Official seal for Christendom College
|Motto||Instaurare Omnia In Christo (Latin: To Restore All Things in Christ)|
|Type||Private; lay-run Catholic|
|Established||September 14, 1977|
|Affiliation||Roman Catholic Church|
|President||Timothy T. O'Donnell|
134 Christendom Drive,
|Campus||100 acres (0.40 km2)|
|Founder||Warren H. Carroll|
Christendom College is a Catholic liberal arts college in Front Royal, Virginia, United States, located in the Shenandoah Valley. It is endorsed by The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. The school does not accept federal funding, except for the Yellow Ribbon GI Bill.
Christendom College was founded by Warren H. Carroll in 1977 with $50,000. Carroll, who was a contributor at L. Brent Bozell Jr.'s Triumph magazine, decided to found Christendom in the aftermath of the Land O' Lakes conference in 1967. Desiring a return to a Catholic university education adhering to the teachings of the Catholic Magisterium, Carroll and four founding faculty members, William Marshner, Jeffrey A. Mirus, Kristin (née Popik) Burns, and Raymund P. O'Herron, started the college in an abandoned elementary school in Triangle, Virginia, housing a total of 26 students and five faculty.
Carroll decided not to accept federal funding at the college, choosing instead to rely on generous benefactors. Similar to the reasonings at Hillsdale College, Carroll believed that the government might eventually intrude on Christendom's academic and religious freedom.
Christendom College was gestated in the womb of Triumph magazine and the Society for the Christian Commonwealth, Brent Bozell's creations. All of our original five faculty were long-time subscribers to Triumph and three had attended the program in Spain. Our current president and his wife and our executive vice-president had attended the program in Spain. Two of the three original major donors who enabled our College project to be launched financially had attended the program in Spain, and the third had seen his son attend it. Many of the original members of our Board of Directors were Triumph readers. In a very fundamental sense Christendom College was a Triumph enterprise, and always will be.
Carroll remained as president until 1985, when Dr. Damian Fedoryka was named as the 2nd president. Carroll stepped back to focus on teaching history and writing, remaining on the faculty and serving as the chairman of the history department until his retirement in 2002.
During Fedoryka's seven-year tenure as president, Blessed Margaret and St. Joseph's Halls were constructed, and the college became fully accredited in 1987. The college also retired nearly $600,000 in debt without disrupting the growth of the college.
Fedoryka, through his contacts in the Vatican, brought the college into contact with then-Pope John Paul II, who later told Carroll that Christendom "was doing a great work for the Church." Fedoryka resigned in 1992, in order to pursue other educational ventures, including stints at Franciscan University of Steubenville and Ave Maria College (later Ave Maria University).
In 1992, Dr. Timothy O'Donnell, who had been a professor at Christendom since 1985, was named as the college's 3rd president. During his tenure, the college increased the number of buildings on campus to over 20, including St. Lawrence Commons, St. Francis, St. Benedict, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Clare Hall, St. Louis the Crusader Gymnasium, and St. John the Evangelist Library. O'Donnell's biggest building contribution was the new Chapel of Christ the King, which he promised in his inaugural address as president. Needing a major gift in order to launch the project, O'Donnell prayed with then-Executive Vice President Mark McShurley for help and, within 30 minutes of praying together, an anonymous donor called to pledge $250,000 to the Chapel fund. Construction was begin in 1992, and was completed in 1995. Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan donated 19th Century wooden stations of the cross to the Chapel, and it was dedicated by Cardinal Jan Schotte, Pope John Paul II's Secretary General to the World Synod of Bishops.
The college also acquired the Notre Dame Institute during O'Donnell's tenure. Started in 1969, the Notre Dame Institute was originally created to train religious sisters to teach Catholic doctrine to other teachers, but later welcomed lay students in the late 1970s. In 1983, the Institute was given permission by the Commonwealth of Virginia to grant degrees. In the 1990s, Reverend William Saunders became president of the Institute and moved it to its present location in Alexandria, Virginia, in addition to leading it to full accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1997, the Institute was merged with Christendom College and became the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College, now the Graduate School of Theology. In 2002, Fr. Saunders left his position as dean, and founding faculty member Dr. Kristin Burns took over the position. Under her tenure, the graduate school began offering M.A. in Theological Studies degrees online.
The college's Junior Semester in Rome program was established in 2002. Students live near the Vatican during the fall and spring, taking classes in St. Peter's Square and traveling across Europe during their time abroad.
Since 1992, the student enrollment has grown from 144 undergraduates to nearly 500 students, not including graduate school students. The total financial assets have increased 440%, and total plant costs have increased 397%. As of the fall of 2012, the college has over 3100 alumni, with 2194 of them having earned degrees (A.A., B.A., or M.A.).
The college now employs 37 full-time faculty members, compared to the original five, along with a number of adjunct members. The faculty hold degrees from schools such as Columbia University, Yale University, University of Notre Dame, University of Virginia, the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and elsewhere.
Currently, the College has 493 undergraduate students.
In 2015, Christendom was left off of President Barack Obama's College Scorecard, which was created to help high school graduates pick schools. Critics claimed that conservative schools, such as Hillsdale, Grove City College, and Christendom were intentionally left off due to their conservative values.
Starting in September 2016, Christendom College launched an ambitious project called the "A Call To Greatness Campaign" to raise $40 million for the college's endowment, the annual fund, and a construction project to build a new 750-seat medieval gothic chapel featuring a 130-foot tower and eight prayer altars. The cost of the chapel is estimated to run approximately $13.5 million, with an additional $13.5 million allocated to the endowment and the remaining $13 million going to the annual fund. Within a month of the fundraiser's launch, roughly 70%, or $28 million, had been raised for the campaign.
By refusing to accept most forms of federal funding, Christendom College is exempt form many federal guidelines concerning sex-based and other forms of discrimination (e.g., Title IX), investigations into accusations of sexual abuse, and the sharing of information about on-campus crimes.
On January 16, 2018, Catholic blogger Simcha Fisher broke the story of three rape and sexual harassment allegations by students of the college. College President Timothy O'Donnell acknowledged victims in an official statement, saying, "We have failed some of our students. I am grateful to each woman who has come forward with her story. We need to hear you and your experience. Disclosing abuse and its aftermath is painful and difficult, and it takes a tremendous amount of courage. To those students who have been harmed, I am deeply sorry. We will do better." The college has since updated the apology with a Sexual Misconduct FAQs page that outlines the steps the college takes when cases of sexual misconduct are brought to its attention.  Since the story initially broke, additional allegations of up to 18 previous cases of sexual harassment and assault over 40 years have been made.  As a result, a group of alumni called for the school to adopt Title IX policies to better protect students in the future and also called for the resignation of O'Donnell. A change.org petition in support of O'Donnell was signed by over 1,000 people. The college hired Husch-Blackwell to audit campus compliance with best practices in sexual assault and harassment cases, although it is not bound to do so by Title IX as the College does not accept federal funding of Title IV. The college has not released the results of this audit to the public.
Christendom College has two schools offering graduate and undergraduate degrees. Undergraduate students combine a liberal arts core-curriculum with eventual upper-level courses in their major field (or fields) of study. Graduates can choose from three theological concentrations: Systematic Theology, Moral Theology, and Catechetics
All graduates of the undergraduate college are awarded a bachelor of arts degree in one of the following fields of study:
The graduate school offers a Master of Sacred Theology degree.
The Rome Program includes a continuation of the College's core curriculum program for juniors (THEO 301 Moral Theology during the Fall; and THEO 302 Apologetics in the spring), as well as courses in Italian, Roman Art & Architecture, and a general catch-all course that highlights Rome as a center of Italian and Catholic culture. The Program also includes a week's pilgrimage to Assisi and Siena as well as a trip to Florence.
Christendom has several varsity sports, and has a variety of intramural sports throughout the year.
In 2017, Christendom's rugby team won the NSCRO 7's Collegiate Rugby National Championship in its first year of contention. The team defeated St. Mary's College of Maryland in overtime to capture the title, earning the school its first National Championship.
Christendom College promotes its student-run pro-life group, Shield of Roses, on its web site, and students regularly peacefully protest at regional abortion clinics and other events, sometimes with the Bishop of the Diocese of Arlington in attendance. Shield of Roses has been active since at least 2009 at major rallies, according to the school's web site. The college publicized the closure of an abortion clinic in Silver Spring, Maryland, after Christendom College students protested there. Students protested at the Falls Church Health Care Center, where abortions are performed, in Falls Church, Virginia, in April 2017.
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