Press Releases



ACCU Statement on Recent Executive Order by the President
Download the news release about this statement, which includes the names of ACCU member presidents who have signed to express their opposition to the Executive Order.

As the voice of Catholic higher education, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities expresses its strong opposition to the Executive Order signed by President Donald J. Trump concerning U.S. immigration policy. We stand in solidarity with other Catholic and higher education organizations that recognize the moral obligation of our country to assist migrants, particularly those who are fleeing any kind of persecution.

In referring to the order’s halt of refugee admissions, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, stated, "We believe that now more than ever, welcoming newcomers and refugees is an act of love and hope. … We will work vigorously to ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed in collaboration with Catholic Charities, without sacrificing our security or our core values as Americans, and to ensure that families may be reunified with their loved ones." (Read Bishop Vasquez’s full statement online.)

Pope Francis has said that “authentic hospitality is our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism.” As ACCU gathers this weekend in Washington, DC to celebrate the value of diversity within Catholic higher education, we reaffirm the commitment of our institutions to creating inclusive, welcoming campus environments that embrace people of all faiths and cultures. Catholic higher education was founded precisely to serve the children of Catholic immigrants who in their own time were excluded from higher education. This is a legacy that we proudly pledge to continue.

(Read Catholic Social Teaching on immigration...)

Read Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Canada issues statement opposing Executive Order...

1/23/2017 Association President Receives Highest Honor from Alma Mater
ACCU President Michael Galligan-Stierle received the 2017 Founders' Award from his alma mater, for "dedicating his life to the service of others as a teacher, campus minister, and in his current position" as head of the association.

Catholic Higher Education Leaders Affirm Support of Undocumented Students 
Read the statement signed by more than 120 presidents of ACCU member colleges and universities.


ACCU Welcomes New Vice President

3/1/2016 ACCU Statement on the passing of Dr. Joseph McGowan:
We were very saddened today to hear of the passing of Dr. Joseph J. McGowan, president of Bellarmine University. During his time in office, Jay transformed the university into a thriving Catholic campus, led by his vision for “ new schools, new majors, new buildings and new ways to serve Louisville and Kentucky,” as the school has noted. His commitment to Bellarmine, his sharp intellect, and his wisdom enabled the institution to reach new heights in academic and physical growth. Beyond those impressive achievements, Jay was a personable, engaging, and dedicated friend, someone who always had time for a personal conversation and a lively story. The Catholic higher education community is poorer for his loss.
2/12/2016 ACCU Statement on Mount St. Mary's University (MD):

The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) assists its member institutions in strengthening and enhancing their Catholic identity, guided by the commitment in Ex corde Ecclesiae to "a common dedication to the truth [and] a common vision of the dignity of the human person."

While American Catholic colleges and universities have distinct missions, with each deciding how best to educate their students and serve both the Church and the larger society, they share important common values. Besides supporting student achievement, Catholic higher education is committed to educating the whole person and caring for the individual student, as well as nurturing a strong campus community through shared governance and a spirit of service to others.

Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., one of the oldest Catholic institutions of higher learning in the United States, is a long-time, valued member of ACCU. It has a history of dedication to academic excellence in the liberal arts tradition and to the values characteristic of Catholic higher education.

The association has every expectation that the trustees and larger Mount St. Mary’s community will join together to resolve the current serious controversies in the best tradition of Catholic higher education. We are confident that respect for the core values of service to students, academic freedom, respect for persons, and the principles of shared governance will lead to a fair and just conclusion of the current situation.


News releases from the 2016 ACCU Annual Meeting:
–Conference to Explore the Founding Values and Wisdom
at the Root of Catholic Higher Education
–ACCU Recognizes Outstanding Contributions to Catholic Higher Education
–Catholic College Association Elects New Board Members
–ACCU Teams with Interfaith Youth Core to Explore the Future of Religious Pluralism on Catholic Campuses

12/8/2015 ACCU Statement on Inclusion:

Through their respective missions, Catholic higher education institutions are committed to creating inclusive, welcoming campus environments in which their members celebrate the diversity of all in both faith and culture. One of the essential characteristics of a Catholic university, in fact, is that it serves everyone in the search for transcendence and meaning.

At this current time of tensions regarding diversity on a number of college and university campuses, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities encourages all academic communities to concentrate on fostering productive, open dialogue among constituents. We support efforts that seek genuine and transparent conversations in order to bring about tangible and lasting resolutions to these conflicts.


ACCU Statement on the passing of the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC:
To say that the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC, was one of the most notable figures in Catholic higher education is at once true and also an understatement. His legacy at the University of Notre Dame, where he served as president from 1952 to 1987, is a remarkable one, marked by achievements in enrollment growth, research funding, and governance. Beyond that campus, Fr. Ted exercised an influence that reached Catholic colleges and universities nationwide, attested to by the fact that his fellow presidents once named him the most effective college president in the country.

In expressing his vision for our sector, Fr. Ted once wrote, “The Catholic university should be a place where all the great questions are asked, where an exciting conversation is continually in progress, where the mind constantly grows as the values and powers of intelligence and wisdom are cherished and exercised….” Today, Catholic higher education stands as a living vision of this ideal, which ACCU honors each year through its Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC, Award, bestowed annually since 1982.

We at ACCU mourn the passing of Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, but most of all, we celebrate his life and strive to meet the high standards that he set for all of Catholic higher education.

More information:
– University of Notre Dame tribute
– Video celebration of the life of Rev. Hesburgh


News from the 2015 ACCU Annual Meeting:

–Conference Focuses on 'Bold Vision, Courageous Voices' of Catholic Higher Education
–2015 ACCU Annual Meeting Supports Education and Service in Washington, DC
–ACCU Announces Awards for Service to Catholic Higher Education

12/22/2014 ACCU Statement Following the NLRB Ruling Regarding Pacific Lutheran University
10/23/2014 Catholic Higher Education Presidents Voice Support for Plight of Refugee Children
3/28/2014 ACCU Files Brief Concerning NLRB Jurisdiction (read the brief)
2/5/2014 Catholic College Association Elects New Board Members
1/8/2014 Media Advisory: 2014 ACCU Annual Meeting

ACCU Statement on Final Ruling of Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act:
Washington, DC—In issuing final rules concerning “Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act,” the administration has noted its effort to respond to the concerns of religiously affiliated entities, including Catholic colleges and universities.

In comments submitted to the relevant federal departments in April, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities asked for several considerations, including a request that the departments minimize entanglement between religious organizations and the provision of contraceptive services. ACCU also suggested that the departments extend the temporary enforcement safe harbor to at least January 1, 2014.

An initial review of the regulations reveals that the effective date of the regulation has been extended to January 1. ACCU President Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.D., said, “We are encouraged by the administration’s apparent recognition of the challenges that many Catholic organizations will face in bringing their insurance policies into compliance. During the coming days, ACCU will give significant time and attention to analyzing the lengthy and complex ruling, and determine the extent to which the ruling genuinely respects the religious liberty of Catholic colleges and universities and other religiously affiliated entities.”


ACCU Statement on Supreme Court Decision in Fisher v. University of Texas:
Washington, DC—In a highly anticipated decision, the Supreme Court has left intact the use of race-conscious university admissions, though it sent the case back to the lower courts for additional review.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the Court’s opinion in the 7-1 decision in Fisher v. University of Texas, which challenged the use of race in undergraduate admissions. Emphasizing the “strict scrutiny” standard established by earlier cases, Kennedy noted that the university’s affirmative action program could be found to be constitutional only if “no workable race-neutral alternatives would produce the educational benefits of diversity.”

The Court’s decision ultimately leaves the issue of race-based university admissions unresolved. For its part, ACCU supports meaningful efforts to increase diversity on college campuses. Inclusiveness is a key principle of Catholic teaching and a driving force behind the commitment of Catholic higher education to access. 


ACCU Statement on Teacher Prep Review Report:
Washington, DC—Today, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released Teacher Prep Review, its effort to assess teacher education programs. While the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) supports credible efforts to improve teacher preparation, ACCU joins the chorus of voices critical of the NCTQ and its findings.

Almost all private, nonprofit colleges and universities—including ACCU member campuses—refused to participate in the NCTQ data collection. As a result of low participation, the Council’s findings must be read with a great deal of skepticism. Indeed, some of the foremost education experts in the country have criticized the NCTQ and its report for its methodology and lack of accuracy in assessing teacher preparation programs.

Catholic higher education, which is largely underrepresented in this recent report, includes more than 160 teacher education programs. They incorporate high academic standards as well as a commitment to Catholic values and ideals, and many are engaged in continuous improvement efforts. ACCU stands in support of such initiatives that seek to strengthen teacher preparation in a meaningful and reliable way.

5/10/2013 Listen here: Michael Galligan-Stierle, Sister Mary Reap, and Dr. Daniel Curran discuss lay presidents at Catholic colleges and universities on Higher Education Talk Radio.
4/5/2013 ACCU Welcomes New Catholic Education Leaders

ACCU Statement on the Election of Pope Francis:
Washington, DC—The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities joins with Catholics around the world in welcoming the newly elected pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

As the first Jesuit to hold the office and the first pontiff from the Americas, Pope Francis represents a turning point in the history of the Church. Catholic higher education will look to the new pontiff—with his experience as a university teacher and rector, and his deep commitment to social justice—to continue to strengthen the productive relationships between his predecessors and Catholic colleges and universities.

Read Catholic college leaders' reactions to the election of Pope Francis in Update.


ACCU Statement on the Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI:
Washington, DC—The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities expresses its gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI for his longstanding support of Catholic higher education. A former professor, the Holy Father has repeatedly affirmed the value of Catholic colleges and universities, especially their role in advancing faith and reason. In taking the extraordinary step of resigning, Pope Benedict acknowledged his own declining strength and resultant inability to fulfill the ministry of his office. By so doing, he demonstrated great humility, considerable leadership, and an acute understanding of what it means to serve the common good. We wish His Holiness all the best as he leaves the papacy, and look forward to working with his successor.

1/26/2013 ACCU Releases Study of Today's Catholic College and University Presidents
Read the report

ACCU Statement on the Ten-Year Review of Ex Corde:
Washington, DC—The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities expressed its gratitude and added its support for the final report on the ten-year review of The Application of Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the United States, released yesterday by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Read the full statement...

1/2013 Hear ACCU President Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.D., and Georgian Court University President Sr. Rosemary Jeffries, RSM, discuss globalization and Catholic higher education on Higher Education Talk Radio!

ACCU Statement on the Tragedy in Newtown, CT:
Washington, DC—The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities expresses its heartfelt sorrow at the events of Friday, December 14, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

During this period of Advent, as we await with hope the birth of our Savior, we pray that our educational institutions—whether elementary school, secondary school, or university—may be places of harmony and fellowship, where our students are safe to pursue knowledge and grow in friendship and love. And we ask God to bless and console all those who have been affected by this senseless tragedy.

11/15/2012 ACCU Joins International Consortium to Support Aid for Syrian Students and Scholars
9/24/2012 ACCU Welcomes New Vice President
9/24/2012 Journal of Catholic Higher Education Announces New Associate Editor
8/10/2012 Catholic Colleges Front and Center on New Website
7/5/2012 ACCU Statement on Recent Supreme Court Ruling:

Washington, DC—On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The 5–4 ruling did not address mandated coverage of practices that run contrary to religious beliefs, nor did it preclude other constitutional challenges to the law. In light of this decision, therefore, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities affirms the significance of the litigation filed by Catholic colleges and universities against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These lawsuits now sit as the primary means to defend the free exercise of religion without government interference—a fundamental right that remains too precious to let slip away.

4/2/2012 ACCU Releases Catholic Higher Education: In Our Own Words

View "In Our Own Words" here

4/2/2012 New Resource on Academic Scholarship at Catholic Colleges and Universities
Search the Centers & Institutes directory
2/24/2012 ACCU Statement Regarding Mandated Contraceptive Coverage and Religious Liberty
2/17/2012 ACCU Statement Regarding Mandated Health Coverage and Religious Liberty
2/10/2012 ACCU Responds to Today's Announcement by President Obama
1/25/2012 ACCU Releases Statement on HHS Ruling
12/16/2011 Catholic College Presidents Reveal Fiscal Concerns and Strategies
  Read the full report...


Saving Faith: Pastoral Care for International Students

Michael Galligan-Stierle with Pope Benedict

While in Rome delivering an address on pastoral care for international students, ACCU President Michael Galligan-Stierle met with Pope Benedict XVI, and presented His Holiness with a copy of Promising Practices: Collaboration Among Catholic Bishops and University Presidents, which Galligan-Stierle edited.

Read the Final Document of the III World Congress on the Pastoral Care of International Students...

See an interview with Michael Galligan-Stierle on EWTN, talking about pastoral care of international students (EWTN/YouTube)

11/9/2011   ACCU President Discusses Catholic Mission and Identity
1/29/2011 ACCU Announces 2011 Award Recipients
1/28/2011 ACCU's 2011 Annual Meeting: Catholic Higher EducationCarrying on God's Noiseless Work
8/16/2010 ACCU Names Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.D., Its New President










































News from the 2012 ACCU Annual Meeting


Photos ©Peter Cutts Photography.

1/31/2012 ACCU Announces New Chair and Other Board Members
  View the full ACCU Board of Directors listing
1/28/2012 Alumni Say Catholic Higher Ed Worth the Investment
1/28/2012 Four Catholic Institutions Mark Major Milestone
1/27/2012 Catholic Colleges Meeting to Focus on Civility










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