Christendom College celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a gala dinner dance on April 14, hosting close to 500 guests at the historic Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Joining special guests Senator Rick Santorum, Francis Cardinal Arinze, His Imperial and Royal Highness Imre of Habsburg-Lorraine, Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge, and radio personality Patrick Madrid, the guests enjoyed a spectacular night of dining and dancing, as they celebrated Christendom and its achievements in Catholic higher education over the past 40 years.
During the dinner, Senator Santorum presented a special message from Vice President Mike Pence to the college:
“Christendom occupies a special place today in higher education, and I send my congratulations to President Timothy O’Donnell, the Board of Directors, and each of you as you mark this exciting moment in the life of your community,” wrote the Vice President. “I am deeply grateful for your efforts to train students in the timeless and challenging liberal arts, and I applaud your commitment to cultivate a rising generation willing to lead in America’s faith, industry, and public life. Thank you for your distinct and ongoing impact — inspiring great hope for restoration and renewal in our Nation.”
Senator Santorum, who was chairman of the gala’s dinner committee along with his wife, Karen, welcomed guests to the dinner. Senator Santorum praised Christendom for being a shining example of Catholic higher education in America.
“This institution is truly a bright and wonderful light, and the leadership there, under Tim O’Donnell for the past 25 years, and the faculty and the graduates — it is all a great contribution to our country,” said Senator Santorum, whose son, Peter, is currently a freshman at the college. “You stand against a world that hates you, which means that you are standing squarely with the carpenter from Nazareth. I can’t tell you how proud Karen and I are to be a part of this gala, how proud we are that our son goes there, how proud we are that this institution, despite everything, stands and teaches the core, the truth, and the Gospel in a way that is desperately needed in this country and this world. Thank you all for celebrating an institution after Our Lord’s own Heart.”
Later in the evening, Francis Cardinal Arinze, a longtime friend of the college, also delivered high praise for it. He pointed to Christendom as a place where parents can send their children and trust that they will grow in nature and grace, both as students and as good citizens of society.
“Christendom is aware that parents are the primary educators of their children— no government ever had a baby,” said Cardinal Arinze. “The Catholic educational institution strives to reinforce the best efforts of the Catholic parents, and does not sabotage what the family is trying to promote. Parents can therefore send their children to Christendom College without worrying that they are going to learn new vices that they didn’t know before, but in justified hope that their children will grow in nature and grace, under the guidance of the powerful light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Long live Christendom College, and God bless all those who promote it.”
College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell presented the last scheduled remarks of the night, looking back to the roots of the college and pointing to its necessity today and into the future.
“It took grace and courage, back in 1977, to gather a committed group of Catholic laymen and women together to found a new college, a new college that was going to give a new hope that was vanishing in our country at that time,” said O’Donnell, referring back to late college founder Dr. Warren H. Carroll and his vision for Christendom. “This college, for 40 years, has been swimming vigorously against the tide, in service to Christ, in service to His Church, and also in service to our Nation, which we love. It has been a history that has been filled with historic struggles, with challenges, and which, by the grace of God, has been characterized by fidelity and courageous witness, withstanding criticism and attacks. Let us go forward together this evening and let us finish the great task that God, in His love and His mercy, has entrusted to us all, and together let us seek to restore all things in Christ.”
Mrs. Anne Carroll, the wife of late college founder Dr. Warren Carroll, followed O’Donnell with a surprise set of remarks, honoring O’Donnell and his wife, Cathy, for their twenty-five years of service to Christendom and to the vision of her late husband.
“It is Tim’s vision and his leadership skills that have guided Christendom to this triumphant moment. Just think of what the campus and the opportunities offered to students were 25 years ago as opposed to today,” said Carroll. “What Tim has brought to Christendom, more than anything else, is his deep abiding love for Jesus and His Mother and his passion to restore all things in Christ and to focus everything on that goal, from the metaphysics class to the rugby team. Besides talking about Tim as the best possible successor, Warren also had some words he frequently said about Tim and his beautiful wife, Cathy: ‘my most favorite people on all the Earth.’ If Tim has been the heart of Christendom for 25 years, than he and Cathy are one heart that beats together.”
As Christendom concludes its 40th Anniversary celebrations, it is now 92% of the way toward its current $40 million “Campaign for Christendom” goal, which will help build a new Christ the King Chapel, increase the endowment and add to the college’s annual fund, ensuring that its Catholic liberal arts education can continue long into the future. Learn more about the Campaign at campaign.christendom.edu.
To see all of the remarks from the 40th Anniversary Gala, please visit here.