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News & Notes

.... from Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities members


Catholic College and University Students Among Newman Civic Fellows

Catholic institutions of higher education are well-represented among the list of students named to the 2021-22 cohort of Newman Civic Fellows.

The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes and supports community-committed students who are changemakers and public problem-solvers at Campus Compact member institutions. Fellows are nominated by their president or chancellor on the basis of their potential for public leadership.

Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides students with training and resources that nurture their assets and passions and help them develop strategies for social change. The yearlong program, named for Campus Compact founder Frank Newman, includes virtual learning opportunities and networking as part of a national network of engaged student leaders and an optional in-person convening.

Kirsy Rosario, Alvernia University Bri’Yana Merrill, Rockhurst University
Vania Jurkiewicz, Alverno College Anastasia Morrison, Saint Anselm College
Soné Keith, Barry University Fabian Venegas-Ramos, Saint John's University
Marcus Stubbs, Bellarmine University Kathryn Huntress, Saint Joseph's College
Faith Gronda, College of Saint Benedict Victoria Myers, Saint Joseph's University
Bryceida Valencia, College of the Holy Cross Aric Hamilton, Saint Louis University
Eden Marchese, Fairfield University Julia DelMastro, Salve Regina University
Daniella Sanchez, Georgetown University Michael Averill, Siena College
Mary Sessions, John Carroll University Ania G. Salcedo, St. Catherine University
Brett Conley, La Salle University Seela Raj, St. Norbert College
Mallory Gardiner, Loras College Sadé Ratliff, Stonehill College
Hannah Stewart, Loyola Marymount University Ryan Greensfelder, University of Dayton
Eunice Nazar, Manhattan College Caitlyn Cano, University of Notre Dame
Kaylee Tyner, Marymount University Kapri Tulang-De Silva, University of San Diego
Tevin Monroe, Merrimack College Jada Curry, University of San Francisco
Rochelle Thompson, Notre Dame of Maryland University Sophia Faacks, University of St. Thomas

Michaela Campbell, Providence College

Noor El-Ansary, Xavier University

Each student’s inspiring stories can be read at Campus Compact.


University of St. Thomas Launches Catholic Podcast

The Center for Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota has launched a new podcast, “Deep Down Things,” which explores God's grandeur as it is revealed through literature, history, art, philosophy, theology, anthropology, science, and more.Deep-Down-Things

Former Ryan Institute director and current Center for Catholic Studies director, Michael J. Naughton, is featured in episode three, “On Work, Leisure and Education.” Other episode guests include iconographer Nicholas Markell, discussing “The Word in Words and Images.”

The podcast can be found on Soundcloud, Spotify, Stitcher and GooglePlay.


Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College Receives Grants to Aid Student Success

Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) was named in two competitive grant awards by Lilly Endowment Inc. as part of a Phase 3 Charting the Future of Indiana’s Colleges and Universities initiative.

SMWC, the only institution in the state to be included as a partner in more than one grant initiative, is one of 16 Indiana colleges and universities supported by nearly $70 million in funding as part of the initiative. The two grants will fund collaborative efforts designed to support student retention and mental health resources.

Dottie L. King, president of SMWC, said, “I am so grateful to the Endowment for setting in motion a process that has allowed us to dream again while addressing the most pressing needs facing our students today.

“I am also thankful for the collegiality that has enabled us to develop strong partnerships in a collaborative and forward-thinking way as together we work to expand opportunities for students throughout the state,” King added. “Each of the two grant initiatives is about persistence and success, and I am excited about the opportunity for our collective institutions to work together to make an impact on real-world issues facing higher education.”

Read more about both grants on the SMWC website.


Australian Catholic Expands Rome Program

The Australian Catholic University (ACU) has recently purchased a new facility in Rome, and hopes to use the facility for shared programs with U.S. Catholic colleges and universities. ACU-Rome

Just 3 km from Vatican City, the ACU Rome Campus is centrally located near the trendy suburb of Trastevere and all it has to offer. The campus is within walking distance of historical sites, as well as cafes and restaurants. Other Catholic institutions are invited to rent the facility for short-term meetings or conferences.


(image: Rome- ACU) A rooftop terrace offers a view of the neighborhood that is home to ACU’s Rome campus.


University of San Diego Begins New Inclusion Effort

James Harris III, president of the University of San Diego (USD), recently announced a multi-year, comprehensive, and strategic initiative for diversity, equity, and inclusion: The Horizon Project.

A call for solidarity that outlines immediate and concrete steps that USD will take to ensure that inclusive excellence efforts are woven into the fabric of the institution, the Horizon Project represents the accumulation of work and recommendations submitted by a broad cross-section of stakeholders. The objectives outlined in this initiative align with USD’s current strategic plan, Envisioning 2024, and sets a path “to move USD into the forefront of Catholic higher education by promoting engagement, strengthening our Catholic values, and working toward our highest aspirations for racial and social justice,” according to the university.

The university’s board of trustees has committed $15 million over the next five years to achieve the goals outlined in the Horizon Project. This includes a $1 million program to match donor contributions toward endowed funds that support the Horizon Project goals. Investment in the Horizon Project is intended to build upon the momentum of Envisioning 2024 by creating pipelines to channel all of USD’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts into a concerted university-wide response, supported by dedicated leadership and accountability structures.

At the time of the announcement, Harris wrote, “Today it is time for USD to take the giant leap forward to build a campus culture where all members of our academic community know that we have in place the people, practices, and policies conducive to creating an environment where everyone is not only welcomed but they know we have a campus culture that was built with them in mind.”

Visit the Horizon Project website to read more.


Alverno Institute Honored

The Wisconsin Character Education Partnership (WCEP) has awarded the Thea Bowman Institute for Excellence and Leadership at Alverno College a 2021 Promising Practice Award for the program’s racial identity development seminar. Thea-Bowman-Institute

Alverno’s Thea Bowman Institute is a cohort-model, full-tuition scholarship program for Black undergraduates who have a strong desire to serve as leaders. Supported by a group of Alverno faculty and staff who identify as Black women and called themselves “Inspi-A-Neers,” the Institute hosts monthly racial identity development seminars that give the Bowman Scholars a “safe space to facilitate identity awareness, develop critical thinking skills, and experience joy, healing, and hope for the future,” according to Alverno assistant professor Vanessa Hintz, a licensed clinical psychologist and a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant.

“I’m thankful to be recognized for the amazing work we’re doing and to be able to continue this work with our scholars,” said Hintz, who is also a Bowman Scholar Inspi-A-Neer. “It’s so important to develop a social-emotional connection with students to create a safe space for learning, to have these conversations so they feel valued and free to be their authentic selves, and to empower them.” 

WCEP annually presents Promising Practice Awards to schools or districts that have developed and successfully implemented a unique character education practice. This is the first time the organization has bestowed the award to a Wisconsin non-K-12 school.

For more information about the Bowman Institute, visit


University of San Francisco Students Tackle Homelessness

Two dozen previously homeless youth have somewhere to call home, thanks to the efforts of a group from the University of San Francisco (USF). YSA-Tiny-Homes

Approached by the nonprofit organization Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA) in 2017, Seth Wachtel, associate professor and director of the architecture program, led a group of students to create not one, but several master plans, as their efforts were stalled by community objections and leasing problems. Still, the volunteers never gave up and this spring, the students, alumni, and others unveiled 28 tiny houses on wheels, as well as two 30-foot yurts for community gatherings; laundry facilities; a kitchen; and six bathrooms in custom trailers. Four of the tiny houses are ADA accessible.

See more images of the YSA Empowerment Village in Oakland.


Conference for Mercy Higher Ed Names New Leader

Julia Cavallo has been named the new executive director of the Conference for Mercy Higher Education (CMHE). Currently the executive director of the Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities and the director of assessment and institutional research at Saint Vincent College, Cavallo will begin her new role at CMHE in August.

Succeeding longtime leader Moya Dittmeier, Cavallo will be responsible for helping advance the mission of CMHE, which represents a network of 17 Mercy, Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States.

“I am honored to join the Mercy family and carry the torch that Catherine McAuley started in 1830s Ireland and Frances Warde advanced in 1840s America,” Cavallo said. “The Mercy mission is one that I strongly believe in and I am excited to contribute to its strength and advancement well into the future.”

CMHE board chair Sister Margaret Anne Dougherty added, “The Board of Directors of CMHE is confident that Dr. Cavallo is the right person to lead the organization into the future. Her skills, talent, energy, and passion will work to keep the Mercy charism alive and well in the Mercy universities and colleges.”

In advancing the mission of CMHE, Cavallo will focus on the newly developed Covenant of Mercy Higher Education and develop programs and policies to advance the work of the accountabilities within the Covenant. She will also work to ensure the continuance of the Mercy mission and ethos at the 17-member institutions via the CMHE Mission Self-study and Peer Review process.


Ursuline College President Receives National Leadership Award

Ursuline College President Sister Christine De Vinne, OSU, was awarded the Council of Independent Colleges’ 2020 Charles W.L. Foreman Award, the highest honor given by the organization’s State Councils, in a virtual ceremony last April.Sr-Chris-DeVinne

The award is presented annually to a college president or corporate trustee who has demonstrated an outstanding record of service, leadership, and commitment. Bill Spiker, president of The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC), nominated Sister Christine to receive the award in recognition of her leadership on numerous committees, panel discussions, conferences, and seminars at the state and national levels.

"Sister Christine is a founding committee member of our Women’s Scholarship Initiative, which raises money in support of non-traditional–age female students who are returning to college in pursuit of their bachelor’s degree,” Spiker wrote. Launched in 2015, this initiative has raised nearly $380,000 to fund 114 scholarships awarded to 88 students enrolled at 24 of OFIC's 33 member campuses.

“Above it all, Sister Christine has a giving spirit and very welcoming, engaging attitude and approach to her support of independent higher education across the country, of The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges on the state-level in her home state of Ohio, and mostly with her impactful, insightful, and devoted leadership of her alma mater, Ursuline College,” Spiker wrote.

Read more on the Ursuline College website.


Collaborations & Connections

Carroll College and regional care provider St. Peter’s Health have signed a Memorandum of Understanding marking their intent to collaborate on the potential development of a multi-purpose community health center and academic facility on the college’s campus in  Helena, Mont.

The University of the Sciences in Philadelphia is merging with and into Saint Joseph’s University, combining a strong Jesuit academic tradition with in-demand professional programs in healthcare and science. This unique integration furthers the institutions' shared mission and vision of providing a rigorous, high-quality, and accessible education to tomorrow’s leaders in a wide range of industries.

Franciscan University of Steubenville has signed articulation agreements with West Virginia Northern Community College, aimed at giving students majoring in criminal justice, social work, and early education a seamless pathway to go from a two-year degree to a four-year degree.

Trocaire College and Health Sciences Charter School have announced a new collaboration designed to create a pipeline of high school students who successfully achieve their Health Sciences diploma and Trocaire certificate or degree to help fill a need for skilled and diverse healthcare workers in Western New York.