The Catholic University of America

Nov. 2, 2015

From the

Much To Be Thankful For

I hope you all enjoyed the extra hour the weekend afforded, with the end of daylight savings time yesterday. October was a busy month, and we all needed it.

In my last column I announced the creation of an executive committee of the Administrative Council that would meet monthly to discuss University affairs and initiatives. I’m pleased to report that the committee had its first meeting on October 19, and it was a great success. We had so much to discuss in the areas of student affairs, advancement, and facilities there was hardly time to treat them all in depth. I look forward to working with the committee in the months to come.

On October 18 the Office of Admissions hosted its first open house of the semester. 243 families attended. Admissions put together a terrific program for the day with a welcome from Provost Abela and, in addition to information sessions on academics, offered breakout sessions on career services, financial aid, student life, and study abroad. I would like to thank all the deans, faculty, and staff who participated and represented the University so well.

On October 20 we celebrated the conferral of the Centesimus Annus Della Ratta Family Endowed Professorship in the School of Business and Economics. Joe Della Ratta ‘53 studied economics at Catholic University. He is a former trustee and a long-time supporter of the University. This gift of an endowed chair in the School of Business and Economics is a wonderful tribute to the education he received here and what he has accomplished with it. I am again grateful to all the deans and faculty who attended the event to help us thank Joe and the Della Ratta family.

Last weekend (October 23–25) we welcomed more than 1,632 alumni from the Class of 1965 to the Class of 2015 back to campus for Cardinal Weekend. I had the chance to attend several of the class reunions. It’s always exciting to hear what our alumni are doing with their Catholic University education, and heartening to witness their commitment to the University. This year our reunion class gifts far exceeded our goals. We raised nearly half a million dollars, far surpassing last year’s total of $270,000.

Cardinal Weekend drew a huge crowd back to campus.

At the end of Cardinal Weekend I headed west to meet with alumni and donors in Los Angeles, Denver, and Seattle. It was an opportunity for me to share with them the great work of the University and our plans for the future. In each city we were fortunate to be hosted by good friends of the University: Archbishop Gomez, a member of our Board of Trustees, in Los Angeles; Gerri Craves, a long-time supporter of the University, in Seattle; and Archbishop Aquila, a member of our Board of Trustees, in Denver.

In the weeks leading up to Pope Francis’s visit we hosted a series of learning, prayer, and service events to help the University community prepare. Let me highlight several events we have hosted and will be hosting to continue to study the Holy Father’s teaching. During his trip to the United States Pope Francis called for the abolition of the death penalty and visited a prison. On October 22 the University hosted the premiere of a documentary about the first death row inmate exonerated by DNA evidence in the United States. Dr. Bornholdt, acting Dean of Arts and Sciences, and David O’Sullivan, the European Union ambassador to the United States, spoke before the screening. The documentary’s producer spoke to the audience afterward. On November 6 the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies will cohost with the Catholic Mobilizing Network, Mount St. Mary’s University, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops a conference on criminal justice reform.

On October 26 the University co-hosted with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops an interdisciplinary conference on Pope Francis’s recent encyclical Laudato Si’. The conference brought together faculty members from the fields of theology, business and economics, architecture, and philosophy, as well as experts on environmental science and domestic social policy. It was the starting point for what we hope will be ongoing conversation at Catholic University about the “human ecology” Pope Francis has called for.

President Garvey speaks at a conference on Laudato Si’.

November will be a busy month of travel for me. This week I will travel to Indiana to offer the keynote address at the annual Notre Dame Law Review symposium. In the third week of November I will travel to Rome to participate in a world congress on Catholic Education hosted by the Congregation for Catholic Education. The meeting will mark the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Catholic Education, Gravissimum Educationis and the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae.

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. Thank you all for your tremendous work this semester. I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving.