In December 2020, Msgr. Robert Trisco, professor emeritus of Church History, pledged $650,000 in support of the John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library and the study of his discipline at Catholic University.
The majority of this bequest will establish The Msgr. Robert Frederick Trisco Church History Library Endowment. Mullen Library currently offers more than 1.3 million books and print volumes, as well as access to tens of thousands of electronic journals and books. Msgr. Trisco’s gift will allow the University to continue to add to its impressive collection and ensure that future historians have the materials they need to continue his life’s work.
“This will be one of the biggest endowments the library has ever received, and certainly the biggest endowment that’s dedicated to our collections.”—Stephen Connaghan, University librarian
“Church History is a subject we’ve always collected very strongly in; it is something that’s very core to the mission of the University," said Connaghan. “Having more primary and secondary materials that we can purchase through this endowment will be a great boon to future scholars.”
A smaller portion of Msgr. Trisco’s gift will be used to process archival materials he is bequeathing to Mullen Library, including his personal papers and correspondence. Any funds remaining will be allocated to processing papers from the American Catholic Historical Association (ACHA) and The Catholic Historical Review. Msgr. Trisco served as the ACHA’s executive secretary from 1961 to 2009, and as managing editor of the Review from 1963 until 2005.
Archival materials that share the personal histories of individuals can be linked to other collections and help provide a full picture of the University’s history. Because of Msgr. Trisco’s extensive dedication to the study and preservation of Church History, his story is an important part of the history of studying the Catholic Church in this country.
“The study of the history of the Catholic Church as an institution is crucially important to understanding American Catholicism. Msgr. Trisco’s personal papers and generous donation will further such scholarship for years to come.”—Maria Mazzenga, curator of the University’s American Catholic History Collections
Msgr. Trisco chose to remember the University as part of his estate because of the important role it’s played in his life. He’s been a part of the Catholic University community for more than 60 years, as a faculty member, historian, and current Curley Hall resident. His generosity will ensure that this important subject remains a core part of each student’s education.
“Catholic University was the place where I was able to carry out the work that I enjoyed, and I wanted to promote my own discipline,” Msgr. Trisco said. “Why is Church History important? To understand the nature of the Church as we have it today. I’ve taught both papal history and English Church History, as well as American Church History. I would like to see those fields developed.”