The Catholic University of America

Remarks at Dedication of Father O'Connell Hall
Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M., Diocese of Trenton
Father O'Connell Hall
Oct. 17, 2014

It is my honor and pleasure today to be with you at The Catholic University of America as you re-dedicate a wonderful, classic building, not only with a new name --- my name ---but with new, different and exciting purposes. I am grateful to President Garvey, to the Board of Trustees, to the administration, faculty, staff and students and, in a very special way, to those generous donors and benefactors who have made this occasion, this ceremony and this moment in the long and continuing history of this great Catholic university possible. The building itself is one hundred years old, completed in 1914. Originally named “Graduate Hall,” this great stone structure was a showplace of the Catholic University, part of the inspired vision of Bishop Thomas Shahan, 4th Rector of Catholic University, to give the bishops’ university the look, feel and texture of a real university campus. He succeeded.

I had the privilege of studying here but, more recently, of serving as the 14th president of the Catholic University of America for almost 13 years. It was an extraordinary opportunity for me, one that I shared with an exceptional faculty, a hard working and committed administration and staff, generous donors and a great bunch of students that I came to know and love. Cardinal Hall may now bear my name but it is their fingerprints that are all over the place and it was serving them that made any small contribution that I was able to make worthwhile.

And, so “Father O’Connell Hall” takes its place among the names and buildings of the campus. I am humbled by the honor as I was last week at the dedication of O’Connell Plaza across the street. But, please know, that in honoring me this way, you are really honoring those with whom and for whom I served here.

One final remark. The name I have, the life I live, the example and faith I received, the opportunities I was given are all the gifts of two wonderful people who are my parents, Arthur and June O’Connell. My father is gone now and my Mother suffers from alzheimer’s disease. On the day of my inauguration, after an incredibly beautiful ceremony here in the Shrine, with all the pride that could fill a mother’s heart, my Mom took me by the hand and whispered “thanks for doing this while we were alive.” My friends, thank you for doing this while I am alive. Together, however, let us pray with the psalmist, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness (Psalm 115: 1).” Thank you.

 


 

 


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