The Catholic University of America

Archived June 2006

Faculty Handbook Part I (Issued January 2002)
The Government of the University
Charter Documents

Section 3: Certificate of Incorporation

Approved by: Congress
History: Issued --April 19, 1887
Revised --
Additional History

Certificate of Incorporation

A University committee had been appointed during the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1884. It included priests and laymen as well as bishops. On November 12, 1885, the day after its second formal meeting, the members met in Washington, D. C. to sign a petition for incorporation. The Certificate of Incorporation under the General Incorporation Act enacted by the Congress of the United States for the District of Columbia was issued on April 19, 1887.

Certificate of Incorporation

Know all men by these presents, That we, the undersigned citizens of the United States-

1. James Gibbons, of Baltimore City, Maryland;
2. Patrick John Ryan, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
3. John Joseph Williams, of Boston, Massachusetts;
4. Thomas S. Lee, of Baltimore City, Maryland;
5. Michael A. Corrigan, of New York City, New York;
6. John Ireland, of St. Paul, Minnesota;
7. J. Lancaster Spaulding, of Peoria, Illinois;
8. John Joseph Keane, of Richmond, Virginia;
9. Martin Marty, Yankton, Dakota;
10. John M. Farley, of New York City, New York;
11. John S. Foley, of Baltimore City, Maryland;
12. Placidus L. Chapelle, of Washington, D. C.;
13. Casper H. Borgess, Detroit, Michigan;
14. Eugene Kelly, of New York City, New York;
15. Bernard N. Farren, of 1731 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia;
16. Thomas E. Waggaman, of Washington City, D. C.;
17. Michael Jenkins, of Baltimore City, Maryland‑‑

have associated and do hereby associate ourselves, for the purpose of establishing an institution of learning, in the District of Columbia, of the rank of a University, and in order to become a body corporate under the General Incorporation Act of Congress, enacted for said District of Columbia, we execute these presents, and we do hereby certify as follows:

1st. The name by which the said institution of learning or body corporate shall be known in law is "The Catholic University of America."

2d. There shall be seventeen trustees of said institution or body corporate who, for the first year of its existence and until changed or removed by the corporation itself, shall be those persons whose names are hereinbefore set forth.

3d. The branches of science and literature proposed to be taught in said institution are the following: 1, Theology; 2, Philosophy; 3, Natural Science; 4, Mathematics; 5, History; 6, Belles Lettres; 7, Ancient and Modern Languages; 8, Law; 9, Medicine.

4th. The professorships to be forthwith established in said institution are the following: 1, Moral Theology; 2, Dogmatic Theology; 3, Sacred Scripture; 4, Ecclesiastical History; 5, Canon Laws; 6, Philosophy; 7, Physical Science; and 8, Literature. And further professorships for the several branches above named it is proposed to establish in course of time. In testimony whereof we, the undersigned, have hereunto set our hands and affixed our seals on this 12th day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty-five:

James Gibbons, (Seal) Casper H. Borgess, (Seal)
M. A. Corrigan (Seal) John S. Foley, (Seal)
John J. Keane, (Seal) Michl. Jenkins, (Seal)
John M. Farley, (Seal) B. N. Farren, (Seal)
Thomas S. Lee, (Seal) Patrick John Ryan, (Seal)
Thomas E. Waggaman, (Seal) J. L. Spaulding, (Seal)
John J. Williams, (Seal) Martin Marty, O.S.B ., (Seal)
John Ireland, (Seal) P. L. Chapelle, (Seal)
Eugene Kelly, (Seal)


County of Washington,

I, Charles S. Drury, a Notary Public in and for the District of Columbia, do hereby certify that James Gibbons, John J. Williams, Patrick John Ryan, Michael A. Corrigan, John Ireland, J. Lancaster Spaulding, John J. Keane, Casper H. Borgess, Martin Marty, John M. Farley, John S. Foley, Placidus L. Chapelle, Thomas S. Lee, Michael Jenkins, Eugene Kelly, Thomas E. Waggaman, and Bernard H. Farren, parties to a certain instrument of writing purporting to be a Certificate of Incorporation of the Catholic University of America, bearing date on the 12th day of November, A.D. 1885, and hereto annexed, personally appeared before me in the District of Columbia aforesaid, all the said persons being personally well known to me to be the persons who executed the said instrument of writing, and acknowledged the same to be their act and deed.

Given under my hand and notarial seal this 19th day of April, A.D. 1887.

(Notarial Seal) Notary Public, D. C.