Christendom College celebrated commencement weekend May
13-15, awarding 72 Bachelor of Arts degrees and one Associate
of Arts degree, and honoring renowned historian James
Hitchcock and Cardinal Edwin O'Brien, grand master of the
Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Cardinal O'Brien celebrated the baccalaureate Mass May 13 and
received an honorary doctorate during the commencement
ceremonies. Hitchcock was awarded Christendom's Queen Isabel
Catholic Vision of History Award before delivering the
commencement address Saturday.
Hitchcock inspired graduates with wit and wisdom during his
address, drawing upon his own personal history in the field
of education to illuminate the need for strong, Catholic
liberal arts colleges, such as Christendom, to exist in our
"When I was in graduate school, several of us got together
with the idea: maybe we could start a lay Catholic college.
Why? Because, if there was going to be any hope for a liberal
Catholic institution, it would have to come from the laity.
While our idea never got off the ground, whoever would have
guessed that a wave of neo-Catholic colleges run by laymen
would appear later, and that they would be the ones
preserving the authenticity of the Faith, often against the
infidelity of some of the clerically run institutions? We are
celebrating, here at Christendom, a very triumphant event,"
After receiving an honorary doctorate in humane letters,
Cardinal O'Brien praised Christendom for its education and
fidelity to the church over the past nearly 40 years, and he
encouraged the graduates to become leaders in civic and
church life upon graduation.
"I know how grateful all of you are to your families and to
the faculty and staff of (the) college, for helping you reach
this academic milestone. It's a privilege to come to
Christendom, known throughout our country and beyond for its
fidelity to the teachings of the Catholic Church, the quality
of the education offered here, and the caliber and commitment
of its students and alumni," he said.
During Saturday's commencement, Salutatorian Sarah Greydanus
of Bloomfield, N.J., noted the similarities between the
ritual aspect of commencement and the life the Class of 2016
led at the college. Looking at the daily motions only in
themselves, such as the college's dress code, residential
policies, and more, they might seem trivial, according to
Greydanus. But seen in the light of God, they manifest and
accomplish things greater and deeper: they help lead
Christendom graduates to Heaven.
Vince Criste, assistant director of donor and alumni
relations, presented the Student Achievement Award to
Elisabeth Willson of Fort Defiance, Va., for her dedication
to the community. Willson made great contributions to the
academic, athletic and social life of the college as the
campus' head female resident assistant, as a member of the
choir and the varsity basketball team, and in her role as a
counselor for the Experience Christendom Summer Program.
Valedictorian Amy Marter of Lake Village, Ind., delivered the
farewell address. Moving graduates, families and guests with
her profound and emotional reflection on the Class of 2016's
accomplishments, Marter encouraged graduates to share the
gift of Faith they received at Christendom with others, in
order to fulfill the mission of the college to "restore all
things in Christ."
Closing the ceremony, college President Timothy O'Donnell
delivered his charge to the graduates.
"You have become and you are, in fact, bearers of light. That
was key to Dr. Carroll's mission and our common vision in the
founding of this college, in our call to 'restore all things
in Christ.' My charge to you today, in this extraordinary
Jubilee Year of Mercy: be bearers of light," said O'Donnell.
Bachelor's degrees were awarded to Anne Adams, Patrick
Audino, Kinsey Benz, Peter Blank, Mary Blicharz, Dominic
Borchers, Anne Ciskanik, Clare Dempsey, Monica Dilworth,
Jordan Eidle, Cecilia Flagg, Duncan Forsythe, Rebecca
Francis, Andrew Garcia, Sarah Greydanus, John Hebert, Sarah
Hein, Patrick Hilleary, Jacob Hiserman, Mary Hoff, Nicholas
Jaroma, Robert Johnson, Corinne Kavanagh, Kaitlin Kelley,
Rebekah Koerner, Magdalene Kopeck, Mary Lancaster, Emily
(Norton) LaRochelle, Austin Leavitt, Elise Litterio, Cecily
Lowe, Melissa Lucas, Amy Marter, Catherine McFadden, Robert
McKay, Bridget McMahon, Miriam McShurley, Carol Lynn Miller,
Michelle Miller, Jeremy Minick, Nicholas Murphy, Kayla
Newcomb, Mary O'Reilly, Rebecca Ortega, Mary Clare Pilon,
Emily Raabe, June Redman, Maryann Riccardi, Elisabeth
Julia Rollino, Pete Ruhl, Sean Salmon, Michaela Sanborn,
Allison Schmitz, Catherine Schneider, Sean Shanahan, Sarah
Slaten, John David Speer, William Stamper, William Tomlinson,
Bradley Torline, Mary Townsend, Jacob Wagner, Therese Weber,
Eileen Weichert, Magdalena Whittaker, Elisabeth Willson,
Veronica Wilson, Mary Woytych, James Wright, and Madeleine
(Deighan) Zinman. An associate of arts degree was awarded to