There’s a correlation between being Catholic and having a large family. People have often seen the large 15-passenger vans of Catholic families in their local communities, shuttling the many children to school, Church, and elsewhere. Due to the size of these families, however, it can often be difficult to send them all to college because of the financial constraints. And yet, the Hepler family of Cranberry, Pennsylvania, has sent ten of their children to Christendom College, with their son, Thomas, the eighth to earn a degree from the institution, joining an impressive legacy in the process. His twin sisters, Clare and Catherine, will be juniors this fall, and will be the 9th and 10th graduates respectively in 2019.
“My family is all in on Christendom because the college is a good place to grow intellectually and spiritually as young Catholics,” says Thomas Hepler. “You also receive a world class education in the liberal arts, and are provided the opportunity to grow in knowledge and love of God and His will for your life.”
They have certainly been “all in” since 1997, when Thomas’ sister, Anna, arrived at the college. Sixteen years later, Thomas became the eighth to do so. Since arriving in 2013, Hepler has made the family proud, with excellent grades and by positively impacting the school — even earning the college’s coveted Student Achievement Award. In addition to serving as sophomore class president, Hepler served as head resident assistant and as a leading force on the varsity rugby and basketball teams, as well as a leader in the student-run pro-life group, Shield of Roses. As the eighth member of his family to earn a degree from the college, he understands how much the college means to his family, but also how much they have personally invested in the college and their children’s education there.
While college is not a cheap endeavor, Christendom has worked to make the education affordable for large families. Hepler received the college’s 25% off sibling discount while his brother, Andrew (’15), was in college, and this past year, one of his twin sisters received a 25% off discount, while the other received 50% off as the third child enrolled concurrently.
When his sisters graduate, Hepler’s family will have successfully sent the remainder of their children to Christendom, completing an incredible legacy at the college. Hepler, for his part, is proud of the mark his family has left on the school, and hopes to continue carrying on the lessons he’s learned from Christendom into his future endeavors.
“It’s great to have that common experience with my family. It has a huge unifying aspect,” says Hepler. “My education at Christendom is something that I will use in whatever I do for a career. It is about forming the individual as a whole person, and not in a narrow technical role.”
Christendom has had many families send multiple children to the college over the years, including the Murphy family with five graduates, the Akers’ with six, the McMahons’ with seven, and the Hibls with eight. Now, the Heplers have eight as well — this ties the record for most graduates of the same family from Christendom College. With two more Heplers about to enter their junior year, a new record of ten is within reach.
To learn more about Christendom’s generous financial aid offerings, including its unique Scholarship Price Match Program, go here.