Light the Way: The Campaign for Catholic University

Courtesy of Angela Hickey

By Angela Hickey

This past week Catholic University launched its most ambitious campaign in the colleges history.

The Light the Way campaign is a project that seeks to make grand changes to many aspects of campus life. The campaign first launched silently on May 1, 2015, in order to gather funds from donors and fund the project, and has since then been reaching out to many donors over the past four years. 

After being revised and re-endorsed in 2016, Light the Way’s initiative is to ultimately raise more than $400 million in philanthropic support for the Catholic University of America, which began with a prestigious black tie event at the Mellon Auditorium in downtown D.C. 

“We hosted over 400 guests, including the campaigns largest benefactors, five bishops, all the Deans and senior administrators, 40 members of the faculty and 50 students,” according to the email President Garvey sent about the project.

“This campaign seeks major new investments across three imperatives of our work: academic environment, student success, and faculty excellence,” as described on the Catholic University website

The campaign officially launched to students on September 27, 2019 during the school’s first ever Cardinal Fest— a gathering of students, faculty, family, and alumni in order to come together for delicious food, fun entertainment to announce the launching of the second phase of the Light the Way Campaign. Students, Faculty and Alumni were in attendance in order to support the school and to begin raising funds for the project itself. The project was officially announced at Cardinal Fest with an informational video following a speech by President Garvey.

The funds raised during the first phase of this project will ultimately be used during the second phase, which is set to make many new improvements to campus life, such as renovating buildings and creating the McMahon parking lot into a quad for the students. 

President Garvey had the honor to introduce one of the two co-chairmen of the campaign, Joe Carlini, who was very excited to be apart of this project. 

“Our success in the campaign will bring the opportunity for a Catholic University education to all who seek it by adding more than 35 million dollars in new scholarships across the university,” Carlini said. “As a graduate of the class of 1984, I witnessed changes and growth when I was a student here myself, changes I know my classmates remember. I am so excited to see how the university will be transformed through this campaign.”

Carlini was excited, not only as an alumni, but also as a parent to a nursing student from the class of 2021. Carlini then introduced his co-chairman, Dr. Enrique Segura, a fellow member of the Catholic University Board of Trustees, who had a few words to say about the project. 

“Making a gift of any amount counts, and so does telling people about it.” Segura said. “Thank you, thank you, thank you all for spreading the word about the Light the Way Campaign.”

“Cardinal fest was an embodiment of a value to central to the university’s mission: Community. As a new member of the CUA community, I already feel like I’m part of something bigger, and that’s an amazing feeling,” said sophomore Kelsey Nowack regarding Cardinal Fest and her opinion on the Light the Way campaign.  

The Light the Way campaign is being completely funded by donations from various alumni and family members who wish to see the school and the campaign develop into something more. As of now, the campaign has raised almost $260 million in gifts and commitments towards their overall goal of $400 million. All three men encouraged student, staff, faculty, and alumni to spread the word about the campaign and to donate in order to create a more sustainable and more beautiful campus.

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