New Catholic University changes name to John Paul the Great Catholic University

June 11, 2005 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
The Board of Trustees of New Catholic University, an institution in formation in San Diego, has approved a permanent name change to John Paul the Great Catholic University.

John Paul the Great Catholic University (JP Catholic), scheduled to open in North San Diego County next fall, will welcome its first students with a unique curriculum, emphasizing innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, business creation and ethical leadership. JP Catholic aims to be a transformational Catholic institution inventing the future of Catholic higher education. JP Catholic will offer degrees in communications media, technology and business, pending approval from the State of California.

The formation of JP Catholic was greatly inspired by the teachings of the man whose name it now bears. Pope John Paul II recognized the cultural globalization produced by the power of the media and urged his flock to pursue a deep understanding of both the culture of our time, and the language, nature and characteristics of the media (traditional and high-tech), so that media can be used correctly and competently, leading to a genuine enculturation of the Gospel.

The Founders are convinced that now is the time for a new academic paradigm and a spiritual renaissance on the American Catholic university campus. Catholic universities of the future must educate a new breed of innovators and creators, leaders and entrepreneurs, steeped in Catholic orthodoxy and faithfulness, ready to move into the intellectual strata of American society, where orthodox Catholic influence is noticeably absent. The culturally influential fields of media and media-enabling technology are the most in need of reinvigoration from Catholic morality and ethics.

Looking to tap the benefits of graduates with both a bold commitment to proclaim their faith and the cultural awareness of the influencing powers of creators and innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs, the university seeks to change the paradigm on how university programs are structured. JP Catholic’s revolutionary requirement of a two-year exercise in business planning and implementation for all students brings real world relevance. All students will actively participate in the conception, development and creation of a viable business enterprise before graduation. “Experience really is the best teacher,” said Derry Connolly, who serves as the university’s first president. “At JP Catholic, students will learn to create their own companies guided by faculty hired for their entrepreneurial and creative talents and experiences.”

The ultimate goal, Connolly said, is for at least 50 percent of each graduating class to commercialize their business plans after graduation, transforming their ideas into thriving businesses with ethical, socially responsible management. The university will establish one of the country’s first on-campus incubators for new businesses for all students. JP Catholic has its sights on becoming a top-ranked national university.

The university was founded in December 2003 by Connolly and four Catholic friends – Philippe Dardaine, Wes Fach, Scott McKenna and Ed Snow. These founders expect to receive state approval to operate this summer and plan to begin recruiting students shortly thereafter, with the first day of classes tentatively scheduled for Sept. 18, 2006. The school will open with an inaugural class of 120 students on leased facilities. The student population is projected to increase steadily to almost 800 students by Fall 2011. “By that time” says Scott McKenna, who heads up the Facilities Search committee “we will prayerfully have secured a major land donation and break ground on the university’s permanent campus.” He continues to describe the future campus “with its architecture influenced by California Mission and Italian Renaissance styles, that will include a chapel, classrooms and student housing, all encircling an open-air piazza with a fountain.

“JP Catholic University seeks courageous benefactors,” said Philippe Dardaine, the co-founder spearheading the grass-roots development effort, who voices a deeply held belief that we “must be the change we wish to see in the world.” He urges benefactors to invest with an extraordinary generosity so as to provide the seed funding for this forward-looking and novel Catholic institution - the first Catholic university to be built in California in over 35 years.

JP Catholic has the canonically required consent of Robert Brom, Bishop of San Diego to form a Catholic institution; incorporation in the State of California; a pending application for approval by the State of California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education to operate a degree granting institution; and IRS and CA-FTB tax-exempt status.

For more information on JP Catholic University, contact Connolly at (858) 672-9080 or visit