Christendom College began its 2016-17 academic year with a record enrollment, bolstered by the new freshmen class of 2020. College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell made the announcement on August 21, during his opening of the academic year address to the student body, where he called on the record 478 students to live out the college’s motto and “restore all things in Christ.”
“By your presence here today, you are called and you are summoned to greatness. You have to become a leader — you have to strive for greatness. The world needs you, Christ needs you, the Church needs you, our beloved country needs you,” said O’Donnell. “This year, live your God-given dignity. You were born for great things — live that. You are a great group of students, and I know you can do this. Take up the challenge, and you will be, right now, restoring all things in Christ. You will dare to be great, and, if you do that, we are going to have a great year together.”
The student body of 478 includes 128 new students, including transfers, re-admitted students, and first-time freshmen. With the new growth and increasing retention rates, the college grew in enrollment numbers by 2% to its current record number — well above the national average for institutions of higher education.
This year’s freshmen class comes from twenty-seven U.S. states, as well as from Mexico and England. 59% of the Class of 2020 previously attended the Experience Christendom Summer Program, while 43% of the new students are siblings of former or current students.
“Christendom is leading the charge as a Catholic institution dedicated to academic excellence through an authentic, liberal arts education and a strong Catholic identity. At a time where many colleges are struggling to meet their enrollment goals, this record enrollment is a testament to the college’s fidelity to its mission to restore all things in Christ,” says director of admissions Sam Phillips.
With the student body increasing in size, Christendom made a significant renovation to the college’s St. Lawrence Commons during the summer as well, increasing the serving and dining areas exponentially. The improvements, including a state of the art marketplace design for the serving area and soundproofing in the dining area, now maximize the space to its full potential, making it a better location for fresh food and enlightening conversations for the entire college community.
Further improvements were made to other areas around campus, including: new classrooms on the first level of St. John the Evangelist Library, and additional computers on the main level; a new lounge on the first level of St. Joseph’s men’s residence hall, and new washers and dryers in every residence hall across campus.
O’Donnell laid out the details of the campus improvements during his address, where he also announced the variety of exciting events coming to Christendom this year, including famed intellectuals Dr. Rusty Reno and Fr. Robert Spitzer for the college’s Major Speakers series in the fall, and a new lineup of speakers for the “Life on Tap” series, including world renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Sheehan.
Over the summer, a number of administrative changes were made at the college as well. Alumni Peter Blank (’16), Mark Turner (’15) and Daniel Mitchell (‘13) joined the college staff as men’s residence director, men’s Rome coordinator, and assistant director of operations respectively, while alumnae Catherine Schneider (‘16) and Colleen Harmon (’13) became the college’s new associate director of admissions and director of career and leadership development respectively.
The college also hired five new assistant professors to join the college’s renowned faculty. In the department of theology, the college hired Dr. Matthew Tsakanikas and Michael Hahn, while Dr. Joseph Brutto was hired for the department of political science and economics. Dr. Kevin Tracy joined the department of classical and early Christian studies, and Dr. Miriam Byers joined the department of mathematics and natural science.