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Record student enrollment

First slide

Christendom College in Front Royal welcomed a record-breaking student body to campus Aug. 20-22. In his opening address to begin the college’s 45th academic year, President Timothy O’Donnell called on these students to start anew this semester, striving in their studies for greatness.

“We have something here that our opponents do not have,” said O’Donnell. “We have something that is worth fighting for, that is worth defending. So, this year, strive for greatness. Pursue your studies and do your duties as students. Pursue that arduous good, not only for God but with God. Make him part of everything you do with your life here. Do that, and I can assure you, together we will have a great semester together.”

There are a total of 539 students enrolled this fall — an increase of 2.6 percent from last year — with 366 returning students and 173 new students. Of the 173 new students, 163 are first-time freshmen, making the Class of 2025 the largest in the history of the college.

The admissions office worked hard to meet the increased demand for Christendom over the past year and implemented a waitlist in May. This record stands at a sharp contrast to the declining enrollments seen across the rest of higher education, revealing the continued demand for Christendom’s authentically Catholic, in-person liberal arts education.

In addition to this news, O’Donnell also shared in his opening address that the college had the best fundraising year in its history last year — all while continuing to not accept federal funding, including any of the stimulus money made available the past year. More than 3,400 benefactors contributed to the college over the course of the 2020-21 academic year, generously supporting the mission of the college amid the many challenges facing the world at large. An additional $1 million was raised for the college’s endowment as well, which now stands at an all-time high.

Over the summer months, faculty and staff increased for this academic year, with Professor Alessia Berardi joining the college’s faculty in the history department and Pam Plasberg joining the student life staff as the college’s new director of residence life.

Significant improvements were made to campus buildings as well during the summer, including a refurbishment of the classroom space in St. Thomas Aquinas Hall and refurbishments of St. Francis, St. Edmund Campion and St. Catherine residence halls.

In other news, the college will be unable to hold its semester in Rome this fall due to current restrictions in Italy, with hopes of resuming in the spring.

To conclude, O’Donnell also announced that the new Christ the King Chapel is set to be consecrated at the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year. This week, the chapel’s steeples and bells are expected to be installed, finishing the exterior work.

Smith is associate director of marketing and communications at Christendom College in Front Royal. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021