Embracing the Mission Through Experience
By Billy Olson, ’14
The phrase “the experience matters” is so common at HCC, it seems that it’s become an unofficial motto. Time spent outside the classroom in new and challenging situations and gaining new skills is just as important as the learning that occurs in the four walls of a classroom. It is this experiential approach that has helped me achieve fulfillment and success in my professional career.
My education in theology and liberal studies at Holy Cross helped me gain a foothold in the field of young adult and youth ministry, because I had professors push me to academic excellence. After graduation, I ventured across the street to The University Notre Dame to work on a Master of Arts degree in theology through the Echo program. Through Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education, I have also have been able to serve as a lay chaplain at University College Cork in Ireland. It was my time at Holy Cross—in the classroom, in the dorm, and through campus ministry—that equipped me with the skills I needed to excel in these environments. Perhaps more importantly, it was Holy Cross’ experiential approach—experience matters—that gave me the competence to see and the courage to act.
This coming fall, I’ll be moving from the Emerald Isle to Houston to begin a new role as director of Pastoral Ministry at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory. I believe that it is unlikely that I would have been offered these opportunities if it wasn’t for Holy Cross. For that, I am most grateful.
In addition to these educational factors, there’s more to Holy Cross—something quite exceptional. Many people have tried to identify those particular factors that make Holy Cross such a special institution. Through my own experiences, I think I’ve stumbled on an answer: Holy Cross wants to make their students saints.
The opportunities for saint-making are common, and I’m sure I’ve been impacted by some that I have yet to even recognize. A few stick out. During my sophomore year, I took Professor Michael Griffin’s service learning course in which we visited the Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) in South Bend, IN, and helped students there with their homework. Near the end of the semester, “Griff” approached myself and another student to be a part of something new at the JJC. A program was being developed where Holy Cross students would be a part of a peer ministry to the young men and Griff asked if the two of us would be the student leader for the “semester”. The funny thing is, I somehow stuck around in the program for the rest of my undergraduate career. While it was not something I signed up for, it may have been the best experience at HCC.
Every week, we would present a virtue to the young men, and then we would play games and discuss the topic. Many of them shared their take on the virtue and then apply it to themselves. Sometimes the environment gave them an opportunity to share their own stories. I remember a 16-year-old who shared with me his checkered past and that he recently became a father. Becoming a father changed him, and he desired to be the father to his child that he never had. He asked if I could pray with him to grow in the virtue of perseverance. To say I was moved would be an understatement. That day I think I learned more about virtue from him than anything I could share. I didn’t think I would see him again, but months later I ran into him outside of the JJC. When we bumped into each other, we were both ecstatic to see each other. I asked him how he was doing. He paused and then smiled, saying, “Everything is really great.” Through our encounters, it became evident that this young man had a great grasp on the Christian virtues: faith, hope, and love. And I believe his witness to be a loving father taught me about how the Heavenly Father has an abundant amount of faith, hope, and love for all of his children.
My experience in the JJC showed me how Holy Cross is in the business of making saints. It’s a school that goes to meet God in the marginalized, and speeds up that saint-making process. In many ways, it serves Holy Cross’s charism to be incarnational: to meet people where they are at, but to not leave them there. Instead, Holy Cross brings their students toward something new and life giving. It’s an institution that cares deeply about helping each student find their vocation through a holistic approach that goes beyond the experience of a classroom. In the words of Blessed Basil Moreau, “The mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart.” Holy Cross College forms the hearts and minds of their students to become saints through their vocation.
When I look back at my experience, I must say I am ever thankful for Holy Cross College. It gave me the tools to strive after my goals and push myself to have amazing experiences after graduating. But I am most thankful for Holy Cross for how they have directed me on my vocation and how they introduced me to Christ in a new ways (especially in the marginalized). And lastly, I am thankful that Holy Cross College has played a major role in forming not only me, but all their students to become better people: people who strive to be saints. Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
A Season of Events
Chicago-Michiana Alumni/Parents Bulls Game
Join local Holy Cross alumni for a Chicago Bulls game at the United Center and pre-game mixer at the Ogden! Tickets are $40. Please RSVP to JudeAnne Hastings, director of Alumni and Parents Programs, at 574-239-8372 or by email.
Holy Cross College Homecoming
Lots of fun events are being planned for Homecoming in the spring. Keep checking the Homecoming website for more details.
Holy Cross to Saint Mary’s Cross Campus Race
Run a 5k around both Holy Cross College and Saint Mary’s College to support the Brothers and Sisters global missions. Sign up at https://runsignup.com/Race/IN/NotreDame/CrossCampusRace
Chicago-Michiana Regional Dinners
Chicago area alumni are invited to dinner in the city and in the suburbs! Details forthcoming.
Minneapolis Alumni/Parents Dinner
Minneapolis area alumni are invited to dinner! Details forthcoming.
Commencement Weekend Alumni/Parents/Student Champagne Brunch
Join us Friday morning for the traditional brunch with students, parents, and alumni.
Through The Eyes of Faith Gala
Our biannual gala supporting Global Perspectives trips to missions around the world.
The House that Built Me
My return visit to Holy Cross College was long overdue. After graduating with a BA in 2007, I stayed on to work for the college for two years as the community relations specialist. But I moved back to the east coast in 2009 and have not returned to campus since then. I never intended to stay away for so long and, after visiting the college this fall, I cannot believe I did.
As I drove onto campus, my stomach filled with butterflies. So much had changed! There were new buildings and dorms; I was amazed to see how much Holy Cross has grown. The comforting familiarity of my former college washed over me as I walked in and headed towards the admissions office. The first person I ran into was Sherry Raven, also the first person I met at Holy Cross 13 years ago. It seemed a fitting reception for my return.
I had lunch in the dining hall with Jodie Badman, President Br. John Paige’s assistant, and Sherry, both of whom I grew close to while working for the college. Our time together shaped me into the adult I am today. Outside the classroom education I received, they were the ones who molded my work ethic, taught me to work hard, pay attention to detail, and to do it with a smile. I attribute the success I have achieved in my career to the foundation Jodie and Sherry helped to build.
After lunch I caught up with Adam DeBeck, associate director of admissions. Adam and I started working for the college at the same time and became fast friends. He gave me a VIP tour and we talked about personnel changes and campus additions. The quad alone was by far the biggest change. It is amazing how some grass makes the campus feel so much bigger!
As we stood on the quad and talked, I looked around at the current students basking in the sun, walking to and from class, and playing Frisbee. It was interesting to see the majority of the students in HCC-branded T-shirts, sweatshirts, and sports uniforms. When I was an undergrad, the college had just implemented four-year degree programs. Most students identified with the colleges they intended to transfer to, and very few students ever sported an HCC t-shirt or hoodie. As a member of one of the first baccalaureate classes, I was overjoyed to see a student body that takes pride in Holy Cross.
I was also fortunate enough to get in touch with Br. Richard Gilman, former Holy Cross president. Br. Richard and I became close during my global perspectives trip to Ghana in 2006. He provided me support during my time as an employee and I was over the moon to see him. We talked in great length about the major strides the college has taken in the past 10 years, and some of the programs that were put into place during his time as president, which are now flourishing.
The people I knew at Holy Cross significantly impacted my life and helped make me the person I am today. For all of the changes the college has undergone in the past 10 years, the people who run it remain some of the most supportive, honest and wonderful people I have ever met. Despite its changing landscape, Holy Cross College still feels like home.
Tomorrow's Tuition at Today's Prices
Holy Cross College has joined The University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College as a member of the Private College 529 Plan, a pre-paid tuition plan that allows participating families to lock in current tuition rates for future use.
Holy Cross is one of 12 colleges and universities in Indiana, and 282 institutions nationwide, to participate in the Private College 529 Plan. As a member, Holy Cross will honor tuition certificates purchased at today’s tuition rates for up to 30 years, giving purchasers the opportunity to save thousands of dollars in future tuition bills.
“We are happy to join with our tri-campus neighbors at Notre Dame, Indiana, in this consortium of institutions to offer such a valuable opportunity for families,” said Brother John Paige CSC, president of Holy Cross College. “Holy Cross is already celebrated as a great value in Catholic higher education, and we’re pleased to have the chance to do even more to make our college as affordable as possible for students and their families.”
The diverse range of member schools that comprise Private College 529 Plan includes research universities, liberal arts colleges, religious schools, science and technology institutions and more. Funds in the Plan can be used only for tuition and mandatory fees at member institutions, so it can work alongside any traditional 529 savings accounts that can be used to pay room and board, books and other higher-education expenses. If the student does not attend a member school, funds in the plan can be rolled over to another 529 plan or the beneficiary can be changed.
“Holy Cross College is a most welcome new member of Private College 529,” Nancy Farmer, president of the Plan, said. “Holy Cross adds to the range of options for Private College 529 families to find a school that makes quality, private higher education more affordable.”
About Private College 529 Plan
Owned and operated by more than 280 leading private colleges and universities, Private College 529 Plan was created by authorization of the U.S. Congress for colleges and their consortia to help families plan for college and increase the affordability and accessibility of higher education. Private College 529 Plan enables families to save on the future cost by prepaying tuition at member institutions protecting their saving from tuition inflation and market volatility.
The educational mix of private institutions participating in Private College 529 Plan provides families with a wide range of college choices. As opposed to other state-specific congressionally authorized plans, Private College 529 Plan has a national scope, with participating private colleges across the United States. It also differs in that its member institutions bear all of the financial risk and pay all of the fees.
Private College 529 Plan is working for over 6,000 families with more than $310 million under management. For more information, visit https://www.privatecollege529.com .
Purchasers should carefully consider the risks associated with purchases and refunds of Tuition Certificates. The Disclosure Statement contains this and other information about the Plan, and may be obtained by visiting privatecollege529.com or calling 1.888.718.7878. Purchasers should read these documents carefully before purchasing a Tuition Certificate.
Private College 529 Plan is established and maintained by Tuition Plan Consortium, LLC. OFI Private Investments Inc., a subsidiary of OppenheimerFunds, Inc., is the program manager. Participation in the Plan does not guarantee admission to any college or university, nor does it affect the admissions process. Tuition Certificates are not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC, TPC, any governmental agency or OFI Private Investments Inc. or its affiliates.
Holy Cross welcomes new Alumni Director
Holy Cross College is pleased to announce that it has appointed JudeAnne Hastings as its new director for alumni and parent programs. Hastings brings 15 years of experience in higher education advancement to the college. Most recently, she was the director of development for St. Thomas Aquinas—The Catholic Center at Purdue in West Lafayette.
Holy Cross plans to expand its alumni and parent programs, and Hastings will be a key leader in that effort. “We are blessed to have found someone with so much experience and dedication to the Holy Cross mission who will help the parents and alumni we value so highly develop even deeper and more meaningful connections with the college,” said Br. John Paige, C.S.C., president of Holy Cross College. Hastings’ duties will include developing partnerships with local and regional alumni organizations, establishing a parents council, and planning many of the college’s upcoming 50th anniversary celebration events. In addition, Hastings will oversee the Alumni Advisory Board, chaired by Timothy DeGeeter, ’89, mayor of Parma, OH.
Hastings is familiar with South Bend and the Holy Cross family. She is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College, and was director for the Saint Mary’s College annual fund for many years. She also received a Master’s of Public Affairs in non-profit management from Indiana University South Bend. Hastings is excited to be coming back to South Bend to join the Holy Cross College advancement team. “It is a privilege to be at Holy Cross College and to be part of an institution that provides a liberal arts education within a Catholic context,” says Hastings. “I am excited to reengage both our alumni and parents with the college and work with our current students to create an even stronger alumni network.”
Outside of work, Hastings has been an active volunteer, serving on the alumnae board for Saint Mary’s, working with United Way of Elkhart County as a grant reader and serving on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Lafayette/West Lafayette.