What does it mean to be a Catholic university?

As Catholic University of America seeks a new president, it must confront an identity crisis.

America’s bishops’ university is at a crossroads. As announced last fall, after 11 years, John H. Garvey is stepping down as president of the Catholic University of America and a search is narrowing for his replacement. The stakes are high, not only for the university but also for the church.

Punching far above its academic weight, CUA plays a leading role in the intellectual formation of Catholic leadership in the United States. As its founders envisioned, today about half of U.S. bishops studied at CUA at some point, and church institutions, seminaries, Catholic advocacy groups, religious congregations and Catholic media organizations are replete with its graduates.

The situation the new president will face is daunting. A complex of interrelated problems poses a challenge for which progress can only be slow and the chance of failure high. Not the least of the problems is the perennial question: What does it mean to be a Catholic university?

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Chris Burt
Chris Burt
Chris is a reporter and associate editor for University Business and District Administration magazines, covering the entirety of higher education and K-12 schools. Prior to coming to LRP, Chris had a distinguished career as a multifaceted editor, designer and reporter for some of the top newspapers and media outlets in the country, including the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, Albany Times-Union and The Boston Globe. He is a graduate of Northeastern University.

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