Very Rev. Fr. Michał Paluch O.P., Rector Magnificus of the Angelicum, delivered the State of University address

the end of the 2017-2018 academic year

Dear Professors and Students of our University,Dear Employees,We are concluding today the work of this academic year, although we have still some way to goduring the next weeks before its real end. It may seem odd but it has some advantages. It mayhelp us to realize that our common and the most important task to help each other tounderstand better the reality  never finishes. Our lectures, seminars, exams are obviously ofimportance. But crucial is the internal fire the desire for understanding that should push you toask further questions and continue to discover better answers. May the summer or if you arefinishing your work at our university today  the rest of your life be proof that we have helped youat this university to make this desire of understanding strong and pure.As you know, it is the end of my first year here. So, let me present some reflections that may beconsidered as a draft of a short report by the rector after 8 months of his activities. I do not wantto submit at this time the statistics and academic achievements. In accordance to our custom, Iwill unveil this information at the beginning of the next academic year. Today I shall focus ratheron our tasks and challenges.1.


  1. Veritatis Gaudium

. We received a new apostolic constitution for our activities. A large partof it (the description of the common norms) should help us just to be more precise in theorganization of academic life. But the initial part contains a very fervent invitation to lookfor some new ways in education, taking into account the four criteria: our mission,openness to dialogue, interdisciplinarity of academic projects and networking with otherinstitutions. For us it should mean that we all are invited to learn. Education cannot justremain as it has been for centuries. Taking into account the technological changes and allthe available means we must look for new ways in education. For our university it mustpredominately mean that we will really make a common effort to use in the best possibleway our new website and with time our gestione studenti.


It may entail that we use theproject of permanent formation that the Dominican Order is asking for and, perhaps aswell, the projects of online teaching in the future to develop some new forms of education.But I want to stress this: we will be able to move forward in this direction, only if we all together are open to learn. We all know the famous phrase “publish or perish” which has

been shaping the academic life for the better or for the worse during the last decennia.

Well, I think that a phrase “learn or perish” is even more accurate today. If we want to make our university stronger, we have to be all of us!


 open to learn new skills.


  1. The main strategy

. From the beginning of my work in Rome I wanted to divide my term into two parts: the first one should be focused rather on “sistemare” – making our work atuniversity more systematic and

 if possible and necessary  better organized. The secondone should be given for the development of our common project. During this year wemade considerable efforts working as the Academic Authorities and in our Senate meetingsto improve our system of common work, although there is still a lot more to be done. Wealso started to develop some common projects. In October we accepted the missionstatement that you can find on our new website and that is already taking shape. Wediscussed and accepted in our Academic Authorities meeting a kind of   operational description of this mission statement in the form of the three “syns” that should be guidelines for our education: synthesis, syntony, synergy. Synthesis should remind us thatthe most important task we want to undertake at our university is to give to our studentsthe intellectual backbone that will allow them to interpret our fragmented and dividedworld as one whole. Syntony expresses our ambition to help our students to learn how torespect those who do not share the integrity of our faith and how to look for possibleconvergences between different currents of contemporary thought and different religioustraditions. Synergy reminds us that we do not want our education to stop at the theoreticallevel but we want our students to feel the connection between theory and praxis, to lookfor different forms of cooperation with the others synergy in their future activities. Asyou can understand, this is only an initial description of our project. I would like to comeback to it and to reflect on it together during the dies academicus

on the 15 th  of November.


3. The poles of excellence

. The model of education presented is in fact only a generaldescription of the academic goals we set for ourselves in the first Senate meeting of thisacademic year. We decided to develop at our university two poles of excellence: one ofthem should be the Thomistic institute, the other should be an institute of ecumenism and(perhaps as well) an institute of interreligious studies. In such a way synthesis and syntonyshould have their concrete translation into the institutions of our university. I have workedwith the Grand Chancellor and our professors from the ecumenic and interreligious sectionover the last months to make both poles of excellence more visible during the next years.At this moment I have not been able to find a satisfying conclusion to the syntony part, although we are moving forward in this promising direction… But I have excellent news for the synthesis part. During the next academic year two new brothers  Fr Thomas JosephWhite and Fr Emmanuel Durand, well-known theologians  will come to teach at ouruniversity and to develop the Thomistic institute. I am sure that they will inject a lot of newenergy.


4. Student demands

. I started this academic year with meetings with the employees, all theprofessors who wanted to speak to me and with all the groups of students of ouruniversity. It was a very important experience for me. It gave me an opportunity tounderstand our challenges and opportunities. During the following months I tried to makeuse of the information I got. Because of the request presented by the professors wecreated the space 8 rooms for meetings of our professors with students. Partly becauseof the requests presented by the students we are finishing  thanks to the devoted work ofSister Helen Alford the establishment of a system of evaluation and we are attempting toimprove and to unify the communication system at our university. We are working as wellon a better language assistance. I hope that I will be able to present some solution in thisarea to you in a couple of weeks.


5. Economic issues

. One of the biggest challenges we should still face are the economicproblems. Our academic fees cover only about 2/3 of the real present cost. So, in fact ouruniversity is giving scholarships to all our students. We want to be able to offer some helpto our students, especially to those who are coming from poor countries, nevertheless, weshould still be working hard during the next years to make our university more financiallyrobust. In order to address those issues, I organized at our university the DevelopmentOffice. The Grand Chancellor wants to help us by sending to our university Fr BenedictCroell as a full-time fundraiser, he will start to work with us in September

. Let’s hope that  

we will be able to make some steps forward in this area in the future. But taking intoaccount the whole situation

   the renovations of the third and fourth wings of the priory,the need to renovate the classrooms, a necessary project of renovation for the library  unfortunately, I need to ask you to be patient.

6. Acknowledgments

. I hope that from this you have got an idea of our situation  what wehave been doing together over the last months and where we are going to aim to duringthe next academic year. The feast today, though, should be first of all to be thankful andgrateful. So, let me in the final part express my deep gratitude for the work done duringthis academic year.First of all, thanks for all the work done during the lectures and seminars in our classrooms. Thiswork is difficult to measure but it is this part of our activity that makes us important and strong.The better we teach and study, the stronger we are. Do not forget, though, that there is a biggroup of people working to make it possible. So, I want to express my deep gratitude as well to all our employees, working in our faculty and rector’s offices, the general secretariat, the Angelicum University Press and


 last not least!


 those in the library who help us to be focused on ouracademic work. I have experienced many times during this year your devotion and faithfulness toour university. Many thanks for that.There are several professors and employees to whom I would like to express my special gratitude.Fr Walter Senner is coming to the end of his mandate as the director of the Saint Thomas Institute.I want to express my gratitude for the many years of his work at our university. We hope to havehim during the next semester with us and to have an opportunity to organize an academic eventto conclude in such a way his academic activity. But I would like to announce it today.At the end of this month, after three terms


 9 years, Fr Glenn Morris is finishing his job as thegeneral secretary of the university. As we know, it is a very demanding and difficult task and FrGlenn accomplished it with great generosity. Thank you! Fr Glenn will be still the prior of ourcommunity. I hope that he will help us in the future to work on our alumni association. I would likeas well to thank Fr Marcelo Solórzano for having accepted the task of general secretary.The General Secretariat will experience another loss. Mister Maurizio Candelaresi from theGeneral Secretariat after 42 years of his dedicated work at the Angelicum is coming to hisretirement. Mister Maurizio is our living memory. It is difficult to imagine the Angelicum withoutMaurizio. So, perhaps do not try to imagine it! We hope that Maurizio will be coming for our feastsas a joyful and energetic pensioner and that he will help us with his memories of the past.This year was very demanding in the life of the rector. However, I found a lot of help for which Iam deeply grateful.First of all, I want to mention Sister Helen Alford. She accepted generously to help me as the Vice-rector. Without her experience, her consistent way of working and her generous love for ourinstitution I would not be able to go forward with many projects: I mentioned already evaluationsystem and the work on the communication at university. But she prepared as well a project of theconference on common good which we will enjoy during the next semester. Be sure I am

mentioning only the most visible part… Thank you for that!



Fr Michael Carragher accepted the task of Administrator and Fr Mario Marini the task of Vice-administrator. They are doing a tremendous amount of invisible work for many of us. Althoughoften invisible, their work allows us to function. Thanks!I organized a lot of meetings this year


 of the Academic Authorities, of the Economic Council, ofthe Senate, of some other commissions with particular purposes. Thank you to all the participantsof those meetings, especially to the deans of the faculties, the prefect of the library, the generalsecretary who had to meet with me really too soon


 and who have been my victims a little bit... Ireally appreciate your patience and collaborative spirit in which we could work during thisacademic year.I want to mention Sister Catherine Joseph Droste, the Vice-dean of theology. Sister CatherineJoseph, now with the title of the Director of Collaboration, has done a lot during this academicyear and even earlier


to clarify and to develop our relationship with various affiliatedinstitutions. As you understand, it is a very important part of our mission and Sister CatherineJoseph is following up all our relationships on behalf of the rector with the American efficiency andprecision. Thank you for your generous help!As I mentioned before, we have a new office

the Development Office. I want to express mygratitude to Fr Ezra Sullivan who accepted from the beginning of this academic year to prepare theproject of this office and follow it in collaboration with Ms. Lidia Leo and I. It has allowed us totake an important step forward.We all know sister Collette Keane works with great zeal to help our students and to build anetwork of our alumni. Thank you for your careful support.We organized an Open Day this year. Although it did not attract a lot of participants, it was reallywell organized. I want to thank Fr Marco Salvati who took care of the preparation of the event.We had a couple of different events prepared by the ASPUST. I would like to express my gratitudeto all the students under the guidance of br. Domenico Sprecacenere who helped us to organizeour feasts. It was such a pleasure for me to experience your energy and enthusiasm for ouruniversity.After all those acknowledgments I want to give the floor to Fr Glenn Morris to invite our graduatedstudents to receive their diploma. Thank you for your work with us. We hope that you will stay intouch with us as our alumni during the next years. Be the ambassadors of the Angelicum!


After all this time spent together in the Aula Minor I invite you now for refreshments in the SalaColonne.All the best in your exams and have a good summer! We will be waiting for you in the autumn.God bless you!



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