[CUA Office of Public Affairs]

Catholic University Inaugurates 14th President Nov. 19

The Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, C.M., a Vincentian priest and alumnus of The Catholic University of America, will be inaugurated 14th president of Catholic University at 3 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19. The event will take place in the Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, adjacent to the Washington, D.C., university.

The investiture will be performed by Cardinal Bernard Law, archbishop of Boston and chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees, and Cardinal James A. Hickey, archbishop of Washington and university chancellor.

Guests at the ceremony will include other members of the Catholic Church hierarchy and representatives from other colleges, universities and educational societies.

Catholic University is the nation’s only university established by the bishops and is the national university of the Catholic Church.

O’Connell, 43, has a distinguished record of leadership in higher education and in the Catholic Church. An expert in the field of canon law, he holds doctoral and licentiate degrees in canon law from Catholic University, the nation’s only university with an ecclesiastical faculty that grants canonical degrees in the field.

O’Connell is active in the Washington community as a trustee of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and of Archbishop John Carroll High School. He is a trustee and member of the executive committee of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area and member of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Before joining Catholic University Sept. 1, O’Connell, a native of Philadelphia, served as academic dean and dean of the faculty at St. John’s University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the largest academic unit at the New York university. He simultaneously served as an associate vice president of St. John’s for three years, while holding an interim post as academic vice president at Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y., for a year.

Earlier in his career he held academic positions at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, Pa., and Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster, Pa.

O’Connell has served as a tribunal judge for canon law cases in the dioceses of Scranton, Harrisburg and Birmingham. He is the author of numerous articles, including 19 published in the Encyclopedia of the Vatican and the Papacy. He served as a commentator for CBS-TV during Pope John Paul II’s 1995 visit to the United States.

Catholic University is known for its rich Catholic heritage that emphasizes intellectual development, high ideals and a balanced life. Established in 1887 as a graduate and research institution, a distinction shared with only two other schools in the country, Catholic University in 1904 established undergraduate programs. Approximately 5,600 graduate and undergraduate students are enrolled in the university’s 10 schools.


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Revised: November 19, 1998

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The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.