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Christendom College President Dr. Timothy O’Donnell welcomed students back to campus for the spring 2024 semester with his final opening address of his presidency, reminding the college community of their shared mission and encouraging them to never stop supporting one another in the days ahead.

“One of my principal roles as President here at Christendom is to remind us all of our common mission and our common vision,” said O’Donnell. “If we come together and support one another with a vibrant faith, with supernatural hope, and with a fervent practical charity, and we truly try this semester to dare to be great, to really achieve greatness, then we will have a great year together. God bless you.”

In his final spring address, O’Donnell took the opportunity to reflect on six points of Christendom’s mission and vision, providing all present with a potent reminder of why the college was founded in the first place. The first point: an institutional commitment of the faculty, administration, and board to the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church in their spiritual, moral and intellectual life. Secondly, a commitment to undergraduate liberal education devoted to the discovery and the appropriation of the true, the good and the beautiful. Thirdly, a strong core with a strong emphasis on Thomistic theology and philosophy. Fourthly, the development and maintenance of a Catholic spiritual life centered on the Eucharist, including daily sacramental practice, a sound, moral climate, and abundant opportunities for liturgical and personal prayer. Fifthly, the development and maintenance of a Catholic social and cultural life. Finally, an education on a humane scale where faculty and students may be personally known to one another.

“As a Catholic liberal arts college, Christendom’s essential purpose is to assist each and every one of you, my dear students, and, in a certain sense, all of us as faculty and staff, everyone involved in this enterprise, along the path of Christian wisdom,” said O’Donnell. “Now I know, of course, it’s inevitable there’s going to be challenges this new year, this semester, but I make an appeal to all the students, every one of you returning and those who are here with us for the first time this semester, to have the spirit of a pioneer. Being a pioneer is part of our tradition because Christendom was and continues to be a new and dynamic enterprise.”

Before delivering his address, O’Donnell made important announcements for the spring semester, including the news that Dr. Tracey Rowland and Archbishop Timothy Broglio for the Archdiocese of the Military Services will be the speakers for this year’s Commencement Exercises. Rowland is the winner of the prestigious Ratzinger Prize and will be given a Doctorate in Humane Letters, while Archbishop Broglio, who is currently the president of the USCCB, will be awarded the Pro Deo et Patria Award for Distinguished Service to God and Country.

O’Donnell announced that other speakers will be coming to campus this semester as well, including Dr. Holly Ordway as this semester’s Major Speaker. Ordway, who is the Cardinal Francis George Professor at Word on Fire, will be delivering an address titled “Tolkien’s Faith and Foundations of Middle Earth” on January 29. Christendom’s Graduate School of Theology will also be hosting a Symposium on the Blessed Trinity in April, with Cardinal Raymond Burke delivering the keynote address.

In addition, O’Donnell announced the exciting news that Christendom will be initiating a Natural Sciences Major and a Liturgical Music Track in Theology this fall. The Natural Sciences major will begin in the Fall of 2024 and is designed to help prepare students primarily for medicine, science education, and nursing, allowing them to satisfy key prerequisites while training them to be lights in their fields thanks to the full Christendom education. Meanwhile, the Liturgical Music Track in Theology will also begin in the Fall of 2024, helping prepare students for an advanced degree in Liturgical Music.

O’Donnell further announced that, since July 1, $6.3 million dollars have been raised to fund student financial aid and the Madonna Hall faculty building project. These funds have come from over 4000 generous donors, including $1.3 million dollars from 8 people who left gifts for Christendom in their estate after passing away.

On campus, important updates were made to existing facilities over Christmas Break, including vinyl plank flooring installed in St. Benedict Hall and Campion Hall common rooms; vinyl plank flooring installed in the St. Lawrence Commons loft; and new doorways installed in St. Kilian’s Café. In the college’s new Christ the King Chapel, the Betrothal Shrine, located in Our Lady’s Chapel, should be completed this spring as well.

Finally, O’Donnell announced new staff hires for the spring semester, including new assistant chaplain Fr. Gabriel Flynn. Hailing from the Diocese of Dublin, Fr. Flynn holds a licentiate in theology and has a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford. He will be assisting college chaplain Fr. Marcus Pollard in serving the entire college community throughout the spring semester. In the college’s Advancement Office, Ben Ferri and Henry Love were hired as new Donor Relations Officers, while Thomas Ward was promoted to Director of Planned Giving. Mark Zigadlo was hired as the college’s new Director of Advancement Data Services and Allan Delmare was hired as Director of Digital Direct Response, with all of these new Advancement Office hires assisting in the critical task of fundraising for the college.

Watch O’Donnell’s reflection below:

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