus students admitted to the Class of 2019 for Odyssey Day. I love meeting our prospective students and their families because it provides a glimpse into the future of the University. I am sure you will join me in warmly welcoming our visitors and demonstrating the ways in which our University excels as a place of teaching, learning, scholarship, and personal growth.

Prospective students visit campus during last year's Odyssey Day.

April 12 marks the return of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music to the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. The 50th Anniversary Gala Concert will feature the CUA symphony orchestra and choruses performing a world premiere orchestral work by CUA Senior Matthew Yost, along with Carmina Burana and selections from Rodeo and West Side Story. It promises to be a memorable event not just for the school but also for our University.

On April 13 the University will host the panel discussion "Media and the New Evangelization” in honor of Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Panelists include Michael Warsaw, CEO of the Eternal Word Television Network, CUA alumnus, and a member of our Board of Trustees; Rev. Thomas Rosica, CEO of the Salt and Light Media Foundation; Rev. Robert Reed, president of the CatholicTV Network, and Helen Osman, secretary of communications for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The panel will be moderated by Andrea Roane, morning news anchor for WUSA9 TV and a trustee emerita. This will kick off a week of Sheen events that I hope you will consider participating in. The panel discussion on April 13 will be highly unusual. I’m not aware of an occasion in the past in which the CEOs of the three major Catholic TV networks in North America have shared the same stage.

On April 24 the annual American Cardinals Dinner will be hosted in St. Louis by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, former University trustee. We expect at least six current and retired cardinals to join us for this scholarship fundraiser that highlights Catholic University’s unique and intimate connection to the Church in the United States.

Speaking of development, last month Jeanne and I issued a challenge to the University community: Help us find 1,000 individual donors who will make a gift to the University by April 30, and our family will make a $25,000 gift to Catholic University. We’re half of the way there, and we have a month to go. We hope the challenge will not only help our Division of University Advancement meet its fundraising goals this fiscal year but also grow the pool of alumni and friends who will support the University in years to come.

I want to close by expressing my gratitude to the staff of the Office of Facilities Maintenance and Operations. This has been a long winter; and during snowy and icy days they worked many early morning and late evening hours of overtime to clear the lots and paths on campus to make them safe for pedestrians and vehicles. My thanks also to the Department of Public Safety officers who watch over us faithfully. The inclement weather made their jobs more challenging. To these men and women in facilities and public safety, I say thank you for everything you do to make campus a safe home for all of us.

To everyone in the University community: I wish you all a blessed Triduum and a very happy Easter.