For cousins Kaitlyn Storey and Philip O’Herron, arriving at Christendom this fall as freshmen held a special significance. They are both starting off on their college journeys, but also following in the footsteps of their grandfather: beloved founding faculty member Raymund O’Herron. Living up to his legacy is a challenge, but both are excited to learn how to impact the culture for the better at the college their grandfather helped found.
Storey and O’Herron spent varying amounts of time around their grandfather growing up, with Storey seeing him significantly due to her proximity in Virginia, while O’Herron, currently a Georgia resident, saw him a bit less. The amount of time did not matter in the end, however — his care, encouragement, and wit had an impact on each.
“My grandpa has always had a very methodical, knowledgeable approach to life,” recalls Storey. “His love to teach and enlighten was always part of his personality for as long as I can remember. The dedication he put into his family definitely impacted me as well. He must’ve put so much time, effort, and care into this college — you can only imagine how much more he puts into his family, which has had a huge effect on how I approach my own life and my family.”
Raymund O’Herron is one of the five founding faculty members of Christendom and was the final to retire, delivering his last lecture in 2018 after forty-one years of service to the college. He was instrumental in helping college founder Dr. Warren Carroll set up the college in the mid 1970s and originally served as Dean of Men and professor of philosophy when the college first opened.
From finding the college’s permanent location in Front Royal, Virginia, to leading generations of students on mission trips to Banica, Dominican Republic, O’Herron’s warmth, his succinct and clear teaching of Catholic theology and philosophy, and his passion for Christendom left a tremendous legacy at the college.
That legacy is one that Storey and O’Herron now carry as grandchildren of the founding faculty member. For some, that legacy might be a burden. But for them, it’s an inspiration to strive to give their best, in and outside of the classroom.
“I would not be here today if my grandfather had not helped found this school, and that fact really drives home how much my grandfather did for Christendom,” says O’Herron. “It makes me feel very impressed at the great amount of work which he must have done. It is no small thing, trying to found a college.”
For Storey, seeing how people react when she mentions her grandfather has been a true testament to his impact.
“I could always tell how much he loved the school by the way he talked about his fellow faculty members and by the relationships he formed with them and his students,” says Storey. “The way some people would light up when I told them Raymund O’Herron is my grandfather or by the way people celebrated his retirement was enough to see how much of an influence he has had on Christendom and its community. He was just so involved in the Christendom community which flowed into some of my family members.”
Storey and O’Herron have been loving their first semester at Christendom, from making new friends to experiencing all that the classes have to offer. They even still see Ray O’Herron’s podium from time to time, still standing where he used to teach philosophy and theology in the college’s St. Lawrence Commons. If they have any regret, it’s that they cannot experience his classes firsthand as students.
“Despite wishing I could have had him as a teacher —although everyone said he was hard! — I am very glad that I am here at Christendom where he has done so much,” says O’Herron.
Raymund O’Herron celebrated his eightieth birthday this past month and can still be seen on Christendom’s campus from time to time, making visits to the place where his legacy is still impacting students to this day. Living up to that legacy is a challenge, but it’s one that Storey and O’Herron are excited to take on as they continue to work hard and fulfill the mission of Christendom College.