Catholic University of America leadership visits Diocese of Fort Worth to establish partnership
FORT WORTH — The magi aren’t the only wise men visiting from the east this December.
On Dec. 9, Dr. Peter Kilpatrick, the new president of Catholic University of America, and several staff members including Provost Dr. Aaron Dominguez visited with Bishop Michael Olson, Brinton Smith, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Fort Worth, and other school leaders.
The visit included tours of Nolan Catholic High School and Cassata Catholic High School, followed by a dinner at Dickies Arena with diocesan staff and CUA graduates.
The purpose of the visit was to build a new partnership between one of the oldest Catholic private universities in the U.S. and Catholic schools in the Diocese of Fort Worth.
Superintendent Smith expressed his hope that the visit will “create a virtuous circle between the Diocese of Fort Worth and the Catholic University of America. We can send our graduates to them as students, and they can send their graduates to us as teachers.
“They continue our efforts in the classroom, and we continue their efforts in the workplace, and we both benefit from devout, orthodox Catholic young people making both of our campuses more devout and orthodox in Catholic culture and identity,” Smith explained.
Kristy Webb, president of Nolan, and Oscar Ortiz, principal of Nolan, welcomed Kilpatrick, Bishop Olson, and others to campus with a tour and a Q&A session with about 55 student leaders.
Webb noted that Kilpatrick was impressed with the “great, engaging questions from the Nolan students” and the school’s facilities. She pointed out that both Bishop Olson and Father Maurice Moon, chaplain of Nolan, are graduates of CUA, which added to the “happy, exciting” nature of the visit.
Having university leadership from a renowned Catholic institution of higher learning on campus was an honor, according to Principal Ortiz. He said the visit reminded Nolan faculty, parents, students, and community of the high school’s “commitment to its Catholic identity and commitment to its pursuit of academic excellence” — values shared by the Washington, D.C., university.
At Cassata, Kilpatrick and Bishop Olson held an afternoon assembly with the student body, followed by a school tour led by student ambassadors.
Dr. Maggie Harrison, president of Cassata, said her students were pleased to learn that CUA offered “the same caring spirit and welcoming atmosphere” of the high school, which offers individualized attention and a self-paced curriculum.
Like other first-time visitors to the school, Kilpatrick was “amazed at the kind of work our students do. He was taken with our mission and approach [to high school education],” according to Harrison.
After Kilpatrick and his staff visited the high schools, they joined diocesan staff and CUA graduates for a dinner at Dickies Arena.
During the dinner, Bishop Olson shared how a blossoming partnership between the two institutions would be beneficial to society by equipping students with an education that sends them forth “to evangelize, to teach, to care for the poor, and to foster participation in the common good.”
Kilpatrick, who took office on July 1, 2022, observed that CUA students “really joyfully live out their faith.”
He said he hopes the visit raises awareness of the university among local Catholic students and parents. “This is not a place where you’re going to be forced to fit in. This is a place where you belong,” he said.
The guests from Washington, D.C., and their Texas hosts both expressed a desire for future visits.