The Catholic University of America

Oct. 28, 2015

Benefactor Gives Endowed Professorship

  Associate Professor Maximilian Torres

At a ceremony earlier this month, Catholic University President John Garvey and Provost Andrew Abela accepted on behalf of the School of Business and Economics the Centesimus Annus Della Ratta Family Endowed Professorship, named in honor of University benefactor Joe Della Ratta. The inaugural recipient is Associate Professor Maximilian Torres.

“For years, Joe’s generosity has made it possible for many students to attend Catholic University. With the gift of this endowed professorship, we can further strengthen the education we provide them,” President Garvey said during the ceremony held Oct. 20 in the foyer of McMahon Hall.

A first generation American, Della Ratta became one of the most decorated athletes in Catholic University's history and the last man to earn varsity letters in four sports. Della Ratta served on the University's Board of Trustees from 1981 to 1986 and chaired the fund-raising effort for the planning and construction of the Raymond A. DuFour Athletic Center.

President Garvey added, “The Centesimus Annus Della Ratta Family Endowed chair will both honor and cement our long-standing relationship, and I am confident that this act of generosity will bear wonderful fruit.”

Referring to the mission of the University’s business school to integrate Catholic social doctrine in every aspect of its curriculum, Abela said, “It is because of the luminaries among us — Joe Della Ratta and Dr. Maximilian Torres — that the University can continue to play an essential role in this all-important endeavor.”

Torres joined The Catholic University of America in 2013. He has taught business and law in the United States for more than 20 years — including at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business — as well as in Spain, Panama, and China. His research and teaching centers on the interrelation of ethics, business, and law, and their influence on managerial decision-making, personal moral development, and organizational behavior.

At the ceremony, Torres received the Centesimus annus Medal, named after the Centesimus annus encyclical written by Pope John Paul II in 1991. The encyclical examined political and economic issues of the time, including social and economic justice.

Benefactor and alumnus Joe Della Ratta, center, with his family at a ceremony in McMahon


“As the Centesimus Annus Della Ratta Family Professor at The Catholic University of America, I will work within the providential lines laid down by St. John Paul — an intellectual, spiritual, and cultural titan — to inform the practice of business with his understanding of the person, markets, the economy, civil society, and the state,” said Torres. “To the Della Ratta family: You have placed your name on me. I will carry it with pride, and do all in my power to bring it more honor.”

Catholic University opened its doors in November 1889 with five endowed chairs. Established at $50,000 each — roughly $1.3 million in today’s dollars — they provided financial stability for the University during its fledgling years, and gave the University credibility.

Attesting to the continued importance of such gifts, President Garvey said, “An endowed chair enables the continued discovery and spread of knowledge. This is more precious than any material good.”




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