Christendom College Receives $5 Million Anonymous Gift For Capital Campaign

April 5, 2001


Quickly emerging as one of the most reputable Liberal Arts colleges in the nation, Christendom College has found the need to venture into unknown waters by setting sail on its first-ever Capital Campaign, with American war-hero and former Alabama senator, Admiral Jeremiah A. Denton, at the helm as Honorary Chair of The Campaign for Christendom.

With a destination of $12 million mapped out, Christendom College recently received an anonymous gift of $5 million to put some wind in its sails and help begin this exciting journey. Members of the faculty, staff, student body, and Board of Directors joined Admiral Denton and Christendom supporters at the Union League Club in New York earlier this year to rally support for this new initiative. The Union League Club dinner was one of many such gatherings planned throughout the country in an effort to raise awareness for The Campaign for Christendom. Mrs. Mary Ellen Bork, wife of Judge Robert P. Bork, hosted a reception and dinner for Christendom College at her residence in McLean, Virginia. Other receptions were scheduled at the residences of former U.S. General and Ambassador, Vernon A. Walters, and former baseball commissioner, Bowie Kuhn, with even more planned for the future.

According to Christendom College President, Dr. Timothy T. O'Donnell, "We are extremely delighted at the benevolence of this anonymous donor. Apparently, this individual found out about Christendom College by watching the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and viewing a series of programs in which I had participated. In the business of private higher education, one can never be certain about when donations will arrive, but I am truly happy that this $5 million donor came forward at this time to get our Capital Campaign off on the right foot."

From its founding in 1977 with twenty-six students, five faculty members, borrowed facilities, and a mere $50,000 in the bank, Christendom College has grown rapidly and is now a permanent, solid college with undergraduate and graduate programs enrolling 450 students who come from 43 states and 4 foreign countries. It maintains two campuses, manages a modest endowment of nearly $5 million, and enjoys an admirable reputation for academic excellence and fiscal management. In fact, Christendom's assets total $16.5 million, with only a $1.1 million debt. According to the College's auditors, Christendom applies 89% of available funds to College programs, 2% to administration, and 9% to fundraising. In this regard, Christendom is superior to all other Virginia colleges, both public and private. Such progress is even more notable in light of Christendom's historic decision to neither seek, nor accept, Federal financial subsidies.

Due to the rapid growth rate, the College's administration has found it necessary to find new ways of generating needed funds. The Campaign for Christendom – Advancing Catholic Higher Education is the plan. The funds generated by this campaign will be used to construct a much needed library, increase residential capacity, add classroom space to the existing academic center, help provide for a new graduate school campus, and grow the endowment fund.

Vice President of Development, Planning, and College Relations, John Ciskanik says, "The whole Christendom College community is excited about this new venture. After years of study and preparation, we now believe that the only way to continue moving in the right direction is to launch this Capital Campaign. A comprehensive feasibility study, conducted last spring, determined that we have sufficient support among our friends and benefactors in order to launch a plan to meet the demands of eight years of rapid growth at Christendom. With the arrival of this $5 million gift, I now know that our determinations were correct!"

This rapid growth can be attributed to the growing reputation of the College throughout the nation. In fact, Christendom's achievements were recently noted in U.S. News & World Report by being ranked as first among all national Liberal Arts colleges in America in the category of "least debt incurred by its graduates." In addition, Christendom was acknowledged by The Princeton Review in the 2001 edition of Time magazine's "The Best College For You" issue. Christendom has been the topic of many news stories and magazine articles in recent months, thus again, demonstrating that the College is gaining the academic recognition it rightly deserves.

Located on over 100 acres on the outskirts of the historic town of Front Royal, Christendom College offers a unique educational opportunity. "At a time when much of university education over-emphasizes job training and classes are frequently taught in large auditoriums, Christendom College provides its students with a well-rounded education in a personal environment. Students are immersed in a carefully structured curriculum of liberal arts disciplines. Our graduates are able to read critically, to think logically, and to express themselves clearly – skills necessary for any profession," says Paul Heisler, Director of Admissions.

Contained in The Campaign for Christendom plan is the goal of finding a more suitable campus for the Alexandria, Virginia based Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College. Christendom's graduate school (NDGS), under the supervision and direction of Graduate School Dean, Reverend William Saunders, has also been growing steadily over the past five years. "The demands and quality of our program are well recognized throughout the country, as evidenced by the ever growing demand for our graduates in the field of Religious Education," says Saunders. "We provide a much needed program of Catholic graduate education in this area. We have recently been attracting many graduates of other Catholic colleges and universities who wish to further their education. According to many of these students, the NDGS program is one that offers truly Catholic theological study, in a competitive and challenging environment."

Since receiving the anonymous $5 million gift in January, the College has received a number of other gifts totaling $3.5 million, making $8.5 million raised to date. Now, with an $8.5 million head start, Christendom College has an excellent chance of reaching the $12 million mark, enabling it to continue offering the highest quality Liberal Arts education to an ever increasing number of college-bound men and women.


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