Christendom College welcomed students back to campus over the weekend of August 21-23, with the Diocese of Arlington’s Bishop Michael Burbidge celebrating the opening Mass for the 2020-21 academic year. He called upon students to encourage one another during this challenging year, and for every student to do their part to “restore all things in Christ.”

“Let’s make a promise that each day we will at least do our part to restore all things in Christ on this campus and beyond. If we proclaim Christ and the son of the living God, we can live in joyful hope,” said Bishop Burbidge. “During a time like this it is essential, my friends, that we encourage one another in faith, that we help each other carry our burdens, that we stay strong, steadfast, and optimistic.”

Christendom welcomed 525 students to campus over orientation weekend, a new enrollment record for the college. In the midst of a challenging year, students sought out Christendom’s Catholic liberal arts education more than ever, according to college president Dr. Timothy O’Donnell — a strong indicator of the continued demand for Christendom’s educational and cultural offerings, especially in 2020.

Like Burbidge, O’Donnell exhorted students to remain hopeful in his opening address to the student body and encouraged them to start the semester well, especially in regard to the health measures put in place by the college.

“We have prudently planned and are taking measures for the health and safety of our community. But we are also going to do all we can to preserve the integrity of our in-person instruction and community life to the extent that we can,” O’Donnell stated.

“Let us keep our eyes fixed on Him… and we will not sink. Everything we are doing here this semester, especially during the opening weeks, is designed for the health and safety of all faculty, staff, and students, and to ensure that we can stay open for the semester.”

Dr. O’Donnell shared that the college’s reopening plan was presented to and endorsed by the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia and that it met all 26 required components to safely reopen. This success was made possible by the tireless effort of many staff and faculty members, as well as the college’s medical advisory board.

Read more about the measures the college is taking to keep the community health here. 

In addition to discussing health measures being taken by the college, Dr. O’Donnell announced that the college is on strong financial footing heading into the new academic year, including raising over $3,100,100 for the college’s annual fund — a testament to the unwavering support of over 2,900 benefactors. The success of the college’s “Zero Federal Funding” campaign, which was begun at the start of the COVID-19 crisis, also ensured that students facing financial difficulties due to COVID-19 were able to return this fall. In addition, $1.2 million was raised for the college’s endowment.

Over the summer months, Christendom’s faculty and staff expanded for this academic year, with Dr. Conor Sweeney hired as a professor of the Department of Theology, and Dr. Kathleen Sullivan and Dr. Michael Strickland hired as full-time professors for the Department of English Language and Literature.

The student life staff expanded as well, with Mrs. Alexandra Cook hired as the Director of Residence Life. James Foeckler (’20) and Isabel Meteyer (’20) were both also hired as the new male and female residence directors, while Margaret Speer (’20) and Timothy Clauss (’20) were also hired as the new Semester in Rome residence coordinators. The advancement team also expanded this summer, with Annie Sullivan (’20) and Isabella Reilly (’20) hired as donor stewardship coordinator and alumni and gift planning assistant respectively.

For more information on the college’s plans for the fall semester, please visit here.

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