The Catholic University of America

Aug. 28, 2008

Two CUA Administrators Receive Benemerenti Medal

From left: Frank Persico, Father O'Connell, C.M., Archbishop Wuerl and Craig Parker.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has conferred papal honors upon Frank G. Persico, vice president for university relations and chief of staff, and Craig W. Parker, associate vice president and general counsel, by bestowing upon each the prestigious Benemerenti Medal. The honors were presented today by Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington and university chancellor, and Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., university president, at the opening Mass for the 2008-09 academic year.

"In honoring Frank and Craig," the president said, "Our Holy Father has also honored The Catholic University of America and the lives of so many faculty, staff and students whom they have served over these many years."

The Benemerenti Medal was first instituted by Pope Gregory XVI in 1832 and is conferred upon those individuals who have exhibited long and exceptional service to the Catholic Church. The medal has the word benemerenti - "to a well deserving person" - inscribed upon it, surrounded by a crown of oak leaves. The yellow and white ribbon mirrors the papal colors.

Frank Persico

Father O'Connell recounted these two administrators' many contributions to CUA. "Frank Persico has been associated with the university from his student days. Graduating in 1974, he has served in the offices of the provost, student life, alumni relations, the law school and, currently, in the Office of the President. He is, without question, my closest collaborator in the administration. I have been so impressed by his passion for and dedication to CUA. I thought it most fitting to request from Pope Benedict XVI this honor for Frank since he did so much to prepare the campus for the Holy Father's visit last April."

"Craig Parker has been a gift to CUA for more than three decades. His sharp legal mind combined with his great sense of humor have tempered many a tense situation and facilitated a much easier than anticipated solution. He also demonstrates great love and respect for CUA and the community here. In more recent years, Craig's role as general counsel has been expanded to include

Craig Parker

responsibility for community and government relations, a task at which he excels. I depend so much upon his experience, sense of institutional history and wise advice."

Father O'Connell said that both men are widely respected at the university and revered for their dedication and commitment.

"I cannot think of a better way to express this pontifical university's appreciation than to confer pontifical honors upon these two great citizens of CUA," he concluded.

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