Robert Bruce McKay
From: London, England
Major: Either English or History
Hobbies: Drinking tea, spelling 'colour' correctly, hanging out with friends, listening to music, and playing poker
What is your favorite class or professor? That is a really hard call. I’d probably have to go with Prof. Michael Brown, especially for Ethics. The class was always really interesting and Prof. Brown is extremely engaging and always great fun.
What extra curricular activities do you participate in? This semester I play rugby for the college, which takes up a fair chunk of my time. (Come watch us beat Franciscan University of Steubenville on April 12!) I also get involved in intramural volleyball and dodgeball.
What's your favorite thing about Christendom? I love the friendly atmosphere here. Everyone is so helpful and wants to talk and to help wherever they can. It’s also nice to have found a college that plays rugby so far from home.
Why did you choose Christendom? I was really unsure about coming at first, but I spoke to a friend who had come and he reassured me about the place. I came for a weekend to visit and three months later I was on a plane coming for good.
What surprised you the most about Christendom? The people; when I heard about Christendom I thought that everyone would be very lofty and ‘holier-than-thou,’ but that’s really not the case. Everyone loves to relax and have fun and I really enjoy that about the place.
Plans after graduation? Everyone asks me whether I’ll stay in the States or move back home and I really don’t know. I’d miss England if I stayed, but I guess I’ve got two years to figure my life out before I’m on the street.
Any parting words of advice for prospective students? If you have any pre-conceived notions of what Christendom is like, forget them. Come and visit, meet the faculty and students and then make up your mind.
Battle of the Brains: Dorm Wars Quiz Bowl
The Dorm Wars Quiz Bowl was two days of intense play on Thursday and Friday evening. Four representatives from each Dorm Wars team took their places in the basement of the Commons to show off their knowledge in this single-elimination event.
The first round of competition on Thursday had four pairs of teams facing off against each other. There were twelve questions for the quiz bowlers. Students had to answer questions on topics that varied from science to sports to theology to animals. In each round, competitors who successfully answered a question were also given a chance to answer a bonus question for extra points. The top four teams that were left after Thursday’s game returned on Friday for the championship. The team "Sean of the Dead" came away victorious with first place.
Joe Marra, Brigid Coyne, Michael Arnold, and Peter Zinman get their game faces on.
Junior Bernadetter Sartor, sophomore Robert Johnson, junior Thomas Yarnell, and freshman Rachel Hoover represented team Conquering Cacti.
Members of the Beauties and the Beasts deliberate over a question.
Mardi Gras Masquerade
On Saturday night students joined together in St. Lawrence Commons to enjoy swing dancing with friends during the last dance before Lent. The theme, Mardi Gras Masquerade, was well-received, and classmates loved the opportunity to impress each other with their ornate and original mask designs. The delicious food, upbeat music, beaded necklaces, and sparkling lights all made the atmosphere worthy of the theme, and kept students happily entertained throughout the night.
“I thought the event was very well put together—the music, theme, and food were spectacular,” sophomore Elisabeth Roberts said.
The dance was a great success, providing students with a break during Midterms.
Senior Lauren Enk looking lovely in her colorful mask.
Sophomore John Hebert grins as he swings his partner.
Dancers show off their unique masks.
Senior Klarissa Blank and Freshman John Paul Heisler smile for the camera.
Seniors Matt Speer and Katie Shannon strike a pose.
The students had fun and kept the dance floor full all through the night.
The Final Race!
The final Dorm Wars competition took place this past Sunday, March 2, with the Team Relay Races. Four members of every Dorm Wars team took part in a series of one-mile races around Christendom’s campus, thereby completing a total of four miles per team. Although the weather was frigid and wet, Christendom students braved the cold and rain in an effort to bring their team one more victory before the end of the Dorm Wars events. Dr. Jesse Dorman, the Dean of Student Life, monitored the event, and team mates came to cheer on their runners to victory!
“The relay was an exciting race because of all the great runners who participated,” says freshman Timmy Cook. “I was very proud of our team for coming in first place, which we were able to pull off due to the consistency and effort of our team.”
And they're off!
Senior Sean Ryan passes off the next mile to senior Sean LaRochelle.
Teammates help each other finish the last mile!
Seniors Andrew Hepler and Zach Smith finish strong!
Members of the winning team, "Iron Rango"
The End of the Games
The campus-wide series of friendly and competitive events, Dorm Wars, came to a close this past Sunday evening with an awards ceremony in the St. Lawrence Commons. The four teams who overall had the greatest number of points from all the Dorm Wars events this semester were announced. Representatives of the teams were called on stage as Miss Caitlin Bowers, Director of Student Activities, presented the winning trophies. “The Ostracized” came in first place overall, “Iron Rango” came in second place, “Sean of the Dead” came in third place, and “The Beauties and the Beasts” received honorable mention. In addition, a slide show with pictures from all the events was displayed for all students to relive the many glorious moments of the 2014 3rd Annual Dorm Wars.
“It was great to see so many people come out to the closing ceremonies,” says junior Steven Hyland. “Overall, I believe that Dorm Wars was a great success this year, with lots of fun events that allowed us to make new friends and build up the Christendom community.”
Caitlin Bowers presents the winning trophy to senior Jordan Mann of "The Ostracized"
Members of the second-place team, "Iron Rango"
Representatives from the winning teams take their rightful places on stage!
The Taste of Giving
The Student Philanthropy Board held a special event this past Sunday evening called “The Taste of Giving” at Aspen Dale Winery in Delaplane, Virginia. The Student Philanthropy Board is run by eight students in the senior class of 2014, and their mission is to educate their fellow classmates on the importance of alumni donations to Christendom College, encouraging them to pledge to begin donating immediately after graduation. Students in the senior class, faculty, and staff came together to drink wine, discuss the Philanthropy Board, and listen to several alumni speakers talk about the topic of alumni giving. Mr. Stephen O’Keefe (’93), Major Patrick Weinert (’98), and Mr. Paul Jalsevac (’03) all spoke about their experiences at Christendom College and why they give back to the college. They also held a question-and-answer session with the students. Everyone enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the winery, and the many delicious snacks and desserts that accompanied the wine.
“I think that the Aspen Dale Philanthropy event was a huge success, and everyone really enjoyed themselves and gained a lot of insight into the importance of giving back to your alma mater,” says senior Peter McShurley. “The speakers were excellent and the wine and venue were wonderful.”
Seniors enjoying an evening at the winery with their classmates.
Mr. Stephen O’Keefe (’93) and Major Patrick Weinert (’98) explain why they give back to Christendom.
Mr. Paul Jalsevac, Director of Development Operations, with members of the Student Philanthropy Board.
Students discuss the talks during one of the breaks.
Mardi Gras Party
The Student Activities Council hosted a pub night on Tuesday for students to celebrate Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, by eating lots of food and enjoying sweets and other pleasures that many people sacrifice for Lent. Kilian’s Café was decorated with lots of Mardi Gras beads, masks, and streamers that were brought to the event by Christendom students from Mobile, AL. In addition, students made and served real gumbo for the occasion, and there was real Louisiana King Cake and Moon Pies! The pub night served as a great study break, for many students are in the middle of midterms this week, and also as a great way for friends to have a fun evening together before many separate for Spring Break next week.
Freshmen and sophomore students enjoy their homemade gumbo.
Sophomore Melissa Lucas provided Moon Pies and beads for everyone.
Everyone enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere and good company.
Enjoying the snacks and Mardi Gras beads!
Crusader Sports Center
Rugby Season Opener Ends Tie vs. Catholic U
The last time the Christendom Rugby team played Catholic University of America was two years ago when the Crusaders shocked the Cardinals on their home field with a St. Patrick’s Day win. Now, two years later, the Crusaders hosted the Cardinals rugby team on March 1, opening the 2014 season.
Under second-year head coach Theo Smith and with an undefeated record under their belts from last year the team was ready to build on that success during this spring campaign.
After graduating a significant number of players from last year’s team, this year’s squad features 15 new faces included in which are nine freshmen, six of them being on the starting 15. The team returns many key contributors from last year’s team, including sophomore Rob McKay, who, it seems, can’t be taken down by less than four men. Fellow sophomores Patrick Audino and Sean Salmon, along with seniors Connor Coyne, Ben Scrivener, and Conor O’Donnell, will be tasked with leading the young team throughout the season.
With the bagpipes having been played and each team shouting their last minute war-cries the 2014 season began. From the very start of the match, it was very apparent that much of the game would hinge on the forwards of Christendom. The roster of Catholic University included a total of 31 young men, most of their forwards looked bigger and stronger than those bearing the Crusader jerseys, but looks can be deceiving. The Christendom forwards held their own and then some not only early in the game but seemed to grow stronger as the game went on, scrum after scrum, ruck after ruck and tackle after tackle the front group of Crusaders fought to hold the front-line and allow the backs of Christendom to break tackles and get in space to thrive.
The Crusaders, despite having 10 new players in the starting 15, played consistent and tough, with Rob McKay, Bobby Crnkovich, Hal Kokes, Matt Farrall, Michael Kopp, Ed O’Brien, Eddie Kelly, and Conor O’Donnell holding the front position the backs could target the holes in the Cardinal defense. After nearly 18 minutes of back and forth, Catholic University struck first working the ball slowly down the field before scoring a tri. The Crusaders bounced back and sophomore George Dewey found an opening for the first Christendom tri of the season.
Peter Gaetano, this year’s Thomas S. Vander Woude Memorial Scholar Athlete Scholarship recipient, busted through the Catholic U defense multiple times carrying would-be tacklers. One such run tacklers were no-where to be found and Peter would score his first tri as a Crusader to give Christendom a 12-7 lead into the half.
In the second half Catholic University tied the match up at 12-12 before freshmen Martin Norton would win a sprint contest on the sideline and park the ball in the tri-zone for another Christendom score, and a 19-12 lead. Catholic U, with just over 6 minutes remaining, then scored the game tying tri.
With so many new faces and limited field practice due to the enormous amount of snowfall this winter the game served as a good first match for the young Crusaders, despite being disappointed in not getting the “W.” The team is off for spring break and hosts George Mason University on March 22 at 1 p.m.
The Story of a Small Town: Historic Front Royal
During the school year, Christendom students call the small Virginia town of Front Royal home. While it may not be a booming metropolis, Front Royal more than makes up for its size with charm, character, and a fascinating history that stretches back to pre-Revolutionary times. Front Royal had its beginnings in the 1750’s when a French Huguenot named Peter LeHew bought land in the area of the current township. Consequently, the little settlement that grew up there came to be called LeHewtown. When real estate speculators bought the property in 1788, they officially changed the name to Front Royal.
Although it has not been positively established how the town came to be called Front Royal, one possible explanation offered is that early French pioneers would refer to the area as “le front royal” (The Royal Frontier) to indicate that it was part of a land grant given by King Charles II to Lord Fairfax. Another story about Front Royal’s name is that it came about because of a large oak tree called “The Royal Tree of England” that grew in the center of the town when Virginia was still a colony. According to legend, the town militia used to train at this spot quite frequently. One day during training drills, a sergeant used the phrase “front the Royal Oak!” to command his soldiers to charge. The words stuck with them, and eventually from this popular phrase came the name of the town, Front Royal.
In the years leading up to the Civil War, Front Royal prospered and grew. While it never became a major city, in 1854 the town did become a stopping point on the Alexandria, Orange and Manassas Gap Railroad that ran between Alexandria and Strasburg. Because of this, the unassuming little town became a point of contention during the Civil War and the Battle of Front Royal took place on May 23, 1862, during which General Stonewall Jackson captured the town from a Union army under the command of Colonel Kenly. Front Royal ultimately survived the hardships of the war. It was always a source of valuable resources such as lumber. In the decades following the fighting, the town built itself up and flourished thanks to its agriculture, manufacturing and grain mills.
Certainly, much in Front Royal has changed since the days when it was the home of a few French settlers—even since the arrival of Christendom College in 1980. The local area has grown in population from 21,000 in 1980 to 38,000. With this growth have come new businesses, which have brought more fine dining and fun shopping experiences.
Find out more about Front Royal and the area that surrounds Christendom College at: discoverfrontroyal.com.
Christendom College campus circa 1980.