Category Archives: Alumni and Friends

Alumni and Friends – We’re here for you

Since 1966, Holy Cross College has been entrusted to educate the hearts and minds of thousands of students. Countless more have become fans of our college due to the popularity of the sports underdog story of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger who transferred from Holy Cross to the University of Notre Dame with the help of our first President Br. John Driscoll.

The Holy Cross mantra of “Once a Saint, always a Saint” embodies the perspective that regardless of the length of time spent being transformed by our mission, and whether or not a Holy Cross degree has been earned, our former students, friends, and benefactors are proud members of our community and an integral part of the Holy Cross College story.

We can’t do it alone, and we wouldn’t want to. You’re a part of our history, and we look forward to hearing and sharing your stories, showing you your gifts at work on campus, and helping you stay connected to the Holy Cross community.

Giving Back

Frank Yensel, ’74

In 1973, I arrived in South Bend with a suitcase and $73 in my pocket. I was a high school dropout, had been laid off from work in my home state, was evicted from the last place I lived, and was in the process of a divorce. I knew I had to hit my personal reset button and start a new life.

L to R: John Suddarth and Frank Yensel, both class of ’74, attend the 2016 Welcome Home Picnic.
I got a job within walking distance from where I lived and eventually got a car. I needed to further my education and someone recommended I talk to Holy Cross Junior College. They were sympathetic to veterans at the time and I thought I might be able to enroll in some way. I stopped by one day and was able to meet with Brother John Driscoll, the president of the college, immediately. He took the time to listen to me, offered a bit of advice and said I could enroll for the next term. That got me off square one and gave me some hope for the future.

I think what makes me still feel connected to the college is that it is a close-knit family. People continue to go out of their way to be friendly and accepting. I was fortunate to meet one of my best friends there, and we are still close after all these years.

Holy Cross also gave me an opportunity to succeed. I went on to Indiana University South Bend for my BS in Business, and later went to University of Dayton for my MBA. I had a successful career and am now retired.

I give to Holy Cross on a regular basis because even small amounts can make a difference when aggregated with other donors. Gifts to the college go toward scholarships, facility improvements or any number of initiatives that support student education and experience, just like mine.

Older Stories

[wpspoiler name=”Living the Mission With Baseball” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]By Michael Hebbeler, Discernment and Advocacy Director, Center for Social Concern, University of Notre Dame

On Saturday, June 17, 2017, a dozen players from the Sappy Moffitt Baseball League (SMBL) in South Bend, IN, boarded a bus and traveled an hour west on I-80 for a game against an unlikely opponent at an unlikely site, Westville Correctional Facility. The SMBL, a six-team league comprised of local farmers and factory workers, priests and judges, grade school teachers and university professors, scheduled a special road game at a state prison to play against college students enrolled in the Westville Educational Initiative (WEI). Arriving to the home team’s confines, Sappy players were greeted with hospitality and offered a tour of the facilities by staff who had come to work on their off day to facilitate the game. Sites included the Educational Complex, which holds the classrooms and library where WEI students learn under faculty from Holy Cross College and the University of Notre Dame. The main hallway spills out into the prison yard, like a stadium tunnel leading from the locker room to the field, and fans were already in the stands when the visitors walked onto a diamond encircled by barbed wire fences, enclosed by old brick dormitories, and overseen by a guard tower just beyond left field.

Then entered the home team. “Baseball? Alright!” shouted the first Westville player to take the field for warmups. “That’s what I’m talking about!” said the next. The players had anticipated playing a game of softball, a sport they regularly play in the prison yard. They delighted with surprise to see the red-seamed baseballs lying in the grass and wooden bats lined up against the backstop. Teams exchanged names and handshakes before tossing with each other, and respective coaches shared their lineup cards. After warm-ups, Alesha Seroczynski, director of college operations for WEI and organizer of this game, gathered all at home plate to tell of the legend of Sappy Moffitt, South Bend’s record-setting pitcher in the early 1900s, and the history of the SMBL. Before breaking the huddle to start the game, an onlooker in the crowd ran onto the infield and, with clicker in hand, offered his services as umpire. Two additional men volunteered to be scorekeepers and took their rightful seats behind the backstop. More fans gathered onto the bleachers, about 50 in total, and a sea of faces appeared in the top floor windows of the dormitories surrounding the field. With a mighty “Play Ball!” from the newly minted ump, the huddle broke and Westville took the field.

Sappy Moffitt jumped out to an early lead with five consecutive hits to start the game, causing some dugout chatter by the visitors about setting a run limit per inning so as not to run up the score on the home team. And just like that the next crack of the bat was countered by the pop of the mitt, a sharp liner snagged by the Westville shortstop who flipped the ball to second for a double play. The following pitch resulted in a grounder to third, easily scooped and fired to first for out number three. Two innings and a homerun later, Westville was up 4-2.

While play on the field remained competitive, players conversed throughout the afternoon about work and school, families and futures. But mostly the talk centered on baseball, the game that connected all of them. “The sound of the wooden bat hitting that ball…intoxicating,” remarked a player from the bench. A common refrain among the home team was how this game took them back to when they were kids at play. The visiting players experienced this sensation, too, as it was the desire to feel the magic of the game they knew so well during their youth that led to the establishment of their league.

The lead changed multiple times and the contest remained tense into the bottom of the fifth inning when the play of the game occurred. With a Westville runner on second and Sappy Moffitt up 8-7, the batter stroked a line drive up the middle for a hit. The Sappy centerfielder charged hard and fielded it cleanly as the baserunner, being wildly waved around third, dug into the dirt with full steam ahead. The throw came hurling in as the catcher, Ryan, took three steps up the third base line and made the catch just as the baserunner, Paul, was gliding by him. Ryan lunged backwards toward Paul with arm outstretched, ball in mitt, as Paul dove head first and hands open toward the plate. Players, coaches and fans alike jumped to their feet and shouted as the umpire moved to make a signal. The moment captured the day. Grown men playing a boys’ game, reveling in reliving childhood memories on a dirt field in a state prison. Each of them, in their respective at-bats, trying to make it safely home.

When the dust settled, teams and fans gathered in the prison garden area for a postgame meal of fellowship, hotdogs, potato salad and ginger ale. Some players recapped the action as the drying sweat from their temples glistened in the midday sun. Others simply enjoyed sitting under shaded oak trees for the first time in over a decade. One team’s leftfielder, with dirt coating his elbows and a smile covering his face, offered a game summary that no box score could capture. “For three hours this afternoon,” he declared, “I was a free man.”

Michael Hebbeler co-founded the Sappy Moffitt Baseball League and works in Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns, sponsor of the postgame meal.[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Joseph Canale, ’15” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]joseph canale smallerHoly Cross served as the breeding ground for my future. I recall great memories with Fr. Sullivan discussing philosophical perspectives, listening to Dr. Louis Albarran serenade our class with Johnny Cash lyrics, and watching classmates and friends alike take to the basketball court inside the Pfeil Center night after night.

“HC is the place to be” was the tag line of a music video created by Br. Nich Perez, CSC, and many of my classmates in the spring of 2012. Its message resonated with me because of its ability to highlight the vast amount of opportunities hosted by HCC, combined with a compilation of clips/photos of our student body living them out.

As I reflect, it’s very clear the impact Holy Cross College had on my life. I engaged with new people, developed friendships and acquired knowledge needed to be successful. After two memorable years at Holy Cross College, I transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I graduated with a degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communications. I now work for a Fortune 100 company and live in Raleigh, NC.

The decision of giving back isn’t something you have to do, it’s something you want to do. I want to give back to Holy Cross College because I want others to have the opportunity to experience what I did – because “The Experience Matters”. I want to read a note much like this in a few years and know that I played a small part in shaping that individual’s experience.

I urge you to give back to Holy Cross College at, and enable the minds of the future so that they may go and make their mark on the world of tomorrow.[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Kirk Barbieri, ’78” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]Kirk Barbieri at Saint Mary's Lake - Fall 2016 2
A few years ago, Fr. Brian, our parish priest at St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish in Charlottesville, VA, delivered his annual homily on financial stewardship. I suspect it is a homily that he dreads to deliver more so than we, as parishioners, anticipate receiving it. But this particular year, he began his homily by asking: “Remember that famous country-western song I Ain’t Never Seen No Hearse Pullin’ No U-Haul?” Of course, everyone laughed. For a brief moment, I thought, “Is that really a song?” (It is – music and lyrics by Kenny Wayne – available on iTunes!) Rest assured, we all got the message.

Every month, when I make a contribution to my named scholarship fund at Holy Cross College, I think about that message. I think about helping others – particularly our students – who may be less fortunate than me. Although my contribution may be small, it doesn’t matter. I know that it helps someone in need and I know that I am blessed to be a part of the Holy Cross College family.

I hope that you may feel the same way and consider giving back to Holy Cross College. It’s so easy to make your gift online at I have enjoyed a successful career in higher education, but each day I remind myself that it all began at Holy Cross College. That is something I will always be grateful for.
[/wpspoiler] [wpspoiler name=”by John Suddarth, ’74” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]john suddarthWhen I returned to the United States after tours of duty in Vietnam and Europe with the US Marine Corps, I decided I wanted to attend college. In my search for a place I felt I would fit as an older student, I met a fellow by the name of Brother John Driscoll. After many discussions with Br. John, he convinced me that Holy Cross was the right place for me.

Holy Cross was a welcoming environment for returning veterans and I have always appreciated the treatment and respect accorded all students by the faculty and staff. Because of that community, I easily integrated into college life and was able to make the adjustment from military life to civilian and student life successfully. My time at Holy Cross was well spent and prepared me to complete my education at the University of Notre Dame.

I have no doubt that being part of the academic community of Holy Cross laid the foundation for my career and my dedication to being a lifelong learner. For all these reasons, Holy Cross – specifically, the Brother John Driscoll Society – is a major part of my annual charitable giving.

Admissions News

Holy Cross Joins the Common App

By Ashley Denson, ’19

In the fall of 2017, Holy Cross College joined the Common Application, allowing prospective students to apply for Holy Cross along with hundreds of other schools that also use the Common App, as it’s informally referred to. Overall, joining the Common App will save high school students time and make it even easier to apply to Holy Cross College.

The Common App has been specifically tailored by the Holy Cross Admissions Office with questions that will allow admissions counselors get to know prospective Holy Cross students better. In the long run, this will help the Admissions Office make better decisions about admitting new students.
Because it is used by so many schools, and reviewed constantly by the Common App Board of Directors, the application is very user friendly and allows students to personalize it as much as possible. Students are able to include previously attended colleges, extracurricular activities, standardized test scores, awards, recommendations, and more. In addition, it offers significant online assistance, and the Holy Cross admissions counselors are also available to help students complete their application.

This year, November 1 was the priority submission deadline for students who wished to be considered for the first batch of offers of admission. The next significant deadline is March 1, 2018, which is the priority deadline for full scholarship consideration. However, that does not mean that those applying later cannot receive scholarships as well.

To visit Holy Cross, prospective students can either contact the Admissions Office at or 574-239-8400. As well, upcoming visit days are scheduled for Monday, January 29, 2018, and Monday, March 26, 2018, but new dates are added regularly, so check the Admissions Office website,, for details or to apply.

Older Stories

[wpspoiler name=”Strong Strides in Admissions” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]By Jen Kau, Admissions Counselor
The 2016-2017 academic year is bringing many new and promising changes and developments for Holy Cross College, particularly within the Admissions Office.

Tara SpirouIn September of 2016, the Admissions Office welcomed two new counselors. Tara Eleftheria Spirou began her college experience at Holy Cross College in 2011; however, when her family moved to Georgia, she transferred with them and earned her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Georgia College and State University in 2015. She has a background working in radio, with extensive experience in social media and marketing. She is originally from St. Charles, IL, making her very excited to have the suburbs of Chicago as one of her regional territories. In addition to her admissions counselor duties, Tara has taken on responsibilities regarding Holy Cross social media as well as coaching the Holy Cross Dance Team.

Jen KauJen Kau joined the Admissions team after completing her Master of Education degree at the University of Virginia. During that time, she interned as an academic advisor at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Prior to graduate school, she attended the University of Notre Dame, graduating in 2015. While at Notre Dame, Jen was involved with the Notre Dame Band Program, which allowed her to get to know students of Holy Cross and Saint Mary’s. Although originally from Virginia, Jen is excited to have returned to Notre Dame, IN, to contribute to the growing institution that is Holy Cross College. Since coming to Holy Cross College, Jen has also taken the position of director of the Holy Cross Pep Band.

With the welcoming of two new counselors, the office has also had to say farewell to a few esteemed colleagues. After four years of work, Joe Gettinger left last summer to take a position across the street at the University of Notre Dame. In the fall, Rick Gonsiorek parted with the office after working for six years at Holy Cross. He is now a manager at a local Catholic radio station in the South Bend area. Most recently, the office has said goodbye to Terron Phillips after having him as an admissions counselor for nearly three years. He began a job in February as an enrollment coordinator for the University of Notre Dame’s EMBA program.

Looking to the future, the prospects for the 2017-2018 academic year look very bright. The Admissions team is experiencing a record-breaking applicant pool, having received nearly 2,000 applications. The office is on track with its enrollment goals and looks forward to continuing these trends.

In addition to receiving its largest number of applicants, the Admissions Office has been busy with many recruiting events. Throughout the year, the office has hosted many campus preview days as well as visit days that are specific to high school students accepted to Holy Cross.

In January, the office invited admitted high school students, specifically from the Michiana area, to visit campus in the evening to mix and mingle with faculty, staff, alumni, and current students. The prospective students were also able to attend the Holy Cross men’s basketball game that evening. The event was very successful and gave prospective students a great look at the both the academic and social experiences that Holy Cross College offers.

admissions student workers admitted students visit 3 admitted students visit 2 admitted students visit 4

Admissions also hosted an academic programming day for admitted students on February 20, during which students gathered by intended area of study in order to learn more about the major and department they are interested in. Around 40 students and their families attended this event.

admitted students visit 6The Admissions team is also collaborating with other academic services offices to coordinate Saints Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR). This is a one-day orientation session for new students that will take place in June. During SOAR, students will learn about campus resources, meet other new students, faculty, and staff, and register for fall classes.

The Admissions Office is very excited about both the recent and approaching events. With the continued support of Holy Cross faculty, staff, alumni, and students, the team expects a remarkable incoming freshman class, Holy Cross College Class of 2021!

Holiday Greetings


Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year from your Holy Cross family!


Every Gift Matters. Every Giver Makes a Difference.


“For a friendship found at Holy Cross is one that never ends.” From the Holy Cross community, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

No matter where you’re from or where you’re going, your Holy Cross College family wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Focus on Athletics

Saints Basketball For a Cause

By Noah Kemp, ’18
On October 2, Holy Cross College’s men and women’s basketball teams hosted a pre-season exhibition event called “Threes and Freebs,” in honor of special guest Mary Freeby, a senior at Holy Cross who is suffering from a blood disorder called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), for which she needs a bone marrow transplant. All the proceeds raised by the event went to support Freeby during her bone marrow transplant.

“My family and I are extremely grateful for all the support this community has shown for us.” Freeby said, “I would not nearly be as positive as I am about this process without the prayers and support from the people here at Holy Cross.”

The event started with Freeby’s father, Chuck Freeby, introducing the event, followed by an opening prayer. Following was a short game between the intramural all-stars and the Holy Cross College basketball alumni as well as a free throw and 3-point contest with students from the crowd.

“I think this event really shows that while Mary has great friends, that she also has the school behind her.” said Alyssa Davis, ’18, who is a close friend of Freeby and helped put together the event with other friends and the Holy Cross basketball programs.

Friends of Freeby, Reagan Stout, ’18, Kasey Schaffer, ’18, and Davis, along with Mike McBride, men’s basketball coach, and Aimee Niespodziany, athletics director and women’s basketball head coach, organized the event to show support for Freeby.

“Coach McBride called me as soon he caught wind of her diagnosis and said we should do something.” Niespodziany said. “Some time passed and he was kicking around ideas and then began to work with a student group. Together, they formulated the format of the night with the idea to show Mary that the basketball programs, past and present, support her.”

She continues to explain, “We want to provide an opportunity for not only the Holy Cross community but Mary’s community, from her grade school to high school to us, her college, to come together and give her the support she needs to battle through the medical treatments she is about to undergo.”
The night also included short games between the women’s basketball program and the intramural all-stars, the men’s basketball program and basketball alumni, and then a coed men and women’s basketball programs game.

“It means a lot for our basketball program to use our platform in order to support one of our fellow students. We try and develop tough habits on the court every day, but that is nothing compared to what Mary has to go through.” said Nate Miller, a junior point guard on the men’s basketball team. “I think it’s a great event to try and bring the whole Holy Cross community together and have fun.”

The event ended with a closing prayer dedicated to the success of Mary Freeby’s treatment and a group picture of all the teams and players who participated in the event with the Freeby family.

“Basketball has always been an integral part of my life, so I can’t think of a better way to leave than through this ‘Threes and Freebs’ night.” Freeby said.

Older Stories

[wpspoiler name=”Saints Win Soccer Award” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”] By Drew Schauss, Sports Information Director

soccer award smallerThe Holy Cross men’s soccer team received the prestigious TOPSoccer Program of the Year. TOPSoccer is a community-based training and team placement program for athletes with disabilities, organized by youth soccer association volunteers. The program is designed to bring the opportunity of learning and playing soccer to any players, age 8 and older, who have a mental or physical disability.

TOPSoccer was formed to perpetuate the Indiana Soccer & US Youth Soccer mission statement which is, in part, “to foster the physical, mental and emotional growth and development of America’s youth through the sport of soccer at all levels of age and competition.” There are thousands of children with disabilities who need, and can be provided with, the opportunity to play soccer through the TOPSoccer program.

soccer award 3 smallerThe Saints men’s soccer team was awarded the Program of the Year award after another successful year of helping out the training program. This program has allowed our Saints to help participants achieve confidence both on and off the field. Senior captain Brian Aldrich has been involved in the program throughout his years in a Saints uniform and was also nominated as Buddy of the Year. Not only have the lives of the participants of the TOPSoccer program been changed, but so have those of the Holy Cross soccer team. “This has been one of the best experience of my life, and something I will cherish forever,” Aldrich said. “I looked forward to seeing the kids every week and teaching them new skills and watching them grow more confident in their abilities on the soccer field. I’d like to thank the soccer program for allowing us the opportunity to work with TOPSoccer and hope they continue this partnership for years to come.”

soccer award 2 smallerNot only were the Saints honored for their service, but head coach Omar Gallo was named Indiana Soccer Director of the Year for his work with Michiana Echo Soccer Club. In Gallo’s 4+ years with Echo, the club has nearly doubled its size. Gallo has implemented mental training, nutritional training, and consistent goalkeeping training to help the program reach new heights. Michiana Echo and Indiana Soccer have praised Gallo for his ability to connect with each and every member as well as their family to make the club one of the best in the state. Along with his work with TOPSoccer, coach Gallo has developed a program called, “First Skills” which helps young players build a commitment to their individual development, make soccer fun to practice and play, but most importantly to teach good sportsmanship and respect for all.
[wpspoiler name=”Saints Show Their Smarts” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”] By Drew Schauss, Sports Information Director
Over the 2015-2016 season, six Holy Cross student athletes were named to All-Conference teams, and 16 were honored for their academic achievements. This represents nearly 25 percent of all Holy Cross student athletes, an astounding feat for the college.

The all-conference team selections are voted on by the CCAC coaches. To be nominated for one of the all-academic teams, a student-athlete must have been enrolled at Holy Cross College for a minimum of one academic year, have completed at least 30 semester hours and boast no less than a 3.25 cumulative grade point average. To be a scholar-athlete, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.50 on a 4.00 scale and must have achieved junior academic status.

All-Conference Teams

Men’s Golf

    Kaleb Gorbahn, ’19

Men’s Basketball (Honorable Mention)

    Madison McCaffrey, ’17

Women’s Basketball (Honorable Mention)

    Tagin Schultheis, ’18

Men’s Soccer (First Team)

    Lukman Ahmed-Shaibu, ’16
    Jonghyun Son, ’16

Men’s Soccer (Second Team)

    Brian Aldrich, ’17

Scholar Athletes

Men’s Basketball

    Michael Ognar-Pettersson, ‘16
    Coley Schultheis, ’16

Women’s Basketball

    Shelby Nelson, ’16

All-Academic Teams

Women’s Soccer

    Kaylee Ables, ’17
    Sara Bogol, ’17
    Hayley Deisinger, ’17
    Zayra Valencia, ’16

Men’s Soccer

    Brian Aldrich, ’17
    Connor Simpson, ’16

Women’s Basketball

    Shana Anderson, ’17
    Shelby Nelson, ’16
    Tagin Schultheis, ’18

Men’s Basketball

    Michael Ognar-Pettersson, ’16
    Coley Schultheis, ’16
    Adam Vizar, ’16

Men’s Golf

    BJ Kolcz, ’16

Women’s Golf

    Kylie Day, ’17
    Sarah Hartle, ’16
    Kendra Luckey, ’16
[/wpspoiler] [wpspoiler name=”Saints Serve the Community” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”] By Drew Schauss, Sports Information Director

For Holy Cross College student athletes, serving the community off the court is a vital part of being a Saint. Last year, the men’s soccer team and the men’s basketball team partnered with charities that enhance the lives of children locally and around the world and they will continue these partnerships through the 2016-2017 school year.

Soccer shoots “Goals for Tysen”

gallo and tysen.smallerFor the second straight year the men’s soccer team is partnering with Tysen’s Mission to a Million. For every goal the Saints score this year in the regular season and playoffs, the team will donate $5 to the charity, which goes toward providing special opportunities for children with disabilities or life-threatening medical conditions.

The organization began when Tysen Lefebvre was granted a wish to meet Adam Sandler from Make-A-Wish Eastern Ontario in 2012. He is now on a mission to pay it forward and raise $1 million to grant 100 wishes for other children.

Coach Omar Gallo has known Tysen for a few years and last year, after seeing how Tysen is changing lives, wanted to get the team involved. “When I noticed that Tysen had already helped grant over 26 wishes for other children, I immediately knew we had to get involved. I informed the team about it and we came up with the idea of ‘Goals for Tysen.’ For every goal our men’s college team scores this year in the regular season and playoffs, we will donate $5.”

Tysen was thrilled when he found out that the Saints men’s soccer team would be joining his cause last year. “I’m so happy Omar started this challenge with his team,” says Lefebvre. “It’s fantastic that they are helping me on my mission, and encouraging others to do the same. I am honored to be associated with them and I am looking forward to cheering them on this season. GO Saints!”

The Saints scored 42 goals last season, but this year are hoping to greatly surpass that. “As a team, our goal is to make one child’s wish on Tysen’s list come true,” explains Gallo. “This experience will continue to teach our players about life and understand the importance of giving back.” With a strong returning core and senior leadership, the Saints anticipate a productive and successful season.

Basketball team grows by two

This spring was a special time for two young men and the Holy Cross men’s basketball program. The Saints, with the help of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, made two boys’ shared dream come true.

On April 13, 2016, eleven-year-old Khalon Manson Howard from Mishawaka and his brother Jaycob Michael Beal signed their letters of intent to become part of the Holy Cross basketball team. As part of their signing day, Khalon’s favorite local basketball player, Demetrius Jackson, surprised him via FaceTime to congratulate him on becoming a Saint. Khalon is battling leukemia and regularly receiving treatments in Indianapolis. He is a sports fanatic who loves basketball and is a member of the local Midwest Basketball Academy program. Jaycob is Khalon’s 9-year-old brother. He also loves sports, and has been by his brother’s side throughout his brother’s illness, giving up basketball travel in order to do so.

khalon with team khalon with basil

Both the boys and their family will be immersed in the men’s basketball program and now attending as many workouts, practices, and games as possible. The boys spent time after their signing getting to know their new teammates and getting some shots up. Khalon and Jaycob impressed the crowd with their ball handling and shooting skills. Both boys will be invited to join the Saints on the bench during the 2016-2017 men’s basketball season.

The Friends of Jaclyn Foundation began in 2005 when Jaclyn Murphy was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. Her wish was to help every sick child find a team to show them love, support and friendship. The mission of Friends of Jaclyn is to improve the quality of life for children and their families battling pediatric brain tumors and other childhood cancers while spreading awareness. [/wpspoiler]

Alumni Announcements

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!

Older Stories

[wpspoiler name=”A Season of Events” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]Holy Cross College alumni and parents have been busy the last few months celebrating our 50th Anniversary in style. In the next few months, Alumni and Parent Programs has a host of exciting events for local and regional alumni, parents, students, and friends of Holy Cross College. Check your mail, email, and Facebook for invitations and announcements from Alumni and Parent Programs.

parents weekend 1 parents weekend 2 alumni gathering

March 4
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.

April 21-22
Holy Cross College Homecoming

Lots of fun events are being planned for Homecoming in the spring. Keep checking the Homecoming website for more details.

April 22
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

April 26-27
Chicago-Michiana Regional Dinners

Chicago area alumni are invited to dinner in the city and in the suburbs! Details forthcoming.

May 4
Minneapolis Alumni/Parents Dinner

Minneapolis area alumni are invited to dinner! Details forthcoming.

May 19
Commencement Weekend Alumni/Parents/Student Champagne Brunch

Join us Friday morning for the traditional brunch with students, parents, and alumni.

June 22
Through The Eyes of Faith Gala

Our biannual gala supporting Global Perspectives trips to missions around the world.[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”The House that Built Me” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]By Kate Palmer, ’07
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.

kate palmer pfeilAs 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.

kate palmer br richardI 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.[/wpspoiler] [wpspoiler name=”Tomorrow’s Tuition at Today’s Prices” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”] 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 .

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 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.[/wpspoiler] [wpspoiler name=”Holy Cross welcomes new Alumni Director” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”] 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.

JudeAnne 2Holy 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.[/wpspoiler]

Connections Magazine

Connections is the official publication for the Holy Cross College community, and is published twice per year.

Winter 2020

Summer 2019

Fall 2018

Spring 2018

Fall 2017

Spring 2017

Fall 2016

Spring 2016

Fall 2015

Spring 2015

Featured Faculty and Staff

Preparing Students for Life After College

By Slade Gorski, ’19

Professor Isaac Desta, Ph.D., associate professor of business at Holy Cross, is described by his students as being both a challenging teacher, but a calm, steady leader. For his part, Desta appreciates the personalized education offered at Holy Cross College.

Desta has studied business and economics around the world. He received his BA from Addis Ababa University, his MSc from the University of Groningen, and his Ph.D. from the University of Bremen in Germany. He came to Holy Cross in June 2014. “The close relationship between student and professor is integral for a student to actually learn and retain what they learn,” says Desta. “Professors teach beyond pages of the book at Holy Cross; they teach their experiences, which help prepare the students for life after college is over.”

Desta believes the business program is tailor-made for Holy Cross students because it aims to practically prepare students for an immediate career in business. “The way I teach allows me to identify key strengths and weaknesses of each student and give attention to each individual’s progress,” Desta explains. “The students who do best in my classes work hard and think critically.”

Desta played a significant part in the Labor & Leisure conference in the summer of 2017 at Holy Cross College. This interdisciplinary conference was organized in collaboration with John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin in Poland. It is held alternatively at Holy Cross or the University of Lublin; in 2018 it will be in Poland and in 2019, it will be back at Holy Cross. Desta will be the lead organizer for the 2019 conference. As in 2017, attendees from both host countries and around the world convene to discuss the future of liberal arts education and institutions, uniting all departments to work together to improve the college experience.

Older Stories

[wpspoiler name=”Strengthening Education at Holy Cross” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]By Kristina Barroso Burrell

This summer, Felicia Reid-Metoyer was named director of student teaching for the education department at Holy Cross College. Reid-Metoyer was an adjunct professor during the spring 2017 semester, but this new role is an even better fit for her passion and education. “I see teaching as reaching across lines of social class, race, money, and ability to understand the different narratives in student, parent, and community relationships,” Reid-Metoyer explains. “The role of a teacher is something to be proud of, and it’s our responsibility to be ambassadors for social justice and service.”

The faculty and administration were thrilled to bring Reid-Metoyer on board full-time. “She’s a rock star,” Michael Griffin, Ph.D., senior vice president is quick to say. “She’s energetic and enthusiastic about teaching, and she will bring a whole new perspective on education to Holy Cross.”

Reid-Metoyer began her career as a first-grade teacher, but quickly expanded her experience to include teaching autistic students, being an instructor for Teach for America, and teaching college students at Oregon State University and Linn Benton Community College in Oregon. She and her husband, Ron Metoyer, moved to the South Bend area from Oregon in 2015. It was a huge change for the whole family, so Reid-Metoyer promised her two children that she would take an entire year off work to support them and help them adjust to a new city and school. As the family’s transition year came to an end in 2016, Reid-Metoyer happened to meet Carmen Macharaschwili, Ph.D., who was the chair of the Holy Cross education department at the time. They quickly connected, and Macharaschwili offered Reid-Metoyer the opportunity to teach EDUC 210, Building Relationships, a class about teacher, family, and student dynamics.

Even after Macharaschwili left Holy Cross to join the Association of College and University Educators, it wasn’t hard for Reid-Metoyer to see how well she fit in at Holy Cross. “I love the focus on the mission here,” she explains. “The small class sizes allow me to build relationships one-on-one, which leads to deeper understanding.”

As the director of student teaching, Reid-Metoyer looks forward to working with Eileen Dial, Ph.D., the new chair of the education department, to develop the education program even more. One of the things that drew her to Holy Cross in the first place was that the student teaching experience was longer than average, and worked more like an apprenticeship. “I heard such good things about Holy Cross student teachers from the community,” Reid-Metoyer says. “It’s a robust program with the flexibility to adjust to student and community needs, and I’m eager to be a part of its success.”

Outside the classroom, Reid-Metoyer loves traveling and spending time with her family. She’s also committed to giving back. “I recognize how privileged and blessed I am,” she says. “I am always looking for ways I can use my passion, education, and time to serve my community.” With her passion for teaching and her dedication to service, Reid-Metoyer will have no difficulty preparing students with the competency to see and the courage to act.[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”A Time To Change, and A Time Not To” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]By Ashley Denson, ‘19

ann baldinger 1 smallerAnn Baldinger started her career in the communications department at Holy Cross in 1993 as a replacement for a professor who had passed away. She initially taught public speaking and interpersonal communications classes, but since then, Baldinger has been an integral part of the Holy Cross College community. She has served as chair of the communications department and head of her academic division. More importantly, she has become a valued professor, co-worker, and friend.

Over the last 23 years, Baldinger has weathered many changes at Holy Cross College and in the field of communications. In 1993, faculty, staff, and students were only just beginning to use computers. Most of them still did their work on a typewriter. The bookstore wasn’t a store at all. In fact, it was merely a room in Driscoll Hall with a small window to the hallway. Long before Holy Cross had the Pfeil Center, the O’Connor Commons, or even residential housing, the faculty used two trailers on the southwest side of Vincent Hall as offices and classrooms. One of Baldinger’s early forays into change at Holy Cross College was helping to update Vincent Hall by serving on the committee that decided to add faculty offices and a student center (commonly known as “The Max”) to the building.

ann baldinger 2 smallerAnother change has been to the field of communications itself. There is a growing range of communications jobs graduates can find, thanks to changes in technology. For her part, Baldinger has tried to adapt with the times by making her classes more practical for students, giving them versatility for their careers. It’s been a rewarding process. “I like being seeing students grow and gain confidence in their ability,” she says. “Having a front-row seat to the progress students make is just a gift in itself.”

But in other ways, Baldinger has resisted change. When she first came to Holy Cross College, there was an open door policy, meaning faculty could not be in their offices without their doors open so that students can have access to them, a policy Baldinger still tries to follow. “I’ve stayed as long as I have because Holy Cross has always been a place where the students come first.” Thanks to her commitment to an open door policy, Baldinger is still one of the most accessible professors at Holy Cross.

ann baldinger 3 smallerAnother thing that hasn’t changed is that she still loves her job. She jokes that she’s just “an old lady who loves teaching,” but more seriously, she adds, “I don’t see waking up and coming to Holy Cross as a job. I sees it more as a fun, family environment, where I can do what I love.”

That love is evident to her friends, coworkers, and students, who know Baldinger as an outgoing, lively, and uplifting person. She has cared for her students and community for more than two decades and God-willing, will continue to do so even longer.[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”The Great Intersectionality of Julie Kipp’s Life” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]By Eryn Ray, ’18
julie kipp 3Julie Kipp, Ph.D., is a new addition to the English program at Holy Cross College this year. A published author, she teaches British Literature II and Composition I at the college. She also directs the writing program for the Westville Education Initiative (WEI), an academic collaboration between Holy Cross and the University of Notre Dame which offers college-level courses at the state-operated prison for adult males in Westville, Indiana. And in between all of that, Dr. Kipp is also working on her second book. I count myself lucky that she was able to carve out time for me to interview her about the future of the English programs at Holy Cross and WEI.

Full of energy, Dr. Kipp arrives at the writing center early for our interview. She pops her head around the partition which divides the writing center from the faculty hall and encourages me to take my time, and she will be waiting for me in The Max, immersed in stimulating conversation with one of her students. I have no doubt of this, as every time I’ve encountered Dr. Kipp, the conversation has been anything but dull!

Even before this interview, I already knew that Dr. Kipp was a passionate woman with many causes: social justice, language, feminism, motherhood… just to name a few. She was a determined advocate for feminism when she began her undergraduate program at the University of Notre Dame 1979. With a ratio of six men to every woman on campus at the time, she had to be! Dr. Kipp gushes that she “got to be part of a cohort of women that went on to do amazing things.” As I see it, she is no exception to this claim.

When it’s time to talk, I find a quiet corner of the room, and Dr. Kipp jumps up to stride toward me, never going anywhere slowly. She quickly navigates the tables before sinking into the couch across from me. We both breathe a sigh of relief and make easy conversation. I can’t help but be compelled by her unfailingly curious eyes framed behind bright-green glasses.

Dr. Kipp passes me a copy of her first book, Romanticism, Maternity, and the Body Politic, which examines Romantic writers’ treatments of motherhood. I notice an inscription inside the front cover of Dr. Kipp’s copy and read it aloud:

    For Mom and Dad,
    With love and gratitude.

“Don’t move the marker,” Dr. Kipp requests, referring to the checking deposit slip between pages 16 and 17. “It’s as far as my dad got before he passed away – it just cracks me up to remember!” Then, Dr. Kipp directs me to the dedication page, where the names of her five children are listed. In this moment, guided by her expressive blend of a daughter’s love and a mother’s pride, I am moved by the close relationships that clearly permeate generations of Dr. Kipp’s family.

We also discuss her upcoming book, Ireland and the Romantic Atlantic Archipelago: Cosmopolitan Romanticism in the British Peripheries. In it, Dr. Kipp is exploring what happens when scholars view British Romanticism from a foreign nation’s perspective, decentralizing England as the sole driving force. This is a new and developing field of Irish and Scottish studies, and Dr. Kipp is only too eager to jump in a little ahead of the curve. It’s a very personal topic for her, and she finds herself closely relating to the literary explorations found within her book’s pages. “There are these intersecting conversations, and ‘intersectionality’ is the way I think as a feminist scholar,” Dr. Kipp explains. “I’m a woman, I’m also aging, I’m also white, I’m also educated, I’m middle class, I’m an English speaker… all of [these] things are happening at once and [my] positioning, in terms of privilege and power, can happen on just as many planes.” This method of non-linear, intersectional thinking has been taking shape in feminine literature for almost a century. It’s a complicated topic, but Dr. Kipp chooses to acknowledge the complexity and embrace it, something she encourages her students to do as well.
julie kipp 4 julie kipp 2 julie kipp 1

On that note, our conversation shifts toward her work with the WEI students. The Holy Cross and Notre Dame faculty work to recreate college classroom experiences for the incarcerated students. Dr. Kipp’s eyes light up as she talks about WEI. “The students have incredible stories,” she exclaims. “They’re just waiting to tell them.” She leans forward intently. “There’s almost nothing different—except for our access to research—about my teaching in terms of what I’m bringing to the experience.” Though, she acknowledges, going to Westville has been a particularly interesting challenge because “a lot of the things that have been strengths in my teaching are things that I have to negotiate more carefully [when I’m there].”

One of the primary differences is the matter of her students’ safety. Dr. Kipp believes in empowering her students. She sees the classroom as a safe space, but also a space where students need to be raising challenges, taking risks, and getting out of their comfort zone. “We don’t learn as much when we keep it safe,” she says, and I agree. However, her students at Westville often remind her that they are in constant danger, so she often has to pull back, reminding herself that she is not in a safe classroom in the same way. “There may be different kinds of consequences for some of the challenges I pose for them.”

WEI is a project and experience Dr. Kipp has described as inspirational and challenging. It makes her better at negotiating on her feet. It also renews her passion for social justice as she encounters structural and personal cruelty upon every visit to Westville, whether in the arguably excessive sentencing for non-violent crimes or the conditioning language used to convince “offenders” that they are without value “I’m staggered every day by some detail about the reality of my students and the life that they’re enduring,” Dr. Kipp reflects. “It has nothing to do with justice – nothing. Justice is not present anywhere in that system… except maybe what justice we’re trying to bring in.” In the end, she says, “[WEI is] not about us going out and saving anybody. I feel like I’m the one being saved.”[/wpspoiler] [wpspoiler name=”Not Just an Advisor, But a Friend” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”] By Alexis Petersen, ’18

Brian Howard, dean of Academic Support Services, is a soft-spoken man, but when he greets me in his office, his face lights up with quiet exaltation – one of those smiles that doesn’t quite make it past the lips but completely fills his eyes. I’ve known him for almost five years, and during that time, I’ve come to his office for a variety of things: advising, advice, conversation. He’s never averse to an unplanned visit, nor is he, in my experience, averse to a surprise batch of chocolate chip cookies. Beyond that, however, I know my camaraderie with Mr. Howard belies his dedication to something more than our weekday afternoon chats.

brian howard and the author

He found Holy Cross on a fishing trip. Or rather, it found him.

It was 2005, and he and his wife, Melissa, had thought about moving to South Bend. His family was from Illinois, hers from Michigan, and they decided the city was a good midpoint between the two families. For the previous seven years, he had worked at Southern Illinois University as an advisor, which bolstered his experience in making time for students on an individual basis. His struggles growing up and being the first person in his family to attend college emphasized the importance of compassion to him, and so being able to help students who went through various struggles while pursuing an education allowed him to draw from his own experience and be the person he’d needed in his college years.

Holy Cross College was the first private school he applied for in South Bend. The phone call came while he was still on the boat – still reeling in his catch, as he tells it, his eyes smiling with the memory. Two weeks later, he was on the job and hit the ground running. The advising department at Holy Cross, before his influence, was not the same, fruitful environment which it is now reputed to be. Hoping to align the department’s reputation with the Catholic ethics he’d practiced all his life, and utilizing his years’ worth of education on student development theories, he spearheaded the introduction of a new advising model that emphasizes attention to the individual student. He supports every advisor on campus, and he created the method of online registration that streamlined the process for students and advisors. He also taught the first interdisciplinary studies (IDST) course, a historical and philosophical survey of liberal arts and Holy Cross College designed to improve freshman retention. Combined with his approach to advising, freshman retention increased from 32% to 72% – making it higher than the national average.

His future endeavors for the school involve further admission and advising first-generation college students. His hope is that all disadvantaged students will have the opportunity to experience a transformative education at Holy Cross, and to promote the mission of the college to serve God by serving others.

brian howard outside

Some people paint in broad brushstrokes; Mr. Howard fills in the details. He was the first person I encountered at Holy Cross. Without him, the bigger picture would have had no definition. I don’t doubt this is the experience had by many, if not most of his advisees. You go to Mr. Howard and he helps you plot out your future. In the years that pass, you grasp for a starting point, a logical Chapter One to your story – and you still see him in your mind’s eye sitting at his desk, offering an open chair and an open heart (and a list of the most recent requirements for your major). So indelible is his presence, students he has not seen nor advised for years still contact him. He is humble enough to count those among his blessings, but to me, they provide irrefutable proof of the kind of man he is, and the impact he’s left so far – on them, and on me.

Going into his office, I know I can confide in him because he isn’t just my advisor. He’s my friend.[/wpspoiler]

Campus Happenings

Fall 2017

Practical Lessons in Success
September 27, October 25, and November 15

The Practical Lessons in Success speaker series entered its seventh year this fall, and brought three speakers with very different personal and career experiences to the Driscoll Auditorium.

The first speaker was Gregorio Chavez, Jr., a community organizer who has worked to support the South Bend Latino community through organizations like La Casa de Amistad and the League of Latin American Citizens. He also started the area’s first Spanish-language radio station, WSBL, Sabor Latino.

In October, Elicia Feasel, executive director of the Historic Preservation Commission of South Bend and St. Joseph County, spoke about establishing lasting sustainability in existing and historical buildings in the area.

The final speaker of the year was Lou Nanni, vice president for University Relations at the University of Notre Dame. Thanks to his wide range of experience in non-profit organizations such as the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, FL, and the South Bend Center for Homeless, his talk on the privilege of service resounded with the full audience of students, faculty, and staff.

New HCC News
This year, the Holy Cross Student Government started a news channel on YouTube to deliver monthly updates about campus events and people. With the gift of a news desk from Holy Cross friend, David Parrish, an executive producer at CBS Chicago, SGA is working hard to bring students a new way of learning about Holy Cross. To watch the episodes, visit the Holy Cross Student Government Association YouTube Channel.

Fall Fest
October 23-27

The annual Fall Fest takes place the week after Fall Break, and is a chance for students to start the second half of the semester with a little fun. The event is organized by the Student Government Association and Student Programs. Some of the events this year included Ghosts & Goblins (a safe indoor alternative to trick-or-treating), the Lumberjack Games, pumpkin carving, and the HoCro Hoedown.

Alumni Tailgate
October 28

Although it was a chilly day, Holy Cross alumni came out to Innovation Park before the Notre Dame/NC State game for the annual alumni tailgate. Organized by Alumni, Parent, and Community Programs, the tailgate is a chance for Saints to visit with each other, as well as chat with current Holy Cross faculty, staff, and students.

Sophomore Anchor Day
November 1-2

Anchor Day is designed to anchor sophomores in the Holy Cross educational experience, as well as provide instruction, reflection, and mentoring. Not only does this give students valuable time to relax from the stress of classes, reflect on their vocation, and connect with peers, it helps them become aware of their meaning and purpose in life beyond Holy Cross.

Spes Unica XLI
November 10-12

Each semester, Campus Ministry sponsors the Spes Unica retreat, which gives students a chance to grow in their relationship with God and with each other. As usual, the retreat was held at the Linwood Retreat Center in Donaldson, IN. The retreat is one of students’ favorite Holy Cross traditions, and, as Director of Campus Ministry Andrew Polaniecki notes, “It’s important for students to have a time for fellowship, but it’s also a lot of fun.”

Thanksgiving Food Baskets
November 19

Each year, the Social Concerns Committee, a student organization, partners with St. Vincent de Paul to provide Thanksgiving food baskets for families in need in the Michiana area. This year, the group, along with help from Holy Cross students, faculty, and staff, prepared 60 baskets on Sunday, November 19, after a blessing by Father David Tyson, C.S.C., president of Holy Cross College. After the baskets were prepared and blessed, Father Tyson, students, and staff packed the baskets into cars and drove around town to deliver the Thanksgiving dinners.

Older Events

[wpspoiler name=”Summer 2017″ showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]
New Leaders in College Administration
Along with changes in senior leadership at Holy Cross, Holy Cross is proud to announce four key leadership positions have been filled.

Bill McKenney, who has served the college as director of Residence Life for the past three years, is now also the dean of students. Bill brings to this role not only his expertise in student life administration, but also a keen sense of the Holy Cross mission. McKenney has been a key collaborator with The University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College to bring Holy Cross students even greater campus experiences and has plans to continue raising standards for student life.

JudeAnne Wilson Hastings, formerly the director of Alumni and Parent Programs is the new director of development. Wilson Hastings will work with Father David Tyson, C.S.C., interim president, and Michael Griffin, Ph.D., senior vice president, on the strategic direction of the college’s fundraising efforts. She will also work on planned giving and major gifts.

Jordan Schank will begin on August 2, 2017 as the director of admissions. Formerly the assistant director of admissions at The University of Notre Dame, Schank brings seven years of experience in undergraduate admissions and a deep understanding of the C.S.C. collegiate environment. “I am thrilled to lead a team of energetic admissions counselors who exhibit a strong passion for all things Holy Cross,” says Schank. “Together, we will enroll the best students for Holy Cross.”

Adam DeBeck is moving from associate director of Admissions to director of Alumni, Parent, and Community Relations. “Adam’s long history at Holy Cross makes him a natural fit for this position,” says Griffin. “He’s so connected to current students, alumni, and the South Bend community, he will be a great leader at the college.” DeBeck will continue to advise Admissions as they transition to their new director.

SOAR Lends Incoming Freshmen a Helping Hand
In June, Holy Cross hosted five sessions of Saints Orientation, Advising, and Registration, known as SOAR. Led by Gwendolyn Higgins, academic advisor, current students at Holy Cross guided incoming freshmen through a day-long introduction to the Holy Cross experience. The student leaders were Caleb McDaniel, ’20, I.C. Young, ’20, Ayari Lopez, ’20, Bashar Saleh, ’20, Max Coduti, ’20, Steven Juzwiak, ’19, Abby Magyar, ’20, and Katie Luczak, ’19.

A truly whole-college event, students who attended SOAR learned more about individual programs at the college, Information Technology, Campus Ministry, Counseling, Student Programming, COMPASS, and so much more. They were also able to sign up for classes.

There will be one more SOAR session in August right before school starts for students who weren’t previously able to attend.

Gateway Program Enters Fifth Year
A Holy Cross College and University of Notre Dame collaboration, the Gateway program offers a group of incoming freshmen selected by Notre Dame the opportunity to enroll at Holy Cross for one year with a guaranteed transfer to Notre Dame upon successful completion of the program. Gateway students attend classes at both institutions and must maintain a 3.5 GPA and good standing at both schools to transfer. Being involved with both campuses gives students a unique and formative college experience.

The Gateway program finished a successful fourth year in 2016-2017. There were 56 students in the class, and all who applied received transfer acceptance to Notre Dame.

This year also saw the program’s first graduates from Notre Dame. All 17 students who transferred to Notre Dame after the inaugural Gateway year graduated last year, many with honors.

Since that first class, the Gateway program has seen growth every year. In 2017-2018, a record 66 Gateway students are planning to attend Holy Cross for their first year of college before transferring to Notre Dame to finish their academic career.

Holy Cross History Association Holds Conference
The Holy Cross History Association held its annual conference June 1-3, 2017, at Holy Cross College.

The conference included a range of subjects in its presentations, including a new app on Sisters of the Holy Cross who served in the American Civil War as nurses, the sculptures of Brother Bernard Klim, and apocalypse symbolism in the basilica at Notre Dame, among many others. Presenters included Tony Oleck, a graduate student from the University of Notre Dame, Hugh O’Donnell, Marsha Stevenson, Notre Dame librarian, Kevin Cawley, Notre Dame archivist, Joseph Tobin from Holy Cross Village, Brother Frank Ellis, and Lisa Loughran.

Participants in the conference also viewed local Holy Cross historical sites at Old College, the Basilica, the Hesburgh Library, the Midwest Archives, Schubert Villa, and Saint Mary’s College, where Sister Esther Black guided attendees around Loretta Chapel and the Sisters’ cemetery.

At the end of the conference, Holy Cross History Association approved the location of next year’s conference at Moreau Seminary and new officers, including a new president, Father James Connolly, C.S.C.

Labor & Leisure Conference Attracts International Attendance
From July 10-11, 2017, Holy Cross College hosted the fifth international, interdisciplinary conference in The Style & Quality of Life in Modern Humanity series. A collaboration between Stalowa Wola Campus, Poland, and Holy Cross College, this year’s conference theme was “Labor & Leisure.”

More than 50 academics from around the world presented their papers and research in disciplines ranging from theology to economics to poetry. Carolyn Yauyan Woo, former president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, gave an inspiring keynote address on Monday. The conference ended with the organizers making plans for Holy Cross faculty and students to attend next year’s conference in Poland and bringing the conference back to Holy Cross in 2019.

Saints & Scholars Completes its Second Year
More than 120 high school students from across the country visited the Holy Cross College campus from July 14-28 for the second annual Saints & Scholars Institute. Divided into two one-week programs, Saints & Scholars is a summer theology program that merges big ideas about the world with deep theological concepts and challenges students to pray with saints, learn with scholars, and heal the world. Many students attended Saints & Scholars after finishing with Notre Dame Vision, creating an even deeper faith experience.

This year, there were six “tracks” of study: medicine, human rights, media, science, sustainability, and business. Mornings were devoted to classroom learning, and afternoons were spent putting discussion into practice. Among many other real-world experiences, students worked on sustainable farms, created radio commercials, visited mission-focused businesses, presented story times for refugee children, and held science and health fairs for children in the local community.

Changes to Campus Dining
On July 31, 2017, Notre Dame Campus Dining began management of the Holy Cross College dining program, including the Siegfried Dining Hall and a re-branded café serving Starbucks coffee and food.

Campus Dining will deliver the high level of quality guests have come to expect at its Notre Dame locations, utilizing locally and sustainably produced foods wherever possible. Assistant Director Marc Poklinkowski and Campus Chef Matt Seitz will be serving updated menus based on current trends created by chefs certified by the American Culinary Federation.

Many of the employees students, faculty, and staff have gotten to know over the years will continue to be a part of Holy Cross Campus Dining, and Campus Dining will continue to hire students on campus.

Cortes Book Announcement
Holy Cross College is proud to announce that Ángel Cortés, Ph.D., chair of the history department, has written a new book on Orestes Brownson, one of the great figures of 19th century American Catholicism. The book, Sectarianism and Orestes Brownson in the American Religious Marketplace (Histories of the Sacred and Secular, 1700-2000), will be available August 8, 2017.

As a professor, Cortés inspires his students with his passion for history. He teaches freshmen in the first year College Seminar, honors U.S. History, and a variety of upper level history classes. Cortés works tirelessly side-by-side with his students in class and on research projects. He is also a frequent organizer of extracurricular academic experiences at the college, including coordinating the college’s annual Constitution Day lecture and leading past global perspectives excursions to Mexico and Peru.

For more information about the book, please visit
[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Winter 2017″ showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]
January 19, MLK Day of Celebration
Afternoon classes were canceled so that students could attend the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Celebration. A series of four rotating sessions went from 3:30-5:30 p.m., and a keynote address began at 7 p.m. Nearly 180 faculty, staff, and students attended the events, which started with an introduction and blessing from Br. John Paige, president of Holy Cross College.

Opening address

G. David MossIn the rotating sessions, Dr. G. David Moss, director of the African American Student and Parent Services department for the South Bend Community School Corporation, spoke about the American prison system and the harm it inflicts on poor people and minorities. He spent a little while talking, including sharing shocking statistics about the prison industry, but then spent most of his time engaging his listeners by asking what solutions they could think of.

George GarnerGeorge Garner, curator at the South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Museum, gave students an inside look at the history of the South Bend Natatorium. Mr. Garner opened helped students realize that segregation did not just affect distant communities across the United States, but also affected individuals in the local South Bend community

Kelly JordanKelly Jordan, Ph.D., vice president for student affairs and dean of students, shared the background and detail behind King’s most famous speech: I Have a Dream. Many students were surprised to learn that the words “I have a dream” had been used in other speeches before, and weren’t in the written text of King’s speech.

Juan ConstantinoJuan Constantino, ’16, who works at La Casa de Amistad in South Bend, shared his emotional story of his life as an undocumented immigrant in this country. Several of the listeners were brought to tears at his impassioned description of the difficulty and uncertainty of education, work, and safety as an undocumented immigrant. Constantino also shared what the South Bend organizations and government are doing to make undocumented immigrants feel welcome in the community.

David Moss KeynoteDr. G. David Moss also gave the keynote speech. He spoke about how deeply education matters to combat racism in our community. Dr. Moss talked about the importance of mentoring youth and ensuring that they are given the necessary tools to succeed academically and throughout their lives. He ended his talk with a challenge to Holy Cross students to not just discuss problems, but to go out and make a difference in their community.

January 24, Library Provides Flipster Magazines
Flipster is a free digital magazine service provided courtesy of the McKenna Library. Click on the Flipster link on the McKenna Library Resources page to access a site where you can browse among the magazines offered to you by the library. You can then click to view Newsweek (en Español, tambien), Oprah, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, or Time within your browser. This means you can access Flipster from any computer, laptop, or mobile device, as long as you are connected to the Internet. It’s like having your own, personal subscription!

time-logo sports-illustrated-logo Oprah-Pink newsweek-logo default-rollingstone

January 25, Jazzman’s Sandwiches Get Faster
Jazzman’s installed a new turbo oven to make mealtimes faster and easier for students on the go and between classes.


February 2, Race, Class, and Justice Discussion
Holy Cross College hosted the local breakfast series “Food for Thought” with a discussion on Race, Class, and Justice. Local academics and organizations came together to discuss a range of topics such as School to Prison Pipeline, Access to Health Care, Sanctuary Cities/Campuses, Police Accountability, Wages and Income, Mass Incarceration and more.

_DSC1381 _DSC1403 Daryl Heller Sam Castellan Alesha Seroczynski

February 3, Play for Jake Donates AED
Dan Bigg and the Play for Jake Foundation donated an automated external defibrillator (AED) to the Holy Cross College faculty area. Play for Jake is an organization dedicated to educating parents and students about the dangers of undetected heart conditions and preventing sudden cardiac arrest in young people.

Dan Bigg and Kelly Jordan AED

February 8, Lynn Coleman: Leading Through Service
Community organizer Lynn Coleman spoke to students at the monthly Practical Lessons in Success speaker series. Coleman is a former South Bend Police Officer, assistant to former South Bend Mayor, Steve Luecke, as well as a current Violent Injury Community Liaison with Beacon Health Services. He spoke about leadership through service and how that idea can transform people and communities.

IMG_0348 IMG_0357

February 15, Basketball Seniors Honored
The men’s basketball team honored three seniors: O’Brien Hobbs, Madison McCaffrey, and Brian Aldrich. The women’s team honored Shana Anderson for her four years of work on and off the basketball court. Since the night ended in wins for the both of the Saints basketball teams, it was a great sendoff for these four exceptional student athletes.

shana anderson o'brien hobbs brian aldrich madison mccaffrey

IMG_0583 madison and o'brien brian adrich

February 16, Students Thank Donors
Students, faculty, and staff wrote notes to thank donors for their help in making a Holy Cross education possible. Over 150 thank you notes were written, and pictures taken, in appreciation of the generous donors who make up the tuition gap every year.

IMG_8529 DSC_9395 DSC_9451

February 16, Br. John Talks to COMPASS Group
Br. John Paige, president of Holy Cross College, was the guest speaker for a COMPASS workshop. He shared his experience in his journey in life of teaching, why he became a brother rather than a priest, and where it took him along the way. He lastly shared how he finally was able to pursue his passion of working in Africa after he had served his calling as a Brother in DC, Rome and all around the globe. Students were particularly interested in his insight on learning new skills all along your journey of discovery, being willing to learn from others and “being still” to hear what your internal gut feeling is saying.

br. john addresses compass

February 17-18, Parents Enjoy Visiting HCC
XX families attended the first Holy Cross Parents’ Weekend open to all parents. The weekend was full of fun events including an international food dinner, bounce houses for all ages, carriage rides, and a talk from Br. John Paige, president of the college.

DSC_9530 DSC_9517 DSC_9492 d pic IMG_1656

February 20-23, Lit Fest Success
Holy Cross hosted its first Literary Festival in February. The week started with a faculty poetry and essay reading on Monday by Professors Melanie Page, Joshua Hamilton, Ph.D., and Br. George Klawitter, CSC. On Tuesday, Steve Carlsen, an Army combat veteran, read from his recent book written from the perspective of an Iraqi soldier. The Hammes Bookstore on the University of Notre Dame campus hosted author Michael Collins, Ph.D. Dr. Collins, who also teaches in the English department at Holy Cross College, read selections from his most recent novel and work produced under his direction by students from the Westville Education Initiative (WEI). An Irish immigrant, Dr. Collins is the author of ten works of fiction translated into 22 languages. His novel The Keepers of Truth was a finalist for The Man Booker Prize. The final event on Thursday was a student open mic night, where students read their own original work, as well as presented writing from WEI students. The week was a great success, with each event full of students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

br. george klawitter steve carlsen michael collins

_DSC1872 _DSC1934 IMG_8831 _DSC1945[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Fall 2016″ showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]Compiled by Victoria Netkovick, ’19

Dig for the Cure
At this year’s Dig for the Cure event on October 5, volleyball didn’t just bring fun to campus – it also allowed students to donate to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Each 6-member team that registered to participate paid 10 dollars as an entrance fee, which was then donated to the National Breast Cancer foundation. Spectators enjoyed the music, bonfire, and food. Many teams competed, but only one was left standing at the end. After a hard-fought battle, the team standing at the end was comprised of Megan Santos, Kacey Hudson, Daniel Laskowski, Santiago Migliaro, Jacob Riley.
Dig 4 the Cure 1 Dig 4 the Cure 2

DES Induction
At the annual Delta Epsilon Sigma Honor Society Induction on October 5, eligible students were inducted into the DES national honor society for students, faculty, and alumni of colleges and universities with a Catholic tradition. Inductees of Holy Cross College’s Epsilon Delta Chapter are required to have completed at least one half of the credit requirements for their bachelor’s degree and rank in the top twenty percent of their class in scholarship. Each year a faculty member speaks at the event, and is then also inducted into the society. This year it was Cosette Fox, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology, who spoke about how psychology can help students succeed.

The 2016 student inductees were: Kaylee Ables, Herbert Borek, Colin Crawford, Kylie Day, Mary Freeby, Brandon Harris, Leon Kyles, Marco Medina, Veronica Ramirez, Jacob Schudt, Tagin Schultheis, Jacqueline Tarzian and George Sutherland.

Fall Fest
Once fall break ended, the countdown began: seven days until Halloween. From October 24-28, the Holy Cross Student Government Association welcomed back students from fall break with a week full of Halloween-themed fun. These events allowed students to bond over their excitement for everyone’s favorite creepy holiday. The highlights of this fun-filled week were the trick-or-treating event Ghosts and Goblins and the HoCro Hoedown.

This year’s Ghosts and Goblins event took place on October 25. Children of all ages dressed up in their Halloween costumes and flocked to the delightfully decorated Holy Cross College campus for some safe trick-or-treating fun. After crafts, games, candy and a costume contest in Jazzman’s Café, the children traveled to North Hall to knock on students’ dorm room doors in hope of obtaining candy. This event was not only fun for the children, but also for Holy Cross students: students decorated their dorms for this event and were encouraged to dress up in their own Halloween costumes. This event never fails to put smiles on the faces of all who attend.
Ghosts and Goblins 3 Ghosts and Goblins 2Ghosts and Goblins 4

There was also some new events this year. One was Flannels and Fire. Students gathered on the O’Connor Commons to sit around a blazing fire to sing, roast marshmallows and have fun. Later in the week, pumpkin carving stations were set up outside, and local pet rescues brought dogs to campus to visit with students.
fire and flannels 1 fire and flannels 2 pumpkin carving 1 dogs on the quad 1

HoCro Hoedown was the big finale to top off Fall Fest on October 27. Attendees received a free t-shirt, and indulged in caramel apples, a fall favorite. Many students participated in attempting to eat the powdered donuts hung from the tent without using their hands, to varying levels of success. After the fun and the food, students could cut a rug on the dance floor with their peers. To make this memory last forever, students had the opportunity to have their picture taken with many of the fall themed props provided. The HoCro Hoedown was a fun and memorable way to conclude Fall Fest.
HoCro Hoedown 4 HoCro Hoedown 3 HoCro Hoedown 2

ND vs. Miami (FL) Alumni Tailgate
Alumni and Parents Programs brought a return to tradition on October 29 with a Notre Dame Football tailgate. The entire Holy Cross community was invited to the Holy Cross tent to visit friends, catch up on Holy Cross news, and share chicken wings, cookies, and chips. The day was a rousing success, and more than one person was disappointed when the tent finally closed for the game, in which Notre Dame just edged out the Miami Hurricanes, 27-30.

tailgate 2 tailgate 3 tailgate 1

Sophomore Anchor Day
College sophomores find themselves in an awkward stage: they have one year of college under their belt, but are still far from graduation. Each year, the school places aside one day just for Sophomores called Sophomore Anchor Day. According to the mission statement of Anchor Day: “In thinking about the Christian vocation to holiness as an ongoing journey, the Sophomore Anchor Day Experience invites students to engage both the mind and the heart in all matters of discernment.” On November 2-3, around 30 students and 10 team members traveled to Camp Ray Bird for this amazing anchor day. The team was comprised of both junior and senior students, ensuring sophomores benefited from their Anchor Day experience. “The highlight of Anchor Day is that students are really able to engage the mind and the heart, says Andrew Polaniecki, director of Campus Ministry. “Throughout the day, students participated in letter writing, mindful stretching, quiet contemplation, and scripture reflection.”
anchor day 1

Spes Unica XXXIX
Spes Unica is a retreat which occurs once each semester. Director of Campus Ministry Andrew Polaniecki noted, “The purpose of the retreat is to have the opportunity to grow in your relationship with God and to have a chance to get to know other members of the Holy Cross community in a relaxed setting.” The 39th Spes Unica retreat took place over November 11-13. Forty-eight students participated in this weekend long retreat. Polaniecki says “The fellowship aspect of this retreat truly allows students to connect with each other, but also have a lot of fun.”

This next Spes Unica retreat in the spring will mark the 20th anniversary of the event.
spes unica 1

Thanksgiving Food Baskets
November is often known as the month of giving. Each year, the Holy Cross Social Concerns Committee, along with other student volunteers, use donated food items to create food baskets for families in need. On November 20, five days before Thanksgiving, students from all over campus came together to pack around 75 food baskets, breaking their previous record of 60. After those food baskets were packed they were then delivered to 75 different families throughout the South Bend community.
thanksgiving baskets 4 thanksgiving baskets 3 thanksgiving baskets 1 thanksgiving baskets 7

Winter Formal
Held at the Riverside Terrace on December 3, the Winter Formal allowed students to come together with friends before the busy week of finals began. Students enjoyed food and a cash bar, and danced to the great music provided. With snowflakes hung from the ceiling, the dance had a wonderful wintry theme. Though the night is over, students can look forward to another dance in the spring.
winter formal 3 winter formal 4

Las Posadas
On December 5, students and faculty gathered to observe the tradition of Las Posadas, which reenacts the journey of Mary and Joseph to find a place to stay to give birth to Jesus, and is often used to teach children the Christmas story. The group walked around campus singing and asking the dorms to shelter them. After being turned away, they are finally accepted in for refreshments and fellowship. After the posadas procession was completed, a piñata was hung in the atrium to be smashed, raining candy down on all who participated.
las posadas 2 las posadas 4 las posadas 1

December Graduation
This year, Holy Cross was pleased to confer degrees on 17 BA graduates and 6 AA graduates at a reception on December 8.
december graduates december grad 1 december grad 5 december grad 7[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Summer 2016″ showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]
Incoming Saints S.O.A.R. Onto Campus
During the hot days of summer, Saints Orientation, Advising and Registration for incoming freshman (S.O.A.R.) was taking place at Holy Cross College. Five S.O.A.R. sessions took place over the summer, with a total attendance of 210 students. S.O.A.R. gives the new students the opportunity to ask those important questions in preparation for move in day. Students and parents were given information from the financial aid office, residence life, alumni and parent programs, and many other departments. Throughout the day, students were able to meet with their academic advisors and get an idea of their schedule for the fall semester. According to Bill McKenney, Director of Residence Life and Housing and coordinator of S.O.A.R., “These S.O.A.R. days gave the students an opportunity to meet fellow students and get acclimated to the campus. The S.O.A.R. program is the first step in helping the students feel at home Holy Cross.”

DSC_0363.kbb SOAR 1 2016 4 SOAR 1 2016 5 DSC_0079.kbb

High School Students Experience Saints & Scholars
Around 130 high school student from across the country migrated to Holy Cross College to participate in the first annual Saints & Scholars summer theology institute (SSI). Each morning these students attended classes that combined theological ideas with global concerns such as public health, media, human rights, and sustainability. In the afternoons, the students left campus for community-based learning, which allowed them to apply their classroom knowledge and learn by experience. This program truly incorporates Holy Cross College’s educational mission established by Blessed Father Basil Moreau, C.S.C. Blessed Father Moreau believed a great education incorporated praying, learning, and healing. Dr. Michael Griffin, director of the program, said one of his highlights from the summer was being able to see these bright high school students gain an interest in Holy Cross, and many were even able to picture themselves perhaps as a student here one day.

group by arch human rights track media track sustainability track

Welcome Weekend Finishes With a Bang
Between August 20-22, 184 new students moved in to the residential halls at Holy Cross College. Thanks to the 32 returning students who were part of the fall 2016 Welcome Weekend Crew, the weekend sailed along smoothly. Nearly 600 students, family members, and staff attended the St. André Dinner Saturday evening, August 20, in the Pfeil center, but according to a student survey, the St. Soiree was the highest rated event of the weekend. All students, new and returning, were invited to attend the St. Soiree which capped off the end of Welcome Weekend Monday, August 22. This year, the highlight of the St. Soiree was a special 50th anniversary fireworks show, a dramatic way to mark the beginning of the academic year.

matriculation kewaun matriculation mark's ark saints soiree fireworks

Service Project Cleans Up New Building
On Sunday, August 21, over 75 alumni and students joined together to complete the first ever Alumni/Student Service Project. The service project, cleaning up the outside of the new St. Joseph Arts and Science Building, was a joint effort between the Alumni and Parent Programs Office and the Student Programming Office. Alumni and students gathered trash and pulled weeds in order to beautify outside of the building. “Holy Cross College has a long history of having its students provide service to others,” Director of Alumni and Parent Programs, JudeAnne Wilson Hastings, explains. “We thought during this 50th anniversary year it made sense to bring together alumni and students to give of their time and talent to Holy Cross, and we hope this project will become an annual event.”

service at stjas service at stjas 2

Soccer Season Kicks Off
Soccer season at Holy Cross College officially began on August 24. The Holy Cross men’s soccer team took on the Golden Eagles of Cornerstone University. The first minutes of the game looked gloomy for the Saints. The Golden Eagles defense was playing on the top of their game. Until the 35’ mark the score was 0-0. That all changed when Cayetano Donoso, ’20, and Jonathan Boye, ’19, came into the game. Donoso passed the ball to Boye, who scored the Saints first goal of the season giving the Saints a 1-0 lead, a lead they would never give up. With the help of newcomers and teamwork, the Saints men had a great start to the 2016 season.

The Holy Cross women’s soccer team hosted Grace Bible College on August 29. The first half didn’t go as the Saints planned, and they went down 3-0 going into halftime. In the second half, the Saints looked to get back in the game. Brianna Gonzalez, ’19, and Lizzie Medina, ’19, each shot 3 shots on the goal, but unfortunately, the Saints couldn’t come back, and lost this game to Grace Bible College with a score of 3-0. This loss only makes them more determined for their next home game, September 24, against Saint Ambrose University.

men's soccer score men's soccer women's soccer women's soccer warm up

Res Life Block Party a Hit
Residence Life welcomed students back to their neighborhood on August 30 with a campus-wide block party. The music playing from the O’Connor Commons drew out around 75 students from their dorms. Ice cream was handed out to all the students that attended, and students could play various lawn games, as well as play with a variety of inflatable toys and castles. Despite the overcast weather, it turned out to be a great way for students to drop their school work for a little while and meet their fellow Saints and hall mates.

block party dodgeball inflatable sumo

Ping Pong Supremacy Fiercely Fought
On September 1, students participated in the first Table Tennis Tournament of fall 2016. Twenty-three students playing varying styles of ping pong registered to battle for the first and second place Chipotle gift card prizes. After two hours of brutal competition, two students emerged victorious and headed to the final championship game. Reigning champion from last year, Parker Zimmerman, sophomore of Basil Hall, went head-to-head against freshman newcomer Grant Murphy of Anselm. The audience was divided: many students found themselves cheering for both Murphy and Zimmerman. The game was tight for a while until Murphy found himself down 18- 13. Despite the odds, Murphy managed to tie the game, but at the end of the day his miraculous comeback wasn’t enough to beat the reigning champion, Zimmerman, who claimed his second championship (and Chipotle gift card) with pride.

ping pong tournament

Hall Olympics Start New Tradition
Around 70 students participated in the Hall Olympics event on September 3. Each hall was represented by a team of 8 students. These students participated in many events which included 3 on 3 Basketball, sand volleyball, dodgeball, relay races, an inflatable obstacle course, and various water games. After the events were complete, the first place winners were South Hall, followed closely by Basil Hall. The ladies from North Hall rounded off the top three. Megan Gettinger, women’s hall director, shared that the Hall Olympics were more than just a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. “Participating in these Hall Olympics allowed students to work together in a competitive setting while building campus spirit,” she said. “We can’t wait to see who wins next year!”

South Hall 2 Basil Hall 2 North Hall 2

For future events, please visit our calendar.[/wpspoiler]

Saint Spotlight

Finding Balance for Good

by Colin Crawford, ’18
Maria Barrera, ’20, meets me for this interview in the Vincent Atrium. I suggest that we converse on the room’s popular second floor, but she politely declines. There are other students who are using the quiet of the atrium to study, she reminds me. “We should find somewhere else to talk, for their sake.” Her modest conscientiousness – and driven work ethic – is the essence of everything she says and is as habitual as her smile.

At Holy Cross, Maria has embraced the challenge of a combined workload in both the humanities and the sciences. She is majoring in English, but has had the opportunity to follow a life-long passion for the study of biology through the pre-med track. Her college studies are the culmination of her primary education in her hometown of Fort Wayne, IN, where she participated in the Project Lead the Way program in high school.

Holy Cross professors have been especially invaluable to her education. “Here, there’s a focus on students,” she says. “There’s a focus on forming relationships and experiences.” Like many students at Holy Cross, she is also thankful for the resources that the tri-campus community has to offer. In addition to her Holy Cross schedule, she is currently enrolled in a science course at nearby Saint Mary’s College.

This summer, she participated in the Mayor Tom Henry Summer Outreach Program in Fort Wayne. “It brings talented minority, refugee, and immigrant youth together in order to enrich the city’s workforce,” she says. “My placement was an eight-week internship in the department of recreation.” During the day, Maria served as an activities instructor to children ages 4 to 6, teaching lessons, forms, and drills. She also encountered opportunities for professional networking and mentorship: “Once per week, I would have a meeting with city workers. I grew as a professional,” Maria says with a smile. “I’ve given to the community I grew up in. I’m an adult now.”

Maria was recently awarded a 2017 Realizing the Dream scholarship, a $2,500 grant offered by the consortium of Independent Colleges in Indiana (ICI) to first-generation college students. She was honored at a banquet for recipients of the scholarship on November 4, 2017, in Indianapolis. In addition to the scholarship, she was also allowed to name an inspirational educator in her life who received a $1,000 professional development award. She chose her high school English teacher from Snider High School in Fort Wayne, Suzanne Kaiser.

Maria has taken advantage of many extra-curricular experiences during her time as a student at Holy Cross. As part of the Holy Cross Service Learning experiential course, she currently volunteers in the Take10 nonviolence initiative for high school students through the Robinson Community Learning Center. As a member of Student Ambassadors Globally Engaged (SAGE), she helped organize fundraising events for U.S. coastlines devastated by hurricane season, and with the Department of Development, she presented framed photographs of new campus additions to several donors on behalf of the college community during the 2017 “Because of You” donor appreciation campaign. Next fall, she will begin her senior year as a member of the Delta Epsilon Sigma honor society and will be increasingly focused on choosing a medical school.

Maria especially appreciates the strong spirituality found on campus. She laughs when I ask her how her faith has been sustained at Holy Cross. “As a Catholic, it almost has to be involved,” she says. “Faith is emphasized. And the St. Joseph Chapel is so close, you never have an excuse not to go to Mass.”

As a quiet, but determined leader, Maria ultimately hopes to inspire underclassmen with her tireless commitment to her faith and the good of the community. Maria Barrera says that she is blessed be attending Holy Cross College; Holy Cross College is blessed to have Maria Barrera as a student.

[wpspoiler name=”Encontrando el Equilibrio para el Bien” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”] by Sara Geronimo, ’20
Maria se reúne conmigo para esta entrevista en el Atrio Vincent. Yo sugiera que conversemos en el popular segundo piso de la sala, pero ella cordialmente declina. Hay otros estudiantes que están usando la tranquilidad del atrio para estudiar, ella me recuerda. “Deberíamos encontrar otro lugar para hablar, por ellos”. Su modesta escrupulosidad y ética de trabajo impulsada es la esencia de todo lo que dice y están habitual como su sonrisa.

En Holy Cross, María Barrera ha aceptado el desafío de una carga de trabajo combinada en las humanidades y las ciencias. Ella se está especializando en Ingles, pero ha tenido la oportunidad de seguir una pasión de por vida por el estudio de la biología a través de la pista de pre-medicina. Sus estudios universitarios son la culminación de su educación primaria en su ciudad natal de Fort Wayne, IN, donde participo en el programa Project Lead the Way en la escuela secundaria.

Los profesores de Holy Cross han sido específicamente invaluable para su educación. “Aquí, hay un enfoque en los estudiantes,” dice ella. “Hay un enfoque el crear relaciones y experiencias.” Como muchos estudiantes en Holy Cross College, ella esta agradecida por los recursos que le ofrece comunidad de los tres campuses. Aparte de su horario en Holy Cross, en este momento ella está inscrita en un curso de ciencias en Saint Maris College.

Este verano, ella participo el programa de Alcance de Verano del Alcalde Tom Henry en Fort Wayne. “Reúne a jóvenes talentosos pertenecientes a minorías, refugiados, e inmigrantes para enriquecer la fuerza de trabajo de la cuidad”, dice ella. “Mi colocación fue una pasantía de ocho semanas en el departamento de recreación”. Durante el día, María trabajaba como instructora de actividades para niños entre las edades de 4 a 6, ensenándoles lecciones, formas, y ejercicios. Ella también encontró oportunidades para redes profesionales y tutoría: “Una vez a la semana, yo tendría una junta con trabajadores de la cuidad. Crecí como profesional,” María decía con una sonrisa. “He dado a la comunidad en la que crecí. Ahora soy una adulta.”

María ha tomado ventaja de las oportunidades extracurriculares durante su tiempo como estudiante en Holy Cross. Como parte del curso experiencial de Holy Cross Servicio de Aprendizaje, actualmente es voluntaria en la iniciativa No violencia Take10 para estudiantes de escuela secundaria a través del Centro de Aprendizaje Comunitario Robinson. Como miembro de Embajadores Estudiantiles Comprometidos Globalmente, ella ayudo a organizar una recaudación de fondos para las costas de los Estados Unidos devastadas por la temporada de huracanes, y con el departamento de desarrollo, ella presento fotografías enmarcadas de nuevas incorporaciones de campus a varios donantes en nombre de la comunidad universitaria durante la campaña de agradecimiento de donantes 2017 “Gracias a ti”. El próximo otoño, ella comenzara su ultimo ano como miembro de la sociedad de honores Delta Epsilon Sigma y se enfocara cada vez más en elegir una escuela de medicina.

Maria especialmente aprecia la fuerte espiritualidad encontrada en el campus de la escuela. Ella se ríe cuando le pregunto cómo ha mantenido su fe mientras atendiendo Holy Cross. “Como católica, casi tiene que estar involucrada,” dice ella. “La fe esta enfatizada. Y la capilla de St. Joseph está cerca, nunca tienes una excusa al porque no ir a misa.”

Como una líder callada, pero decidida, María espera inspirar a los estudiantes de primer año con su compromiso incansable con su fe y el bien de la comunidad. María Barrera dice que es una bendición asistir a Holy Cross College; Holy Cross College tiene la bendición de tener a María Barrera como estudiante.

Older Stories

[wpspoiler name=”Seeking Global Solidarity” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]The baccalaureate program at Holy Cross College is based on more than academic study. Students who stay for four years also experience service learning, global perspectives, internships, and a final Capstone. The Center for Global Perspectives helps students find eye-opening experiences at home and abroad. Many students take the opportunity to visit schools and missions run by the Congregation of Holy Cross Brothers in other countries to learn more about other cultures and themselves.

Two of the students who traveled to Kampala, Fort Portal, and Jinja, Uganda with Dianne Barlas, D.Min, associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Global Perspectives, share what made the experience so special to them.

by Michael Adamo, ’18

Traveling to Uganda was my first trip in an airplane, and my first trip out of the United States. While there, we visited multiple places and met great people who gave us stories of their backgrounds and words of wisdom.

When we went to Kampala, in southern Uganda, to visit the Shrine of the Ugandan Martyrs, people were walking from all over Africa to the shrine for the feast day of the Ugandan Martyrs, some from more than 1500 km away. After Kampala, we traveled to Fort Portal, in western Uganda, to visit St. Joseph on the Hill, a primary through secondary school, founded by the Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross. After visiting Fort Portal for a week, we traveled to Jinja, east of Kampala.

After arriving in Jinja, we were welcomed by the apostolates of Andre House, where we stayed for the rest of our stay in Uganda. Our first day in Jinja, I visited Holy Cross Primary School. It was there where I have one of my favorite memories from my visit to Uganda. My classmates and I sat in on a third-grade class, which had more than 50 students in it. About halfway through the class, the teacher announced that we would be teaching the class for the rest of the day. We asked the excited students what they wanted to learn, and they said mathematics and English. In the end, though, we barely taught them any schoolwork that day. As soon as the teacher left the room, the whole class rose out of their seats and started asking questions about the United States, and even asking why we had so much hair on our bodies. I couldn’t help but smile the whole time. It was truly a beautiful thing to witness.

After this day, I knew what this trip meant to me. It was an opportunity for me to spread global solidarity: by making myself vulnerable to the people of Africa; by offering them my knowledge of the U.S. or whatever else they asked me; by sitting down and having conversations with the kids from the schools we visited; by asking questions and by being interested in the lives of the strangers we met. That is how I was able to offer global solidarity, because in the end we are all people, and we need each other to come together as one in community, no matter our skin color, ethnic backgrounds, or our religious beliefs.

by Veronica Ramirez, ’18

I have had the desire to visit Africa since a young age, influenced by photographs and movies like Hotel Rwanda. These forms of media showed me a world radically different from my own, which challenged my viewpoint on life. I also saw a people who seemed to be in touch with something that I wanted to better understand – human nature. These were initially the reasons why I wanted to go on the global perspectives trip to Uganda and now having returned from my visit, I have even more reason to go back.

Among all these places we traveled, the town of Fort Portal was by far my favorite. It was less busy than Kampala, the weather wasn’t as hot, and the agriculture made for beautiful landscapes. We stayed in Fort Portal the longest, so we really had the chance to settle in and get acquainted with the town, which made it hard to leave when it came time.

One of my favorite memories in Fort Portal was at a secondary school called St. Joseph on the Hill. My friends and I encountered a group of girls there; we taught them how to play UNO (which they loved) on the floor of their dormitory and they taught us a song while sitting under a tree. These moments were so simple, yet so impactful. Just being with each other provided a certain feeling of fulfillment, which I believe was none other than God’s presence. That feeling remains with me every time I think about those girls or hum the songs they taught us. Their deep reverence for God allowed them to welcome us as their own brothers and sisters in Christ, which allowed us to do the same. Our backgrounds were so different from theirs, yet we were able to connect so deeply through our common relationship with God. And just by being with each other, we were the presence of Christ for each other. This encounter was different from any other because it lacked the social pressure of making a good impression, and we could cast off any feeling of having to present ourselves a certain way. We were able to be all that we were to each other in that moment and our limitations did not make us feel inadequate. We were so comfortable with each other that when we weren’t playing UNO, singing songs, or talking amongst ourselves, we welcomed the silence and just were. In that moment, we were simply human being.

I recognize how rare these moments are and see how this moment fulfilled the purpose of the global perspectives trip – to be in solidarity with another culture. This aspect of “being with” another culture brought me more in touch with my own human nature. Because the girls I met are so deeply in touch with Christ at the core of their being, it challenged my own habit of being distracted with material things and encouraged me to center myself on Christ. For this reason, God willing, I hope to return to Uganda one day.[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Roll With The Punches and Adapt” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”] By Caleb McDaniel, ’20

thaddeus smaller 3The choices we make lead us forward, sometimes in good directions, sometimes not. Often, the careers we choose as young people form the rest of our life, but sometimes an opportunity comes to change our course and start over again. For Thaddeus Johnson, ’19, Holy Cross College has played a significant role in helping him find a new path to his future.

Thaddeus’s situation is different from many students at Holy Cross College. He has already had a career, been married, and had children. But like many freshmen, his first big life choice came after high school, when he felt the need to leave home and experience the “real world.” Thaddeus, a South Bend native, attended Clay High School but ended up finishing high school at LaSalle after his family moved following his freshman year. He, like most young adults, felt the urge to attend college. The only issue was that his mother felt he was not quite ready to go off on his own. That led Thaddeus to make a life-changing decision: he joined the United States Air Force. Looking back, he grimaces. “I might have done it out of spite,” he admits. But he viewed joining the military as his chance to get away, and so he took the chance and left.

thaddeus commission smallerWhile working in the military as a bioenvironmental engineering technician, like a scene from a fairy tale story, Thaddeus married his high school sweetheart and started a family. He and his wife were blessed with two beautiful girls, Cailyn and Alyssa. His life hit a snag, though, when he was given a medical separation from the military. “Life does not always go as planned,” Thaddeus says. “It can lead to periods of self-motivation and deeper thinking about who you are as a human being; what you want to do versus what you need to do.”

Having left the Air Force, and with a family to provide for, he realized it was time to pursue a career. But in what field? This was a big decision and left Thaddeus with another choice. He went on to find work as a Steel Mill worker in East Chicago but was given the opportunity to advance his career when a former colleague from the Air Force told Thaddeus he had discovered a job that was perfect for him. Thaddeus jumped at the opportunity to be an environmental health and safety manager for an engineering company in Colorado and his career took off.

Although in many ways, Thaddeus was at the top of his game, two issues soon arose. First, he felt that he had reached his peak for the career field that he was in, and the job he had once loved was growing stagnant. “Without a four-year degree, I was precluded from pursuing or being considered for director or executive-level managerial safety roles within my company,” Thaddeus recognizes. “At another organization, I probably wouldn’t even get past the application submission.”

thaddeus smaller 2Second, after 13 years of marriage, Thaddeus and his wife got divorced. “It was hard not being the go-to for homework help or trips to the playground,” he says. The absence of his family left a big gap in his life, and Thaddeus again faced a crossroads. “Life is about rolling with the punches and adapting to change,” he says. So once again, he made a critical life changing decision: he decided to go college.

Thaddeus enrolled at Holy Cross College in the fall of 2015. Going back to school after 15 years away has come with challenges, but when asked “Why Holy Cross?” Thaddeus is quick to respond, “It’s like an incubator.” He goes on to explain, “In many ways I feel like I have had to ‘learn how to learn,’ but the support I have received from faculty and staff has helped me in my journey, both academically and personally. Holy Cross has helped me gain my footing in an arena which was previously foreign to me.”

thaddeus, cailyn, and alyssaThe decision Thaddeus Johnson made to come to Holy Cross College was the second time he faced a choice of what to do with his life. This time, he knows the goals he has in mind. He wants to set a foundation for the future, and being from the South Bend area, he saw that Holy Cross College was a great starting point. Holy Cross has been rewarding for Thaddeus in many ways. “I am often amazed and encouraged by the stories of resilience and fortitude shared by fellow classmates, professors, and administrators.” He adds with a smile, “I have been enriched by my experience.” Indeed, despite his non-traditional story, the resiliency to adapt, change, and strive for success is why he truly embodies what it means to be a Holy Cross Saint.[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Focusing on Her Goals” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”]By Alexis Petersen, ’18
All her life, the Holy Cross sophomore has strived to earn what she wants out of life rather than just taking what is given to her. Perez was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, but has lived in South Bend since the age of five. Coming from a family that is undocumented in the United States has taught her some tough lessons about what it takes to achieve her goals. “It’s been a battle,” she says. Immediately her eyes fill with memories, belying shades of experience most of her peers will never see. “I always felt the same as my other friends, but high school made me realize how crazy immigration is in the United States.”

maria perez 2At the age of 16, Perez wanted to get her first job, spurred by a desire to provide some things for herself rather than rely on her parents—she is the oldest of four siblings and understands too well the practical necessity of self-sufficiency. However, being undocumented meant it was difficult to obtain a job, and the one she did secure entailed under-the-table pay and late weekend hours. Perez’s academic life began to suffer. “I had to quit cheerleading,” she explains. “My class at Marian High School was very competitive, too, so even though I had a good GPA for other high schools, I still felt I wasn’t doing as well as my classmates.”

As her high school years came to a close, her ambition and personal circumstance continued to be in tension. “I always wanted to be the best at something,” she says, insistent. She knew attending college would help her nurture her ambition, but the journey was not as easily realized as the concept. The passing of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy in 2012 eased some logistical burdens, but in seeking out prospective colleges, Perez was discouraged by out-of-state tuition costs due to her undocumented status, even though she lives in South Bend. However, the passing of DACA did help her get a better job hosting at a local Buffalo Wild Wings, and she proudly reports that she managed to save enough money to pay off her high school tuition.

When she found Holy Cross, her previous venture in saving up for tuition did not immediately bolster her confidence in attending. She applied for the San Juan Diego scholarship, which is awarded to DACA beneficiaries who demonstrate academic achievement and community involvement. At first, she was wary. “I’m not big on my faith, but I remember going to the chapel at my high school and praying, ‘if this isn’t for me, just let it be.’” However, one week later, she received an email from Brother Jesus Alonso, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives at Holy Cross College, informing her that she was the chosen recipient of the $2,000 scholarship. “I couldn’t describe how happy I was!” she exclaims.

Adding to her happiness this year is the Realizing the Dream scholarship, which grants $2,500 to first generation college students and a $1,000 professional development award to an educator in their life they deem inspirational. With these gifts in place, Perez is able to focus less on working and more on working toward her goals. After graduation, she hopes to matriculate to the University of Houston and study law, motivated by her own life experience to become an immigration lawyer. “South Bend is my home,” she says, “and it’s helped me so much. But I know there’s something bigger and better I can do.”

maria perez 1Perez admits that “I’ve gotten off track so many times, but I always realize that I need to focus.” Even with the setbacks she’s faced, financial and legal, she refuses to defer the course of her life to chance. Since the 6th grade, Perez has been an outspoken advocate for immigrants’ rights. More recently, Perez has been involved with the Student Coalition for Immigrant Advocacy (SCIA) at Notre Dame, and has travelled to Indianapolis to speak with congressmen and women. Such involvement is especially pertinent to the 2016 election, she notes, as the topic of immigration has frequently been a buzzword in the speeches of presidential candidates. “I especially want people to understand who and what they’re voting for,” Perez says. A repeal of DACA, for instance, will immediately affect Perez and students just like her across the country.

No matter what adversity she’s faced, she counts herself fortunate that she has a community of friends and family who always keep her on track. “My parents always told me, ‘just because we couldn’t do it doesn’t mean you can’t. This is why we’re here.’”

Perez also credits Kathy Cook, counselor at Marian High School. Cook will receive the Realizing the Dream professional development award per Perez’s nomination. “I still go back and visit her sometimes,” Perez beams. “She always knew I would go somewhere in life, and she always told me to never give up.”

Perez and Cook were honored at the Realizing the Dream Banquet in Indianapolis on November 5, 2016.[/wpspoiler] [wpspoiler name=”More Than Meets the Eye” showText=”click to show” hideText=”” style=”wpui-redmond”] By Kristina Barroso Burrell, Campus and External Relations Coordinator

If someone told you Clayton Brown played rugby, it would likely not come as a surprise. The Holy Cross sophomore is a physically imposing young man who moves like an athlete, and shows the confidence of one. He can frequently be seen wearing shirts that say “rugby” on them, and found going to and from rugby practice and games. If you talk to him for a few minutes, the conversation will invariably turn to scrums and lineouts. There’s no doubt that Clayton lives and breathes rugby. But there’s much more to this young man than first meets the eye.

Clayton has always been serious about rugby. Although he went to Riley High School in South Bend, IN, they didn’t have a rugby team, so he would travel to nearby Marian High School in Mishawaka to play for their team. He sports a twin set of scars on his knees from ACL surgeries he got playing the game he loves, one his junior year, and one his senior year. “I can still tell which one is stronger than the other,” he says, pointing to his left knee. “But I can’t let it stop me. I just have to keep moving on.”

clayton rugby clayton rugby 2 clayton rugby 3

During Clayton’s senior year of high school, he was recruited to play for the University of Notre Dame Rugby Club by Sean O’Leary, who was the coach at the time (O’Leary has since moved on to coach one of the new North American professional rugby teams, the Denver Stampede). Although Notre Dame rugby isn’t a varsity sport, it is a very competitive club program, and the team plays in the College Premier Division. Clayton was ecstatic about getting to play for Notre Dame as a loose head prop, but in the end, the university wasn’t a good fit for him. He reluctantly decided to go next door to Holy Cross, thinking it might help him go to Notre Dame someday.

“At first I was only here because I wanted to transfer,” Clayton admits. “But then I got to know Holy Cross.” It didn’t take Clayton long to realize that Holy Cross was a great fit for him. “I got to know the people here,” he says simply. “The community here has helped me grow up.”

Academically, the Holy Cross experience has been transformational for Clayton. He is a pre-law business major with an emphasis on sports management. He wants to open a sports complex someday, because the gym was always his refuge, and it was the place he learned confidence. “It’s like a safe haven,” he shares. “You know that in the weight room or on the field you can push yourself to the edge, and when you walk out into daily life, you can accept all the twists and turns life throws at you.”

Clayton’s maturity isn’t just evident in the classroom. Very few students are able to balance work, school, and athletics, but Clayton has two jobs, one as an RA in South Hall, and one as a driver for the Notre Dame Children’s Choir. “I pay my own way through college, so I have to work,” he says, “I wasn’t sure what to expect from the choir at first, but it’s pretty fun.” Clayton likes being the behind-the-scenes guy: driving kids to concerts, picking up lunch, and helping with homework during down time. It’s a surprisingly perfect fit for his rugby skills. He knows how to adapt quickly and be ready when he’s needed. “It’s a lot of responsibility, but man, I have learned a lot of patience, too,” he laughs.

clayton bench

Being an RA also tests Clayton’s patience at times, but he appreciates the opportunity to embrace the Holy Cross community and give back the friendship and connection he found here. “You have to be ready for anything, but also stay calm,” he explains. “Being an RA has taught me a lot.” Director of Residence Life and Housing, Billy McKenney, is proud of how much Clayton has grown. “When you speak with Clayton, you immediately see the deep and caring personality he has within him. He is someone who is approachable to all types of students, and we are glad to have him serving the residential community.”

Even Br. John Paige, president of the college, has been impressed by this young man. His eyes light up when he hears Clayton’s name. “Let me tell you a story about him,” Br. John says immediately. “I was pulling weeds on the volleyball court one afternoon, and Clayton was on his way back to the dorm from rugby practice. He stopped and asked what I was doing, and when I explained, Clayton looked at his watch and said ‘I have a free hour. Let me help you.’” Br. John was astounded by this unasked-for generosity and happy to get to know Clayton better that afternoon.”

Sitting on a bench outside South Hall in his RA polo shirt, and waving to his friends across the O’Connor Commons, Clayton looks as though he has always belonged at Holy Cross. “I don’t want to transfer anymore. I really love it here,” he says. “But,” he adds, smiling, “Maybe I’ll still go to grad school at Notre Dame.” And that way, he can also keep playing rugby just a little longer.