It's been almost fifteen years, and yet every time I remember my time at The Catholic University of America, these two words keep coming into the memory of my heart: beauty and goodness. I can still vividly remember coming along Michigan Avenue with my family and enjoying the beautiful landscape it offers to visitors. By a miscalculation (We did not have a GPS then!), we entered into the campus using the entrance to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which led us to Gibbons Hall and Cardinal Station and finally parked in front of Mullen Library (which turned out later to be my second home at CU).
At that moment I felt that it was not only the University that was welcoming me but also the National Shrine. I confess now that I took advantage of that invitation: I was drawn to the noon mass at the Crypt church from that first day! But this experience of the architectural and natural beauty of the campus was just the prolegomena to a deeper and more fulfilling experience. The beauty that first met my eyes was transformed into the goodness that I experienced from everybody working at Catholic University: janitors, staff working in the dining halls, administration, library and academic units, my classmates and residence mates and, of course, the faculty. It was at Catholic University that I first learned about the March for the Homeless and the March for Life and the importance of the Martin Luther King Day celebration.
I met amazing students and made friends in and outside the classroom. (Yes, I am thinking of you, Page Brannon!) And, of course, I do remember the dedication and care of the faculty in the Intensive English Program, my first academic experience at CU. And then, Dr. McCarthy's engaging efforts to make his Greek lessons on Plato's Phaedrus delightful and meaningful and Dr. Klingshirn's always well researched classes on Roman civilization and history marked a path on my later academic research and development. T
he love I experienced at Catholic University was unique. It left a distinctive mark in my personal journey, one that I treasure and try to honor today by mimesis: it inspires me in my own daily interaction with students. Having been a student at Catholic University was an intellectual journey that challenged me to ponder ideas in a different way and yet let me be free to make my own decisions. The love and kindness that surrounded me at Catholic University were the ground that made it possible to launch not only my career but my own personal journey in life.
Carmela went on to get a doctorate at The University of Chicago, and is now Associate Professor of Spanish at Louisiana State University.