The Catholic University of America

Oct. 2, 2009

Backgrounder on Father David O'Connell's Presidency

The 12-year tenure of Very Rev. David M. O'Connell as President of The Catholic University of America has been marked by a number of achievements, many of them historic. They include the following:

  • Hosted Pope Benedict XVI on campus on April 17, 2008.

  • Renaissance of Catholic spirituality on campus, as witnessed by more than 80 young men and 30 young women deciding to enter religious life or the priesthood after graduation.

  • Encouraged volunteerism, with 175 students committing themselves to at least one year of full-time service after graduation.

  • Increased total enrollment from 5,486 in 1998 to 6,768 in 2009

  • Three consecutive years of record-breaking freshman enrollment.

  • Increased university endowment from $114.5 million in September 1998 to an historic high of $224.0 million in September 2007.

  • Raised more than $180 million in charitable support for Catholic University.

  • Garnered $185.7 million in external research funding.

  • Purchased 49 acres in 2004, expanding the university's size to 193 acres.

  • Constructed three new residence halls (2001 and 2008) with capacity for 750 students, including the first university residence hall in Washington, D.C., to be built according to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards

  • Built 103,000 sq. ft. Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center in 2003 ($27 million)

  • Completed renovation of John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library in 2004 ($6 million)

  • Transformed former dining hall into student health and fitness center in 2004.

  • Gutted and renovated Keane Hall, renaming it McGivney Hall, in 2008 ($8 million)

  • Renovated more than 15 other campus buildings

  • Spent $2 million to improve outdoor athletic facilities in 2007.

  • Invested $1 million in security upgrades in 2008.

  • Upgraded 50 classrooms to smart classrooms, increasing the number on campus by 500%.

  • Introduced full wireless connectivity to 25 campus buildings, with an additional five partially wireless.