Education: School With a Purpose

To some Roman Catholic bishops, Washington, D.C. seemed like a hotbed of sin and political skulduggery—no fit place to start a school for priests. But when Pope Leo XIII polled the whole U.S. hierarchy to find out where to build a Catholic University of America, wicked Washington won in a walk.

There were 40 priests in the first class in 1889. Today, after 59 years, coed "C.U."* stands out in scholarship among the 167 U.S. Catholic universities and colleges the way Notre Dame stands out in sports. Its enrollment is bulging: 4,182 students in winter, an even more influential summer school of...

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