Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

As we celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Archdiocese, we look back… on July 23, 1976 when Archbishop Henry J. O'Brien passed away.
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Robert.Curis.New.Headshot2Robert F. Curis

WEST HAVEN – Notre Dame High School in West Haven has named Mr. Robert F. Curis its next president. He will assume his responsibilities on July 1.

Mr. Curis Robert will be the first lay president in school history and 11th overall Notre Dame leader since the school opened in the fall of 1946. He replaces Holy Cross Brother James Branigan, who announced last April that he would leave Notre Dame at the end of the 2014-15 school year to assume new administrative responsibilities for the Congregation of Holy Cross in Austin, Texas. He will establish and direct the Holy Cross Schools Sponsorship Office for the Moreau Province.

Following Bother James’s announcement, the board of directors appointed a six-person search committee to begin the selection process. Those members, aided by Education Access Strategies, found Mr. Curis to be the unanimous choice of both the search committee and the Notre Dame board of directors.

The process was finalized at a Feb. 25 meeting at which the board of directors forwarded its selection to the Congregation of the Holy Cross leadership, called the Board of Members, which accepted the recommendation and made the formal appointment.

Mr. Curis accepted the position later that same night.

A native of West Hartford, Mr. Curis currently is the assistant head of school and CFO/dean of business affairs at The Whitby School in Greenwich.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to the Notre Dame community throughout this process,” said Mr. Curis. “One consistent theme that I heard across conversations with students, faculty, administrators and directors/trustees was a desire for the incoming leadership to build upon the extraordinary legacy of the Holy Cross brothers. I also understand that this legacy is committed to continuous improvement for their institutions. I share this passion for improving and supporting our educational institutions. I look forward to getting to know the young men, their families and the staff and administrators, and alumni community that make Notre Dame such a special place.”

Board of directors chair Joseph Dooley, ’78, wrote in his letter to the community, “This position requires a proven educator with the leadership skills and management capacity to run a school like Notre Dame. The President must be an effective communicator, strategic thinker, and possess significant advancement and development experience.”

Mr. Dooley added, “All involved felt that Robert exemplified the qualities and attributes necessary to be a successful President, following the spiritual guidance and truly transformative leadership of the school under the tenure of Brother James Branigan, C.S.C.”

Mr. Curis said of the appointment, “It was very gratifying and humbling to have such a positive outcome from a very thorough search process.”

Brother James said of Mr. Curis, “His qualifications are outstanding and his previous work experiences will allow him to continue to move Notre Dame in a positive direction for all the young men who walk through our doors.”

Mr. Curis previously was head of the American University in Kosovo, establishing that institution as the leading private university in the region. He also served as the director of the European Centre of Minority Issues in Kosovo. While there, he established the Pristina School of Politics and led a multi-ethnic standing technical working group focusing on education, health care, finance and youth issues.

He also has volunteered with the Peace Corps in Albania, as a teaching fellow at the Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford and as a Holy Cross Associate Volunteer in Portland, Ore.

He holds a master’s degree in foreign service with an honors certificate in international business diplomacy from Georgetown University in 2000. He resides in Stamford with his wife Edlira and their three children, Emma, 11; Reamon, 8; and Fiona, 7.

alertAt the Spring Assembly of the U.S. bishops, Cardinal Joseph Tobin suggested that a delegation ofbishops go to the border to see for themselves what was happening to newly arrived immigrants, families and children. On July 1 and 2, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. bishops conference, and five other bishops conducted a pastoral visit to the diocese of Brownsville, Texas. Stops included Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle with the community, a visit to anHHS/OBR Shelter and Mass for the families there, a visit to the Customs and Border Patrol processing center in McAllen, TX, and a press conference at the end of their visit. Catholic News Service accompanied the bishops on their border trip. 

  1. Backgrounder and analysis of the bishops’ trip to the border: Cardinal DiNardo told CNS, “You cannot look at immigration as an abstraction when you meet” the people behind the issue.
  2. At final press conference, Cardinal Daniel Dinardo said the church was willing to be part of any conversation to find humane solutions because even a policy of detaining families together in facilities caused “concern.”
  3. Bishops serve soup to immigrant families at a center run by Catholic Charities and listen to their stories. Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambera said he found hope in hearing the people in the room talk about what’s ahead. They didn’t speak of making money but of finding safety for their children, he said, driven by “the most basic instinct to protect your family.”
  4. At an opening Mass he Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle-National Shrine near McAllen, Texas, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville told Massgoers, “The bishops are visiting here so they can stop and look and talk to people and understand, especially the suffering of many who are amongst us,”

A delegation of U.S. bishops goes on a fact-finding mission at the U.S.-Mexican border to learn more about Central American immigration detention.

Following their visit to an immigrant detention center, U.S. bishops said they are even more determined to call on Congress for comprehensive immigration reform.