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Cardinal Newman Society, Mount St Mary's University Partner

By Cardinal Newman Society
July 6th, 2011
Cardinal Newman Society (www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/)

This is an exciting moment for Catholic colleges," said Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick J. Reilly. "The renewal of Catholic identity is underway, and the Center is at the forefront, researching and analyzing solutions to critical issues in Catholic higher education and identifying and sharing best practices on Catholic campuses."

MANASSAS, Va. (Cardinal Newman Society) - The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, a division of The Cardinal Newman Society, will relocate to Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, under the leadership of Rev. Msgr. Stuart Swetland.

Under the terms of a three-year agreement, the Mount will staff and manage the Center for the Society.

Established in 2008, the Center (www.CatholicHigherEd.org) supports mission-centered teaching, policies and programs at Catholic colleges and universities, according to the Vatican constitution, Ex corde Ecclesiae. The Center's recent projects include Assessing Catholic Identity, a handbook to help college leaders evaluate their institutions, as well as several studies helping colleges defend against threats to their religious liberty.

"This is an exciting moment for Catholic colleges," said Cardinal Newman Society president Patrick J. Reilly. "The renewal of Catholic identity is underway, and the Center is at the forefront, researching and analyzing solutions to critical issues in Catholic higher education and identifying and sharing best practices on Catholic campuses."

"We have an extraordinary partner in Mount St. Mary's University, the nation's second-oldest Catholic university. Under the leadership of President Thomas Powell and Vice President for Catholic Identity Msgr. Stuart Swetland, the Mount has demonstrated a firm commitment to a strong Catholic identity.

"For more than three years, Dr. Powell and Msgr. Swetland have been an integral part of a working group of faithful college presidents who have helped lay the foundation for the work the Center undertakes to support strong Catholic identity."

"We are honored that the Cardinal Newman Society has chosen the Mount as the new home of the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education," says University President Thomas Powell.  "The Center will provide valuable resources to aid Mount St. Mary's and other colleges and universities to strengthen their Catholic identity."

In his capacity as Center executive director, Msgr. Swetland will be tackling key issues in Catholic higher education such as formation programs for new faculty, improvements in core curricula, integrating faith and reason in particular disciplines, reinforcing a presumption of sobriety and chastity on college campuses, and facilitating collaboration among college officials. The Center will also continue to be a leader in addressing the growing threats to the religious liberty of Catholic campuses.

Reilly noted that "Monsignor has extensive pastoral, teaching and leadership experience in higher education, and is a natural fit for leading the Center."

"As Vice President for Catholic Identity and Mission at Mount St. Mary's University, I have been intimately involved with our university's efforts to implement and live in accordance with the letter and the spirit of Ex corde Ecclesiae, Blessed John Paul II's apostolic constitution on Catholic higher education," said Msgr. Swetland. "This constitution offers a beautiful vision of how Catholic universities serve both the Church and the world by being consecrated 'without reserve to the cause of truth' (ECE 4). I believe that the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Education can significantly help our universities in their efforts to fulfill their mission."

"It is crucial," continued Msgr. Swetland, "that the Church be actively present to our young adults during this vitally important stage of development by radiating Jesus Christ in word and sacrament to and for them. The apostolate of Catholic higher education, at its best, serves this purpose. The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education will aid our universities in their efforts to form the next generation of Catholic leaders."

Msgr. Swetland has three decades of experience in higher education. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Msgr. Swetland entered the Catholic Church in 1984 while studying at Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship. He earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford; M.Div. and M.A. degrees at Mount St. Mary's Seminary; and S.T.L. and S.T.D. degrees at the Pontifical Lateran University, following coursework at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1991 for the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois.

For more than a decade, Msgr. Swetland served as Director of the Newman Centers at Bradley University and the University of Illinois. He is the Executive Secretary for the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and a former theological advisor to the Catholic Conference of Illinois. A regular personality on the Eternal Word Television Network, Msgr. Swetland recently filmed a new season for his series "Catholicism on Campus."

At Mount St. Mary's University, Msgr. Swetland is Vice President for Catholic Identity and Mission. He also holds the Most Rev. Harry J. Flynn Endowed Chair for Christian Ethics and is Director of Homiletics and Pre-Theology at Mount St. Mary's Seminary.

The Cardinal Newman Society (www.CardinalNewmanSociety.org) is a national organization that helps renew and strengthen Catholic identity in Catholic higher education. 

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