Oct. 2, 2015
October has arrived. Midterms are just a week away. But after the excitement of Pope Francis’s visit in September, it feels almost like the start of the semester.
Let me begin by once again expressing my gratitude to the entire Catholic University of America community for your help and cooperation in preparing for Pope Francis’s visit. More than 500 of our students, faculty, and staff volunteered the day of the Mass. Musicians from the Catholic University Symphony Orchestra and the University Chamber Choir provided glorious music for the Mass. The papal furniture designed by our architecture students looked magnificent with the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception behind them. I am tremendously proud of our University community for all that we did to make Sept. 23 such a wonderful day. With more than 25,000 attendees from across the country and all walks of life, the Mass was an extraordinary experience of the catholicity of the Catholic Church — and a good reminder of Catholic University’s unique relationship to the Church.
As the Holy Father said in his homily: Siempre adelante, always forward. We have much to look forward to in the coming month. Next weekend (Oct. 9–11) we will welcome parents, siblings, and grandparents to campus for Family Weekend. On Oct. 10 Vice President for University Advancement Scott Rembold, Vice President of Student Affairs Mike Allen, and I will meet with the University’s Parents Leadership Council. The meeting is an opportunity for us to share with the Council our plans for moving the University forward, and to involve the Council members in these efforts.
On Oct. 23–25 we will celebrate Cardinal Weekend. This year we welcome back members of the classes of years ending in 5 and 0 (from 1965 through 2010) for reunions. I am happy to report that our Reunion Giving Campaigns have already raised more than $400,000 — a marked increase over last year’s campaigns (which raised $270,000). We are also on target to have a very fine turnout for the weekend.
I would like to share with you some news of a new administrative initiative. We have created an 18-member executive committee of the Administrative Council. The members of the executive committee will include the President’s Cabinet, two ex-officio members (the chaplain and the general counsel), two academic deans, one senior level administrator from each of the other five divisions of the University (advancement, enrollment management, finance, student affairs, and university relations), and two “at-large” members. With the exception of the leadership and ex-officio members, I will appoint the membership of the executive council yearly from a pool of members of the Administrative Council recommended by the provost and vice presidents.
I plan to meet each month with this group to discuss items of interest and receive input for decision-making. These meetings will supplement the work of the Administrative Council, which already meets three times a year. The council meetings have been opportunities for the administration to share updates and developments with all the deans, vice presidents, and other senior administrators of the University. They in turn have been able to share information with their schools, departments, and offices.
I would like to add to the responsibilities of the Administrative Council — to employ it not only to disseminate information more effectively, but also as a sounding board to improve deliberations and transparency in University decision-making. The monthly meetings with the executive committee will make sure this is done efficiently.