Professor Ray O’Herron, one of the founding faculty members of Christendom College, delivered his final class lecture today, after forty-one years of service to the institution and its students.
O’Herron’s final lecture was, fittingly, for his THEO 102 class — a course he taught to thousands of students since 1977. Students, faculty, and staff packed his classroom to hear him teach one last time, celebrating his humor, humility, and commitment to the Magisterium in the process.
“In many ways, Ray O’Herron has been the heart and soul of Christendom College throughout his 41 years of service,” says college president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell. “His class on Catholic doctrine has had a profound impact on generations of students. He has also served the college as a philosophy professor, in the early days as dean of students and in many ways, he served as Warren’s right hand man. He has been a great help and support to me over the years. It is hard to imagine Christendom College without him. With great affection and esteem, I salute him for his 41 years of service to the Christendom apostolate and thank Almighty God for the gift that he has been to our college community.”
Ray O’Herron was the second faculty member college founder Dr. Warren Carroll approached when he came up with the idea for Christendom College. An electrical engineer originally, O’Herron had earned his master’s in philosophy from Catholic University in 1973 and had taught at a diocesan high school in New York before he met Carroll. After a series of encounters, O’Herron expressed an interest to Carroll in teaching philosophy at a Catholic college, and Carroll offered him a position at Christendom. Beginning in 1976, after the college was officially incorporated, the two worked tirelessly to set up the college and, when it opened in 1977 in Triangle, Virginia, O’Herron became dean of men and professor of philosophy.
When the college looked to move to a more permanent location, it was O’Herron who headed the search for a campus and settled upon a location in Front Royal, Virginia — the same location where Christendom still stands today.
O’Herron is a beloved member of the college and the final member of the founding faculty to retire from teaching at the undergraduate level. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy, impacting generations of students with his succinct and clear teaching of Catholic theology and philosophy. His guidance outside the classroom is just as momentous, as O’Herron led mission trips to Banica, Dominican Republic for years, rallying students to help the impoverished in that country. Additionally, O’Herron will be well-remembered for his enjoyment of playing backgammon with the students at lunch, and singing “Four Green Fields,” and other songs, each year at the annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities on campus.
“One of the best things about Christendom over the past 40 years has been the fact that some of the college’s founding faculty have still been on staff, helping to ensure that the college remains true to its mission,” says VP for enrollment Tom McFadden. “Many colleges which were first founded to educate students in truth have gone astray, and seem to have lost sight of their important mission. At Christendom, we still have our eye on the truth, and it has been very helpful to have Ray O’Herron on staff to give his guidance and wisdom. Personally, I think it is pretty amazing that four of my children have had Ray for Theo 101 and 102, just as my wife and I did when we were students. It’s not every day that two generations of students can say they had the same teacher, for the exact same course, learning the exact same material, taking the exact same tests, and struggling over whether the answer is ‘always, sometimes, or never.’ Ray O’Herron will be missed.”
While O’Herron may be moving on to a well-deserved retirement, the college will never forget him and his ceaseless fidelity to Christendom and its mission.