2024 Newman Guide College Leaders Summit

Summit Agenda

1:00 p.m. Opening Keynote Address

A Vision for Collaboration and Unity Among Newman Guide Colleges

Dr. Richard Ludwick, President, University of St. Thomas (Houston)

2:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions – Period 1

Non-Government Student Aid Solutions that Protect Catholic Colleges

Dr. Philip Brach, Vice President of College Relations, Belmont Abbey College

Persuading Catholic Families of the ‘Poor Old Liberal Arts’

Mark Brumley, Editor, Ignatius Press

Developing a Catholic Core Curriculum for Every Major

Dr. Christopher Evans, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, University of St. Thomas
Dr. George Harne, President of Christendom College and former Executive Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, University of St. Thomas
Dr. Andrew Hayes, Interim Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, University of St. Thomas
Dr. Martin Lockerd, Associate Division Dean of Liberal Studies, University of St. Thomas

Student Mental Health: Initial Considerations Rooted in a Catholic Anthropology

Dr. Helena Orellana, Director of Clinical Training and Assistant Professor, Divine Mercy University

The current mental health crisis has a unique impact on higher education. A Catholic vision of the person and of education provides a critical foundation for understanding how to respond to the crisis. This talk will provide initial considerations for how to understand the current problem, resources and approaches to take as higher education systems, and the need for collaborative efforts across mission-aligned universities to address the mental health needs on campus.

Legal Rights and Responsibilities of Catholic Colleges

Patrick Piccolo, Esq., Legal Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom

3:45 p.m. General Session

Academic Freedom in the Catholic Context

Dr. Peter Kilpatrick, President, The Catholic University of America
Dr. Kyle Washut, President, Wyoming Catholic College

Across America, student demonstrations and hateful speech have challenged educators to reconsider the definition and limits of academic freedom. Faculty and staff are in danger of losing their jobs because they make controversial statements, while some espouse radical views—even promoted in the classroom—without consequence. Today’s conservatives defend a liberty originally promoted by John Stuart Mill and embraced by liberal opponents of Church and tradition. Where should faithful Catholic colleges stand on academic freedom, how is it defined, and how should it be upheld?

5:00 p.m. Opening Mass

6:15 p.m. Welcome Reception

Sponsored by FOCUS

7:00 p.m. Dinner

7:30 a.m. Breakfast

8:30 a.m. Introduction to Platinum Sponsor: Dynamic Campus

Dr. Ken England, Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, Dynamic Campus
Sheila Lang, Senior Vice President for Client Relations, Dynamic Campus
Monsignor James Shea, President, University of Mary

8:40 a.m. Keynote Address

Education as Evangelization: The Role of Catholic Higher Education in Renewing Christian Culture

Rev. Msgr. James Shea, President, University of Mary

The genius of Catholic higher education has never been simply in the transmission of “marketable skills.” Our apostolic work is the conversion of minds, to awaken the Catholic imaginative vision. The power of such a vision to build and renew culture is remarkable, and a source of vivid hope in dark times.

10:00 a.m. Breakout Sessions – Period 2

A Practical Approach to Newman Guide Schools’ Great Competitive Advantage: Forming Our Students in Virtue

Dr. Andrew Abela, Dean, Busch School of Business at The Catholic University of America

Employers are starting to realize that what is most valuable about their employees are not their skills but something more fundamental, what are variously being called “distinct elements of talent,” “capabilities,” or “character strengths” like courage, humility, and perseverance. We know these by another name: virtues. Since most higher education institutions shy away from discussions about virtue, it is a competitive advantage of Newman Guide schools that we are not afraid to be explicit about our character formation efforts. In this presentation, Dean Abela will describe recent experiments to formalize virtue cultivation at the Busch School. These are grounded in an integration of contemporary positive psychology, management, and education research with St. Thomas Aquinas’ Treatise on the Virtues and have the potential to make each Newman Guide school’s graduates high in demand by employers.

Coordinating Graduate Programs and Opportunities Across Newman Guide Colleges

Dr. Aaron Dominguez, Provost, The Catholic University of America

Revised Newman Guide Standards for Colleges and Graduate Programs

Dr. Denise Donohue, Vice President for Educator Resources and Evaluation, The Cardinal Society

This talk will present the new standards for Newman Guide Recommended status introduced in 2023, providing the rationale and details of criteria used in the evaluation at course, program, and institutional levels. In attendance will be Kelly Salomon, Vice President of Newman Guide Programs.

Focusing on Your Catholic Mission in a Changing Environment: How to Do It, and the Real-World Results from One Institution

Dr. Ken England, Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, Dynamic Campus
Monsignor James Shea, President, University of Mary

In a world of free in-state tuition, disruptive credentialling models, and the unknowable impact of AI, it’s easy to lose sight of your Catholic mission. However, there’s real-world evidence that institutions that relentlessly focus on their Catholic identities and mission are not just surviving—they’re thriving. In this session, you’ll learn how Dynamic Campus partnered with Monsignor James P. Shea, president of University of Mary, and how this type of partnership can help you with:

    • standing firm on Catholic identity, and increasing enrollment records annually as a result;
    • engaging in third-party partnerships that allow leadership to maintain their Catholic focus and be better stewards of institutional resources;
    • using technology to empower leadership to make data-driven decisions and amplify their ability to fulfill their mission; and
    • infusing the online and non-traditional education experience with the same kinds of sacred encounters that full-time, on-campus students are nourished with each day.

Fundraising Within the Seven Pillars of Ministerial Education

Andrew Robison, Owner and President, Petrus Development

11:15 a.m. General Session

Confronting Threats to the Religious Freedom of Catholic Higher Education

Gregory Baylor, Esq., Senior Counsel and Director of the Center for Religious Schools, Alliance Defending Freedom

The culture’s increasing hostility to Christianity inevitably finds expression in the law. Government officials at all levels—federal, state, and local—are using their power to punish and marginalize individuals and institutions that adhere to timeless truths about God, Man, and Creation. In this session, attorney Greg Baylor will identify the most pressing threats and describe how faithful institutions can prepare for the present and coming challenges and to defend themselves in the legal and policy arenas.

12:30 p.m. Lunch

1:45 p.m.         Keynote Address

Why Newman Guide Colleges Should Be Models of Eucharistic Education

Dr. Randall Smith, 2023-24 Eucharistic Education Fellow for The Cardinal Newman Society and Professor of Theology, University of St. Thomas (Houston)

A Catholic education should be fundamentally sacramental and Eucharistic. Such an education should be grounded in the notion that the universe is an embodiment and an instrument of God’s love—and for this reason, it should also be seen as a source of wonder and a cause for gratitude. In this regard, we should remember that that eucharistia in Greek means “thanksgiving.”

3:00 p.m.Breakout Sessions – Period 3

Trustees: ATMs or Consiglieri? The Call (and Preparation) to Steward Catholic Colleges and Universities for an Apostolic Age

Carlos de Quesada, Managing Member, VeraCruz Advisory LLC

This session will touch on the foundational philosophical aspects for Catholic higher education institution trustees, while providing attendees with an integrated framework to create organizational focus, offering practical tools and methods to equip trustees and the institution’s leaders for evangelical impact.

Collaborating to Market Fidelity and Influence the Catholic Supply Chain

Kevin Murphy, Vice President for Marketing and Communications, The Cardinal Newman Society

Over 700,000 students attend Catholic colleges. Less than 3% of those attend Newman Guide Recommended colleges. While some Newman Guide colleges have experienced growth or even record classes in recent years, the “college question” is becoming a more intense and scrutinized decision. In addition, the Catholic Supply Chain is drying up and in desperate need of renewal. This will demand better marketing and collaboration among Newman Guide colleges than ever before.

Teaching Arts and Culture in a Catholic College Curriculum

Dr. James Matthew Wilson, Cullen Foundation Chair in English Literature and Director of Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, University of Saint Thomas (Houston)

Classical and Christian cultures, in their traditions of education, both are founded on a common proposition: the poetic is foundational to humanizing education. The idea of a poetic foundation helps limit the division of the subjects in education by emphasizing their reconciliation, objectively, in a common font of wisdom, and subjectively, in the well-formed person ordered to the knowledge of God. Sometimes this reconciliation fails as in Scholasticism’s sometimes exaggerated emphasis on disciplinary separation, and in the Renaissance’s impatience with metaphysics and theology in its desire to humanize. Modern Catholic education is at its finest when it attains to both metaphysical seriousness and moral refinement; to do this, it depends on recovering a proper vision of the poetic font of its tradition of wisdom and learning.

Faithfully Catholic Approaches to Questions of Sexuality and Gender

Nesti Center for Faith and Culture, University of St. Thomas

Technology for Catholic Higher Education


4:15 p.m. General Session

Modeling a Catholic Approach to Human Dignity and Solidarity

Dr. Matthew Petrusek, Senior Director, Word on Fire Institute

5:30 p.m. Mass

7:00 p.m. Reception and Dinner

7:30 a.m. Mass

8:00 a.m. Breakfast

9:00 a.m. Breakout Sessions – Period 4

Academic Affairs Working Group

Admissions and Marketing Working Groups

Finance and Operations Working Group

Legal Counsel Working Group

Presidents Working Group

Student Life, Career Services, Athletics, Campus Ministry Working Groups

10:15 a.m. Closing Keynote Address

The ‘Second Spring’ of Catholic Education

Patrick Reilly, President, The Cardinal Newman Society

Summit Speakers

Msgr. James Shea

Msgr. James Shea

University of Mary

Catholic colleges’ role in evangelization and restoring Christian culture.

Dr. Randall Smith

Dr. Randall Smith

University of St. Thomas Houston

2023-24 Eucharistic Education Fellow for CNS, on the leadership of Newman Guide colleges in “Eucharistic education.”

Dr. Matthew Petrusek

Dr. Matthew Petrusek

Word on Fire

on Catholic educators’ approach to human dignity and solidarity.

Gregory Baylor

Gregory Baylor

Alliance Defending Freedom

on the latest threats to religious freedom.

Dr. Richard Ludwick

Dr. Richard Ludwick

University of St. Thomas Houston

A vision for collaboration among Newman Guide Recommended institutions.

Patrick Reilly

Patrick Reilly

President of The Cardinal Newman Society

on the ‘Second Spring’ of Catholic education.

Summit Sponsors

Platinum Sponsor: $10,000


2806 Flintrock Trace, Suite A205, Austin, TX 78738


15421 West Dixie Hwy, Unit 11, N. Miami Beach, FL 33162

Silver Sponsor: $5,000


P.O. Box 17408, Denver, CO 80217

Bronze Sponsor: $2,500

Supporting Sponsor: $1,000

110 Crusader Ave. W., West St. Paul, MN 55118-4427


FEMM Foundation, 228 East 71st St., New York, NY 10021



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