Friday, October 02, 2009

Vacancy at Nugent Hall

After a transformative 12-year presidency that's brought the Catholic University of America to new heights of prominence and esteem, Vincentian Fr David O'Connell has announced that he'll depart the top post at the bishops' academy's DC campus, effective next August:
In his monthly newsletter to the university community issued earlier today, Father O'Connell wrote: “That I have had the privilege of serving as the 14th President of The Catholic University of America is an experience that I shall treasure as long as I live.” He added, “As I reflect upon my tenure and service at the helm of the national university of the Catholic Church in our country, I feel a profound sense of gratitude for what we are and have become and what we do — thanks to the dedication, commitment and hard work of so many people here — and for the many lives we have touched in so many ways over the years.”

Recognized nationally for his public commitment to strengthening the Catholic identity of Catholic schools and institutions of higher learning, Father O’Connell hosted Pope Benedict XVI at CUA in April 2008, during his trip to the United States. “His pastoral visit here, with all my fellow Catholic college and university presidents,” O’Connell reflected, “was, without a doubt, the highlight of my academic career.”
With that, let the tributes begin... given O'Connell's record of feats, don't expect any shortage of high praise over the next ten months.

The newly-elected board chair of the bishops' academy, Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, has chosen to lead the presidential search himself.

Home to nearly 7,000 undergrads and graduate students spread across 12 schools, CU is aiming to have a successor in line by the transition date. And in the meantime, next week will see the Brookland campus host yet another top-shelf symposium, this time a two-day conference on the Year for Priests.

Led for its first eight decades by bishop-rectors, all but three of CUA's 14 chiefs have been clerics; the university's top title was changed to "president" in 1968, when the post's first lay holder took office.

PHOTO: The Catholic University of America