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From the Desk of the President
A recent article in the Boston Globe observed that "In an analysis of the financial records of 1,700 US colleges and universities, the Boston-based consulting firm Bain & Company estimated that one-third of them were on an unsustainable financial path, with operating costs increasing faster than endowment returns and other revenues could cover them. This is a problem that colleges can no longer solve, as they once did, by simple increasing tuition." Some colleges diversify their options, while others offer an increasing number of online courses, while yet still others sacrifice their traditional identities to push for greater appeal. This pressure to broaden the appeal for a university is intense. Down playing what makes a school distinctive seems, to some, to be the quickest path to expanding the student customer base. Changing the big "C" in Catholic to a small "c" to appeal to the wider audience was, and in some cases still is, the trend. But diluting the distinctiveness of a university also means that you eliminate your ability to stand out from the crowd. Sun Tzu, a Chinese general and strategist living around 500 BC, once said, "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." Fidelity to our Faith is our strategy, the essential reason for our existence. Downplaying our Catholic identity would allow us to have an operational plan but one which would, in turn, have no reason for operating. Our fidelity to the Faith is not only the right thing to do, but, rather, it is the best business plan.
In Ex Corde Ecclesiae, Pope John Paul II's 1990 apostolic constitution, JPII established the paradigm for Catholic Colleges and Universities to follow; he observed that "a Catholic University is completely dedicated to the research of all aspects of truth in their essential connection with the supreme Truth, who is God. It does this without fear but rather with enthusiasm." He goes on to challenge us "to explore courageously the riches of Revelation and of nature so that the united endeavor of intelligence and faith will enable people to come to the full measure of their humanity, created in the image and likeness of God."
Ex Corde is not a limitation on what we can study or discuss, but rather an exhortation "to explore courageously the riches of Revelation and of nature." A quality Catholic liberal arts education is directed at the impartial and bold search for truth which brings the relationship between faith and reason to light and deeper meaning.
Our primary purpose is thereby not simply Education, but Catholic Education, with the word Catholic not implying a limitation; Education is the noun, Catholic is the adjective. In 1956, one of the founders of this University, Eugene Constantin, charged us that we not settle for being just another small, Catholic college, but that we accept nothing less than being a nationally respected, distinguished university. We have done so by our unwavering and never flagging search for truth and virtue. It is a noble endeavor and in it, inherently, lies respect. So, we have, then, accomplished respect and distinguished ourselves; it is the nationally known component that we have to work on.
Previously, I brought up the dilemma of US colleges and universities in their attempt to remain financially afloat and stable. But yet this problem stems not from a university's attempt to raise tuition. Indeed, by doing so the problem is still not ameliorated; rather, a university can be saved through appeal. Many then ask is a college education too expensive? I would, in turn, suggest that we ask something different: are we getting our money's worth?
The purpose of a top-tier higher education is more than training for a job, more than gaining money: Education is transformative. We at UD believe that a quality education will, in fact, change and form you as a person. This is the educational philosophy that has persisted through the centuries, has been supported by the greatest minds like Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Cardinal Newman, and John Paul the Great, and it has proved the truest of all.
John Henry Cardinal Newman, in his The Idea of a University highlights the supremacy of the search for the truth as the goal of all intellectual pursuits. He says that truth has two attributes: "useful knowledge," which is knowledge as power and "liberal knowledge" which is "the possession of truth as beautiful."
In addition to this, Pope John Paul II states, "The present age is in need of this kind of disinterested service, namely of proclaiming the meaning of truth, that fundamental value without which freedom, justice and human dignity are extinguished."
For Plato and the Greeks, the practical civic-minded liberal arts of grammar, rhetoric and style were not sufficient educational ends. The Greeks viewed those arts as a preparation for ultimately using science and philosophy in pursuit of the greatest and best truth and end of education: wisdom. Wisdom is tied into the question "what is the end and highest aim of man?" Wisdom and Truth, Inspiration and Direction, flow from the One God, stretching over time like a singular thread with multiple cords of varied make and color. The mission of UD states that we are "dedicated to the pursuit of wisdom, truth and virtue as the proper and primary end of education." It is intriguing how it all ties together.
The beauty of a University of Dallas education comes from our ability to weave all of this, from Plato to John Paul II, together to fit into a powerful, compelling continuum.
Thomas W. Keefe
"Congratulations" to our Graduating Seniors and "Welcome" to all our New Crusader Families!
This year has just flown by! Good luck to all our students as they begin final exams tomorrow, May 11. Remind your student(s) to take a study break and attend Monday night's Midnight Breakfast from 10 p.m. till midnight. Exams end on Thursday, May 16, and residents will need to remove all their belongings, vacate the premises and complete the online check out form by 10 a.m. on Friday morning. More information regarding check out can be found HERE.
As we say 'good luck' to our graduating seniors and 'have a safe summer' to our continuing students, we say 'welcome' to our new incoming students and their families! With the passing of the May 1st National Candidate Reply date, the Office of Admission has some important information for incoming freshmen and prospective students.
Be sure to mark October 4-6, 2013 on your calendar for Alumni & Family Weekend! This is a great way for the entire family to share in your student's UD odyssey and experience what it means to be part of the UD family.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns!
Until next time,
Assistant Director of Student & Parent Services
Countdown to Commencement
If you have not already done so, make plans now for your student's 2013 UD Commencement celebration. Many of the local hotels and restaurants may already be booked. To answer many of your Commencement planning questions, please click HERE. May 15 is the online registration deadline for the President's Reception. After that date, tickets can be purchased at the door for $40.
Throughout the Year of Faith, the Office of Campus Ministry and the Diocese of Dallas' Vocation Office have come together and sponsored a once a month Holy Hour for Vocations. Read more...
Student Leadership Reception Student Government hosted UD's annual Student Leadership Reception to thank all student leaders on campus. Read more...
Student & Parent Services End of Year Survey
Throughout the year, the Office of Student & Parent Services helps to coordinate events like Alumni & Family Weekend, distributes information like The Odyssey - parent & family e-newsletter, and answers your questions through e-mail, phone calls, social media and more. With the end of the year quickly approaching, we want to know what you think! Below is a link to a feedback survey asking about your parent/guardian experience during this past year (2012-2013 academic year).
We will use the results from this survey to accurately assess our programs and hopefully enhance our services to better support our parents and family members during their student's time at the University of Dallas.
Student & Parent Services End of Year Survey