Student Profile

Conor Knox

Age: 21
Year: Senior
From: Cincinnati, OH
Major: Political Science
Hobbies? Making music with friends, SAC meetings, Intramurals.
What's your favorite class/professor? This is a tough one to narrow down. I really love Prof. Michael Brown’s medieval philosophy. Prof. Brown is very engaging and he leaves no room for dull moments. I’ve taken a number of political science classes with Dr. Bernard Way and have drawn a lot of valuable information on the formation of our country as well as learning about the philosophies that influenced the documents and foundation of America
What extra-curricular activities do you participate in? I play Rugby and am very excited for this upcoming season. We have a lot of young talent this year especially among the freshmen and sophomore classes. I love playing music with friends at Pub Nights and other events. I am a member of the Saint John Bosco Confraternity. I also work in the Admissions Office, calling prospective students, encouraging them to apply and to visit - so apply and visit!
What is your favorite thing about Christendom? Christendom offers such a unique experience to form intimate friendships with so many different people who are striving for the same goals that you are. The community is very tight knit and you are able to participate in so many different activities and really grow and gain experience in the things that are important to you.
Why did you choose Christendom? I chose Christendom because of the fun and faith filled environment and also because of the great opportunity to learn through a non-secular point of view from so many great teachers.
What has surprised you the most about Christendom? Christendom’s Rome program blew my mind. I had friends from multiple American study abroad programs and Christendom’s program was far superior to any of the other programs in nearly every aspect. From the prime location of our apartments to the free time opportunity given to travel to other countries, Christendom certainly gives you the world’s best Rome experience out there and I encourage everyone to go to Rome.
Plans after graduation? I am currently interviewing with a company now in the hopes of joining their sales department in the spring.
Any parting words of advice for a prospective student? Come visit the campus!

Student Life

Spirit Week

Excitement was high in the air last week as students prepared for Homecoming Weekend with the annual Spirit Week celebrations. Juniors Julie McMahon and Brigid King ran the daily events. Monday was Class Color Day, which gave the students a fun opportunity to show class spirit. Tuesday brought the popular Dress-a-Freshman contest, where each upperclassman made a costume for a freshman. Wednesday was “Christendom Spirit Day. Everyone paired up for Twin Day on Thursday. And on Friday, East vs. West Day”

Everyone always looks forward to this week in the fall. It gives the students a chance to show school spirit in more ways than one. The camaraderie among the students is definitely something very evident during those couple days.

“Spirit week was super fun. It was nice to see all the students get pumped up about it. Everyone also got excited to welcome back all the alumni for homecoming weekend,” said Junior Julie McMahon.

Seniors celebrate as they win the shout out competition on Monday.

Seniors pose with their freshmen, who won the dress-a-freshman contest.

Some freshmen were dressed up as trophies, and were runner-ups in the contest.

Freshmen Joe Kuplack and Peter Gaetano as traveling minstrels were a favorite on Monday as well.

Freshman John Paul Heisler, Juniors Pat McKenna and Peter Foeckler got the crowd cheering.

Students dressed up as classmate Will Stamper for twin day.

Juniors Midori Funai and Mark Turner dressed up as tourists.

Freshman James Wright rounds a bend in the relay races on Friday.

Golfing for Good

Homecoming weekend kicked-off with the annual Thomas S. Vander Woude Golf Tournament, which raises funds for the college's Scholar-Athlete Scholarship. Alumni, students, and benefactors braved a wet day on the green and still managed to have a fantastic time. Despite the rain, the tournament had its most successful fundraising year to date, which will help ensure continued support for student achievement in academics, athletics, and leadership.

Each year the tournament is held at the beautiful and highly-ranked Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club.

Athletics director Chris Vander Woude introduces one of this year's Scholar-Athlete Scholarship Recipients, Stephen Foeckler.

Alumni vs. Students in Homecoming Games

On Friday night students, visitors, returning alumni, and their families gathered in the gym to kick off Homecoming Weekend with the annual Students vs. Alumni basketball games. Former members of Christendom's men's and women's basketball teams pulled on the Crusaders jerseys once again to face the college's current varsity teams in a friendly game of youth versus experience. The bleachers were packed as spectators enjoyed watching the playfully competitive back-to-back games unfold. Both sides played well, and it was clear that all the athletes appreciated the chance to meet and play each other in a fun, familiar setting. The event truly showcased the college's special familial atmosphere, and reinforced the fact that all students, whether current or graduated, always have a home on campus in the hearts of the faculty and growing Christendom family. In the end the women's Student team followed tradition and won the night, and the current men's team surprised everyone by beating the alumni as well. The event never fails to entertain, and is sure to be an essential part of Homecoming Weekend for years to come.

Alumni in white and students in blue run down the court.

Nancy Bauer ('96) fights to add two to the Alumnae score.

Alumnus Pate Quest ('08) still believes he can fly.

Sophomore Jeremy Minick struggles around the 6'7" Brian Fox ('12).

Victor Alcantara ('05) takes it to the hole.


After the Games

Following the fun Homecoming basketball games, seniors and alumni gathered in St. Kilian’s Café for appetizers, drinks, and socialization with friends both new and old.  Classic tunes played in the background as teachers, visitors, and students mingled, exchanging stories, indulging in light hors d’oeuvres, and reveling in the company of former classmates. 

Leah Coffey ('03), and Heather ('03) and Peter ('99) Jensen chat about life after college.

It's great to be back home, at Christendom!.

Alumni Reunite!

On Saturday evening, October 12, the Homecoming festivities continued with the largest gathering of alumni all weekend for the Warren H. Carroll Alumni Reception in the Chapel Crypt. Over 250 alumni, faculty, and staff came together over fine hors d’oeuvres and beverages. The relaxed atmosphere allowed for a fun and cheerful evening, as old friends reunited and reconnected before heading over to the dance in the Commons.

Alumni from the class of 2012 converse over hors d'oeuvres.

Men from the class of 2013 are glad to back at their alma mater!

Alumni catching up with one another!

Alumni from the class of 2012: Liz Beller, Lauren Donohue, Catherine Briggs, and Fran Dewey

Alumni Gloria Klosterman and Colleen Harmon ('13) reconnect with retired English professor, Dr. Rice.

Head Chaplain, Fr. Planty, chats with Coach Vander Woude ('02), his wife Katy, and Dr. Brendan McGuire ('03).


Dancing: the Height of Homecoming!

Students, alumni, faculty, and staff gathered together in the St. Lawrence Commons on Saturday evening for the Homecoming Dance, and thus the culmination of festivities for the Homecoming Weekend. The Homecoming Dance is always a highlight for everyone, as familiar faces return to campus, and alumni reunite with the current students, professors and staff members. Everyone danced for hours to the live swing band, Yesterday Swing Orchestra, and a DJ took over the music for the last couple of hours. It was the perfect finale to a wonderful Homecoming weekend, and it especially left the current students rejuvenated and ready to take on a week of mid-term exams before Fall Break!

“I love it when people you have not seen in a long time come back to Christendom for Homecoming,” says Senior Brian McCrum. “This year was especially fun because so many recent graduates from the last two years came back home!”

Senior James Ciskanik twirls his partner around the dance floor!

Freshman David Charba and senior Marilyn Charba enjoy a sibling dance!

Freshmen Bridget Handy and John Paul Heisler having a fun time on the dance floor!

Seniors Jordan Mann and Lauren Enk enjoy a dance together.

Siblings show some moves! Alumnus Sam McMahon ('12) and junior Julie McMahon

Students and alumni dance the "Cupid Shuffle!"

Freshmen Stephen Foeckler and Elizabeth Rensch take the floor!


Open House

On Monday, the college hosted its largest Open House ever with over 175 people visiting the college. Students and their parents were able to hear addresses from College president Dr. Timothy O'Donnell and admissions director Tom McFadden, as well as sit in on classes and eat lunch with current Christendom students and faculty. Visitors also enjoyed a tour of the campu and took a look inside the residence halls. The next Open House will be held on November 16. Read more about it in "Ask the Director" below.

Admissions counselor Theresa Jalsevac leads a tour of the campus.


Rome Report

with Maria Bonvisutto

Pope Francis!


You could say that last Wednesday morning didn't start out in an ideal way for any of us. At 6:45 a.m. we were all standing in the courtyard of Candia, bleary-eyed and tired, preparing to walk around the Vatican walls in the rain and darkness. What got us through the early morning start? The thought that in a few hours, we’d be standing in St. Peter’s Square attending our first Wednesday Papal Audience with Pope Francis. For many of us, this would be the first time we’d see the Holy Father in person.

Of course, getting to that moment wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Trying to avoid being squashed as we navigated our way amongst the stampeding masses going through security required all the courage and skill we could muster. One thing we learned that day is that you don't want to get in the way of an Italian who's trying to get to the front of a line!

There weren't many seats left when we finally entered the Square, but several of our classmates snagged a fantastic spot in the standing section. When you go to a Papal Audience or a Papal Mass, the best place to be is right next to the barriers.  Even better is a corner. We not only claimed a large section next to the barrier, but also a corner just for good measure! Many people came up and tried to finagle their way into our spots, but we stood our ground. We had a couple hours to kill, but the excitement of waiting for Pope Francis to appear helped the time to pass by quickly. Also, it was such fun hearing the names of all the parishes, religious groups and schools read off by an official for everyone to hear. You should have heard the scream we gave when he announced Christendom College! I think we gave one of the loudest cheers of any of the groups in the Square.

I can't really describe our excitement and joy when Pope Francis emerged in the Pope mobile and began driving through the crowd.  We weren't sure if he would drive down our row, so the sense of anticipation was doubled for us every time the vehicle turned and got closer. As we waited, we loved watching the Pope interact with the crowds. Seeing him kiss the babies was especially touching.

And then he turned towards us! It was so surreal to have Pope Francis lowly advance towards the spot where we were standing. None of us could believe it was actually happening. Then he drove right by, and he was so close I could almost have reached out and touched him. How do you describe being right there, and seeing the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ himself pass right by you? I think it's an experience you really have to have for yourself to fully appreciate. We were doubly blessed because the Pope drove by us again on his way back to the front of St. Peter's Basilica. This time, as he drove past he looked right at our group. What an amazing few seconds! None of us will ever forget it as long as we live.

Although the rest of the Audience couldn't quite compare to those first minutes, we still loved it. Hearing the Pope's address read in so many different languages really impressed on us the universality of the Catholic Church. And praying the Our Father in Latin with everyone else in the Square and receiving the Holy Fathers' blessing was powerful too.  I think we all agreed that it was certainly worth waking up early!

Pope Francis approaches.

Viva il papa!

All smiles after seeing Pope Francis.



Crusader Sports Center

Crusader Soccer Finishes Phenomenal Season

The men’s soccer team finished the greatest season in soccer team history yesterday. Despite the loss to USCAA opponent Washington Adventist, the men’s team capped an amazing 11-2-1 season that included rankings as high as #8 in the USCAA coaches poll. The record, which is impressive in itself, includes even more impressive stat-lines.  The Crusaders outscored their opponents by an astonishing 78-14 goal margin. The only specks on the near perfect season were 3 games against very strong opponents being Washington Adventist and Potomac State College of WVU.

Going into their final game yesterday with Washington Adventist, the Crusaders were tied for the #9 spot in the USCAA national ranking while Washington Adventist sat at the 8th position. The Adventist team was hands down the best team the Crusaders played all year. Having battling to a close 2-3 loss in the first game in Front Royal, the Shock of Adventist took a controlling 2-0 lead going into halftime.

Adventist put another goal in the net before the Crusaders got on the board, when Peter Blank found Johnny Foeckler for the senior’s final goal in a Crusader uniform. The Shock added another goal down the stretch and the Crusaders had their season come to an end. Considering the size, talent, and speed of the Adventist team, the two hard-fought losses in no way diminish their amazing season. The team currently stands with 3 players in the top 25 for goals scored this year, including Sean Salmon at #5, Johnny Foeckler at #12 and Joey Kuplack at #21. In addition goalkeeper Tim Vander Woude is ranked #12 in goalie save percentage.

For the graduating seniors, this year was the capstone of a successful four-year journey. Their four-year record is 36-15-3. Congratulations, Crusaders!

Senior Johny Foeckler charges down field.

Crusader Soccer 2013: a historic season.


Special Report

Christendom in Ireland: the St. Columcille Institute

This past year Christendom College introduced a new life-changing summer experience to its already impressive list of horizon-broadening opportunities.  Reaching across the Atlantic, the program takes participants to Donegal, Ireland, for three weeks of study, prayer, and exploration.  Named the St. Columcille Institute after Donegal’s own priestly evangelist from the Middle Ages, the program strives to offer those attending the opportunity to grow in the three most important areas of life: body, mind, and soul. 

From climbing Mount Errigal—Ireland’s second highest peak—to viewing the Book of Kells, or from taking a class about the Christian Imagination to touring the Guinness brewery, the program delivers an experience unparalleled at any other university.  The program combines the Irish tradition and American spirit under the banner of the Catholic faith by opening the program to citizens of both countries.

"The Institute provides occasions for fruitful dialogue and an exchange of ideas and experiences, reawakening a love of our mutual heritage and energizing a determined hope for a revival of Christian faith and culture," says the institute director and college president, Dr. Timothy O'Donnell.

The institute’s debut this past summer was a success. As participants gathered in the Sacred Grounds Coffee Shop of St. John the Evangelist Library this past week to share stories about their experiences with their fellow students, it was obvious that they had never had such a wonderful and fulfilling week. They grew in their faith and knowledge, while surrounded by the beauty of Ireland. 

Mary O’Reilly, a sophomore who attended the program, encourages anyone who can go to go.

“If you are even thinking about it—don’t. Just go,” she says. 

An annual program, the St. Columcille Institute is bound to help many young Catholics in America and Europe grow in their knowledge of the Faith, equipping them to be leaders in the new evangelization.

Find out more at

Prof. Sharon Hickson lectures at the grave of Irish poet W.B. Yeats

Dr. Brendan McGuire teaches a course called "The Rise of Western Culture and Christian Ethos."

Archbishop Charles Brown, Papal Nuncio to Ireland, offered Mass for the group.

St. Columcille Institute 2013



Tom McFaddenAsk the Director

Q. I was at your Open House this past Monday (and loved everything about it) and heard you say something about another upcoming Fall Open House. Can you tell me when that will be held and if you have any plans for offering more of these in the future? I think they give visitors a great insight into all the great things you have going on there at Christendom.

A. I am glad you enjoyed your day out here in the Shenandoah Valley! We certainly enjoyed having you with us, and as you know, you were part of the historic, largest Open House ever, so congrats to you for taking the initiative to come out and visit and see what we are all about.

Since we had to put a cap on the number of people who could sign up (we had close to 175 people here for the day!) for the Open House this past Monday, we decided that it might be a good idea to have another one this fall, to accommodate all of those who had previously wanted to attend, but couldn't. So, we have decided to do something a little different. We will be having a Saturday Open House on November 16 from 1pm-5pm. It will be a little condensed, but I think it will still give interested visitors a good idea of why so many are choosing Christendom College for their educational needs.

Visitors will be able to sit in on a class taught by one of our professors (yes, even though it is a Saturday, one of our distinguished faculty has agreed to teach a special class for the event), hear about financial aid and academic scholarships, learn more about the importance of Christendom's rigorous core curriculum, and find out why Christendom alumni are so successful, both in their personal lives and in their professional lives.

Interested persons may register today and make sure you spread the word!