February 10, 2022
Opus Prize Jury

The Opus Prize Jury (left to right): Jonathan Reyes, Senior Vice President of Evangelization and Faith Formation, Knights of Columbus; Kerry Robinson, Executive Director, Opus Prize Foundation; Kevin Roberts, President, The Heritage Foundation; Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, Congregation Shearith Israel; Mary Ann Glendon, Professor Emerita, Harvard Law School, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See; John Garvey, University President; Kevin Ryan, President and CEO, Covenant House: Vincent Rougeau, President, College of the Holy Cross; Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States; John Altenburg, Major General, U.S. Army (Ret.); Anthea Hartig, Elizabeth MacMillan Director, National Museum of American History.

A select group of distinguished leaders brought their experience to the table as they gathered at Catholic University on Feb. 8 to choose finalists for the Opus Prize for humanitarian work. 

In 2021, Catholic University was chosen to host the prize, an annual faith-based humanitarian award, recognizing leaders and organizations that develop creative, faith-filled solutions to some of the world's most pressing problems. 

As the host institution, the University partners with the Opus Prize Foundation in overseeing the selection process for the top $1 million award and two $100,000 prizes that make up one of the world's largest faith-based awards for social entrepreneurship.

Anonymous “spotters” selected by the University proposed nominees, both domestic and international. The nine jurors, whose task it was to narrow the pool to three finalists, were invited to serve by University President John Garvey.

“It’s an incredible privilege to be here and help choose the finalists for this important award,” said jury member Kevin Ryan, the CEO of Covenant House and a Catholic University alumnus. “In reviewing the packages sent in advance, I was impressed and touched by the incredible human rights work that is represented. These individuals and organizations represent a palpable antidote to the darkness in the world, especially in the last two years."

Jury deliberations began with a welcome from Garvey, who recognized each of the jury members, noting the diversity of experience and accomplishment they would be bringing to the process.

Kerry Robinson, executive director of the Opus Prize Foundation, also welcomed the jurors along with a brief history of the Opus Prize. She noted that the foundation partners with Catholic universities to award the prize “providing an opportunity to inspire a new generation of leaders. Catholic University is our first repeat player,” she said. The University hosted the prize in 2007. 

In addition to faculty and staff representatives, the University’s Opus Prize Oversight Committee includes undergraduate students Jamie Besendorfer and Luis Garcia Abundis. “Serving on the committee, I feel my heart igniting,” said Garcia Abundis, a sophomore majoring in psychology and brain sciences. “It’s been inspiring to learn about so many humanitarians around the world who are working to alleviate poverty and suffering at the grassroots level.”

The next step on the road to the Opus Prize will be due-diligence visits to the finalists’ locations by members of the Catholic University community and the Opus Foundation. 

The Opus Prize will be awarded during a ceremony on campus on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022. That special night will be one in a series of events throughout the week of Oct. 30.

Opus Prize Jury Members

John D. Altenburg, Jr. 
Major General (USA, Retired) 
Of Counsel, Greenberg Traurig, LLC 

Mary Ann Glendon
Former Ambassador to the Holy See 
Learned Hand Professor of Law, Emerita, Harvard Law School

Anthea Hartig 
Elizabeth MacMillan Director, National Museum of American History

Archbishop Christophe Pierre 
Apostolic Nuncio to the United States

Jonathan Reyes 
Senior Vice President of Evangelization and Faith Formation, Knights of Columbus 

Kevin Roberts
President, Heritage Foundation 

Vincent Rougeau 
President, College of the Holy Cross

Kevin Ryan 
Chief Executive Officer, Covenant House 

Rabbi Meir Soloveichik 
Congregation Shearith Israel