For junior Cecilia Garvey, attending Christendom College was not the original plan. As a talented violinist and academically gifted individual, Garvey wanted to attend a school with a competitive music program that, in her eyes, would lead to a prestigious career. But through what Garvey described as a “series of providential proddings,” she ultimately decided to attend Christendom, where she has not only been able to develop her musical talents and further her career aspirations, but, most importantly, grow and thrive as a Catholic.

Garvey is the daughter of Christendom alumni and grew up hearing about Christendom and what it had to offer. As she discerned where she wanted to go to college, that family history led her to apply to her parents’ alma mater — even though she did not feel it was the place for her at first.

One of the essential “providential proddings” that led Garvey to think differently was her participation in the college’s Padre Pio Full-Tuition Scholarship competition. From writing an essay about the liberal arts, to speaking with professors in her interview about her favorite books and the nature of true education, the competition caused Garvey to think more deeply about the kind of education she wanted to receive.

At the competition, Garvey said she “encountered the intellectual rigor of Christendom’s curriculum,” and discovered “an eager student body invested in their education,” which made her desire the unique intellectual and spiritual formation Christendom has to offer.

After reevaluating what she previously thought she wanted from her college education, Garvey knew that Christendom was for her. To her surprise, Garvey was ultimately awarded one of the college’s Padre-Pio Full-Tuition scholarships, making Christendom an exceptionally affordable option for her college education.

“The opportunity to attend Christendom on a full-tuition scholarship is a gift I don’t merit, but I’m indebted to Christendom for it and I come to appreciate it more every day,” Garvey humbly remarked.

To Garvey, the scholarship was the “cherry on top” of her decision to attend Christendom.

Since starting at the school in the fall of 2017, Garvey has completely delved into all that Christendom has to offer, both inside and outside the classroom. Garvey has excelled academically and discovered a deep love for the Catholic liberal arts.

Garvey participates in Christendom’s Chamber Orchestra.

“Through the integrated curriculum, I have encountered storytellers, historians, philosophers, and theologians who have unfolded mysteries which I barely comprehend and trials of life which I am just beginning to encounter,” remarked Garvey.  “Being surrounded by professors and peers who are striving to live well is a tangible expression of what a Catholic Liberal Arts education ought to inspire.”

While Garvey certainly has excelled academically, she has also become highly involved in the college community.  From travelling to Peru through Christendom’s Mission Trip Program, to running on the cross-country team, to participating in the Cincinnatus League (a campus branch of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute), to hosting visitors as a student ambassador, Garvey has taken advantage of a multitude of extracurricular opportunities.

Garvey has been able to pursue her passion for music by participating in Christendom’s Chamber Orchestra and by organizing musical ensembles for various performance opportunities, including Christendom’s 40th Anniversary Gala in Washington, D.C, in 2018. Along with several other Christendom students, Garvey plays in the band Play the Changes, which often performs on campus and at local venues.

Hear Garvey play here:

Even during the summer months, Garvey can still be found at Christendom. She serves as a counselor for the Experience Christendom Summer Program, where she helps hundreds of high school students enjoy a faith-filled, educational experience. Each week during the five one-week sessions, Garvey gets the opportunity to listen to these students and share her own story, all while growing in her leadership skills and her passion for her college.

During the summer, Garvey serves as a counselor for the Experience Christendom Summer Program.

Over the past year, Garvey has been able to spend time overseas with Christendom as well. During the summer, she studied in Ireland as part of the college’s St. Columcille Institute, learning how to be a part of the New Evangelization back home and beyond. Shortly after that, Garvey joined her fellow classmates in the heart of the “Eternal City” for the college’s Semester in Rome, an experience she described as “awe-inspiring” — and something that made Garvey’s Catholic faith come even more alive.

Garvey in Ireland with the St. Columcille Institute

“Living in Rome, witnessing the canonization of Cardinal Newman, and seeing the places where martyrs lived and died cannot be anything less than life-changing,” Garvey shared.

Garvey attended the canonization of St. John Henry Newman during her semester in Rome

Now that she has returned from her semester in Rome, Garvey is on to another exciting adventure: an internship on Capitol Hill. Taking advantage of Christendom’s close proximity to Washington D.C., Garvey is completing a part-time internship in the office of Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska, where she manages constituent correspondence, assembles daily press clips for the Senator, leads tours of the Capitol Building, and much more. From attending hearings on current issues, to conducting legislative research, the internship has already proven to be a valuable experience for Garvey.

“I am viewing this internship as a way to … increase my knowledge of the inner workings of the legislative branch of government, and ultimately to discern whether the political sphere is where I want to work post-graduation,” Garvey shared.

There is no doubt that Garvey is an exceptional individual and a force to be reckoned with. She has absorbed the wisdom discussed in the classroom and integrated it into the way she lives her life. According to Garvey, her worldview has been transformed for the better.

“I’m not able to articulate fully how my perspective has shifted since coming to Christendom, but in a way, all of my priorities have flipped,” Garvey explained. “While I still aspire to be successful in my professional endeavors, Christendom has revealed to me the true nature of success, as it safeguards the Ultimate End in which all ambition and efforts should be directed.”

With all that she has done and continues to do as a student, it can be hard to believe that Garvey is still only in her junior year of college. She has fully embraced everything that Christendom has to offer, with the college fulfilling her needs for rigorous study and a faithful life. Even with all that Garvey has achieved during her time at Christendom, she believes that the greatest pursuit has been coming to love and understand her Catholic faith on a whole new and deeper level. For Garvey, receiving the Padre Pio Full-Tuition Scholarship didn’t just make college affordable, it made a truly transformative faith formation possible.


For more information about the Padre Pio Full-Tuition Scholarship, visit this page.


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