The Catholic University of America

Jan. 30, 2015

Rome Center Signing Marks Three-Continent Endeavor


Seated, from left, Greg Craven, ACU vice-chancellor, and John Garvey, President. Standing, from left, Pauline Nugent, ACU provost; Very Rev. Mark Morozowich, interim provost; and David Dawson Vasquez, center director.  

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Seated next to his counterpart from the Australian Catholic University (ACU), Catholic University President John Garvey noted the “three-continent endeavor” that had brought them to a signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding on a shared Rome Center located about a mile from the Vatican.

With similar missions “to bring to life Catholic higher education in our respective countries … we can learn from one another, and what better place to do it than at the epicenter of western civilization in Rome?” said Garvey before signing the document Jan. 29 at Curley Hall.

Addressing a group of about 30 deans and administrators from the two universities who had gathered for the ceremony, Greg Craven, vice-chancellor of ACU, said, “In a partner naturally what we look for is a university who believes that the concept of a Catholic university is a compound noun, that not only is there no contradiction between the two words but each are perpetually mutually reinforcing.”

ACU, which this year celebrates the 25th anniversary of its founding, is larger than Catholic University with seven campuses throughout Australia. But the Australian university consciously patterned its name and initials after those of CUA, Craven said.

Craven added that “in terms of the character of the [Rome] center … this is two universities embedding themselves as universities in the heart of the Church, and I think that’s never been done before.”

The joint operation of the Rome Center is the second collaborative venture between the two universities. Since 2009 the CUA School of Nursing has had a reciprocal student exchange with the ACU School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine.

The center “has created enormous excitement in Australia,” Craven said. When Australian Cardinal George Pell heard the news, “he was so excited, he immediately jumped in his car and drove to the center to inspect the property,” Craven added.

Cardinal Pell, who recently stepped down as chairman of ACU’s Board of Trustees, was appointed last year as prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy by Pope Francis.

Among the CUA administrators at the ceremony who participated in a toast to the collaborative venture were Very Rev. Mark Morozowich, interim provost, and David Dawson Vasquez, director of the center. Participating from ACU were Pauline Nugent, provost; John Ballard, associate vice-chancellor; and Rev. Anthony Casamento, director of identity and mission.

Prior to the signing, administrators from both universities participated in extensive meetings with representatives of different offices and programs at CUA that collaborate with the Rome Center.

When it opens in September 2015, the Rome Center of The Catholic University of America and Australian Catholic University will offer newly renovated living quarters for undergraduates, a wing for graduate students, apartments for visiting faculty, a studio for architecture majors, a chapel, and a garden, among other amenities.

CUA has signed a six-year lease, with an option to renew for another six years. ACU will jointly participate in the lease.

The partnership will enable CUA’s Rome Center to move from its current location — a building in the city’s Prati neighborhood owned by St. John University — to the new campus, which is situated on the Janiculum Hill just above the ancient Roman neighborhood of Trastevere. The Rome Center, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, annually hosts 150 to 200 students, including about 30 to 40 from Loyola University Maryland.




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