Forty years after enrolling in The Catholic University of America as an architecture student, Fred J. Maroon retuned to the campus in 1986 to begin work on this pictorial essay.
On the occasion of the University's centennial and the 40th anniversary of Maroon's graduation, he gives us Century Ended, Century Begun - The Catholic University of America. The book provides us a view of a University that has changed from the one he knew earlier and yet remains the same. When Maroon came home from World War II and joined CUA's freshman class, trolley cars transported students and visitors to campus. So Maroon's return in the 80's was somewhat unsettling until he discovered striking similarities to the past. Architecture students still stay up all night perfecting thier projects before the dreaded faculty critiques. Philosophy remains a cornerstone of the core curriculum. Broadway-quality productions are still performed at the Hartke Theatre, which rose to fame with the 1939 opening of Yankee Doodle Boy. And beating Georgetown University in football still inflates a Cardinal booster's pride like no other victory.
In a sense, Century Ended, Century Begun The Catholic University of America is a sequel for Maroon. This epilogue's stunning collection of photographs brings to life the vitality of the nation's only university established by the United States Catholic bishops. Maroon accomplishes this vision with the same enthusiasm he brought to the 1950 Cardinal. In his senior year, he served as editor-in-chief and photographer for this prize-winning yearbook and caught the eyes of Life magazine editors.
Through the lens of Maroon's camera, ordinary classrooms, residence halls, and meeting places are transformed into images of significance and visual beauty. His camera captures the breadth of campus life. Readers can experience the complexity of a philosophy class, the aesthetic order of an architectural façade, a musician's intense concentration, the placidity of a fresh snowfall and the boisterous joy a newly conferred degree brings.
Maroon does more than record. His meticulous eye canvasses the landscape and searches for the perfect conditions that transform mundane episodes into extraordinary masterpieces. "He'd set up his tripod at humdrum settings I'd seen a hundred times," says a student who accompanied Maroon on location. "Then I'd see the picture and it was like a whole new vision."
The highest art of the camera lies in its ability to extend to all the vision of the gifted. Maroon's patient use of light and carefully chosen angles enable him to trap fleeting moments that most of us miss.
Century Ended, Century Begun The Catholic University of America provides a stimulating introduction to newcomers to the university. But old friends will make new discoveries while being treated to brilliant images that will awaken past memories.