Catholic University Renaissance Returns Church Principles to Academic Life

The Catholic University of America has entered an era in which church doctrine is central to every aspect of the school’s mission — from educational offerings to dormitory assignments — with some faculty calling the new age a “renaissance.”

Far from being the country’s largest Catholic institution of higher learning, the university, situated in Northeast Washington, is striving to be one of the church’s most influential with its effort to apply its founding principles throughout academic and student life.

Case in point: The Catholic University has opened the Busch School of Business & Economics, which aims to crank out business degrees and to integrate the best of Catholic theology and philosophy with the best of economic and management theory.

The Busch Family Foundation is the lead donor of a $47 million gift announced this year for operational needs of the business school, including the renovation of Maloney Hall, where the institution will have headquarters. The Charles Koch Foundation also contributed $10 million.

The school is named for Steph and Tim Busch. Mr. Busch, founder and CEO of Pacific Hospitality Group and The Busch Firm, said Catholic social teaching and free enterprise go hand in hand when it comes to alleviating poverty and creating a society in which humans flourish.

“Through principled entrepreneurship, we come to understand that the gifts that God has given — and we all have different gifts — are to be used for the benefit of others,” Mr. Busch said in a speech at The Catholic University last week. “In so doing, we co-create with God goodness for others, our families, our clients, and our communities.”