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Catholic University President John Garvey to step down in 2022



J-P Mauro - published on 09/25/21

Garvey leaves the Catholic University of America with higher retention rates and a few new buildings.

John Garvey, President of the Catholic University of America, has announced he is stepping down from the role. Garvey, 72, has held the position since 2010 as only the third lay president of the pontifical university. 

Students will remember Garvey as an approachable figure they could have a conversation with. It was not uncommon for Garvey to be found in the Pryzbyla Center, where he would often have lunch with students. 

Some may even remember Garvey wandering around campus inspecting student-made igloos and cheering on sledders during the massive “Snowpocalypse” storm during his first term. The student body took to Garvey quickly, giving the president shout outs if they saw him while walking to their next class.

Pillar Catholic reports Garvey’s comments on his retirement: 

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as President of this University,” Garvey said in a letter to the community. “I became President of The Catholic University of America in 2010 hoping I could contribute something to building up the institution. I did not foresee how much I would fall in love with it.”

Fond farewell

In the open letter, Garvey reflected on the joy he took from his work. Along with his presidential responsibilities, Garvey taught a freshman class, which he called “the best part” of his job. He noted that the world pandemic was one of the most difficult crises of the school’s 134-year history. He wrote: 

“We have overcome the medical and financial challenges it presented through the intelligence, hard work, and charity of our people. I am thankful I had the opportunity to lead Catholic University through this period, because it gave me the chance to see close up what makes the school so special.”

As head of CUA, Garvey oversaw the raising of over $500 million, including recent research grants awarded by NASA. He ensured that the school’s athletic facilities were expanded and broke ground on several new school buildings. According to Pillar, he leaves the school with a retention rate of 88%, up from 79% since his presidency. 

Although his work for CUA is coming to an end, it seems Garvey will still be very busy. According to America Magazine, the father and grandfather noted that he intends to spend more time with his family. He and his wife Jeanne are also learning Italian, with the hopes that they might move to Italy in the future. There, Garvey said, he intends to take up a position as a teacher at CUA’s Rome campus. 

Read the full letter at CUA.

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