Over orientation weekend, Christendom welcomed its largest enrollment of 504 students to campus. College president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell made the announcement on August 19 during his opening of the academic year address to the student body, challenging them to change the culture, and themselves, during this year.
“If you work hard, if you study hard, if you pray hard, do it with Him, do it in Him, and do it through Him,” said O’Donnell. “If you do that, you will not only be daring to be great, you will truly be great. If we do that, then we will have a great semester together.”
The student body of 504 includes 168 new students, including transfers, readmitted students, and first-time freshmen. The college exceeded its enrollment goals for the year and grew 3% this year. Additionally, the number of male students attending grew to 49% of the freshman class this year. This year’s freshman class also holds the distinction and honor of having the highest-ever average SAT score: 1300.
“Despite a tight market for colleges in which more and more high school students are opting out of attending college, and men in particular are attending in smaller numbers, Christendom has been successful growing its enrollment and percentage of male students,” says director of admissions Sam Phillips. “Students long for an education that will challenge them intellectually, spiritually, and personally. They see Christendom, with its time-tested and authentically Catholic liberal arts education, as a place that will offer such a challenge. Students don’t want to just survive the college years, they want to thrive. Christendom affords the opportunity. We are grateful and thrilled to welcome this new class.”
This year’s new students come from 35 U.S. States, as well as from Ireland, Germany, Spain, Canada, and Mexico, with a stunning 66% of the freshmen having previously attended the Experience Christendom Summer Program.
Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington celebrated the opening Mass over orientation weekend and expressed his continued admiration for the college during his homily, thanking the faculty and staff for educating the next generation of great Catholic leaders.
“I feel like I am a part of the Christendom College community,” said Bishop Burbidge. “The College is a true treasure and we are so blessed to have it here in the Diocese of Arlington.”
During his address to the student body following the Mass, O’Donnell mentioned the newest improvements made to campus plant over the summer, including new flooring and painting in many of the residence halls, improved lighting across campus, and renovations to the college’s faculty offices.
In addition, the campus welcomed a new security firm for the academic year, after being impressed with their work during U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ visit to campus during the college’s 2018 Commencement exercises. This new team will have increased hours, boosting campus security in the process. The college also doubled the amount of counselor hours offered for students.
O’Donnell announced the variety of exciting events coming to campus this year as well, particularly the college’s two major speakers for 2018-19: Dr. Anthony Esolen and Mother Olga of the Sacred Heart.
The college also welcomed new staff and faculty to campus over the summer. Kristin Stephens joined the college as the new director of career development, Michael Mazzara (’18) as associate director of admissions, Clare McDermott (’18) and Sydney Dominguez (’18) as admissions counselors, Sylvia Messing (’18) as events coordinator, and Dominic Mann (’18) as Rome coordinator.
In the theology department, the college hired two new faculty members: Dr. Owen Vyner, previously of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Australia, and Professor Andrew Whitmore, currently a doctoral candidate at the Catholic University of America.