Commencement 2013


Name: Sarah Peterson
Linden, VA
Political Science
Playing basketball and soccer.
What is your favorite class or professor?
My favorite class was probably either History 201 or 202 taught by Dr. Adam Schwartz. He taught every class like it was a story, which made it very interesting.
What extra-curricular activities do you participate in?
I play basketball and soccer for Christendom. It's really a lot of fun and you get to know your teammates/classmates really well!
What is your favorite thing about Christendom?
The classes and extra-curricular activities are great, but my favorite part about Christendom is the people you meet here. I have made many close friends.
Why did you choose Christendom?
I wanted to go to a school where I knew it would help strengthen my faith. I also wanted to go to school with a good core curriculum.
What surprises you the most about Christendom?
Just how much you really get to know everyone at this school—students, teachers, and staff. To them you are an individual, and you get to know them on a personal basis and not just be "a face in the crowd."
What are your plans after graduation?
Still figuring that out... but, hey, I've got a year left. smile
Any parting words of advice for a prospective student? Definitely come and visit! The summer programs are great, but it is also good to see what school is like when there are actually students on campus. Also, keep an open mind and decide if you like Christendom after you visit. It could change your life, like it has mine and so many others.


Dancing Under the Stars

On Saturday, May 4, the senior class president, David Townsend, hosted the annual “Dance Under the Stars.” Held outdoors at the tennis courts near the Student Center, the dance was a great way to wrap up the last week of classes and give students a fun and relaxing time before the start of finals. Some students played corn-hole throughout the evening out in the parking lot, while everyone enjoyed a variety of refreshments. Some Juniors returning from Rome made a surprise appearance, much to the delight of their friends on campus. Overall, the dance, complete with a fog machine and balloons, was an atmosphere of lighthearted fun and good company.

Juniors Hannah Ethridge and Marissa DePalma pose with Seniors David Townsend and Dan Mitchell.

Siblings Julie and Charlie Rollino dance together.

Junior Karen Hambleton and Senior Tommy Salmon play corn-hole, while Senior Peter Spiering watches.

Juniors Matt Marcolini and Maribeth Kelly swing to a tune.

Sock Hop

On Sunday, May 5, the Swing Club and the Contra Club teamed up to host a “Swingin’ Sock Hop” in St. Lawrence Commons. Students were able to take a break from studying and enjoy a couple hours of swing and contra dancing with their classmates. The Commons was brightly decorated for the event, and a big spread of snacks was available for participants to enjoy. Students also ate their fill of ice cream—except this time it was in the form of root beer floats to match the 50’s theme. Some students even showed up dressed in 50’s costumes, adding to the overall fun.

Everyone enjoyed taking part in traditional contra dances such as the ‘Minotaur’ and also having plenty of time to put to use all the great swing dancing skills they’d learned over the past school year.

Freshman Hugh Forrester and sophomore Rocina Daez practice their swing dancing skills.

Senior Rachel Kujawa gets dipped by junior Tim Johnston.

Junior Andrew Clark swings senior Nicole Koopman.

Duck! Students form a tunnel during a contra dance.

The evening was full of lively contra dances.


During the week of finals and thesis defenses before graduation, a few awards were given to students who excelled in academics or serving their fellow students.

Philip Briggs was awarded the Joe McGlynn Award for Service. Phil dedicated countless hours of volunteer service to the college and the Student Activities Council.

Nicholas Blank was awarded the Patrick Quest Leadership award by Coach Vander Woude for his great contribution to Crusader athletics on and off the field.

The History Department awarded its Dr. Warren Carroll award to the top senior history thesis writers. Above Dr. Adam Schwartz and Dr. Brendan McGuire stand with recipients John McFadden and Rachel Kujawa.

Caitlin Thomas was awarded the Robert C. Rice award for excellence in English Language in Literature.

Baccalaureate Mass

The College celebrated its commencement weekend on May 10-12. The first event of the beautiful weekend was the Baccalaureate Mass celebrated by Archbishop Charles Brown, Papal Nuncio to Ireland.

"One of the truly beautiful and remarkable strengths of Christendom College is how the plurality of vocations has historically been so well represented by your graduating classes,” the archbishop said during his homily on Friday. “Christendom graduates have followed the Lord and lived lives of holiness as priests, religious, sisters, monks, and brothers, and as holy married people. The extraordinary richness of this variety of vocations from Christendom is an eloquent proof of the deeply Catholic and truly Catholic character of this college. And of that, all of you—especially the class of 2013—can be justifiably very proud."

Archbishop Brown delivers the homily.

Graduation Dinner & Dance

After the Baccalaureate Mass, students, faculty, and parents headed to the Shenandoah Country Club for an elegant reception and dinner. Students and parents were able to chat with the professors who have been mentors to the students, guiding them through Christendom's powerful intellectual formation. After several toasts and a viewing of the senior slideshow, all headed back to campus for the Graduation Dance which featured a live band, Yesterday Swing Orchestra.

Students and parents enjoyed a view of the beautiful Virginian countryside.

Students faculty, and staff converse.

Senior Colleen Harmon poses for a photo with Archbishop Brown.

The club provided an elegant atmosphere for the evening.

College President Dr. Timothy O'Donnell offered a toast to the parents of the graduates.

Vice President for Academic Affairs offered a toast to the graduating class.

Senior Class President David Townsend offered a toast to the faculty.

Student Body President Emiko Funai offered a toast to the staff of the college.

The band cranks out some swingin' tunes.

Freshman Brad Torline swings his partner.

The live band kept the dance floor hoppin' all night.

Junior Melanie Clark shares a dance with Senior Peter Spiering.

Commencement 2013

Saturday's ceremonies began with a bagpipe-led procession from Christ the King Chapel to St. Louis the Crusader Gymnasium. There, the college awarded degrees to the 96 graduates, honored Archbishop Charles Brown, Papal Nuncio to Ireland, and Mrs. Anne Carroll, founder of Seton School in Manassas, Va., and Seton Home Study School. Archbishop Brown celebrated received an honorary doctorate before delivering the commencement address. Mrs. Carroll, the wife of Christendom’s founder Dr. Warren Carroll, was awarded the College's St. Catherine of Siena Award for Distinguished Service to the Church & Christendom College.

Salutatorian Nicole Koopman of Topeka, Kan., welcomed all the attendees and, in her address, noted the great change that has happened in the world and in the graduates themselves since they came to Christendom as freshmen. She highlighted the many opportunities the students have had to guide student organizations on campus and to share their faith off campus:

Our class has indeed shone in various leadership roles— and I enjoin my classmates to continue to follow the example of our former pope, Benedict XVI, who leads the Church through his profound humility. While Christendom does indeed prepare its students for pursuing intellectual studies, it certainly has supplied us with the tools to flourish in whatever occupation we choose to pursue after college. Just as a warrior undergoes vigorous training before battle, so too does Christendom provide valuable training before entering the fray.

Director of Admissions and Alumni Relations Tom McFadden presented the Student Achievement Award to Nicholas Blank of Woodbridge, Va., for his dedication to the community. Blank made great contributions to the student life of the college and was active in varsity sports, clubs, and many other facets of student life.

Mrs. Anne Carroll, founder of Seton School in Manassas, Va., and Seton Home Study School, was awarded the college's St. Catherine of Siena Award for Distinguished Service to the Church & Christendom College. Mrs. Carroll, the wife of Christendom’s founder Dr. Warren Carroll, gave brief remarks in which she recalled the watchwords of Christendom College coined by her late husband, “Truth exists. The Incarnation happened”:

These words were the purpose of the founding of Christendom. They've sustained this enterprise through all the trials of the building of Christendom and now they are proclaimed in the glory of Christendom over which Dr. O'Donnell is presiding... But far more importantly [Christendom alumni] are placing Jesus Christ at the center of their lives. Because He is the Truth and He is God Incarnate. And whenever, wherever our alumni are, whatever they do, they are helping to bring about the new springtime in the Church—to build the civilization of love.

In his commencement address, Archbishop Brown warned students that they are entering “a world which more than ever is drifting aimlessly on a sea of relativism, while at the same time being convulsed with spasms of anger directed at traditional moral values.” He suggested that proclaiming that truth does exist is the solution to many of the problems in this world:

Indeed it even seems redundant for us to even mention this to you to todayBecause the greatness and lasting value of your education at Christendom has been premised precisely on this fact—that there is such a thing as truth. And that truth and the search for truth is worth everything...Your years at Christendom have given you an unparalleled preparation for living your faith in our contemporary world. By loving the truth and living the truth, you will have an effect on everyone you come in contact with—an effect that is accomplished simply by living and not necessarily always by preaching.

Valedictorian Sarah Halbur of Joliet, Ill., delivered her address. Halbur said that, for her and her fellow graduates, their time at Christendom was not only a time of intellectual and academic growth, but also a time to learn how to love more deeply:

We have learned to love each other, while growing friendships through thick and thin. We have learned to love our professors, as they have stretched us through thick and thin. Caring for the ill, orphaned, and impoverished during spring break mission trips has expanded our capacity to love those whom the world considers worthless. And in the process of it all, we have learned to love God with a greater maturity, with a greater fidelity, and greater trust.

Closing the ceremony, college President Dr. Timothy O'Donnell delivered his charge to the graduates. He told them that at Christendom they have encountered what G.K. Chesterton called “the romance of orthodoxy”:

Through faith and reason in your studies here, you have united yourself more deeply to Christ. I have seen that—especially of those of you who have lived in Rome. You know that you are part of a vast, yet a very intimate supernatural family that—despite the portrayal in the press—is young, is vibrant, and is alive...Here at Christendom you have only started the journey. It's the beginning of consecrating your intellect and will to Christ, which will take an entire lifetime to complete.

Archbishop Brown's Commencement Address

Mrs. Anne Carroll's Remarks

Salutatorian & Valedictorian Addresses

The President's Charge to Graduates

The class of 2013.

You can download and listen to all the addresses
Christendom on iTunes U.


Senior Reflections

At graduation, Anne Carroll, the wife of Christendom’s founder Warren Carroll, quoted what our founder used to call "The Watchwords of Christendom," saying, “Truth exists. The Incarnation happened.” This, she said, was what motivated Dr. Carroll to found Christendom, to write the History of Christendom series, and to inspire so many young people to pursue truth in a world that has forgotten it exists.

Graduation is a bittersweet time. Any senior will tell you that. Every moment is a mix of tears at parting and excitement for the future. It’s also a time of reflection.

Five years ago, I came to the Experience Christendom Summer Program as a brand new Catholic. I admit to being one of those kids who came to Christendom very reluctantly. As a convert, what made the most impact on me was the unity of the Christendom community. As a senior, I understand so much more that the unity within the College is not due to the size of the school, the emphasis we put on formation, or the events Student Activities hosts. It comes from each individual member’s commitment to Truth. We are Catholic, united in the person of Jesus Christ Who is Truth itself.

No institution is perfect. Every student at Christendom, myself included, has his or her complaints. It is necessary, however, to step back from those complaints to recognize that very few college students are given the gift of faculty and staff who applaud their colleagues as men and women of true virtue. To know someone who is truly virtuous is rare, and to be taught or mentored by that person is a gift that, at Christendom, we students have a tendency to take for granted. Our professors sacrifice so much for Truth. That alone speaks to the fulfillment of the vision of Warren Carroll. My four years at Christendom have given me the best friends I may ever have, an education that is unparalleled in its commitment to Catholicism, and the opportunity to see virtue in action. What we have been given is priceless. Dr. Carroll’s mission will live on in the faculty, staff, and students of Christendom College. Truth exists. The Incarnation happened.

-Emiko Funai, Class of 2013

When I was asked to reflect on my years at Christendom, I thought to myself, "where on earth am I going to start?" That thought kept running through my head, as I tried to think of a way to start. Then it occurred to me: Christendom IS the start. In so many ways, Christendom is the starting point of its students' lives. I am not saying that people did not have lives before or during their time at Christendom, but the real start to their own lives as individual adults begins at Christendom, and is able to flourish because of Christendom. Christendom gives each and every student a true and strong foundation upon which to start his life beyond Christendom, and endure through the many trials and temptations of the world.

The Good Lord knows my weaknesses and struggles, but Christendom has given me the strength to recover when I stumble, and fight through this world to reach the next.

After all, that is what Christendom is for: it gives each person what is necessary to reach eternal salvation, and nothing is more important than that. That is what makes Christendom one of the best colleges in the world.

Christendom also is the start of many life-long friendships. I have made friends with people who make me a better person, and who give me strength and inspiration in my life, and I know that I will have these friends my whole life. When I look back to how I was four years ago, I thank God for all that I have experienced at Christendom which has helped me to be better prepared for the world. Perhaps I never will be ready for it, but without Christendom, without the foundation that it has provided, I would sink for sure. Through the education, the friendships, and the experiences that Christendom has given to me, I know that I can face the challenges of this world. And for that, I thank Christendom with all my heart.

Looking back on the last four years, and all the memories made, I can't help but be excited about what the future has in store. I think I can safely say that these past four years have been the best of my life so far, but I think I can also safely say that the best is yet to come, which fills me with excitement and wonder about what God has planned for me in the upcoming life that Christendom has started for me. So, to Christendom College, the professors, faculty, staff, and students, I thank you for an amazing experience, a fantastic start, and a firm foundation.

And to the class of 2013: thank you for these past four years. Thank you for the memories, the experiences, and the friendships. You will all remain with me and be in my prayers. God bless each and every one of you, and may He keep you always close and firmly in His Sacred Heart. I love you all, and I will miss you! Ciao!

-Nate Collins, Class of 2013


Honoring the Seniors, Continued…

Joseph Walsh who has been the Athletic Department’s journalist for the year sat down with graduating seniors Dan Mitchell, Rob Hambleton, and Theresa Lamirande.

Dan Mitchell
What sports have you played?
I've played baseball and soccer while at Christendom: baseball for four years and soccer for two years.

What positions did you play?
Keeper for soccer and shortstop for baseball.

What was it like to play these sports and try and balance it with all your other responsibilities?
I think it actually helped me learn how to balance and prioritize my time because you don’t have a lot of free time with sports. As a result, you spend the free time you have doing schoolwork or being with your friends.

What was your greatest game over the last four years?
I don’t think I ever had an outstanding personal performance, but one of the greatest team performances I saw was junior year in soccer when we beat Bryn Athyn in the first game of the year. We went in to overtime and had been fighting hard the whole way through. When regulation ended, it was tied at 2. But a couple minutes into overtime, Tommy Salmon scored the winning goal. It was an exhilarating feeling to get a walk off win like that because the whole team knew they had contributed somehow.

What was the greatest upset you were a part of?
Our win junior year over Penn State Mont Alto, for sure. It all started during the car ride when we got stuck in traffic and ending up getting slightly lost, showing up to the game right on time. The umpires gave us ten minutes to warm up. We started the game and had one or two really big innings which put us ahead, and then we held on to the lead for the rest of the game. The top moment was probably when Matt Speer caught the final out of the game to seal the win.

What’s your favorite memory of the last four years in sports?
There is no single memory but the hustle and dedication of John Federline ("J-line") is something I’ll never forget. One moment that sticks out is during my junior year we were playing a game at Bing Crosby Stadium and we had run out of water. One of our starters, Pat Stein, got up to refill it but J-line, who doesn’t get much playing time at all, jumped in and intercepted the water cooler from Stein. It wasn’t J-line’s job but he saw that as the best way he could help the team and he did it wholeheartedly. It would be a cool story if he did that just once but he does that at every practice and every game.

What piece of advice would you have for an incoming freshman considering sports?
Don’t let the small size of Christendom deter you from coming here for sports. I played varsity baseball for a large public high school, but here, I was still able to keep playing the sports I loved while building great friendships and becoming a leader in the process.

Rob Hambleton

What sports have you played?
I have played rugby, baseball, and soccer for Christendom College. I also played a number of other intramural sports, such as basketball and dodge ball and a little bit of ice hockey back home.

What positions did you play?
On the rugby pitch, I played inside and outside center for the back line. I played mostly third base for the Crusader baseball team and I was a full back on the soccer team.

What was it like to play these sports and try and balance that with all the other responsibilities?
It was definitely a challenge at times, particularly when exam and paper due dates approached, which seem quite often. But as a whole, it helped me tremendously. Sports are an outlet for me, they allow me to get out of the books and exert some energy. It would be hard for me personally to not play any sports. Sports helped me balance my life here at Christendom. School work is mental exercise, but I also needed physical exercise and I’m not the type to work out in the gym all the time. Sports helped me to excel in my academics because of the balance it brought to my day to day life here at Christendom.

What was your greatest game over the last four years?
The greatest game I’ve ever been a part of was against Southern Virginia University in a soccer match on their field. We lost to them earlier in the season in a close game, but we got our chance to redeem ourselves later on when we traveled down to their field. It was one of the first games I played as a starting full back and it was 0-0 all 90 minutes of regulation time. It was really intense, but we ended up winning with a golden-goal in over-time.

What’s your favorite memory of the last four years in sports?
Greatest game memory was the Southern Virginia game, but I had some pretty awesome times on the road trips - they were a lot of fun. And most of my closest friendships started on the sports teams with me.

What piece of advice would you have for an incoming freshman considering sports?
Play. I can’t stress how much sports helped me here. They helped balance my schedule and keep me sane when the academics got hard. And the athletic department at Christendom has an underlying structure which helps an athlete to grow as a person -physically, spiritually, and mentally and not just on the field.

Theresa Lamirande
What sports have you played?
I played soccer for three years.

What positions did you play?
Freshman year I played striker and then the other two years I played outside midfield.

What was your experience in sports before High School?
I played soccer for three years and at the end of my sophomore year I moved to varsity and I played cross country for one year and varsity lacrosse for four.

What was it like to play these sports and try and balance that with all the other responsibilities?
Freshman year it was challenging to learn how to balance school work with sports and social life, but after that it helped me to be more organized because you have to budget your time between everything you are involved in.

What was your greatest game over the last four years?
My sophomore year I scored off a corner kick, which was the only goal we had off a corner kick all year.

What was the greatest upset you were a part of?
My sophomore year we played Davis College from New York. It was a very challenging game that was hard fought against good competition. The feeling at the end was very rewarding after the victory.

What’s your favorite memory of the last four years in sports?
When I was a sophomore I had the chance to play with my older sister who was a senior.

What piece of advice would you have for an incoming freshman considering sports?
Definitely go out for the team. I remember being a freshman and coming in and automatically having a group of friends to come in with. It’s a great way to adjust to a new school. Plus there are the other benefits of staying in shape and learning how to balance your schedule.

Q. I am finishing up my junior year and would like to know what I should be thinking about as I enter my senior year. What are some dates and deadlines I should know about, and what else can I do to improve my chances of getting in to Christendom? Have a great summer!

A. That's a great question, and I think it is smart of you to be thinking ahead toward next year already! First off, I would recommend studying hard over the summer for your SATs or ACTs, which, if you haven't taken already (or maybe you have taken but need to increase your score), you should take in early fall, maybe September or October. We take the ACT and SAT score (either is fine with us) very seriously and use it to gauge a student's academic ability. We do take the GPA into consideration too, but we consider the ACT or SAT to be an accurate way to compare all the various types of educations that our applicants have had. Additionally, once a student gets above a 1920 on the SAT or 29 on the ACT, we give out academic scholarships.

Second, I would possibly think about attending one of our one-week
Experience Christendom Summer Programs. These one-week sessions go a long way in helping students to see what life could be like for them if they attended Christendom, and they get to experience the campus life, liturgical life, academic life, and recreational life of the students. Additionally, they make lots of friends, many of whom might end up being freshman with them the following fall (50% of this year's incoming class attended one of our summer programs).

Third, in the fall, regardless of whether you attended the summer program or not, I would recommend planning
a visit to campus, while school is in session, to see the place in action. Students can visit most weeks from Sunday-Thursday, and may spend one of those nights on campus after they have made arrangements with the Admissions Office. You would have the opportunity to sit in on classes, stay in the residence halls, attend Mass and meals, and meet with me while you were here.

Fourth, I would recommend
applying to Christendom by December 1. This process takes a little time, so don't wait until November 20th to begin the application process. You need to get transcripts sent to us, as well has have two people write letters of recommendation, and then we also need your official SAT/ACT scores. These things take a while to get to my office, so get a jump on this!

Fifth, fill in Christendom's
financial aid estimator sometime in September, October, or November. This will give you some insights into how much money you might get from Christendom in loans, grants, and scholarships.

Sixth, figure out what you want in a college. Some tell me they are looking for a good Catholic college. I say to them, what do you mean by "good?" Everyone has a different idea of what they mean by a good Catholic college, so maybe create a little list of what you are looking for, what you don't want to have on campus, and things that would be icing on the cake if they existed. For example, some think that a good Catholic college has an entirely Catholic faculty, where all subjects are taught by professors who are orthodox Catholics and teach things from a Catholic worldview when appropriate. Others think that a good Catholic college needs to only have orthodox Catholic professors teaching in the theology department while it is just fine to have non-Catholics teaching in the history, political science, or literature departments. Some think that a good Catholic college should have single sex residence halls, while some that aspect is not something that is important to their definition of "good." So, figure out what you think a good Catholic college should be and offer, and then look around the internet and find the place that meets your needs. If you can't figure it out via the internet, give me a call anytime and I can help you out with your discernment process.

That's about all I can think of right now, but hopefully it will give you something to think about and enable you to prepare better to come to Christendom College. Hopefully, I will see you this summer at one of our quickly-filling-up Experience Christendom Summer Programs!

Director of Admissions
[email protected]
800.877.5456 ext. 1290

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.