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Catholic identity at heart of Catholic University’s new ‘Lead with Light’ brand

Advertising seen in an undated photo featuring The Catholic University of America's new brand "Lead with Light" is displayed at a Metro station in Washington. (OSV News photo/courtesy The Catholic University of America)

(OSV News) — The Catholic University of America launched a new “Lead with Light” brand March 18 to emphasize the institution’s focus on Christ and bringing his light to the world through vibrant community life and academic excellence.

“Our new brand platform, ‘Lead with Light,’ encapsulates who we are as an institution, highlighting our dedication to academic excellence, a warm and welcoming community, and where Christ is at the center of everything we do,” Peter K. Kilpatrick, president of the university, said in a statement announcing the new brand. “We are proudly proclaiming to the world that this University has momentum and that we are leading the way in providing an authentically Catholic education where our students thrive.”

In an OSV News column published March 18, Kilpatrick wrote that “at Catholic University, we are proudly living out our motto, ‘Deus Lux Mea Est,’ namely, ‘God Is My Light.’ I expect that visitors will notice the vibrant banners and positive messages of hope and light of our new brand. More than that, however, I know that they will notice that so many of our students exude infectious energy, optimism and joy.”

Karna Lozoya, vice president of communications and chief marketing officer at the university, said that the “entire community contributed in one way or other to this brand effort. From focus groups, surveys, and impromptu chats on the sidewalk, we engaged with students, faculty, and staff to get their thoughts, ideas, and input.” She said the result of this “collective two-year conversation about who we are and how we are perceived” is “Lead with Light — a brand that truly reflects who we are as The Catholic University of America.”

Lozoya told OSV News that in the discussion that took place about the brand, everyone brought up “the warmth of the community, the hospitality, how engaged our students are, how joyful and happy they are.” Based on these conversations, she said, “we knew that our community had to be front and center” and that came together with the school’s motto “God Is My Light” as the idea of leading with light resonated.  

She said the new brand reflects “the energy and the optimism” of the campus community.

Dominican Father Aquinas Guilbeau, chaplain and vice president of ministry and mission at the university, told OSV News that the “Lead with Light” slogan illustrates how the university is “first and foremost led by light, led by the light of Christ” and “the more we are enveloped by that light and transformed by that light, we will become that light in the world.”

He said bringing the light of truth and charity to the world is “one way in which the university, in accord with its Catholic mission, could become not only countercultural, but also at the service of the culture to build up our culture and civilization.”

Father Guilbeau also saw the new brand as the university’s invitation, saying “come join us, this is an exciting place to be at the heart of the church, at the heart of the nation to become servants of Christ, servants of our country in the best way that’s possible at the moment.”

The university has rolled out advertising featuring the new slogan in the Metro Center and CUA-Brookland Metro stations in Washington, at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, on commuter buses and with flag banners hanging across Catholic University’s campus.

“Additional elements of the brand — including merchandise and marketing materials — will roll out through the year, culminating in the brand defining the look and feel of the University,” according to the university’s statement. “The brand retains the University’s traditional blue and red colors, but additional vibrant shades make the palette more interesting and give it energy.”

Lauretta Brown is culture editor for OSV News. Follow her on X (formerly known as Twitter) @LaurettaBrown6.

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