The Catholic University of America

Jan. 7, 2015

Catholic University, Australian Catholic University Launch a New Rome Center

  The new Rome Center (Photo credit: Catino Foto/Rome, Italy)

Located about a Mile from the Vatican, Satellite Campus to Open Fall 2015

The Catholic University of America (CUA) and Australian Catholic University (ACU) are creating a new joint Rome Center bringing together students and professors from both universities for study, spirituality, and immersion in the rich Italian culture at the center of the Catholic Church, just over a mile from the Vatican.

A newly signed Memorandum of Understanding marks a three-continent endeavor creating new possibilities for interdisciplinary and intercultural scholarship.

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.

“With a shared commitment to the Catholic intellectual tradition and a beautiful new space in Rome, The Catholic University of America and Australian Catholic University are poised to offer a unique experience for our students,” said John Garvey, President of The Catholic University of America. “They will study on a campus that lives Catholic University’s mission and offers myriad opportunities to explore and learn in the Eternal City.”

A view of the exterior from the garden  

“ACU is delighted to be collaborating with The Catholic University of America, which has a strong history in Rome. Together with CUA, ACU will pursue academic excellence as higher education institutions with a shared commitment to the Catholic intellectual tradition and rich internationalization experiences for our respective staff and students,” ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven said.

CUA has signed a six-year lease, with an option to renew for another six years, notes Very Rev. Mark Morozowich, CUA interim provost. ACU, which has seven campuses across Australia, will jointly participate in the lease, he adds.

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.

Father Morozowich noted that with the continuing growth of the Rome Center, “the time was right to search for a new location.” The Rome Center has added an honors track, and more students from CUA’s schools of business and economics and architecture and planning are studying in Rome.

“This collaboration provides ACU with an exciting opportunity to deliver academic programs and research partnerships, which build on ACU’s European and American connections, as well as offering new joint academic offerings with CUA. As ACU celebrates its 25th year in 2015, ACU continues to build international classrooms through this joint endeavor. It will expand opportunities for our respective student bases and support ACU’s growth in establishing satellite centres both in Australia and now offshore,” ACU Provost Professor Pauline Nugent said.

  The cloister at the heart of the center

The Catholic University of America’s offerings at the Rome Center include semester-long programs, primarily for students enrolled in the schools of arts and sciences, music, and architecture; a month-long Summer Experience Abroad for architecture majors; and short courses in law, canon law, business and economics, and theology and religious studies.

The new center is in an area that has been part of the city of Rome since the Roman Empire and was enclosed in the great walls of the city built by the emperor Aurelian in the mid third century. To get to other parts of the historic center, there are three buses that stop just outside, and the Trastevere streetcar line is a 10-minute walk away.

The campus is four blocks from a public hospital and a 15-minute walk from a private, English-speaking hospital. The American Academy in Rome is just around the corner and the facility is adjacent to the Embassy of Ireland and a building owned by the lay Community of Sant’Egidio. Since the campus is on the side of a hill, “there are beautiful views of Rome from the windows and terraces,” notes Father Morozowich.

Built for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Sion in 1962-63, the building replaced a family villa that was on the site. Noted Italian architect Giò Ponti had a hand in its design.

Renovations to the building, which will begin this academic year, will include updating the living areas into modern student rooms, bringing the electrical and plumbing systems up to code, and refitting the building for the use of sustainable energy sources.

When the renovations are complete, the six story-building will include:

  • A residential area with the capacity to house about 70 students who are participating in semester-long or summer programs
  • A residential area for graduate students spending a semester or year in Rome working on research projects and assisting with undergraduate programs
  • One or two apartments for CUA faculty who normally teach at the Washington, D.C., campus and are stationed in Rome for a semester
  • Classroom, library, and dining space both for students living at the center and those living with host families (particularly those from Loyola University Maryland) and graduate students who prefer to secure their own housing.

The entrance to the center (right) with the door to the chapel on the left



Additionally the center will host regular public lectures by CUA faculty and invited scholars as well as receptions for Roman Church officials and scholars. The center will become a hub for ACU and CUA faculty visiting Rome, short programs for alumni, and possible short-term professional development programs for faculty and staff. For more information about the center, visit

The joint operation of the Rome Center will be 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.

MEDIA: For more information, contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy Hines in The Catholic University of America Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600 or, or Tim Fitzsimmons, national manager, communications, Australian Catholic University, at, 61-2-9739-2154.




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