Mission and History
The Center for Catholic and Dominican Studies within the Office of Mission and Ministry and in collaboration with Campus Ministry assists in coordinating the college-wide process of maintaining, enhancing, and promoting the distinctive Catholic and Dominican mission of Providence College.
Believing that we are called to be transformed so that we may transform society, the Center serves as a place of intellectual exploration and dialogue where students, faculty, staff, administration, and alumni can gather for study, discussion, reflection, and service.
Through a variety of events and educational opportunities for the College community, the Center strives to share the richness and diversity of the Catholic and Dominican intellectual and spiritual traditions as they offer crucial perspectives for today’s challenges and concerns and invites us together to partake of and benefit from a common mission inspired by faith and enabled by grace.
The Center is housed in the former Aquinas Chapel. Opened in 1940 on the ground floor of the College’s first student dormitory, Aquinas Hall, the chapel was designed to accommodate a congregation of no more than two hundred. As the resident student population grew dramatically over the years Aquinas Chapel was no longer adequate and in 2001 the College dedicated St. Dominic Chapel.
In renovating Aquinas Chapel for use as the Center, the College was intent on preserving the spirit and beauty of a sacred space dear to many alumni. Cleaned and refurbished, many of the original furnishings, such as the stained glass windows, crucifix, and altars, have been retained.
The Center was dedicated on September 13, 2006, and fulfills a longstanding dream. Many alumni and friends of the College have been generous benefactors of the Center, including the Cavanagh Company, the late John F. Cavanagh ’35, Brian P. Cavanagh ’71, the late Paul Cavanagh and his wife Helena, the late John W. Sormanti ’45, and Guyde A. Lombari, Jr. MBA ’81.
A special debt of gratitude is owed to approximately one hundred members of the Class of 1955, in particular Chester T. Nuttall, Jr. ’55, and to an equal number of the members of the Class of 1957.