After years of planning and three years of hard work, Christendom College has officially reached its $12 million goal and ended its first-ever capital campaign, The Campaign for Christendom: Advancing Catholic Higher Education. “On behalf of President Timothy O’Donnell, Madame Chairman of the Board of Directors Mrs. Donna Bethell, the volunteers and campaign organizers, and the students who will benefit from the fruits of this capital campaign, I offer the college’s sincere thanks to the hundreds of friends and benefactors who made this important dream a reality,” says John F. Ciskanik, Vice President for Planning, Development, and College Relations.
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 solid college with undergraduate and graduate programs enrolling 500 students who come from 44 states and 4 foreign countries. It maintains two campuses, manages a modest endowment of over $6 million, and enjoys an admirable reputation for academic excellence and fiscal management. 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 found it necessary to find new ways of generating needed funds. The Campaign for Christendom – Advancing Catholic Higher Education was that plan.
Looking back, the path to success has not come without cost. Beginning in the summer of 2000, The Campaign for Christendom had achieved the 75% mark. But then the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., changed everything.
The resulting uncertainty in the financial markets compounded the difficulty of maneuvering with a “planned” operational shortfall. In other words, as Christendom College highlighted its capital campaign needs, a “planned” weakness in operational fund raising had become more acute as a result of the unstable financial markets. In fact, as of mid-February, the College had only reached about 65% of its operational goal.
Still, the successful conclusion of The Campaign for Christendom comes during the College’s 25th anniversary year and shows a widespread recognition of the vital need for Catholic colleges that work to “restore all things in Christ.”
For the past twenty five years, Christendom College has contributed to the pursuit of Christian unity called for by Pope John Paul II through its work in Catholic Higher Education. Today the College enrolls approximately 500 students at its undergraduate campus in Front Royal, VA, and its Notre Dame Graduate School campus in Alexandria, VA.
First, Christendom has constructed a $1 million+ women’s dormitory. St. Catherine of Siena Hall currently houses 85 young women.
Second, the College added new endowed scholarships to its $6 million endowment fund.
Construction of the College flagship Campaign project, the St. John the Evangelist Library, is well underway, due in a large part to several substantial anonymous donors. This 40,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility will replace the existing Sean O’Reilly Memorial Library. A formal dedication service for the St. John the Evangelist Library is scheduled for August 2004.
Fourth, The Campaign for Christendom has doubled the amount of Charitable Gift Annuity contracts administered by the College. The Gift Annuity Program helps support the College’s Financial Aid program.
Finally, The Campaign for Christendom has proven to be a watershed event in the advancement of Christendom College and its mission and has provided a significant morale boost to the College community in these times of financial and political uncertainty.
“We must never forget the honored place of Christendom’s benefactors,” says President Timothy O’Donnell, “especially those who responded so favorably to our campaign appeal. Without the substantial financial support and the persistent prayers of our many friends and benefactors over the years, founding president Dr. Warren Carroll, along with the men and women who gathered in 1977, could not have gotten Christendom College off the ground. And without the continued support of these good people, Christendom College would not have been able to provide a home for one of the best graduate schools of theology in the country.”
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.