Year: (Rising) Junior
From: Skaneateles, NY
Major: English Language & Literature
Hobbies: Horseback Riding, playing music, skiing, dancing, being outdoors and with friends
What's your favorite class or professor? Several classes that I have really enjoyed are Philosophy 201: Ethics with Prof. Mike Brown, Philosophy 202: Metaphysics with Dr. Douglas Flippen, and English 201 and 202 with Prof. Sharon Hickson. These teachers are great, both in and out of the classroom, and I have learned a great deal from them.
What's your favorite thing about Christendom? Definitely the people, from the students to the faculty. I have made great friends here and I know I will have them for the rest of my life. Everyone here is kind, fun, and willing to help when you need it.
Why did you choose Christendom? I chose Christendom because I wanted to attend a college that was not only Catholic in name, but where the Faith is practiced and taught as well.
Plans after graduation? Right now, I'm just focused on getting the best grades that I can and making the most of my time at the college.
Any parting words of advice for prospective students? Definitely come and visit! The experience offered by Christendom is priceless. You will learn a great amount from the teachers, both inside and outside the classroom. You will be in a good Catholic community and the friends that you will make here will stay with you for the rest of your life!
Special awards were presented to members of the graduating senior class on Wednesday, May 7, during lunch in the St. Lawrence Commons. Dr. Timothy O’Donnell began by giving a few words about the service and achievements of this year’s senior class. Student Activities Council (SAC) President, Jake Morgan, and Student Activities Director, Caitlin Bowers, presented the Joe McGlynn Award for Service to Joe Brizek, a senior who has given generously of his time and talents to SAC. Coach Chris Vander Woude, the Athletic Director, presented an award to Jonathan Fioramonti for his hard work and contributions to the athletic program at Christendom. The heads of the English, History, and Philosophy departments gave out awards to a senior who excelled in his or her major, especially regarding treatment of their senior thesis.
This year's winner of the Joe McGlynn Award for Service, senior Joe Brizek.
Athletic Director, Coach Vander Woude, presents senior Jonathan Fioramonti with the Pate Quest Athletic Leadership Award.
English professor Dr. Stanford, along with the other professors from the English department, presents senior Lauren Enk with the Dr. Rice Award for English Language and Literature.
Dr. Adam Schwartz, head of the History department, presents the Dr. Carroll Award for History to senior Zach Smith. (Maribeth Kelly won the Philosophy award, but was not present at lunch.)
Last Day of Classes Party
Students celebrated another successful school year with the Last Day of Classes Party on Wednesday evening in the Commons. Everyone gathered to relax, chat, snack on delicious food, and have fun before beginning studying for finals. The duet “The Grey Havens,” provided free live entertainment for everyone who attended. This visiting singing couple was a big hit and kept students on their feet dancing and cheering to the music all evening long. It was the perfect way to take a short break in between classes and the beginning of finals.
The Grey Havens were a big hit.
Students enjoy listening to the Grey Havens.
Freshmen girls relax after their last day of classes.
Clare Duda and Nick Jaroma man the Grey Havens merchandise table.
The Contra Dance Club held its annual Semi-Formal dance on Sunday evening in the Chester-Belloc room of Regina Coeli. The room was festively decorated for the occasion, and punch and snacks were laid out for everyone who attended.
Students had a blast dancing the night away and putting to use all the contra dances they had learned and practiced over the school year. The night kicked off with a rousing Virginia Reel, a favorite of everyone. Students also participated in a dance called “The Minotaur,” waltzed, and, of course, had fun with swing dance.
Tim Johnston swings his partner around.
Students slow things down with a waltz.
A Dance "Under the Stars"
Last Saturday night in the St. Lawrence Commons, students gathered together to dance and socialize before the craziness of finals began. Rainy skies moved the event indoors, but the Student Activities Council did a wonderful job bringing the starry skies inside with sparkling decorations. Snacks, a fun mix of music, and the laid-back atmosphere all provided a perfect opportunity for students to mingle in fellowship as the year came to a close.
"The decorations were beautiful and the music was fun," freshman Sarah Duffany said. "It was nice to be able to dance, but also to just take time to sit and talk with friends. It was such a nice break before finals."
Freshmen Monica Burke and Matt Hambric laugh as they share a dance.
A full dance floor enjoys "Cotton-Eyed Joe".
Senior Jordan Mann dips Junior Midori Funai.
Senior Zach Smith recognizes the Student Activities Council for their amazing work.
On Friday, the college launched its Commencement Weekend with a Baccalaureate Mass celebrated by college chaplain Fr. Donald Planty. Fr. Terence Henry, the chancellor of Franciscan University, concelebrated and delivered a stirring homily in which he described life as an adventure and a unique mission given to us by God.
"We simply would not be if we did not have a mission," Fr. Henry said. "What is our task? To discover the unique gifts He has given us. You did a lot of discovery here in four years, but you're not done. You've only scratched the surface of the iceberg… that is your challenge, dear graduates. To discover His mission and to discover the unique gifts He has given you to accomplish it. You are needed on the front lines wherever the culture of death is pressing in."
Fr. Henry said that the culture of death is attacking from all sides and that the graduates need to stand up against it. He explained that regiments in the Civil War would stand and fight and know that they were protected to their left and right because they would feel the elbow of the soldier next to them.
"No Catholic in the United States today who is standing for pro-life, who is standing for the family, who is standing for the aged or the very young, is ever not going to feel an elbow, because they know that the graduates of this fine college—Christendom College—will be standing there with them. Standing there combatting that culture. May you always be on the front lines fighting that culture of death and may God bless you for that as you leave us."
Students happy about their upcoming graduation.
Graduation Dinner and Dance
After Mass on Friday, the graduates and their parents enjoyed an elegant dinner at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club with the college's faculty and staff. Several toasts were made in honor of the parents, students, faculty, and staff. Following dinner, the graduates headed back to campus for a dance with their fellow students at the St. Lawrence Commons. Parents, students, and siblings enjoyed dancing to a live swing orchestra late into the night.
The Connellys chat with literature professor Ben Reinhard at the cocktail reception before dinner.
Jake Morgan, the student body president, offers a toast to the staff and administration.
Connor Coyne, the senior class president, offers a toast to the faculty.
Terri Hibl with her dad. Terri is the eighth of her siblings to graduate from Christendom (a college record).
This class features 13 children of alumni (pictured above with their parents).
Sophomore Austin Leavitt enjoys a dance with senior Kelsy Ingold.
The dance floor was hoppin' all night.
Freshman Jake Hiserman enjoys a dance.
Seniors Angelica Cintorino and Sean Ryan enjoy a dance.
On Saturday, 69 liberal arts degrees were awarded to the class of 2014 during the Commencement Ceremonies. The college also honored renowned author and philosopher Dr. Peter Kreeft and Fr. Terence Henry, the chancellor of Franciscan University. Fr. Henry received the college's "Pro Deo et Patria" Medal and Dr. Kreeft was awarded an honorary doctorate.
The ceremonies began with a bagpipe-led procession from Christ the King Chapel to St. Louis the Crusader Gymnasium.
Salutatorian Maribeth Kelly of Front Royal, Va., welcomed all the attendees and, in her address, noted that although it was time to say good-bye to Christendom, she and her graduates should rejoice in the education, formation, and experience that they have received.
"We must joyfully embrace the vocation that God has placed before us," Kelly said. "As Christians, we are called to maintain joy at every stage of life... The joyful soul keeps his eyes on eternity unshaken by the difficulties of the world embracing the reality that the human person was created for everlasting splendor and joy with his Creator."
Dr. Kreeft delivered an address filled with both humor and deep insights. He encouraged the graduates to practice for heaven by letting Christ reign now here on earth through prayers and supplications to Jesus.
"Your college is nobly named after that reign [of Christ]," Kreeft said. "Christendom means Christ's kingdom. You are part of that atomic fission that explodes and spreads the radiation of that kingdom. Once, that kingdom was tiny... It was once a one-celled zygote in Our Lady's womb. Nine months later it was still as small as a crèche. It has been expanding for 2,000 years, transforming this world into Christendom."
The growth of Christendom—Christ's kingdom—is unstoppable, even by the gates of Hell, Kreeft said, and he encouraged them to never forget the big picture.
"And never forget your absolute and essential job," he said, "to change this world into Christendom."
Fr. Henry delivered brief remarks following the reception of the "Pro Deo et Patria" Medal for Distinguished Service to God and Country.
Lauren Enk of Madisonville, La., delivered the valedictory address. Enk said that living in the community at Christendom College reinforced a reality that everyone there knows to be true: life is beautiful, people are made for happiness; and that happiness is attainable. She described the graduates' time at Christendom as a type of Tabor experience, referring to the mountain on which the Transfiguration of Jesus took place.
"Beginning today, we are coming down from the mountain," she said. "And we hold our experiences here in our hearts as spiritual nourishment for the journey ahead."
Closing the ceremony, college President Dr. Timothy O'Donnell delivered his charge to the graduates.
"As you go through life there will be crosses that you will encounter," O'Donnell warned. "But it is important to remember that we are carrying our cross with Him… so stay close to Him."
He implored the graduates to go forth filled with a divine hope.
"Know that in all circumstances, wherever you find yourself, He will be with you. He is deeper than any crisis, and brighter than any darkness," O'Donnell said.
Director of Admissions Tom McFadden, along with Director of Donor and Alumni Relations Vince Criste, presented the Student Achievement Award to Jacob Morgan of Front Royal, Va., for his dedication to the community. Morgan made great contributions to the academic and social life of the college as the president of the Student Activities Council.
The graduates busted out party blowers after the conferral of degrees.
Mrs. Anne Carroll (wife of Christendom's founder Dr. Warren Carroll) with graduates of Seton High School in Manassas, Va., which she founded.
Cintorino twins, Angelica and Maria, with their parents and Fr. Planty.
Philosophy professor Raymund O'Herron with two generations of his students,
Dave Marra ('88) and Joan Marra ('89) and their children: Catherine ('12), Joe ('14), and Peter ('17).
The celebratory hat toss.
Watch the speeches from Commencement 2014 in the playlist below:
You can download the audio and video of the speeches at Christendom on iTunes U.
On Saturday evening after the ceremonies, the recent graduates and their families, along with invited guests, enjoyed the First Annual Post-Graduation Barbecue. The weather was idyllic and contributed to an event that is sure to become a beloved Christendom tradition. All enjoyed fresh barbecue pork and grilled chicken catered by the popular and local restaurant, the Apple House. A live bluegrass band added to the relaxed and fun atmosphere.
"This is great," recent graduate Colleen Anderson said. "Good food, good drinks, and my friends. Where else would I want to be?"
Seniors were given a parting gift of a hoodie and a miraculous medal blessed by Pope Francis.
College President Dr. Timothy O'Donnell hands out the miraculous medals to the members of the Student Philanthropy Board, who were instrumental in generating 100% participation in class giving.
Seniors honored Fr. Donald Planty, who began his assignment as chaplain of Christendom College the same year the graduates arrived as freshman.
Families enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.
The food was fantastic.
Graduate Matt Speer sings along with the bluegrass band, The Honky Tonk Blues.
Graduates Klarissa Blank and Marilyn Charba sport their new hoodies.
Class of 2014, What Will You Miss?