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News & Notes

…from the members of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities


Taking Responsibility: Fordham Teams with Jesuit Partners to Examine Crisis

Using a new grant from a private foundation, Fordham University will be taking the lead in a new effort to address the Church sexual abuse crisis by supporting projects at four Jesuit universities and awarding six research grants to Fordham faculty.

The interdisciplinary initiative, called “Taking Responsibility,” is a partnership between the Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies and the Department of Theology at Fordham. Bradford Hinze, the Karl Rahner Professor of Theology, directs the project, explained, “The projects and studies being supported by the Taking Responsibility initiative reflect current trends in interdisciplinary research. By focusing on Jesuit educational institutions in the U.S., these efforts will make an important contribution to our understanding of the phenomenon of clergy sexual abuse in this particular setting. The Taking Responsibility website will provide an active center for those interested in the current state of research and practical resources on these issues.”

Patrick Hornbeck, special faculty adviser to the provost for strategic planning, is helping lead the project. He added, “The project acknowledges that not only is there a need for a multidisciplinary approach, but also and especially the victim-survivors of abuse, must be at the table to help Jesuit schools, colleges, and universities become safer, more transparent institutions.”

Read more on the Fordham University website.


Bio of St. Norbert Takes Book of the Year Honors

Man on Fire, the biography of St. Norbert College’s founding saint, Norbert of Xanten, authored by President Emeritus Tom Kunkel, has been named a 2020 Book of the Year in this year’s Catholic Book Awards.

The book, published by the St. Norbert College Press in association with the Center for Norbertine Studies, was named 2020 Best Book by a Small Publisher. Man on Fire also placed high in both Biography and Front-Cover Artwork categories. ManOnFire

“I am very gratified by this recognition. We hope it will make even more people aware of the inspiring story of Norbert of Xanten,” said Kunkel. “It also gives me the chance to again thank the team of committed and creative people at St. Norbert College who made the book possible. They are too numerous to mention, though I do want to send particular thanks to Susan Allen, the college's director of publications, who edited Man on Fire with great passion and expertise.”

Brother Martin Erspamer, OSB, served as the book’s illustrator and Laura Treichel, from the office of communications at St. Norbert, was the designer. Gretchen Panzer, a 2012 graduate of the college, was proofreader.

Read more about Man on Fire.


University of Notre Dame Seeks to Broaden Conversation about Religion

Thanks to a generous grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion at the University of Notre Dame will host a series of workshops designed to help change the conversation about religion by bringing journalists, scholars, and faith practitioners together to learn from one another and better communicate their perspectives.

AnsariThe Ansari Institute is partnering with the university’s John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy to host the workshops, which will facilitate a “trialogue” among the three groups, said Mahan Mirza, executive director of the Institute. This will enable the groups to learn from one another and build partnerships that will improve public discourse, he said.

“The grant conceptually brings together the notions of dialogue and religious literacy and addresses the public conversation about religion,” Mirza said. “It aims to get three groups of people who don't always appreciate each other — faith practitioners, journalists, and academic scholars — to better understand each other's vocations in order to improve the ways in which we think and talk about religion in our congregations, in the classroom and in public forums.”

By bringing together these different groups, the workshops aim to improve communication, understanding, and coverage of religion, said Richard G. Jones, the Walter H. Annenberg-Edmund P. Joyce Director of the Gallivan Program. Discussions will also help participants understand the ways in which faith touches a wide variety of issues, including politics, public health, and business, he said.

The Ansari Institute will host the workshops in spring 2021, fall 2021, and summer 2022.

Read more on the Notre Dame website.


Sisters of Mercy Offer Grant to Support Saint Xavier University Students

Upon founding Saint Xavier University (SXU) in 1846, the Sisters of Mercy endowed the institution with a benevolent mission of active compassion and high-quality education. In keeping with tradition, the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community has generously gifted SXU a $26,000 grant to support the Mercy Scholarship Program for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

As part of the program, five selected students will each receive a $5,000 scholarship while gaining a greater understanding of the Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns and Call to New Consciousness through practical application of such concerns – Immigration, Racism, Women, Nonviolence, and Earth – and a thoughtful cultivation of their own contemporary questions that can inform the wider culture of SXU.

“The Sisters of Mercy are vital partners in ensuring the longevity of our Mercy mission,” said Associate Professor Charlene Bermele, Mercy Scholarship Program director. “This scholarship activity allows students to interact directly with the Critical Concerns to promote compassion in action while working for the direct benefit of humankind.”


Catholic Universities Earn Top Spots for Community Service

Congratulations to the eight Catholic universities that landed among the top 20 institutions recognized by the Princeton Review for Most Engaged in Community Service.

The ranking is based on surveys of students enrolled in institutions around the United States, agreeing that their peers are “committed to community service.” Included on the list are Saint Louis University (#2), Loyola Marymount University (#4), University of Notre Dame (#5), the Catholic University of America (#9), Sacred Heart University (#10), Creighton University (#13), Xavier University of Louisiana (#15), and Marquette University (#16).

Read the full list at The Princeton Review.


Xavier University of LA Receives Historic Donation

A $20 million gift from a donor wishing to remain anonymous has become Xavier University of Louisiana’s largest private donation from an individual to date. This gift will allow the university to expand scholarships, endow new faculty positions, and make needed investments to sustain the mission of the nation’s only Catholic and historically Black university.

“This is a remarkable demonstration of support and encouragement for Xavier and its mission, and a reminder that what we do is important — not only at the university, but also within our global community,” stated President Reynold Verret. “This gift will enhance the university's capacity to educate in the medical sciences, pharmacy, law, the arts, and the social sciences.”

Xavier is known for its long history of producing more African American MDs than any other institution in the United States, as well as federal judges, civil rights attorneys, renowned artists and musicians, business leaders, and elected officials serving at local, state, and national levels.

Read more on the Xavier University of Louisiana site.


New Residence Hall at St. Thomas Aquinas College Honors President Emerita

A celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony was held in front of the new Fitzpatrick Village Residence Hall in early September, just in time for the opening of the fall semester at St. Thomas Aquinas College. STAC-ribbon-cutting

This commemorative occasion was held with newly appointed President Ken Daly and his predecessor, 25-year tenured President Emerita, Margaret Fitzpatrick. They were joined by other college leaders, as well as resident assistants and other students, who have safely returned and are living on campus.

Daly remarked, “As we start a semester, we are delighted to officially open our new Fitzpatrick 500 Building in honor of our President Emerita, Dr. Margaret Fitzpatrick, who led the college for the past 25 years and left a legacy of growth and investments to support our students. We are especially delighted to open this beautiful new residential housing unit at this challenging time, as it signals that ‘STAC is Back’ and our campus is again safely open for our students.”


Collaborations and Connections

Spring Hill College has announced a partnership with Bishop State Community College, governing the enrollment of associate degree graduates to the related baccalaureate degree programs, in order to foster a seamless transition for students transferring to Spring Hill from Bishop State.

Mercy College of Health Sciences has partnered with Southwestern Community College (SWCC) to offer a paramedic program in Creston, Iowa, starting this fall. This expansion of Mercy College’s paramedic program provides more flexible options for students to access quality healthcare education.

Saint Louis University is joining forces with Access Academies, a nonprofit in St. Louis that helps at-risk students from middle school to college and career success. The partnership is aimed at expanding educational opportunities for students across the city, by integrating Access Academies’ enrichment and support programs into Saint Louis University’s School of Education.

Siena College and Maria College recently announced that they will continue to develop their academic partnership to prepare students for careers in the health professions. The colleges are moving forward with a multi-pronged enhancement to their existing partnership, which reflects a shared commitment to their mutual Catholic heritage and the mindful delivery of patient- and client-centered care.