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Lay Scholarship Initiative Surpasses Half-way Mark

August 2011

The “Building the Church of the Future: Scholarships for a New Generation of Lay Leaders” Initiative, which commenced on All Saint’s Day 2009, has surpassed the half-way mark toward its goal of $3 million. “We are just over half-way through our three year effort and have raised $1.66 million in commitments toward our goal,” stated CTU Director of Development Anne Marie Tirpak. “This has been a very positive response by those who want to assist current and future lay leaders in graduate theological education.”

Two very generous gifts were received this year – a gift from an estate and a grant from a foundation – that will make a significant impact on the future of lay scholarships at CTU.

This past winter, CTU learned that the Lay Scholarship Initiative was to receive a gift of nearly $308,000 from the estate of Victor and Dorothy Collucci, two long-time supporters of the school who were committed lay ministers. In the letter that accompanied the gift, Mr. Peter Wrenn, the executor of the estate, wrote, “As they supported many aspects of their practice of faith, they thought the work of CTU to be the most direct influence on the future of the Church.” The second large gift to the scholarship Initiative is a $200,000 grant commitment from The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to be used to establish the “Leadership in Ministry” Scholarships, which will provide full tuition support for lay persons pursuing a Master of Arts degree at CTU.

In addition to these two substantial gifts to the Scholarship Initiative, many friends of CTU have been hosting receptions in Chicago and across the country to share the news about Catholic Theological Union with their friends, colleagues, and family members. Thus far, CTU representatives have traveled to Florida, California, and Washington, D.C., where possible current student and alums have been present and shared their stories.

“The support we have received in these receptions has been overwhelming,” stated Ms. Tirpak. “We are thankful to our hosts who are introducing CTU to their friends. It is inspiring to see how impressed they are when they learn about CTU, our faculty, and students, and how we are actively trying to help lay students fund their education.”

This initiative was created in order to meet the growing need in the Church for professionally trained lay ministers. Catholic Theological Union is a place where candidates for ordination study alongside lay women and men for roles in ministerial leadership and lives of service. This collaborative approach to graduate theological education is an asset to ministerial preparation, especially for the Church of the future where dedicated priests and religious will need to work side by side with qualified lay ministers in order to sustain the Church’s mission.

If you are interested in supporting the Building the Church of the Future Lay Scholarship Initiative, please contact Anne Marie Tirpak, director of development, at 773.371.5417 or email her at