Campus Notebook: St. Gregory's to close; diversity milestone at Alverno

St. Louis Hall at St. Mary's University in San Antonio (Wikimedia Commons/25or6to4)

St. Louis Hall at St. Mary's University in San Antonio (Wikimedia Commons/25or6to4)

by James Dearie

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WASHINGTON — The Catholic University of America is accepting undergraduate students who were studying in Puerto Rico this spring so that their studies will not be further disrupted by the pair of hurricanes that devastated the island in September, according to a Nov. 6 press release by the university.

"Throughout the fall semester our University community has provided assistance to our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico and to our students with ties there," John Garvey, the university's president, said in the press release. "Inspired by the example of Pope Francis and our bishops, we wanted to make a more significant impact by offering our support during the spring semester. We believe the best support we can provide is a welcoming community where impacted students can continue their academic pursuits."

Students who decide to take at least nine credits will be eligible to live on campus, and the university will waive tuition and standard fees for up to 40 students who enroll with visitor status.

SHAWNEE, OKLA. — The only Catholic university in Oklahoma, St. Gregory's University, has announced it is closing its doors.

"With great sadness, the Board of Directors of St. Gregory's University voted today to suspend operations effective at the close of the fall semester 2017," Fr. Don Wolf, board chairman, said in the school's statement announcing the closing Nov. 8.

The decision leaves students and faculty with only about two months to find a new institution at which to continue their education before the beginning of the spring 2018 semester.

The university says that the denial of its application for a loan from the Department of Agriculture left a hole in its financial plan that made continuing operations impossible.

WASHINGTON — The Washington Post reported Nov. 6 that a breakout of mumps has occurred on college campuses in the Washington, D.C., area.

The Catholic University of America and Jesuit-run Georgetown University have both acknowledged confirmed cases of the illness, with four and two respectively. Three other Catholic University students are also suspected of having the disease.

American University is also reporting a mumps outbreak; two cases have been diagnosed and four others are suspected.

MILWAUKEE — Alverno College has reached a major diversity milestone, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Nov. 9.

The student body of the Catholic women's college is now 27 percent Hispanic, making it Wisconsin's first college to attain the federal designation of Hispanic Serving Institution, which requires undergraduate enrollment be at 25 percent Hispanic.

"This is who we are as a school," said Ruth Lopez de Arenas, Alverno's new coordinator of Hispanic outreach and success. "Our culture has always been very inclusive; we're here to help all of our students succeed."

The designation will make Alverno eligible for millions of dollars in federal funding through grants and scholarships.

SAN ANTONIO — St. Mary's University has received a $1.5 million gift from an anonymous donor, the university website announced Nov. 6.

The gift will establish the San Jose Endowment to support the work of the St. Mary's Chair in Catholic Philosophy and promote the "Catholic intellectual tradition" on which the university's educational mission is based.

The Center for Catholic Studies, which will soon be established, will also benefit from the gift. The university says the new center "will explore Catholic and Marianist views on the most pressing social policy issues [and] examine the Catholic Church in society and culture, including issues related to the Church's presence in the Southwest and the growing nationwide Hispanic presence in the Church and other Christian denominations."

[James Dearie is an NCR Bertelsen intern. Contact him at]

This story appears in the Campus Notebook feature series. View the full series.

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