Dr. Peter Kilpatrick was formally installed as Catholic University’s sixteenth president on Friday, Nov. 11, at a Mass of Installation celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
In his remarks, Dr. Kilpatrick shared his vision to grow the number of students to 10,000 - undergraduate and graduate - within the next ten years by building on efforts to make a Catholic University education more accessible, noting that there are more scholarship students than at any point in the institution’s history and the campus is “more diverse than ever.”
“Our nation and the world needs the students that we deliver: bright, enthusiastic, committed and who know themselves and how to love others,” said Dr. Kilpatrick, who thanked his family, his many mentors over the years, the Basilica, the University, and clergy for their support.
Cardinal Wilton Gregory, University chancellor and archbishop of Washington, served as the principal celebrant. During the homily, Cardinal Gregory congratulated Dr. Kilpatrick and said that “we are all quite fortunate to have this wise and faithful man” as the new leader of the only university founded by the U.S. Catholic bishops.
“We pray for the gift of wisdom for him as he guides this venerable institution into a bright future,” said Cardinal Gregory. Among the many bishops, Cardinals and clergy representing multiple rites within the Catholic Church who concelebrated the Mass was the Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. Archbishop Christophe Pierre.
Dr. Kilpatrick has been serving as president since July, but the ceremony marked his formal acceptance of his role and responsibilities as the new leader of the only university founded by the U.S. Catholic bishops.
Cardinal Gregory received the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity from Dr. Kilpatrick, which are pledges to uphold the teachings of the faith in his role as the leader of the national university of the Catholic Church. Chairman of the Board of Trustees Victor Smith then presented Dr. Kilpatrick with the University’s Mace and Presidential Medallion as symbols of his stewardship that are used at formal academic functions.
In an interview after the Mass, Dr. Kilpatrick said that he was overwhelmed by joy and gratitude by the presence of the many who have supported him throughout the years. He said during the ceremony he thought about all the people in his life who helped shaped his journey. Dr. Kilpatrick said that the memory of his World War II veteran father was especially on his mind since the Installation was held on Veterans Day.
“I’m an emotional person, it’s just the way I’m wired. I think when you experience that kind of joy I think it’s pretty natural that it bubbles over,” said Dr. Kilpatrick as he reflected on the day’s events.
Prior to his arrival at Catholic University, President Kilpatrick served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Previously, he served as professor and McCloskey Dean of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. For 24 years, President Kilpatrick served on the faculty of North Carolina State University in chemical engineering, the last years as the department head.
Originally from Alabama, President Kilpatrick received his A.B. in chemistry from Occidental College (summa cum laude) and his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota. He and his wife, Nancy, are the parents of four adult children and have four grandchildren.
Installation celebrations will extend into the weekend with a student talent showcase, a gala, and a day of service on Saturday.