After months of searching, The Catholic University of America has found their new president. This July, John Garvey will step down and Peter K. Kilpatrick, Ph.D. will take on the role as 16th president of the University on July 1, 2022.
According to a press release from CUA, Kilpatrick is a “scholar — he is widely published and holds or shares 12 patents in chemical engineering — and an experienced higher education leader and administrator.” He holds a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota, and taught the subject for 24 years at North Carolina State. He brings with him 10 years of experience as Dean of Engineering for the University of Notre Dame. Since 2018, he has been provost and vice president for academic affairs for the Illinois Institute of Technology.
In his decade at Notre Dame, the university saw undergraduate enrollment increase by 60% and graduates by 70%. He also presided over a time in which Notre Dame increased their endowments by $100 million and research expenditures by 150%.
Chairman of the CUA’s Board of Trustees, Victor P. Smith spoke ecstatically about the new appointment:
“We could not have asked for a better candidate to lead Catholic University. Peter Kilpatrick is both a distinguished researcher and a creative administrator who sees research at the service of the human person in keeping with his Catholic faith.”
Kilpatrick is a Catholic convert who was brought to his faith by his wife, Nancy. During marriage prep, he agreed to raise their children Catholic, and was himself received into the Church upon the birth of their first child. The Kilpatricks are parents to four and grandparents to three.
In an interview with the Pillar he expressed that he felt that his conversion made him ready for this new position:
“I think my whole life has prepared me for this role. I’ve been an academic for 39 years. I’ve served in every conceivable role you could have at a university… I just feel like everything in my life has prepared me for this moment in my life, to serve as the president of Catholic University.”
Experience and confidence
Kilpatrick went on to note that his 10 years of experience at Notre Dame have given him the know-how needed to navigate the field of Catholic education. However, he also highlighted the value of his experiences at secular universities:
“I actually think that my time at secular universities complemented my time at Notre Dame, because I learned about the business model of the university. I learned about the importance of research. I learned about the challenges of a resource-constrained environment.”
Speaking to the National Catholic Register, Kilpatrick expressed his excitement at leading CUA into the future:
“Serving as president of The Catholic University of America is a dream job for me, bringing together faith and reason in service to the human person and human dignity,” Kilpatrick said in statement released Tuesday. “I look forward to working with the faculty and community to continue moving Catholic University forward as a top tier research institution that also embraces its excellence in theology and the arts.”