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September 2019

Date Published: Thursday, September 5, 2020


By President Thomas S. Hibbs

Although my contract says that my tenure as president began on July 1, it is hard to feel like a president or a faculty member when there are no students around. So, the job really began in late August, with Move-In Day. As we have done for the past 16 years at Baylor, Stacey and I were out in the Texas heat greeting parents and students. This year, however, we had the honor of welcoming them to UD, my own alma mater! You can see a short video of Move-In Day on Instagram or Facebook.

The Class of 2023 arrived in Irving from 39 states and three foreign countries. While 19 students joined us from the local area, one student traveled 8,156 miles from his home in Nepal!

The Class of 2023 has an average SAT score of 1269, an improvement of 36 points over last year, and an average GPA of 3.83. The most common female names were Mary (9 students) and Emma (7 students). The most common male names were John (16 students) and Joseph (9 students). I regret to say Thomas has fallen off in popularity, but I like our chances for next year!

The Catholic world is in one sense huge, stretching from Irving to Rome and from now to eternity, but it is also remarkably small. It was great fun on Move-In Day to run into parents who were my classmates at UD and parents and students who are friends with many of the friends Stacey and I have made across the country. Speaking of Rome, the fall 2019 Romers have arrived at Due Santi and are already enjoying the intellectual, spiritual and extracurricular gifts our Rome semester offers.

During the days leading up to the start of classes, I had the opportunity to speak to many groups (staff, faculty, parents, student leaders, freshmen). I found myself reflecting on, and deeply grateful for, what Jason Trujillo, our new Vice President for University Advancement, likes to call "UD exceptionalism." This has to do with, among other matters, the way we are equally committed to the life of the mind and the life of faith (and see no conflict between these commitments); the way we combine the best unified core in the nation with the opportunity for students to engage in undergraduate research and internships and prepare for life beyond UD; and the way we combine a distinctive local culture, rooted in our founding vision, and a global reach, with a national student body and our own campus in Rome.

If you are in town the second week of October, please try to attend the 13th Annual University of Dallas Ministry Conference. I was delighted to see that my former Boston College colleague Peter Kreeft and one of my former Baylor students and a Catholic convert, Haley Stewart, are among the headliners.

Finally, I am pleased to announce another generous gift that will enrich our academic environment. The family of Suhail “C.C.” Hameed, BA ’94, has endowed a scholarship in his memory to benefit students studying history at UD.

Raising money for endowed scholarships is among our highest priorities at UD. You can find out more about contributing to an existing endowed scholarship or creating your own here.

This would have been C.C.’s 25th reunion year, and I look forward to remembering him with his class at Alumni and Family Weekend on Oct. 3-6. If you haven’t yet registered for AFW, you can do so here. I look forward to seeing you then!

Thomas Hibbs Signature

Thomas S. Hibbs, Ph.D., BA ’82 MA ’83