The Catholic University of America

Chris Pierno

Alum Gives Back to CUA as an Employee

As a freshman, Chris Pierno says he was “shy” and “hesitant.”

By the time he entered his second semester at Catholic University, Pierno started to step out of his comfort zone and initiate friendships with more people. He got involved in College Republicans, the CUA radio station, the Knights of Columbus, and the student government.

He met several friends through the organizations. At the end of his sophomore year, the “shy” politics major was elected speaker of the Student Association General Assembly. He was reelected at the end of his junior year. His senior year, he also was the head of CUA’s Council of the Knights of Columbus.

Pierno says his personality evolved in college. As a leader on campus, he had many chances to interact with a lot of people. Part of what made that possible, he says, was the sense of community that first drew him to the University. His describes the friends he made as a “second family.”

“Going home for breaks, by day two, I’d say I was ready to go back,” he explains. He started calling the campus his “home.”

Pierno says he learned how to be a “people person” at CUA. This skill gave him the opportunity to lead student organizations and to create change, although he might not have been the obvious choice all the time. He says he doesn’t think he would have had that opportunity elsewhere.

By the time he graduated in May, Pierno realized he had gone from “wanting to be president of the United States to president of Catholic University.” He began to search for jobs at CUA. One day he got a call from President John Garvey, who wanted to discuss a job opportunity in the Office of University Development.

Today Pierno coordinates the Senior Appreciation Program, CUA’s official senior gift campaign, and works with Students in Philanthropy, a program that promotes a spirit of philanthropy around campus.

His close connections to current students help in his job. For instance, because Pierno knows that students don’t necessarily want to be approached by an administrator to give money to the school, he formed a committee of students to run the Senior Appreciation Program. He serves as their liaison to the development office.

Pierno says that he continues to see himself working at CUA, in any capacity that will “ensure the next incoming class has the same wonderful experience I was able to have here. I may not be able to give a million dollars right away, but as an alum, it’s my duty to give back in whatever way I can.”


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Chris Pierno

Hometown: Ozone Park (Queens), N.Y.

Internships/Activities while at CUA: Speaker of the Student Association General Assembly, Grand Knight of the CUA Knights of Columbus, member of the President’s Society, Inaugural Ball Committee, member of the University Hearing Board, Orientation Adviser (2010), WCUA Radio host

Favorite class at CUA: A tie between The Congress with Associate Professor of Politics Matthew Green and the History of Washington, D.C., with Professor of History Leslie Tentler

Favorite annual CUA event: “Relay for Life: bringing the campus together and raising a lot of money for a great cause while getting to be with all of your friends. As an alum: Homecoming.”

Favorite spot on campus: Bottom floor of the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center – “countless hours spent there”

Favorite thing about working for your alma mater: “Getting the opportunity to give back to the University in a way that is fulfilling and being able to work with such an amazing and dedicated group of people committed to advancing this very special place.”

Best CUA memory: “The Class of 2011 was lucky enough to experience so many great things. I would have to say it’s a tie between Snowpocalpyse 2010, the 2008 papal visit, and the inauguration of President Garvey.”