In early November of 2007 at a celebratory dinner on campus, Father David O’Connell will present a $1 million gift to an organization or an individual who has exhibited extraordinary humanitarian leadership. The dinner in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center will be the high point in a process that has been unfolding at CUA since mid-2006.
Last year CUA’s president accepted an invitation from the U.S.-based Opus Prize Foundation to host the 2007 Opus Prize selection process and awards ceremony. The Opus Prize is a $1 million gift awarded by the foundation to an organization or an individual (in the name of an organization), whose faith-based entrepreneurial leadership helps people in need transform their lives. The recipient must demonstrate a commitment to solving deeply rooted problems in the community and must do so in a way that fosters personal responsibility and independence. Through the award, the Opus Prize Foundation, in partnership with a host university, seeks to recognize and assist “unsung heroes” of any faith affiliation anywhere in the world.
The prize is intended not just to assist a worthy humanitarian in a very substantial
way. It is also meant to inspire others, particularly students of the host university, to integrate service into their lives. To meet the latter goal and to plan activities related to the prize process, a committee of CUA administrators, faculty and staff has been meeting regularly since September.
At Father O’Connell’s invitation, individuals with expertise in humanitarian issues have submitted detailed nominations of candidates for the prize. A distinguished jury will meet in late March to select four prize finalists. The next issue of CUA Magazine will provide an update on this process.