The Catholic University of America

Sept. 16, 2010

Provost Addresses Largest Freshman Class at Convocation

  Provost James F. Brennan

Members of the record CUA freshman class were enlivened by a convocation Wednesday in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Close to 1,000 freshmen from the Class of 2014 walked through the Basilica’s doors and into the Great Upper Church. By the time they headed for the exits an hour later, they had listened to welcoming remarks from a dozen colorfully robed CUA administrators, everybody from CUA President John Garvey to the academic deans of the schools in which they are enrolled.

The convocation’s main speaker was the university’s chief academic officer. “Faith and reason are not opposed. They are complementary,” Provost James Brennan said in his address, “Structures of Intellectual Revolutions.” “It is thanks to reason that we can explore our faith … and it is the faith, as reflected in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, which gives us the confidence to trust reason as an able guide in the search for truth in the world.” As an example, he noted that Charles Darwin’s conclusion about evolution by natural selection would not have been possible without the precedent of Roger Bacon, a Franciscan priest.

Students at the convocation for the Class of 2014.  

Speaking afterward, 19-year-old Chelsey Sterling said she liked everything about the convocation and large freshman class. “It makes you feel bigger than yourself,” Sterling, an honors and media studies student from San Luis Obispo, Calif., said. “It’s as if something important is happening and we’re doing something together.”

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