February 20, 2013
Dear Students, Colleagues and Friends of the Washington Theological Union,
Special Greetings! I wanted to share with you the “State of the Union” since my last communication with you. The final closing settlement of the Washington Theological Union building took place on Friday, February 15, 2013 in the Cushing Board Room (See pictures after the “more” link). Our stately and elegant building was handed over to the buyer, Douglas Jemal, a developer from the Maryland and DC area. It is not clear what will become of the building but the buyer is eager to showcase it. The contents of the building have all been dispersed to various locations with the library holdings headed for Tangaza College in Nairobi, Kenya, the Mexican American College in San Antonio, Texas, Villanova University, the Franciscan communities and other smaller schools determined by the Theological Book Network, per their mission. Other items in the building found their way to schools and housing projects. The magnificent artwork was sold or re-gifted or returned to lenders. The chapel items were made available to members of the WTU community and nearby parishes.
On January 16th, a final Eucharistic Liturgy was celebrated in the WTU chapel with Fr. Joseph Wimmer, one of the founding signers of the Union, presiding and the Doctor of Ministry students present. The liturgy concluded with a closing ritual arranged by the students and the Blessed Sacrament and altar cloth were reverently removed. It was a fitting way to give thanks for the rich nourishment of Word and sacrament so many of us received at some time throughout the school’s forty-five years.
The successful transition of the WTU administrative offices to the Carmelite Whitefriars Hall took place last week. The Carmelite community has been most welcoming and accommodating enabling us all to continue the ministry of serving the Union in its last months. Major General Les Palm is now WTU’s president. Les has been a member of the WTU Board since 2009 and helped considerably in facilitating the final closure of WTU, making several trips from his home in Charlotte, North Carolina to WTU.
Graduation will take place on Friday, May 3, 2013 at 3:00pm at Saint Camillus Church in Silver Spring, MD. Rev. Andrew D. Cifereni, O.Praem., PhD., former faculty member and Academic Dean of WTU who was instrumental in the architectural design of the Union’s Connelly Chapel of Holy Wisdom that won a national design award from the Interfaith Forum for Religion, Art and Architecture (IFFRA) will be our Commencement speaker.
Some other items of interest include:
- The publishing of Desert Springs in the City, a history of the Carmelites by faculty member, Rev. Leopold Glueckert, O.Carm.,S.T.D.
- Rev. Kevin O’Neil, CSsR, S.T.D., contributed a very well received column in The New York Times, and
- The final atom + Eve Conference on Science and Ministry is planned for March 16,2013 by Rev. Joseph Wimmer, O.S.A. and featuring a former WTU faculty member, Ilia Delio, O.F.M.,PhD.
Students continue to finish up their work on theses and doctoral projects. Ivan Cormac Marsh, O.Carm., D.Min., successfully completed his final requirement for the D. Min. degree by giving an excellent presentation on the revised Thirty-day Carmelite Retreat Exercises on Feb.13th at Whitefriars.
Our new address is
Washington Theological Union
1600 Webster Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017
Always feel free to come by Whitefriars, but call ahead since that is the protocol here. I shall be delighted to see you!
The phone number is 202-526-1221 with the following extensions for administrative offices:
- #119 Anne E. McLaughlin, RSM, Chief Academic Officer
- #114 Pearlie Draughn, Assistant to the Chief Academic Officer
- #117 Wayne Wissman, Business Office and Bart Merella, Registrar
(Note: This contact information is also posted here.)
Students or alumni wishing to request transcripts should follow the directions and procedure here.
Till we meet again…
“Let Him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east.” (Gerard Manley Hopkins)
With warm regards,
Anne E. McLaughlin, R.S.M., D.Min.
Chief Academic Officer
1600 Webster Street NE
Washington DC 20017
202-526-1221 EXT 119