November 11, 2022
President Kilpatrick speaks at his installation

At his installation as 16th president of Catholic University on Nov. 11, Dr. Peter Kilpatrick said his vision includes cultivating greater love of God and neighbor and significant institutional growth.

“Our mission (is) … to show love to each other, concretely through our acts of listening to each other, of serving each other, and of giving ourselves to each other,” said Dr. Kilpatrick to the faculty, staff, and students who filled the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Dr. Kilpatrick said he wants to work to advance three purposes of the University mission: to guide students in understanding their own existence as human persons, to help students integrate their faith with their reason, and to assist them in becoming exemplary citizens.

“Universities like ours are where we are afforded the time and the resources to tackle the really big questions, the ultimate questions, in truly substantial ways,” he said. “Here at The Catholic University of America, we need to be at the forefront of asking and answering these large scientific and societal questions.”

While the University excels in exemplary research and advances in science, Dr. Kilpatrick said that “our most precious value at this University is the evident joy and love of our community for each other.”

As President, Kilpatrick said he wants to see all students, faculty, staff, and visitors feel welcomed and loved on campus.

“I think this begins by listening carefully and empathetically to the concerns, the pains, and the challenges of our community members who feel like outsiders,” he said. “Loving God and loving our neighbor should be a guidepost for us here at The Catholic University of America.”

The University is a distinctively comprehensive research institution that Kilpatrick said he is dedicated to growing. His goal is to have 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students at the University within 10 years.

“At this size, we can be the vibrant University that we are called to be,” he said. “Our nation and our world needs the students that we deliver to them: bright, enthusiastic, committed, and knowing themselves and how to love others.”

Many faculty shared how they appreciate Kilpatrick’s realistic goals.

“He has big goals and he has a lot of faith in himself and in the faculty and in the students and I wish him all the best,” said Kiran Bhutani, chair of mathematics.

“I loved the theme of unity and compassion for others,” said Kathryn Degnan, assistant professor of psychology. “It’s what we need right now, in our country and in our University.”

With a commitment to advancing faith and reason in the academic world, Dr. Kilpatrick said he felt called to come to the University.

“I was not actively seeking to become a President anywhere else, but I felt impelled  to come to Catholic University because of the convergence of my interest in higher education and my deep and abiding Catholic faith,” he said.

Dr. Kilpatrick thanked his wife, family members, and friends who through the years have taught him how to love as a Christian and to understand himself better.

Cardinal Gregory speaking at the installation
Cardinal Wilton Gregory

Cardinal Wilton Gregory, University chancellor and archbishop of Washington, who celebrated the installation Mass, said, “I can confidently attest that we are quite fortunate to have this wise and faithful man serve us in this position of leadership. He will build on the legacy of excellence that is already the established heritage of this University.”

Visit the Presidential Installation webpage to read a copy of Dr. Kilpatrick's full address, watch a recording of the installation ceremony, or learn more about the event.