[CUA Office of Public Affairs]           

Aug. 19, 2003


Back-to-School Tip Sheet

Story Ideas and Photo Opportunities Available at Catholic University


Catholic University will welcome approximately 2,650 undergraduate and 2,950 graduate students to campus on Monday, Aug. 25, 2003. Following are some facts about CUA’s enrollment and housing this school year, along with story ideas for back-to-school coverage.


Television crews seeking B-roll footage of new students on campus can get video prior to the first day of school by attending CUA’s new student orientation, to be held Thursday, Aug. 21, 2002, through Sunday, Aug. 24, 2002. More than 1,600 freshmen and transfer students and their families will be attending educational sessions, mixers, skits, book discussion groups and other events designed to help them make the high school-to-college transition. Families also will help students move into their residence halls during this time.


CUA admissions, housing and student orientation officers and student life staff are available to comment for back-to-school stories. To arrange interviews or other coverage, call Chris Harrison at 202-319-5600.


Photo/Video Opportunities


             CUA New Student Orientation:               Aug. 21 – Aug. 24, 2003

             Students Move into Residence Halls:    Aug. 21 (new students)

                                                                          Aug. 23-24 (returning students)

            CUA First Day of Classes:                      Aug. 25, 2003



The trend toward increased graduate school admissions during a depressed economic period seems to be holding at CUA this fall: graduate applications are up significantly, particularly in the professional schools, with an expected 40 percent increase in new graduate students submitting deposits* compared to this time last year. Approximately 2,950 new and returning law/graduate students will attend CUA this fall, compared to 2,859 last year.

* Final enrollment numbers will be available in September.


CUA’s more than 2,078 housing slots are nearly filled, says Katherine Boone, CUA director of housing and residential services. A renovation of two halls on campus has created 38 more spaces for students this fall. CUA will have 1,300 returning students living on campus in fall 2003, as well as 650 freshman/transfer students living in the dorms.



Story Ideas at CUA


Bring on the Books

New students at The Catholic University of America already will have had a homework assignment before they set foot on campus in late August. Designed to foster faculty-student interaction, the Readers Program asks students to read one of 15 books over the summer, so they can talk about what they’ve read at orientation during a group discussion with a professor and other students who choose the same book. If the program sounds like a route to early burn-out for students, take note – summer readers programs actually have the opposite effect, said CUA Assistant Dean of Students Ellen Breipohl Thorp, who directs orientation activities like the Readers Program. “Research in our field shows that one of the primary contributing factors to students progressing to graduation is their interaction with faculty members outside of the classroom,” Thorp said. “So we’re putting them in a setting where they can connect with a faculty member as soon as they get to campus.”



Here They Come…

Miss District of Columbia, Junior Miss Rhode Island, and Junior Miss Maryland all will be students at CUA this fall.  Music major Lisa Ferris, a rising junior, will use her time as Miss D.C. 2003 to fight childhood obesity by promoting nutrition and exercise for children. She will compete in the Miss America pageant this October. Ferris may be able to practice her talent portion – singing – with Louis Gazzara, an incoming freshman who competed on the talent show sensation “American Idol” last year. Gazzara, from Hammonton, N.J., was one of the show’s top 32 contestants.



Exploring Faith, Forming Intellect
Undergraduate students will have some help finding the intersection between faith and reason — the topic of a 1998 encyclical from Pope John Paul II — in a new four-part discussion series co-sponsored by CUA’s School of Philosophy and Division of Student Life. Called “Exploring Faith and Forming Intellect,” the Sept. 23—Nov. 4 series explores issues of faith and reason, led each week by two different philosophy professors who will offer short presentations and then participate in a discussion with students. “College students are in the process of forming themselves intellectually, as they study and decide what they want to major in. They’re asking questions, establishing opinions — this is the time when they’re trying to fit things together,” said Jean De Groot, associate dean of philosophy. “The series will offer students a chance to have a dialogue with professors about how reason helps to unify the spiritual and intellectual aspects of our lives. The aim is to provide a framework for reflection on modern life and the culture in which we’re living.”



Dedicated to Debate

CUA’s top-ranked debate program will add 10 more star debaters to its roster this fall including incoming freshman Allison McCarthy, who consistently placed in the top 10 at invitational debate tournaments throughout the United States, and Daryl Lloyd who came in third in the original oratory category at last year’s Yale National Invitational Tournament. CUA will host the National Debate Tournament for the first time April 1-4, 2004.



Room Blessings

Franciscan friars from Campus Ministry help students settle in and set their intentions for the coming school year with a “Room Blessing” ritual that has grown in popularity over the past six years. In recent years approximately three-quarters of students living on campus have taken part in the back-to-school ritual. Room blessings begin on Sept. 1 and continue until Sept. 25.



For additional information or to arrange interviews with CUA staff, contact Chris Harrison in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.




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Revised: 2/11/2003

All contents copyright © 2003.
The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.