The Catholic University of America

Catholic University Presidential Search Page

A message from the Chair of CUA Presidential Search Committee . . .

As Chair of The Catholic University of America Presidential Search Committee, I am honored to write to you at this momentous time in our history. When Father David O’Connell recently announced his decision to step down as our President after twelve highly successful years, the Board of Trustees put in motion a process to ensure an appropriate leadership transition and to initiate a search for his successor.

On September 29, the Board of Trustees met to discuss how we should approach our presidential search. As a first step, the Board formed a Search Committee composed of trustees and faculty elected by the University’s Academic Senate to take on the important task of identifying a new President best suited to lead this great institution into the future. I am pleased to announce that the following individuals have agreed to serve CUA in this capacity:

Trustee Representatives:

Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Chair
Archbishop of Detroit and CUA Alumnus

Mr. Paul J. Chiapparone, Vice Chair

Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York and CUA Alumnus

Mr. Edward W. Gillespie
CUA Alumnus

Mr. Ray J. Hillenbrand

Most Reverend Gregory J. Mansour
Bishop, Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn and CUA Alumnus

Mrs. Sandra McMurtrie

Faculty Representatives

Dr. William Mattison
Assistant Professor
School of Theology and Religious Studies

Professor Lucia Silecchia
Ordinary Professor
Columbus School of Law

Dr. Ernest Suarez
Chairman and Ordinary Professor
Department of English

After interviewing several search firms, I am also pleased to inform you that Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm, has been selected to guide our efforts. Anne Coyle and Michele Haertel, who specialize in academic searches, will work directly with our Search Committee to manage the search process and to help us to identify a worthy pool of candidates.

As the Search Committee was eager to hear from the CUA community early in the search process, we asked Anne and Michele to hold a series of conversations with groups of staff, faculty, and students. The purpose of those meetings was to elicit views from all constituencies on the opportunities and challenges facing CUA and the attributes most desirable in our next President. To give everyone an opportunity to participate in the search process, we created an “e-survey” for interested parties to complete. This survey is now closed and you may click here to see an executive summary of the results. The committee was delighted by the response to the survey. It is quite encouraging that so many are interested in helping to chart the course for our next President.

Many aspects of the Search Committee’s work must be kept confidential in order to protect the integrity of the process and to attract the most highly qualified candidates. However, we will make every effort to keep the CUA community informed of our progress as the search continues. Our latest update was posted on May 10, 2010.

Our committee will approach its work with a profound sense of responsibility as we search for a successor to Father O’Connell who can build on the legacy he will be leaving behind. We are resolved to identify and select a successor who manifests a wholehearted commitment to and capability of advancing CUA as the national university of the Catholic Church in America. The candidate we seek will champion Catholic University as the model Catholic institution of higher education in the United States that embodies the ideals set forth in Ex Corde Ecclesiae. I ask for your prayers that we may have the wisdom to select the best person for the position.

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Most Rev. Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit
Chairman, CUA Board of Trustees and
Chairman of the CUA Presidential Search Committee