[CUA Office of Public Affairs]



                                                                                                               Aug. 22, 2002


President Announces Establishment of School of Canon Law


The Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., president of The Catholic University of America, announced today that, effective Monday, Aug. 26, 2002, the first day of classes of the 2002-2003 academic year, the Department of Canon Law of the School of Religious Studies shall become the 11th school of the university.


The Rev. Robert Kennedy, current chair of the department, shall become interim dean of the newly created school, responsible to the president and reporting directly to the provost, according to university procedures.  He shall continue in that position until the search process for a permanent dean is completed.  He shall simultaneously become a member of the Conference of Deans and a member of the president’s Administrative Council, as well as an ex officio member of the Academic Senate and the Council of Ecclesiastical Faculties.  The members of the ecclesiastical faculty of canon law shall be immediately responsible to the interim dean, in accordance with university procedures.


This administrative change does not affect the curricula currently offered by the newly established school nor does it affect the status of students currently enrolled in its academic programs.


The Catholic University of America, the national university of the Catholic Church, is the only academic institution in the United States approved by the Holy See to offer ecclesiastical degree programs in canon law.  The Department of Canon Law has offered courses at the university since 1889.  In 1923, the Holy See established the department as a separate school. The structure of the school changed in 1973, returning to the status of a department within the School of Religious Studies.


“This change provides CUA with the opportunity to strengthen the uniqueness of our programs in canon law while giving them a higher and more pre-eminent visibility, precisely because of their uniqueness,” said Father O’Connell.


The president extended his gratitude to Provost John Convey, School of Religious Studies Dean Stephen Happel, Father Kennedy and the ecclesiastical faculty of canon law for their diligent and dedicated cooperation throughout the process of consultation, deliberation and transition.  He noted that Father Kennedy, in particular, has demonstrated extraordinary generosity in his service to the faculty and to the university as chair of the Department of Canon Law in the past several months.





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Revised: Feb. 18, 2002

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