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University of Dallas

Irving, Texas

The sprawling city of Irving, Texas, is a
203,000-person suburb of Dallas. In it are the
headquarters of such giants as ExxonMobil
and the Boy Scouts of America as well as the
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It
also is the home of one of the finest Catholic
colleges, the University of Dallas.
Founded in 1956, this liberal arts-orient-
ed institution consistently ranks among the
most praised colleges in the United States. In
addition to its orthodox Catholicism, the Uni-
versity of Dallas is widely respected for intel-
lectual rigor and quality of teaching.
quick facts
The driving force behind the establish-
ment of the university was the Sisters of Saint Founded: 1956
Mary of Namur. They approached then-Bish- Type of institution: Small university
op Thomas Gorman to expand their junior Setting: Suburban
college, Our Lady of Victory, and give control Undergraduate enrollment: 1,299 (2008–09
academic year)
to a board of trustees under the jurisdiction of
Total undergraduate cost: $32,865 (tuition,
the Diocese of Dallas. Among the initial fac-
room and board for 2009–10)
ulty in 1956 were members of the Cistercian,
Undergraduate majors: 27
Sisters of Saint Mary and Franciscan orders.
Undergraduate students comprise less Five Key Points
than half of the study body—about 45 per-
cent—but 81 percent are Catholic. Only 27 1. A 15-course core curriculum studies
percent of the graduate students are Catholic. Catholic intellectual tradition.
The university draws undergraduate students 2. The lay-controlled university embraces
from 47 states and from 19 other countries Catholic identity.
with its commitment to a core curriculum, 3. Teachers and students have created a
largely based on the classics of Western Civi- vibrant intellectual environment.
lization. 4. A Rome semester is highly popular
About one-quarter of the students are and impressive.
legacy students, meaning that parents or oth- 5. There is a vital spiritual life on and
er relatives are alumni. According to one 2006 near the campus.
alumnus, “Students hear firsthand from their

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University of Dallas

siblings, parents and relatives how great UD
is, and they want to experience it themselves. From the
It is not at all uncommon for siblings to at-
Financial Aid Office
tend UD at the same time. There is a family
“The University of Dallas offers a com-
Yet, that does not imply a sense of smug-
prehensive array of merit-based and
ness. One professor said, “UD tends to have
need-based financial aid programs de-
very well-rounded students but not ‘grinds.’
signed to make UD an affordable choice
The ones coming here have been those who
for all qualified students, regardless of
in high school were able to excel academi-
their financial means. UD makes every
cally while also balancing their social lives
effort to assist students based on the fi-
and outside interests. We also have a number
nancial need demonstrated through the
of homeschooled students and a few ‘funky
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Stu-
types’ who want the life of the mind.”
dent Aid). This need-based assistance
Academic preparation is such that more
comes in the form of federal grants, loans
than 80 percent of the students attend gradu-
and work study, but also includes institu-
ate or professional schools. The university has
tional grants provided by the university
the distinction of having gained a Phi Beta
Kappa chapter faster than any other institu-
tion in the 20th century. UD claims to have “In addition to need-based financial aid,
the largest number of National Merit Finalists the university rewards outstanding stu-
per capita of any Catholic college or univer- dents with scholarship assistance. For
sity in the United States, and 18 students have most scholarships, no separate applica-
earned Fulbright awards. tion is necessary; a student’s application
There are 27 majors that are rooted in for admission serves as their application
the typical liberal arts disciplines. Included for scholarships as well. Scholarship con-
are classics degrees in either Greek or Latin sideration is based on a combination of
and a studio arts program. But unlike most standardized test scores and academic
contemporary universities with a range of de- performance in high school. Scholarship
partments and majors, UD students must take awards range up to full tuition and are
half of their courses in the core curriculum to renewable for up to four years.
receive an undergraduate degree.
One former faculty member said of the “In addition to these academic awards,
core curriculum: “Its brilliance lies in study- various departments at UD offer depart-
ing the ancients, medievals and moderns mental scholarships, for which a separate
several times during the college years. While application and interview are required.
there is an historical and sequential study of These scholarships range up to $3,000/
these eras, students also go back at different year and reward excellence in a particu-
points during their years [at UD] to read, for lar subject area.”
example, Aristotle and Plato again.”
The Braniff Graduate School of Liberal agement school has several M.B.A. programs
Arts was added in 1966 and offers master’s as well as additional master’s degrees in man-
degrees in eight areas and an interdisciplin- agement.
ary Ph.D., which has the unique character of Also, the School of Ministry, which traces
also relying on a core curriculum. The man- its roots back to 1987, offers courses, degrees

230 The Newman Guide
University of Dallas

and diocesan training programs. Public Identity
The sticker price for a UD education is
not cheap—$32,865 for tuition, room and As part of its mission statement, the Universi-
board in 2009-10—but that is comparable to ty of Dallas declares: “The University is dedi-
other private universities in Texas. The real cated to the recovery of the Christian intellec-
treat is in UD’s generous financial aid, which tual tradition, and to the renewal of Catholic
brings tuition for the average student well theology in fidelity to the Church and in con-
below typical Texas rates. UD participates in structive dialogue with the modern world.”
federal grant and loan programs. The emphasis of the university is rooted
in a core curriculum, because the adminis-
Governance tration believes that the western tradition is
the Catholic tradition. One English professor
The university is governed by a 30-plus mem- told us, “The core teaches us that the goal of
ber board of trustees, comprised largely of education is to seek the Truth and that Truth
lay business leaders from the Dallas area and exists.”
alumni. There are As a result, one
a few Catholic reli- 2006 alumnus said
gious figures on the the university is “one
board, most notably of the only universi-
the bishops of the Di- ties left that is both
oceses of Dallas and Catholic and catholic.
Fort Worth, but there That is to say, it is or-
no longer is any dioc- thodox and faithful
esan control. Bishop and is very willing
Kevin Farrell of the to pursue Truth from
Diocese of Dallas whichever avenues it
serves as chancellor might come.”
of the university. Dr. Lazarus gives
Dr. Frank Laza- much credit for this
rus became the sev- Catholic faithfulness
enth president of the University of Dallas to the professors. In his inauguration address
in 2004. All of his predecessors, with one in 2004, he said: “The faculty and admin-
exception, were lay presidents. Dr. Lazarus, istration, but especially the faculty, of this
a scholar of classical languages, previously institution have from the time of the found-
held administrative positions at the Univer- ing positioned the University of Dallas in the
sity of San Diego, Marquette University and mainstream of the Catholic Intellectual Tradi-
the University of Dayton. tion by virtue of their scholarship, their de-
Dr. Lazarus announced in April 2009 velopment and cultivation of the core curric-
that he would be retiring at the end of the ulum, and by the example of their own lives
year. The university immediately appointed in the form of personal witness to the Faith
Robert Galecke, the executive vice president, and fidelity to the teachings of the Church.”
as interim president, effective September 1. Those we interviewed gave high marks
Dr. Lazarus will be on sabbatical for the fall to Dr. Lazarus for reemphasizing the univer-
2009 semester. sity’s Catholic identity while proceeding in a

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University of Dallas

He added, “And what is ‘orthodoxy’? It’s
balanced way. He has placed a high priority thinking, teaching and preaching with the
on Ex corde Ecclesiae and stresses the univer- mind of the Church.”
sity’s Catholic commitment to high school In addition to the curriculum, the uni-
students and their parents in prospective stu- versity bolsters its Catholic identity by its
dent weekends. choice of campus speakers. In January 2009,
But an incident took place in early 2008 Archbishop Agostino Marchetto of the Pontif-
which caused much angst—especially among ical Council for Pastoral Care lectured. Other
alumni leaders—about whether UD’s Catho- speakers have included those who have deliv-
lic identity was threatened by a misguided ered the John Paul II Theology Lecture: Rus-
notion of “academic freedom.” A visiting sell Hittinger, the Warren Chair of Catholic
student art exhibit included a blasphemous Studies at the University of Tulsa, presented
painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and al- the first lecture in 2007. He was followed in
though the university administration was un- 2008 and 2009 by Cardinal Francis Arinze
aware of the painting prior to the exhibit, the and Michael Waldstein, a theologian and
university’s response to student and alumni translator.
complaints was Some of
slow and inade- UD’s speakers
quate. Eventually do not neces-
a Mass of Repara- sarily deal with
tion was offered, Catholic issues
and Dr. Lazarus but rather ad-
served as a lector. dress a range
It has thus of intellectual
far proven to be concerns. Ex-
a single incident, amples include
and UD’s Catholic publisher Steve
identity remains Forbes, Robert
extraordinary by and Jean Hol-
comparison to lander of the
the many secu- digital Prince-
larizing Catho- ton Dante Proj-
lic universities ect, and Nobel
in America. The Prize winner
strong response to the blasphemous art is it- and Green Revolution pioneer Dr. Norman
self an encouraging sign. Borlaug.
The new president will inherit an en- The 2008 commencement speaker was
during Catholic ethos on campus, one which Dr. John Lenczowski, former U.S. government
has a transformational effect on students, ac- official and founder and president of The In-
cording to close observers of the college. For stitute of World Politics, who has been very
example, Father Philip Powell, O.P., the for- supportive of the university as a parent of a
mer campus minister, said, “Many freshmen UD student. Dr. Lenczowski told graduates,
come in looking like conservative Catholics. “It has been my conclusion, after consider-
Over the course of their time at UD, they of- able study, that there is no better liberal arts
ten become orthodox Catholics.” college in America.” And in a letter to pro-

232 The Newman Guide
University of Dallas

spective students, he assured them that “the Because of the core curriculum, students also
University of Dallas teaches the Catholic faith encounter this religious heritage “at different
according to the teachings of the Church.” times and in different ways in their studies,”
The university also reaches out to the according to one faculty member.
broader Catholic community. One example The theology department is anchored by
is through the renamed University of Dallas chair Dr. Mark Lowery, a moral theologian,
School of Ministry, which holds annual min- described by a recent alumnus as “very or-
istry conferences that draw more than 1,000 thodox and well-loved,” by a campus official
participants. The next conference is sched- as “exemplary,” and by a former faculty col-
uled for October 2009 in the Dallas Conven- league as “a saint.” Also frequently singled
tion Center and will include Archbishop Don- out for praise is Dr. Christopher Malloy, who
ald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington, teaches systematic theology. He told us, “We
D.C., and Catholic columnist John Allen. present orthodoxy clearly and in dialogue
Finally, the university has benefitted with philosophy and science. If a student
from interaction with other Catholic entities. wants to get Truth, it is very clear here.”
It has had a long relationship with a number There are many strong Catholic faculty
of religious orders, including the Cistercians, members in the English department, includ-
Franciscans, Dominicans, Sisters of Saint ing Dr. Gregory Roper, a medieval literature
Mary of Namur and School Sisters of Notre scholar and 2009 Haggar Fellow for teaching
Dame. The interdisciplinary Society of Cath- excellence, and Dr. Gerard Wegemer, an ex-
olic Social Scientists held their 2006 meeting pert on Thomas More.
on campus. Another spiritually engaged and popu-
lar professor is the chair of the history depart-
ment, Dr. Thomas Jodziewicz, the recipient
Academics of the campus 2007 King Fellow Award. He
started a faculty-student group around the
Across the board, our interviewees report
theme of faith and reason. The reading for the
that the core curriculum integrates the Catho-
first meeting in fall 2006 was Pope Benedict’s
lic worldview with the secular worlds of the
encyclical Deus Caritas Est.
various disciplines. This sense of interrelat-
The sciences and mathematics are im-
edness is so pervasive that even a Buddhist
portant at UD. Students in these areas get
who teaches in the English department sees
intensive training, undertake research work
the core as strengthened by the Catholic intel-
and go on to graduate study. Among notable
lectual tradition. One alumnus spoke of him:
faculty is Dr. Marcy Brown-Marsden, the bi-
“He loves the Catholic confidence that there is
ology department chair and a bird expert.
a Truth we can strive for.”
Nearly 80 percent of the students, most
There are 15 required courses distributed
in their sophomore year, participate in the
as follows: four each in English and history,
Rome Program. Thousands have experienced
three in philosophy, two in theology and one
this rigorous 15-credit semester over almost
each in economics and politics. Students also
40 years. The current site, known as the Eu-
select an additional 10 courses from several
gene Constantin Campus, is a villa with a
liberal arts fields.
vineyard outside of Rome, complete with
As befits a college that, as Dr. Lazarus
a 108-student residence hall and athletic fa-
notes, emphasizes the Catholic intellectual
cilities. The pope’s summer residence, Castel
tradition, it is not surprising that the theology
Gandolfo, is visible from the campus.
and philosophy departments would be strong.

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University of Dallas

In Rome, too, the core curriculum is em- together and practicing the faith. We have
phasized, as immersion in the culture and daily Mass, night prayer. The students par-
intellectual tradition merge. “It is not at all ticularly love that the faculty are there with
uncommon to see students reading Sophocles their families.”
in the Rome metro on the way to an art and “On the whole,” we were told by a recent
architecture class,” one alumnus told us. And participant, “people grow up during their
as one English professor emphasized, the Rome semester. The challenge of balancing
spiritual dimension is ever present. time, the proximity to the heart of Western
He said, “The semester in Rome is a sig- civilization and Catholicism and the close-
nificant opportunity for spiritual growth. We ness to some fantastic peers all rub off on
are able to integrate our lives of study, living people.”

Message from the President

Dear Parents and Prospective Students:

Since its founding, the University of Dallas has been dedicated to the
intellectual and spiritual traditions of the Catholic Church. Nationally rec-
ognized as one of the premier Catholic liberal arts and sciences colleges in
America, the University of Dallas has selected as its chief task the education
of leaders.

Our great books core curriculum allows students to encounter and engage the greatest
thinkers and ideas of western civilization. A semester spent at our campus in Rome, Italy, com-
plements the core curriculum for our students. UD’s discussion-oriented classes average 17
students, and the character of the UD education developed in those classes produces critical,

UD offers 26 majors and 23 concentrations, as well as 10 pre-professional programs. All ar-
eas of study reflect our graduate approach to undergraduate education; as a result more than 90
percent of our pre-law students and over 85 percent of our pre-med students are accepted into
their first-choice professional schools. Overall, nearly 80 percent of our graduates eventually
pursue advanced degrees.

The fundamental elements and history of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition are woven
throughout the core curriculum and indeed, throughout our campus. UD is a place where stu-
dents will find an intellectual and spiritual experience in perfect accord with each other.


Dr. Francis M. Lazarus

234 The Newman Guide
University of Dallas

The university also sponsors a study- Spiritual Life
abroad program for high school students in
Italy and England. There are similar opportu- The spiritual life at UD is, in the words of a
nities for adults and teachers. Because of this 2006 alumnus, “extremely robust and alive.”
emphasis on foreign study, the University of One characteristic that repeatedly emerged in
Dallas has been identified as one of the top 20 our interviews is that faculty and their fami-
study-abroad programs according to the In- lies actively participate in Masses and other
stitute for International Education. religious activities. As a result, one English
Students as well as others also benefit professor said, “The students can see their
from some domestic institutes. One is the Cen- professor as a whole person.”
ter for Thomas More Studies, which sponsors Masses are offered Monday, Wednesday
courses, conferences and publications related and Friday at 12:05 p.m., and Monday through
to the 16th-century English saint. The 2008 Thursday at 5 p.m. at the campus Church of
conference counted as continuing legal edu- the Incarnation. The chapel serves as a par-
cation for lawyers through an arrangement ish, and students
with the State Bar and community
of Texas. residents swell
The depart- daily Mass atten-
ment of educa- dance to about
tion sponsors the 200 people.
Dallas Area Net- There are four
work for Teach- Sunday Masses,
ing and Education including one on
(DANTE), which Saturday night.
helps prepare and Confessions are
nurture Catholic heard six times a
schoolteachers in week and by ap-
Texas. pointment.
And since The campus
1987 the Institute ministry has a
for Religious and few programs
Pastoral Studies has provided a variety of such as a weekly Dinner and Discourse faith-
courses. Recently, the IRPS launched a Master based social gathering and pro-life work
of Theological Studies degree for the Diocese through the Crusaders for Life club (a num-
of Tyler, Texas; a Spanish-speaking Deacon ber of students attend pro-life observances in
program for the Diocese of Dallas; and online Austin).
courses for nationwide access. Social service activities are particularly
In May 2007, the institute was renamed strong. Among these is participation in the
the University of Dallas School of Ministry. Dallas Hearts & Hammer program that re-
During that month, the school also graduated furbishes inner-city houses and serves meals
an unprecedented number of 100 graduates at homeless shelters. A new weekly “Crochet
from 37 Texas parishes from its Catholic Bible Day” brings students together to create baby
School. Bishop Vann of Fort Worth celebrated blankets for a women’s center. Another group
the graduation Mass that year and again in volunteers every Friday afternoon at a local
2009. St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store.

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University of Dallas

An outreach program which extends part in the 2009 event.
back to 1994 is the Alternative Spring Break, The weekly student newspaper, The Uni-
which focused then on assisting in Missis- versity News, is impressive. The Rotary Club
sippi and Ecuador. In 2008 and 2009, students has recently formed a chapter at UD. Three
spent their spring break in Athens, Georgia, language clubs—German, Italian and Span-
helping to tutor, repair buildings and create ish—are up and running.
a playground. Students also have the opportunity to
Students can share in the spiritual life of participate in a broad intramural sports pro-
the on-campus Priory of St. Albert the Great, gram. The University of Dallas fields teams
which includes 15 Dominican friars, and the in 13 sports under the umbrella of the NCAA
nearby Our Lady of Dallas Abbey, which has Division III and competes regionally. The
28 Cistercian monks. There 2007 men’s soccer team was
is also a nearby Opus Dei among the nation’s leading
center, the Wingren Study teams and posted a 17-1-1
Center; one of their service record; the 2008 team re-
projects is organizing an ceived its first invitation to
annual spring-break trip the NCAA tournament.
to a school for the poor in Local cultural oppor-
Monterrey, Mexico. tunities are presented in an
organized program called
Dallas Year.
Student Activities
There are more than 40 Residential Life
clubs and organizations
on campus. In addition to Most undergraduate stu-
typical collegiate groups, dents are required to live
there is a Venture Club for on campus. There are eight
outdoor exploration and residence halls and a small
camping, and a Best Bud- number of apartments.
dies program that works A new residence hall, to
with children with special house 298 students, is un-
needs. The pro-life Crusad- der construction and is due
ers for Life group is very active. Every year to open in January 2010. All apartments are
the junior class sponsors Charity Week, a ma- same-sex, although married couples can live
jor fundraiser for charitable organizations; in in the apartments. Students are separated in
2008, over $19,000 was raised. residence halls by gender by floor.
The student government is reported to The university handbook specifies visi-
be strong and attracts active Catholics to its tation times throughout the week, and over-
service. In addition to an executive council, night opposite-sex visitation is not allowed.
there is a Student Government Senate and an Students reportedly abide by these rules.
events programming board known as SPUD. There are chastity programs promoted in the
One popular annual social event is Ground- dorms and by student government.
hog Weekend in February, which includes Despite the university’s strictures against
a concert, rugby match and other activities; it, drinking has been a problem off and on.
more than half of the undergraduates took

236 The Newman Guide
University of Dallas

One former professor told us, “Drinking had is a key hub for American Airlines. Amtrak
an odd heritage in the early days of the uni- is located in Dallas, and there is an extensive
versity. There developed a sense that it was system of roads. The Dallas Area Rapid Tran-
‘a Catholic macho thing’ to drink, sometimes sit (DART) Light Rail will open a UD station
heavily.” Drinking today seems to be more of on its Orange Line in 2012.
an off-campus issue. An alcohol-awareness
week has been held each spring since 2006.
The health clinic at the Haggar Univer-
The Bottom Line
sity Center addresses routine medical issues.
The University of Dallas is a premier Catholic
There are several hospitals in the area, in-
university in the United States. It combines an
cluding the Las Colinas Medical Center and
extensive core curriculum, often emphasiz-
the Baylor Medical Center at Irving.
ing classical works, with an adherence to the
Catholic intellectual tradition. The university
The Community prides itself on its quest for knowledge, con-
fident that any inquiry will lead back to the
Irving, Texas, is adjacent to Dallas, a world- Catholic Truth.
class city and part of the Dallas-Fort Worth UD has one of the most impressive study-
Metroplex area, which includes about 5.8 mil- abroad semesters that we have seen with its
lion people. The cultural, sports and social Rome Program; 80 percent of its students take
opportunities in advantage of this
the area are exten- wonderful op-
sive. The popular portunity to im-
Dallas Cowboys of merse themselves
the National Foot- in the classics in
ball League, which a region steeped
had played its home in the antecedents
games across the of Western and
street from the uni- Catholic thought.
versity’s campus, Overall, then, it is
moved in 2009 to no surprise that so
a new stadium in many commenta-
Arlington, about 25 tors and other col-
minutes away. lege guidebooks
The region’s give the univer-
economy is largely based on health care, aero- sity such high marks.
nautics, communications and banking. The The University of Dallas has provided
region has a pleasant climate most of the year service to the Catholic community in Texas
but has scorching summers. and throughout the nation for half a century.
Crime in Irving is slightly above the na- It has weathered some storms, expanded and,
tional average, but the University of Dallas in the end, remained faithful to its mission.
campus is relatively safe and free of violent Any Catholic student interested in challeng-
crime. The most campus police violations, by ing his or her mind would do well to put UD
far, are for alcohol abuse. on a list of colleges to investigate.
UD is easy to reach, especially via Dal-
las/Fort Worth International Airport, which

The Newman Guide 237
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