University of San Diego President Mary E. Lyons, PhD, announced today that the university has received a gift of more than $3 million from the estate of long-time USD friend and benefactor Frances G. Harpst. “In honor of Mrs. Harpst’s generosity and her commitment to the University of San Diego, the university will immediately rename the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture the Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture,” said President Lyons.
“We are exceedingly grateful to Mrs. Harpst for her extraordinary generosity and her consideration of some of USD’s most distinctive programs and priorities over the years,” added Lyons. “We are privileged to memorialize her abiding support and encouragement with the naming of the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture in her honor.”
The Center for Catholic Thought and Culture was established in July of 2008, under the guidance of founding director Maria Pascuzzi, PhD, in order to provide the university and the local community with opportunities to consider and find enrichment in the intellectual, social, cultural and spiritual traditions of the Catholic Church. The open and dialogical character of catholicity in thought, culture and action is celebrated through its activities.
A long-time Coronado resident, Mrs. Harpst was a deeply spiritual, modest and admired supporter of Catholic projects and initiatives. Along with contributions from several other generous donors, it was Mrs. Harpst who anonymously funded USD’s annual Monsignor Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology. She also supported several other significant university projects, including the Monsignor I.B. Eagan Plaza and the Choral Scholars Endowment Fund.
“Mrs. Harpst’s very generous gift will partially endow the Center’s annual programs. An additional portion of the bequest will be available to supplement USD student scholarships,” said Gerard Mannion, the Center’s new director. Adding, “We are enormously grateful for this gift which will secure many of our core activities for some time to come.”