Duquesne University president makes convocation address
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Duquesne University President Charles Dougherty today outlined his school's aspirations in areas including teaching and research, and said the school is an inclusive community that must be mindful of its Catholic traditions.
His fall convocation address to several hundred people inside the school's student union was his 10th as president.
Speaking to reporters afterward, he joined a chorus critical of a Florida pastor's plan to burn the Muslim holy book, the Koran. The pastor subsequently announced he had canceled the event.
Dr. Dougherty called the act "hateful" and a perversion of the principles of Christianity. "It's very unsettling," he said. "It has echoes of Nazi burning of books. I hope he thinks twice about it."
In his speech, the president outlined six attributes: the school's efforts toward a community of accountability, concern for others, academic excellence, national standards, spirituality and distinction. His speech in part was an expansion of a recent update to the school's strategic plan that calls for, among other things, greater emphasis on graduate education.
In regards to spirituality, he said Duquesne is open to people from many different faiths, as well as those who do not identify with a religion. At the same time, he noted the school's core religious faith as Catholic.
"There will be moments when concerns that are especially Catholic will have to dominate -- in health care coverage, in some hiring, in the curriculum, for example," he said.
He talked about striving for programmatic excellence. He made reference to his decision to discontinue men's swimming, golf, wrestling and baseball programs.
"Sometimes when excellence is genuinely impossible, ending a program is the honest answer," he said. "We faced this directly last year in athletics."
First Published September 9, 2010 6:07 pm