Commencement 2012


The Salutatorian and the Valedictorian

Names: Frances Allington (Salutatorian) | Michael Strickland (Valedictorian)
From: Hemel Hempstead, England | Front Royal, Virginia
Major: Classics and Philosophy
| Classics, Literature, and Philosophy
What was your favorite class? It's so hard to choose from so many amazing classes. I learned incredible things in almost every class I took. Among my favorites were Old and New Testament, with professor Jenislawski, Metaphysics and Recent Philosophy with Dr Cuddeback, 202 Literature with Mrs Hickson, all of my core history classes, with Dr Schwartz and Dr McGuire, Philosophy of God and Freedom of the Will with Mr Brown, and Medieval Historians with Dr Clark.
| It's hard to choose, but Ethics with Dr. Cuddeback was an especially noteworthy class for me. Dr. Cuddeback's presentation helped us to grow in both speculative and practical wisdom.
What will you miss most about Christendom? Saying goodbye to the professors is going to be one of the hardest things for me. I'll miss my friends, but I know I'll be maintaining the same friendship with them. While I hope to keep in touch with a lot of my professors, I probably won't be studying under them again, and they've been amazing as teacher, and mentors.
| Friends. There is something unique about being part of a community that honestly strives to live the Faith and help one another to be better Catholics.
What are your plans after graduation? Graduate studies at Perkins School of Theology at SMU in Dallas
| Teaching
Any parting words of advice for a prospective student? Don't lose sight of the fact that what you're ultimately here for is to study. Your down time will be more meaningful and fulfilling if you balance it with the hard and rewarding work of learning under some of the best professors you'll ever have. At the same time, social life is important. Don't bury yourself in the library or your room. The time here with other amazing Catholic students is a once in a lifetime opportunity to form amazing friendships. Basically, they say that in college you can pick two out of sleep, grades, and friends. Pick grades and friends. You can sleep when you're dead!
| Take the time to enjoy this chance to learn, to study the higher things without distractions.


Theology Thesis Defenses

Last Wednesday evening, May 2, Senior Theology majors defended their theses in the Chester-Belloc Room of the Regina Coeli building in front of their fellow students, Theology professors, and chaplains. By defending their theses, senior students were given the opportunity to practice public speaking skills and grasping the attention of both faculty and peers. In addition, they were able to instruct others on a subject that was very important to them and in which they had become extremely knowledgeable. Following the defenses, theology majors enjoyed a private dinner with the theology faculty.

“I was very edified by hearing the defenses of my peers and excited to share my own thesis,” says Senior Fran Dewey. “My thesis experience took up so much of my time and dedication this semester, and I absolutely loved my topic, so it was truly a joy to share it with everyone.”

Most departments require students to defend their senior thesis. The senior thesis is the culmination of the student's four years of study in the liberal disciplines. The thesis is a scholarly paper (of 30-40 pages in length) of substance, demonstrating the student's ability to do significant research in his discipline, employing the senior's developed skills in the arts of discourse, especially mastery of the techniques of research, exposition, and argumentation. All theses written by Christendom College seniors over the past thirty-four years can be found in Christendom's library.

Some students used digital presentations in their defense. Above Liz Sartor defends her thesis, The Capuchin Controversy: A Case for the Closing of the Capuchin Crypt in Santa Maria della Concezione.

Chris Foeckler defends his thesis, What's New about the New Evangelization? A Look at the Church's Contemporary Approach to Her Fundamental Mission.

Seniors David Frank and Christopher Tipton chat with Professor of Sacred Music Dr. Kurt Poterack.

Chairman of the Theology department, Prof. Jenislawski, offers a toast during the dinner. The Theology department is the largest at the College and included Dr. Timothy O'Donnell, Mr. Raymund O'Herron, Prof. Joe Arias, Prof. William Diem, Dr. William Marshner, Fr. Donald Planty, Fr. Joseph Fox, Dr. Kurt Poterack, and Prof. Mary Stanford.

The Last Day of Classes

To celebrate the last day of classes, the Student Activities Council threw a party for all students in Kilian’s Café last Wednesday. Students were able to relax and enjoy each other’s company before entering the hectic week of final exams before summer. Everyone had a great time playing games, chatting, eating and drinking. A few students even performed for the crowd, including Juniors Eric Maschue and Theresa Lamirande.

“It was so nice to have one night of relaxation before the stress of finals week,” says Junior Philip Briggs. “It made summer seem that much closer!”

Students enjoy an Old Dominion Root Beer with College Chaplain Fr. Donald Planty.

Theresa Lamirande and Eric Maschue put on a great show.

Ted's Dance Under the Stars

Last Saturday night, Christendom students danced under the stars as they celebrated the end of the academic year. The dance was held outside of St. Lawrence Commons, and the weather was just right for the occasion.

“You couldn’t see the stars because it was a little cloudy, but the moon was really bright and the weather was perfect,” Freshman Bernadette Sartor said.

The area outside the commons, often referred to as Piazza San Lorenzo, was decorated with chalk stars bearing the names of all of the graduating seniors—a tradition at Christendom.

“It was really exciting to see my name on a star this year—It was awesome to be able to finally be a part of that,” Senior Christine Nussio said.

The dance was a great break from the stress of finals, and a way to have fun with classmates before the intensity of the rest of finals began.

Sophomore Peter Deucher dances with Senior Christina Nussio.

Enjoying a dance under the stars.

Commencement 2012 Trailer

Baccalaureate Mass

On Friday afternoon Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., editor emeritus of Homiletic & Pastoral Review, offerer the Baccalaureate Mass. In his homily, he warned graduates of the current hostility towards religion and particularly Catholicism, but told them that their education has prepared them to engage the culture.

"Your education here at Christendom College has prepared you to live in the world—to survive in it—but not really be a part of it, in the sense of making your temporal life the 'be all and end all' of your existence, as it is with so many of our fellow Americans," he said.

Rev. Baker remarked that the graduates were taking with them "a Catholic view of the world and human life" that finds its expression in the tradition of the Church, Holy Scripture, the official teaching of the Church, and the liturgy.

"For Christendom College stands for the reign of Christ the King in the heart of the individual person, and as a way of life that should be present in life and in civil society," he said.

College Chaplains Fr. Planty and Fr. Fox process in with Fr. Baker.

Graduation Dinner

After the Mass on Friday, graduates, their parents, and the faculty gathered headed out to the Shenandoah Golf Club for an elegant dinner. All enjoyed cocktails on the patio that overlooked the Blue Ridge Mountains on an idyllic day before dinner was served. The event was a wonderful opportunity for parents to meet their graduate's professors and the honored guests, Fr. Baker and Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, S.V., Founder of the Sisters of Life.

During the dinner, College President Dr. Timothy O'Donnell toasted the parents of the graduates.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Steve Snyder raises a glass to the senior class.

Student Body President Gabe Schuberg toasted the faculty.

Senior Class President toasted the staff.

Christendom Alumni professors and parents with their graduating seniors. Twelve legacy students (children of alumni) graduated this year.

Philosophy Prof. Mark Wunsch chats with the Antunes and the Allingtons.

The McKeagues enjoy a conversation with Dean of Student Life Dr. Jesse Dorman.

The Last Dance

The senior class of 2012 enjoyed one last Christendom dance with their family and friends in the St. Lawrence Commons on Friday night. The swing band, Yesterday Swing Orchestra, kept everyone on their feet and dancing the night away.

“I could not have asked for a better last dance with all my friends,” says Senior Matt Worley. “I went a little crazy dancing with my bros and my little sisters, but it made for an epic night.”

The senior slide show was played again for everyone, which captured special moments of the senior class from all four of their years at Christendom, both in Rome and in Front Royal. The senior girls performed their own fun dance, which they choreographed themselves, and all the Irish dancers from the senior class performed for everyone as well.

Seniors Dominic Vieira and Liz Sartor glide across the floor.

The band kept the dance floor hoppin'.

Freshman Brian McCrum gives his sister, senior Kelsey, a twirl.

Sophomores Maeve Gallagher and Ben Scrivener swing.

Junior John McWhirter dances with his sister.

The Seniors' Irish dance.

Commencement Ceremonies

On Saturday the college awarded degrees to the 100 graduates of its largest class in history. Fr. Baker was awarded an honorary doctorate and Mother Donovan was awarded the college's Pro Deo et Patria Medal for Distinguished Service to God and Country and delivered the commencement address.

"Young graduates, dare to dream dreams full of Truth and beauty and goodness. For the world needs your dreams," Mother Agnes Mary said during her address on Saturday. "To you has been given the vision of the dignity of the human person, ratified in the Incarnation… to you has been given the true perception of human love as gift and a privileged participation in the life-giving love of the Trinity, whose sublime beauty is manifested in self-sacrifice."

Mother Agnes Mary, who responded to the late Cardinal John O'Connor's call for an order dedicated to the protection of the sacredness of human life, implored graduates to fight for the culture of life.

"As graduates of this Catholic institution, you embrace the truth that every human person is a masterpiece of the Creator, made in God's Image to grow by grace in God's Likeness," she said. "The ways in which you steward the gift of your life is the most fundamental contribution you can make to the building of culture of life and a civilization of love."

Click here to read her entire Commencement Address.

Rev. Baker, who edited Homiletic & Pastoral Review for 40 years, encouraged the graduates to become writers.

"Those of you who are inclined to write, I urge you to write and to start now," he said. "We must not let the atheists and the secularists dominate the works of print and images as the seems to do at the present time."

Saturday's ceremonies began with a bagpipe-led procession from Christ the King Chapel to St. Louis the Crusader Gymnasium. Alumnus Peter McGuire played the pipes.

Salutatorian Frances Allington of Hemel Hampstead, England, welcomed all the attendees and began her address by recalling the memory of College Founder Dr. Warren Carroll, who was not at the ceremonies for the first time in the college's history. Read her entire Salutatorian Address here.

Director of Admissions & Alumni Relations Tom McFadden presented the Student Achievement Award to Chris Foeckler of Manassas, Va., for his dedication to the community.

Valedictorian Michael Strickland of Front Royal, Va., suggested to his classmates that what they do after graduation not be "fundamentally different" from what they did before graduation. Read his entire Valedictorian Address here.

Closing the ceremony, College President Dr. Timothy O'Donnell delivered his charge to the graduates. He told them that the sanctity of marriage and the family is under attack and that they will have a role to play in this great battle. "Through your education here, dear graduates, you are uniquely prepared for this great battle and you will all be involved in the battle to defend the true nature of marriage and the family," O'Donnell said.

Kenyan Paul Nangurai, with his father, and Literature Professor Dr. Robert Rice.

Catherine Marra and her family.

Cecilia O'Reilly, Johnny Ciskanik, and Dominic Viera pose with their grandma Mrs. O'Reilly, wife of one of Christendom's first board members, Dr. Sean O'Reilly.

A happy graduate, Erin Clark.

A reception was held at the St. Lawrence Commons following the ceremony.

The graduates toss their hats in the air.

The Class of 2012.

All addresses from the Commencement Ceremonies can be listened to at Christendom on iTunes U.


New Alumni Join the Ranks

Saturday night, the recent grads—the new alumni—and their parents came to a reception hosted by the Alumni Relations Office. They heard remarks by Director of Admissions and Alumni Relations Tom McFadden, as well as Director of Development Operations Paul Jalsevac, on what the College hopes for its alumni and the many services offered to alumni. The parents and alumni enjoyed fine beverages and heavy hors d'oeuvres as they continued their graduation celebration.

Each grad received a gift bag which included a Christendom hoodie and pennant.

Alumnae sport the new hoodies.

See more pictures from Commencement Weekend:


Class of 2012, What Will You Miss?

Looking Back
Reflections of a Graduating Senior
By Liz Sartor

After four years, I find it hard to believe that I am sitting down to write my final article for The Chronicler.

As I flip through the thousands of pictures I have taken, I can’t help but reflect that these last four years have been such an incredible journey. I have made friends that I will have the rest of my life, I have had experiences that I will never forget, and I have learned so much about so many things, but most importantly, I have become more of the person God is calling me to be.

I have nothing but the very sincerest gratitude for my experiences at Christendom. The teachers here are incredible; through their knowledge, their time, and their wisdom I have learned so much. I have been inspired by their ardent desire to make Christ more known in all they do. It is so beautiful to see the Faith, the very core of a Catholic’s life so interwoven into every aspect of a place—and as a Theology major, this is particularly awesome to experience. From history to literature to classics, ultimately, all of the classes are geared toward something greater; they are geared toward a discovery of what is true, good and beautiful—of HE who is true, good and beautiful.

I have never been to a place where Christ is more central to all that is done. Nothing is more important than Him, and He is and should be at the heart of all we do. He—in the tabernacle—is literally physically located at the center of Christendom, and everything is directed towards growing closer to Christ. The Sacraments are so available. One of the things that I will miss more than anything is ability to walk into the Chapel whenever I need to and be in the presence of Christ.

What I will miss perhaps the most are the simple experiences of everyday life at Christendom. The amazing meal conversations that just spring from nowhere, the awesome things you learn from professors, even outside of class, when one of the Chaplains says something particularly striking in a homily, or even just spending time with your roommate or your friends. But all in an atmosphere that is so directed to Christ being a part of all we do.

People often say that the college years are the best four years of a person’s life. But at Christendom, not only are the four years an incredible experience, but they are the four years that will shape the rest of your life in truly awesome ways. They are the years that will help to give you the strength, the knowledge and the courage to go out and restore ALL things in Christ.


A Semester Full of Surprises

With this being the last Chronicler for the 2011-12 year, I thought it fitting to take a walk down memory lane.

This past year was the most successful year in Crusader sports history, with five out of the seven varsity intercollegiate teams posting above a .500 winning percentage. The year featured the fourth consecutive winning season from the men’s soccer team, third consecutive winning season for Rugby and second consecutive winning seasons for women’s basketball and women’s volleyball. The biggest surprise of the entire year was the men’s baseball team, which posted its first winning season in Christendom history and its first ever Eastern States Baseball League Championship.

In addition to the great success from the past year, it was also the last year for two Crusader coaches. The beloved Mr. Mike Brown who directed the women’s volleyball team to two winning seasons during his lead will step down to focus on coaching basketball. The efforts of Mr. Brown cannot go without enough praise, as he poured his heart and soul into the development and growth of the women he coached. I am happy to announce that taking his place is Mr. Josh Petersen who was an assistant this past year. I am sad to lose Mr. Brown, but I know Mr. Petersen will be a great coach and will continue to build a strong volleyball program at Christendom.

The women’s soccer also will have a new coach this coming season as Mr. Matt Nelson who has directed the team for three years will be moving on to pursue other interests. Mr. Nelson has brought a great knowledge of the game coupled with an intensity which will not easily be replaced. I am especially grateful for his dedication and commitment to the program during the last three years. Professor Mark Wunsch will be taking over the reins of the program and is very excited to begin coaching after helping with the team this past season. Much of the success that the Crusader sports teams have had is due to the hard work and generous commitment by the coaches—and Mr. Nelson and Mr. Brown are no exception. We appreciate all their time and energy and wish them well in the future.

Many memories have been forged throughout the past academic year in both intramurals and varsity sports. The fall belonged to the volleyball team as they brought energy, determination and commitment to each and every game. Taking Division III Hood College to five games was one of the highlights. The team playing in a best of five match, rallied back in front of a gym full of Christendom crazies to tie the match at two games a-piece before losing a thriller.

The basketball teams continued to forge ahead as the Lady Crusaders despite playing 11 games in seven days which included trips to Tennessee and New York finished with an 11-10 record. Their final game might have been their best as they would defeat Davis College for the Shenandoah Chesapeake Conference Championship, after losing to Davis twice in the regular season. About the time basketball was ending Intramurals got a shot in the arm, as they say, when indoor soccer began. Indoor soccer almost topped volleyball as the most widely played sport during the intramural season. Whether it was the McKeague twins and their teams wearing uniforms for their battle on the hardwood or it was the energetic team of Professor Mark Wunsch and company, each intramural night featured something to remember.

Finally Rugby and Baseball took to the fields during the Spring. The Rugby team which featured a tougher schedule proved to be up for the challenge as they defeated Catholic University on St. Patrick’s Day. A very memorable first home game for the Crusader Ruggers featured another victory over Division I American University. Finally, the baseball team which despite graduating their entire starting outfield last year demonstrated what hard work and teamwork are capable of achieving. Defeating Williamson Free school three out of four times as well defeating Valley Forge Christian College, the team found strength in doing the little things and completed a season for the history books.

We say farewell to 31 seniors who played varsity sports this current year as well as two coaches.

Seniors Theresa Nelson and Katie Coyne remember the trip to Burlington, VT when the Lady Crusader soccer team placed second in the USCAA National Tournament. Johnny Ciskanik graduates from Christendom after having one of the best individual soccer careers in Christendom history. Joseph Stephens who has directed the intramural program for the last three years leaves us and will not only be missed in his roles as intramural director but also as the soccer general. Joe Long leaves after pouring his heart and soul into the Rugby program and will not easily be replaced on the pitch. Finally Pat Stein, who willed his team to victory in multiple games and instilled hard work and commitment into the hearts of his fellow players, graduates, and we can only hope someone else with his fire and passion for winning will soon be able to try and fill his shoes.

Finally to all the Christendom students who participated this year either through intramurals, varsity sports and giving us home field or court advantage by being a Crazie, thank you so much! The success, which came this year will hopefully continue in years to come.

Have a great summer and we will be back in August!

2011 Lady Crusader Volleyball

2011 Lady Crusader Soccer

2011 Crusader Soccer

2011-12 Lady Crusader Basketball

2011-12 Crusader Basketball

2012 Crusader Rugby

2012 Crusader Baseball

Q. What makes Christendom different from other schools, specifically, different from Thomas Aquinas College, Franciscan University of Steubenville, and Ave Maria University.

A. Wow. That’s probably the hardest question I’ve gotten all year long. Let me see what I can do to answer you, without making all the other colleges mad at me.

First of all, the biggest difference is, of course, that we are the best
itunes Just kidding, sort of. There are a couple major differences between us and these other schools, so I will simply list some of them.

Christendom and Thomas Aquinas College (TAC): Christendom is in Virginia, TAC is in California. That’s a big difference. We teach using the scholastic method (that is, we teach subject matter, utilizing original texts, commentaries, textbooks, and the great wisdom of our knowledgeable faculty in a lecture format in classes of around 22 students). TAC uses the Socratic method (that is, they teach particular Great Books – original texts – without the use of commentaries or textbooks, and their faculty lead discussions of these works in small classes of about 17 students in a seminar). Christendom has a great focus on history. TAC does not teach history, but they do have more math and science requirements in their curriculum. Christendom offers 2.5 years of a core curriculum, then offers 6 majors to its students. TAC has 4 years of a core curriculum with one major. Christendom has inter-collegiate sports teams. TAC does not. Christendom has a semester in Rome program. TAC does not.

Christendom and Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS): Christendom is in rural Virginia, FUS is in a more city setting. Christendom has about 400 students, FUS has about 2000 students. Christendom has family-friendly student life policies (such as no alcohol on campus, curfew for freshmen and sophomores under 21, no intervisitation between men and women in residence halls, no internet or TV hook ups in dormitories, and a professional dress code for classes and Mass), FUS does not have these policies. Christendom tends to be more traditional in its liturgical celebrations. FUS tends to be more contemporary, sometimes even charismatic. Christendom has the 2.5 year core curriculum and 6 majors. FUS has a very small core curriculum, but over 40 majors. Christendom has inter-collegiate sports teams and is in the USCAA. FUS has inter-collegiate sports teams and is in the NCAA III for some of them.

Christendom and Ave Maria University (AMU): Christendom is in rural Virginia, AMU is in south Florida. Christendom has about 400 students and plans on staying around this size forever. AMU has about 800 right now, but hopes to be at 1200 or so in the very near future. Christendom has family-friendly student life policies (see above). AMU does not have these policies. Christendom has been steadily and consistently offering the same high academic, deeply Catholic educational experience for about 35 years. AMU, because it is trying to grow at a rapid pace, seems to be in a constant state of change (many changes in the administration, changes to academic offerings, changes to sports programs, etc). Christendom has the 2.5 years (84 credits) of core curriculum and 6 majors. AMU has a (I think –based on reading the catalog) 48 credit core curriculum with 21 different majors.

There are, I am sure, many other differences, but hopefully this can give you a little more insight into some of the differences that I see between us.
Director of Admissions
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If anyone has questions about applying, visiting, scholarships, financial aid, campus life, rules and regulations, majors, core curriculum, transfer credits, or even about the food here at Christendom, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.