The Catholic University of America

May 14, 2009

President's Message on the Passing of Monsignor William Kerr

Monsignor William A. Kerr

Once again it is my sad duty to announce the passing of a former member of the CUA community. Monsignor William A. Kerr, Ph.D., died late yesterday afternoon after suffering a massive stroke Sunday, May 3, 2009, while celebrating Mass in Tallahassee, Fla. He was 68.

From 1984 until 1992, Monsignor Kerr was the vice president for university relations at CUA, assisting Father William Byron, S.J., CUA's 12th president, with fundraising and university outreach. It was during these years that, while studying at CUA, I first met Monsignor Kerr. He was always warm, gracious and blessed with an engaging personality perfectly suited to his responsibilities at the university. I recall his wonderful smile and kindness, especially to student priests. Many members of the CUA community kept in touch with Monsignor Kerr and considered him a very dear friend. To them and to Monsignor Kerr's family and diocese, I extend our deepest sympathies and promise of prayers.

Monsignor Kerr was serving as the executive director of the Claude Pepper Center at Florida State University at the time of his death. It was at Florida State that, from 1971 to 1984, he had taught history and was the Catholic campus minister and chaplain. Prior to his most recent work at Florida State, he served as the executive director of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. He was also president of La Roche College in Pittsburgh, Pa., from 1992 to 2004. Under his leadership, La Roche established the "Pacem in Terris Institute," a scholarship program for outstanding college-age women and men from conflict, post-conflict and developing regions of the world who agree to return home to build or rebuild their nations. Over 450 international students benefited from Monsignor Kerr's visionary initiative. May this good and faithful priest find eternal rest in the arms of the God he served so well.

Very Reverend David M. O'Connell, C.M.