This Monday marked 56 years since Holy Cross College’s establishment. The College was founded on Sept. 19, 1966 by Holy Cross Brothers whose mission is to be “educators in the faith” to men and women everywhere — especially the poor, afflicted and oppressed.
Michael Griffin, senior vice president and interim provost of Holy Cross College, said that the College was originally founded to train Holy Cross brothers to teach at the high school level.
“At that time, Catholic brothers were really expanding their ministry to teaching,” Griffin said. “If you look around the country at some of the best Catholic high schools, many of them were begun by brothers in the 50s and the 60s.”
Previously, brothers would pursue degrees at institutions like Notre Dame or St. Edward’s University in Texas. Holy Cross was the first of its kind, Griffin said.
“Holy Cross College really provided a foundation where the brothers could live and study together,” he explained.
In 1968, the College became coeducational just two years after its founding because the brothers saw a chance to expand their mission, Griffin explained.
“The brothers saw that it was not only them who could benefit from the education. So very quickly, before many other colleges, including Notre Dame [that became coeducational in 1972], the brothers decided to open up Holy Cross to women and men to join,” Griffin said.
When it was founded, Holy Cross College initially offered two-year programs, but over the years, it expanded to become a four-year college.
Students marked Founder’s Day by wearing their maroon and silver Holy Cross gear to show off their school spirit. The College distributed Holy Cross themed cookies and had food trucks out on the courtyard.
Sophomore Sara Cole said she thought Founder’s Day was a great way to build Holy Cross camaraderie.
“It’s just a great way for students to hang out and be in community,” Cole said.
Cole said that she was drawn to Holy Cross because she wanted to pursue the elementary education major that they offer. The program has allowed her to sit in on student teaching sessions since her first year.
“Other schools [with comparable programs] generally only allow students to start practical experience with teaching their senior year,” Cole said.
Coming from a small high school, Cole said she also appreciated having a small college community where she knows the majority of students.
Student body president of the College, sophomore Dion Payne-Miller also praised Holy Cross’ tight-knit community.
“I love that the community is so small that you pretty much know everybody from students all the way up to professors, and even administration for that matter,” he said.
Payne-Miller hopes to see more partnerships between Holy Cross, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.
“Besides clubs … we can work together for our overall community of South Bend and Mishawaka,” Payne-Miller explained.
Griffin said that Founder’s Day at Holy Cross really highlights the uniqueness of the tri-campus community.
“The Holy Cross, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s tri-campus … really is one of the only places in the world where you have three colleges founded by each of the three parts of Catholic religious life — priests, sisters and brothers. I often say that 46556 is the most unique zip code in Catholic higher education.”
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