The Newman Catholic Center Story
John Henry Cardinal Newman wrote, taught, and preached in the 19th century and spent many of his early years at Oxford University. After being raised in the Anglican Church and moving through a complex spiritual quest, he decided to become Catholic at age 42. He was ordained a priest four years later and served the Catholic Church with distinction as a prominent theologian. Cardinal Newman was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on September 19, 2010.
Here in San Luis Obispo, the Newman Club began at Cal Poly in the 1940’s as a group of students gathering in various campus spots. Beginning in the mid-1980’s, at the urging of Cal Poly President Dr. Warren Baker, the Diocese of Monterey made a more concerted effort to respond to the needs of Catholic students at Cal Poly and Cuesta College.
The Christian Brothers came to San Luis Obispo and started their ministry to college students in a rented office at the University Christian Center on Foothill Blvd. After fundraising efforts and staff growth, the UCC became overcrowded. And so in 1985, the Newman Center came into existence at its present location. Since August of 2003, the Newman Center has been under the pastoral care of the Society of Mary (Marist) Fathers and Brothers of the USA Province. We work in partnership with our local Catholic parishes, and in conjunction with other religious groups through the Cal Poly Interfaith Campus Council.
Today, we serve Catholic students at Cuesta College and Cal Poly through a variety of programs and ministries. We believe that our ministry plays a special and vital role in fostering the future leadership of our Catholic Christian community.
Newman Center Building
The Newman Center was originally a private home before being purchased by the Diocese of Monterey in 1985. After extensive remodeling in 1987, the facilities totaled 2,100 square feet with three offices, a spacious lounge area, a small chapel, kitchen, two restrooms, and a reception area. We also have a front fountain and garden area that was dedicated to the late Father Vince Walsh in April 1999, as well as a back lawn with two side patios.
In 2012, we began construction on a redesigned Newman Center, focused around a new chapel which will allow us to celebrate Sunday Mass in our building. The project was substantially completed by the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year. We have been blessed with the new building for a year now.
Newman Center Staff
Student Advisory Board
The Student Advisory Board serves as a sounding board and communication tool for the staff of the Newman Center. The board periodically meets to discuss potential new programs and reevaluates current programs. The current board members are:
- Mary Allen
- Christina Barton
- Brandon Brown
- Christopher Hurley
- Sara Jones
- Mike Nothem
- Leah O'Reilly
- Matthew Susank
The Newman Advisory Board has been established to be ambassadors of good will for Newman in the larger community, a body that reflects back to the Newman staff the perceptions of Newman in the larger community, a body that is supportive of the Newman staff and the programs Newman offers, and a group that assists the Newman effort in whatever ways they’re able. The board consists of:
- Fr. John Ulrich, S.M., Newman Director
- Fr. Kevin Duggan, S.M., Newman Associate Director
- Linda Garcia-Inchausti, Director of Administration
- Marilyn Olas, Community Member
- Jeff Lambert, Newman Alumni
- Greg Wilhelm, Nativity of Our Lady Parishoner
- Grace Goschke, Cal Poly Professor
- Carolyn Jones, Cal Poly Retired Career Services