University President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick spoke before the body of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Nov. 13 at the annual Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, laying out a plan for the future of the nation’s pontifical University and second-oldest research institution.
Citing the University’s founding mandate by Pope Leo XIII 136 years ago to “provide the church with worthy ministers for the salvation of souls… and to give to the [American] Republic her best citizens,” President Kilpatrick said it has lived up to those ideals.
“Forty-five of you are alumni of our University. If we include retired bishops, the number is close to 100,” the president said. “We count many thousands of priests, deacons, and religious in your dioceses among our alumni. Our recent body of graduate and undergraduate students hail from 175 dioceses in 46 states. There are currently five Catholic University alumni up for canonization.”
While reflecting on the glorious past of the University, the president aimed his message at what is to come. Following a $518 million comprehensive fundraising campaign that brought much-needed resources to students, programs, and infrastructure on our campus, the president reiterated his aim to nearly double enrollment from 5,400 to 10,000 during the next ten years.
“To meet this charge, we will intensify our commitment to our heritage as a tier-one research university, not only honoring our place in history as the nation's second research university but expanding the dialogue between faith and reason and widening the horizons of scholarship and civic debate,” he said. “We are committed to path-breaking research and to respectful and civil discourse.”
The president told the body of bishops that, “Catholic University has a unique relationship to you, and therefore a unique responsibility. And we take this responsibility very seriously.”
He said the University is safeguarding its Catholic identity by naming Father Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P. as vice president for ministry and mission.
He said the University’s establishment of Tucson campus has proven successful, with nearly 100 students enrolled. The president added it helps serve the growing Hispanic population in the Catholic Church.
He also highlighted the recently established Office of Diocesan Engagement as, “a bridge between the University and the 194 dioceses, archdioceses, and eparchies around the country. It will be a hub of initiative, strategy, and coordination, ensuring that university programs meet the needs of the Church.”
President Kilpatrick said collaboration with the bishops and their presence on campus is vital to the continued success of the University.
“The future holds great promise for The Catholic University of America,” he said. “That promise only has meaning in service of and in close partnership with you. We are your university.”