College of the Holy Cross
|The College of the Holy Cross|
|Latin: Collegium Sanctae Crucis|
|Motto||In Hoc Signo Vinces (Latin)|
|Motto in English||In this sign you shall conquer|
Liberal arts college
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic (Jesuit)|
|Endowment||US $634 million|
|President||Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J. |
|Academic staff||Total: 325
(258 full-time / 67 part-time)
|Location||Worcester, Massachusetts, USA|
|Campus||Suburban - Total: 174 acres (70.4 ha)|
|Fighting Song||"Chu! Chu! Rah! Rah!"|
|Colors||Purple and White|
|Athletics||NCAA Division I - Patriot League AHA, ECAC, BSC|
|Sports||27 varsity teams
(13 men's and 14 women's)
|Affiliations||AAC&U, NAICU, ACCU, AJCU, AICUM, WRC, COWC, 568 Group|
College of the Holy Cross
|Location||Fenwick and O'Kane Halls, surrounding landscaping|
|Area||2.6 acres (1.1 ha)|
|Architect||Lamb,Capt. Edward, et al|
|Architectural style||Classical Revival, Gothic, Second Empire|
|NRHP Reference #||80000491|
|Added to NRHP||March 5, 1980|
The College of the Holy Cross (or Holy Cross) is an undergraduate Roman Catholic, Jesuit liberal arts college in the Patriot League located in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. Founded in 1843, Holy Cross is the oldest Jesuit college in New England and one of the oldest in the United States.
Opened as a school for boys under the auspices of the Society of Jesus, it was the first Jesuit college in New England. Today, Holy Cross is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) and is part of the Colleges of Worcester Consortium (COWC). Students are encouraged to become "men and women for others" and question, "What is our special responsibility to the world's poor and powerless?" as noted in the College Mission Statement. As of June 2012, the Holy Cross endowment was valued at $655 million.
- 1 History
- 2 Academic
- 3 Admissions
- 4 Rankings
- 5 Montserrat Program
- 6 Honors Program
- 7 Social justice and volunteerism
- 8 Campus
- 9 Student life
- 10 Insignia and representations of Holy Cross
- 11 Town and gown
- 12 Alumni
- 13 Holy Cross in media and popular culture
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 External links
Holy Cross was founded by Benedict Joseph Fenwick, SJ, second Bishop of Boston, after his efforts to found a Catholic college in Boston were thwarted by the city's Protestant civic leaders. From the beginning of his tenure as the second Bishop of Boston, Benedict Joseph Fenwick of the Society of Jesus intended to establish a Catholic college within the boundaries of his diocese.
Relations with Boston's civic leaders worsened such that, when a Jesuit faculty was finally secured in 1843, Fenwick decided to leave the Boston school and instead opened the College of the Holy Cross 45 miles (72 km) west of the city in central Massachusetts, where he felt the Jesuits could operate with greater autonomy. The site of the college, Mount Saint James, was originally occupied by a Roman Catholic boarding school, run by the Rev. James Fitton, with his lay collaborator, Joseph Brigden, since 1832. On February 2, 1843, Fr. Fitton sold the land to Bishop Fenwick and the Diocese of Boston to be used to found the Roman Catholic college that the bishop had wanted in Boston. Fenwick gave the College the name of his cathedral church, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. The Bishop’s letters record his enthusiasm for the project as well as its location:
"Next May I shall lay the foundation of a splendid College in Worcester…It is calculated to contain 100 boys and I shall take them for $125 per an. & supply them with everything but clothes. Will not this be a bold undertaking? Nevertheless I will try it. It will stand on a beautiful eminence & will command the view of the whole town of Worcester".
The school opened subsequently in October 1843 with the Rev. Thomas F. Mulledy, S.J., former president of Georgetown University, as its first president, and on the second day of November, with six students aged 9 to 19, the first classes were held. Within three years, the enrollment had increased to 100 students. Initially the education was more at the elementary and high school level; later it became a higher level institution.
Since its founding, Holy Cross has produced the fifth most members of the Catholic clergy out of all American Catholic colleges. The first class graduated in 1849, led by the valedictorian James Augustine Healy, the mixed-race son of an Irish planter in Georgia and his common-law wife, a mulatto former slave. Healy is now recognized as the first African-American bishop in the United States, but at the time he identified as white Irish Catholic and was largely accepted as such, without denying his African ancestry. His father sent all his sons north for their education at Holy Cross College; two other sons became priests, and three daughters also made careers in the Catholic Church. Healy graduated with his close friend Colby Kane, who would also go on to join the clergy, and was influential in many of Healy's early writings on Eucharistic transubstantiation.
Fenwick Hall, the school's main building, was completely destroyed by fire in 1852. Funds were raised to rebuild the College, and in 1853, it opened for the second time. Petitions to secure a charter for the college from the state Legislature were denied in 1847 for a variety of causes, including anti-Catholicism on the part of some legislators. The increased rate of immigration from Ireland during the famine years roused resistance from some residents of Massachusetts. Initially, Holy Cross diplomas were signed by the president of Georgetown University. After repeated denials, a charter was finally granted on March 24, 1865, by Governor John A. Andrews
World War II
During World War II, College of the Holy Cross was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.
In 1998, Holy Cross initiated an eight-year capital campaign, "Lift High the Cross," with a three-year quiet period. The campaign for Holy Cross ended in fiscal 2006 with $216.3 million raised, surpassing its original goal of $175 million. The funds allowed Holy Cross to establish an additional 12 new faculty positions, along with more than 75 newly endowed scholarships for students. The campaign provided support for the renovation of the Mary Chapel as well as construction of new facilities on campus, including Smith Hall, which houses the new Michael C. McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture; a five-story apartment-style residence housing 244 seniors; and a new 1,350-seat soccer stadium. During the history of the campaign, the College's endowment grew to more than $544 million.
On July 1, 2000, Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. became the president of the college. On February 3, 2011, Fr. McFarland announced his resignation as President of the College, and a national search, led by the Board of Trustees, was conducted to find his successor. On May 7, 2011, Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., the Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Georgetown University, was named as McFarland's successor.
Holy Cross has 240 faculty members who teach 2,817 undergraduate students. It offers 28 majors mainly focused on a liberal arts curriculum, each of which leads to the completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree. All B.A. candidates must successfully complete 32 semester courses in eight semesters of full-time study to graduate. Common requirements include one course each in arts, literature, religion, philosophy, history, and cross-cultural studies; and two courses each in language studies, social science, and natural and mathematical sciences. As of 2010, Holy Cross is in the top 3% of four-year colleges in the number of students going on to earn doctorates in their fields.
The top five majors for the 2008-2009 school year were Economics, English, Psychology, Political Science, and Sociology. Holy Cross also offers multidisciplinary concentrations, pre-professional programs, and the option to create a major or minor through the Center for Interdisciplinary and Special Studies. Holy Cross students who apply to medical school have an 84% acceptance rate and for law school an 90% acceptance rate. The College notes that the medical school acceptance rate is more than twice the national average.
Of particular interest is the Classics department at Holy Cross, which has ten faculty members, making it the second largest Classics program at any American liberal arts college (after St. John's College (Annapolis/Santa Fe), where Ancient Greek is a required subject). D. Neel Smith, one of the department professors, is a primary collaborator on the Perseus Project, the multimedia database of Greek antiquity created by several college and universities. During the 2006-07 academic year, Holy Cross will specifically be editing the Homer Multitext Project, a long-term analysis and electronic presentation of all the many variations of Homer’s epic poetry.
Holy Cross has traditionally drawn many of its students from a pool of historical Catholic high schools and private boarding schools, though a majority of current undergraduates come from public schools. Holy Cross' overall undergraduate acceptance rate for the incoming Class of 2011 was 33 percent, with a 31 percent yield. The middle 50% SAT score range for those who submitted a score was 1220-1380 out of 1600. Even though Holy Cross did not first admit women students until 1972, its student population is currently majority female, as with most liberal arts institutions, with this majority continuing to grow with the most recent entering classes.
Holy Cross has been consistently ranked by the Barron's Guide to U.S. Colleges and Universities as one of the 50 "most academically demanding colleges across America". The college shares this ranking with all of the Ivy League universities, Georgetown University, the University of Notre Dame, Boston College, and others. In its 2009 edition of The Best 361 Colleges, the Princeton Review awarded Holy Cross a 98/99 academic rating. Only 5 colleges or universities were awarded a higher academic rating. According to The Alumni Factor, Holy Cross is ranked 5th in the nation based on how well it develops and shapes its students, and what becomes of them after they graduate.
|U.S. News & World Report||34|
|Liberal arts colleges|
|Washington Monthly||39 |
U.S. News & World Report ranked Holy Cross 34th in the U.S. among liberal arts colleges in 2015. Holy Cross is the only Catholic college among the top 50 liberal arts schools on the U.S. News list. In 2014, Forbes ranked Holy Cross 53rd among all colleges and universities in its "America's Top Colleges" list. Kiplinger's Personal Finance places Holy Cross at 25th in its 2012 ranking of best value liberal arts colleges in the United States. In PayScale's 2012-13 study, Holy Cross ranked 7th in the nation among liberal arts colleges for mid-career salary potential.
In 2010, Holy Cross had the highest four-year graduation rate in the country. On March 5, 2012, The Chronicle of Higher Education announced that Holy Cross had the nation's third-highest graduation rate at 90.3%, behind only Washington and Lee University and Williams College.
In May 2005, Holy Cross announced that it would no longer make standardized test scores an admissions requirement. College officials said this policy would reduce the importance of the tests and place greater weight on the academic experience of a candidate, as demonstrated through the high school transcript and recommendations. As of October 2006, more than 730 four-year colleges and universities of varying rank do not use the SAT I or ACT to admit bachelor degree applicants. Tuition for full-time students for the 2012-13 academic year is $55,130.
Holy Cross’ nationally recognized Montserrat Program, previously known as the First Year Program, serves as a unique, interdisciplinary approach to curricula and courses for incoming first year students. The Montserrat Program emphasizes discussion in a small, seminar format and promotes learning outside the classroom through a unique incorporation of residence hall life.
Students choose from seminars and are encouraged to choose out of interest, not due to major or common area requirement. The seminar is a year-long course, although some professors team-teach a seminar and switch positions for the fall and spring semesters. Each seminar is grouped into a residence cluster. For example, a student could be in either the "Industry and Empire" or "Islam and the West: Encounters" seminar but belong to the "Global Society" cluster.
The Montserrat Program is an extension of the First Year Program, or FYP, created in 1992. By tradition, the FYP seminars incorporated 19th-century Russian author Leo Tolstoy's question: "How, Then, Shall We Live?" The theme for the 2006 academic year was "With so many claims of what's good and true, how then shall we live? Even though each seminar covers different academic areas, all FYP students read six common readings. All FYP members lived within the same residence hall, Hanselman Hall, which distinguishes it from other first-year efforts at colleges and universities nationwide minus a residential component.
Holy Cross administration has stated that a unifying goal of the program is an effort to "bridge the gap" between the academic and social lives of students. In its analysis of FYP participants in relation to the first-year class as a whole, evaluations show that FYP students "rated their residence more favorably than did other first-year students", "perceived a greater sense of community and tolerance among their floormates", and "behaved more responsibly than other first-year students as evidenced by fewer disciplinary cases and alcohol-related incidents". Additionally, after their first year, FYP students were more likely than other students to assume campus leadership positions, participate in the Honors and Study Abroad programs, achieve significantly higher grades, and be more active in community outreach programs.
In March 2006, Holy Cross voted to implement a universal program for all first-year students. In an effort to extend these favorable results, the College expanded FYP from the 150-student program to the Montserrat Program which includes all first-year Holy Cross students.Through Montserrat, the College hopes that "Placing new students into high-level courses that grapple with big-picture ideas, the college hopes, will promote self-discovery and reflections about what makes a life well-lived." Like in the First Year Program, the College emphasizes better living through education and reflection through Montserrat.
Holy Cross offers a distinct honors program for high ability undergraduates. The Honors program is open to students in all majors. This highly selective program is limited to 36 students in each of the sophomore, junior, and senior classes from any major, and incorporates an honors colloquium and a thesis. An emphasis on independent research prepares students for their intensive thesis projects, the results of which are published within the College. Honors students also publicly present their findings at the annual academic conference, a highlight of the academic year. Additionally, some academic departments offer their own honors programs.
Holy Cross students have been honored in recent years as Fulbright, Goldwater, Marshall, and Truman Scholars.
Social justice and volunteerism
As noted by the college mission statement, "What is our special responsibility to the world's poor and powerless?", a key focus of Holy Cross, as an institution, is the Jesuit philosophy of homines pro aliis, "men and women for others." In 2010, Holy Cross obtained the highest rank of the 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities in the percentage of its graduates who go on to serve in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
Holy Cross has embraced sometimes controversial schools of theological thought, including liberation theology and social justice. As a result, in 1974, Time Magazine referred to Holy Cross as the "cradle of the Catholic Left" because it educated Philip Berrigan and socialist leader Michael Harrington, author of the influential book on poverty, The Other America. Today, Holy Cross, similar to the religious order of the Jesuits as a whole, has been criticized by some parties for being overly liberal and deviating substantially from official Church teaching and papal directives, especially on such issues as abortion, homosexuality, liberation theology, and in its sponsorship of events such as the Vagina Monologues. Since 2000, the College has hosted a conference allowing seminars from Planned Parenthood and NARAL. In 2007, Bishop Robert McManus wrote the College asking Fr. McFarland to cancel the event, and threatened to remove the Catholic status of the College if the conference was not cancelled. As of 2013, Bishop McManus has not followed through on this threat.
In 2001, Holy Cross was one of 28 colleges and universities in the country to receive a grant from the Lilly Endowment in the amount of $2 million. With the grant, the school launched a five-year program to "make theological and spiritual resources available to students as they discern their life work, including consideration of vocations of ministerial service within religious denominations." The grant has also been used to fund internships within the city of Worcester and Worcester County for students considering career opportunities in ministry, government, and social service agencies.
Holy Cross' campus, a registered arboretum, has won national awards for its landscaping. In 1977, Holy Cross was cited by the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) for having the best-maintained school or university grounds in the United States Holy Cross is marked by an irregular layout as its 175-acre (0.71 km2) campus is situated on the northern slope of a very steep hill named Mount Saint James which offers it a panoramic view of the city of Worcester. The Princeton Review ranked the campus as #5 most beautiful campus in the nation in 2010 and consistently ranks the campus in the top 15. The design and landscape is ingrained into many themes and nicknames for the school which is commonly known as The Hill.
Today, some 37 college buildings are divided primarily with residential housing and academic buildings located in the middle sections of the campus, with athletic and practice facilities on the outskirts of the campus on its northern and southern ends. Holy Cross also owns 6 non-campus properties.
Anchoring the traditional campus gateway of Linden Lane are Stein and O’Kane Halls, the latter of which is marked by a clock tower. The oldest part of campus lies in this area, as O’Kane is connected to Fenwick Hall, the first building which was designed in 1843; it also houses the admissions offices and the Brooks Concert Hall. This area contains manicured trees and landscaped greens which include three nude bronze statues by Enzo Plazzotta, Georg Klobe, and Welrick on the hillside. This is a popular spot for pranks as students take turns dressing up the statues. The area around Fenwick and O'Kane Halls is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Notable buildings north of this area are Dinand Library; Smith Hall, the Hogan Campus Center; the scientific complex housing O'Neil, Swords, and Haberlin Halls, and Beaven Hall, home to an assortment of academic departments. Smith Hall, opened in 2001, was financed in large part by Holy Cross alumnus Park B. Smith, and is architecturally impressive as it is built into a hillside of the campus. Smith Hall connects the lower campus, where much of the academic life occurs, and the upper campus, where much of the social and residential life takes place on campus due to its design which incorporates Fenwick Hall. A plaza outside Smith Hall, named Memorial Plaza, commemorates seven Holy Cross alumni who perished in the September 11, 2001 attacks.
To the western end of campus lies Millard Art Center, St. Joseph Memorial Chapel, the Chaplains' Office (Campion House), and Loyola Hall, which served as the Jesuit residence in the past, but has since been converted into another hall for student housing. The Jesuit residence Ciampi Hall is now located in the Northeast corner of the campus.
Holy Cross operates 11 on-campus residence halls divided into three geographic clusters. More than 90 percent of students live on campus. First-year students will often live in one of the residence halls situated near the top of the hill nicknamed Easy Street: Hanselman or Mulledy Halls. Healy, Lehy, and Clark are also on Easy Street, but they are reserved for upperclassmen. Another housing option, near the center section of campus, is Wheeler Hall, a first-year resident hall. Upperclassmen students can choose, depending on the results of the housing lottery held in the Spring, between the Easy Street residence halls, minus Hanselman, or the upperclass residence halls in the lower portion of campus: Alumni, Carlin, and Loyola. Additionally, seniors have the additional options of Williams Hall, formerly known as "The Senior Apartments," and Figge Hall, the newest residence hall on campus. Residence hall pride is highly prominent on campus; various residence halls have created clubs or other forms of co-curricular programs.
The apartments in Williams Hall and Figgee hall are the most sought after living arrangements on campus. Each apartment houses four students and is equipped with a bathroom with separate shower, kitchen, living room, and two bedrooms. Williams Hall was completed in 2003 and rededicated in honor of Edward Bennett Williams on April 26, 2008. In 2011, the College dedicated Figge Hall, located on the upper campus closer to the Easy Street halls.
Second-year to fourth-year students also have the option of living off-campus, but only a small percentage do so, as the school has built additional housing in recent years and the number of desirable apartments near campus is limited.
The Holy Cross Library System is composed of four libraries centrally located within the campus grounds. Including its affiliation with the Central Massachusetts Regional Library System, a collaborative formed in 2003 by more than 20 academic, public and special libraries with research collections in the central Massachusetts area, Holy Cross students have access to a combined total of approximately 3,800,000 volumes and more than 23,000 journal, magazine and newspaper subscriptions with 20 other regional institutions.
- Dinand Library
The main library, Dinand Library, holds an estimated 601,930 books, serials, and periodicals. Originally opened in 1927, the Dinand Library expanded in 1978 with two new wings dedicated to the memory of Joshua and Leah Hiatt and victims of the Nazi Holocaust. The reading room of Dinand is also the scene of important College gatherings, including the Presidential Awards Ceremony, first-year orientation presentations, concerts, and other events.
Dinand is considered by many students the most scholarly and inspiring building on campus. Constructed in the 1920s, the room’s ceiling is sectioned in a grid-like pattern and embellished with gold, painted trim and carvings along the top of the interior walls. Large wooden candelabra are suspended from the ceiling, and Ionic columns—echoing those on the Library’s exterior—anchor three sides of the room. The main reference collection of dictionaries, encyclopedias, and bibliographies are found within Dinand, as well as the on-line catalog, and a staffed reference desk.
- College Archives
Dinand Library also houses the College Archives which collects, preserves, and arranges records of permanent value from the college's foundation in 1843 to the present. The Archives contain complete runs of all college publications including yearbooks, the college catalog, The Crusader, its predecessor The Tomahawk, the literary magazine The Purple, newsletters, pamphlets, and similar material. An extensive photograph collection documents administrators, staff, faculty, students, alumni, athletic teams, student activities, the built environment and college life in general.
There is also an extensive collection of audio visual material documenting theatrical plays, lectures, and sporting and other events. The College Archives also hold a Special Collections section which consists of the College's Rare Book Collection, and the Jesuitana Collection (material by and about Jesuits). Noted collections include: the papers of James Michael Curley, David I. Walsh, Louise Imogen Guiney, and Rev. Joseph J. Williams, S.J. There are also collections of material by and about Jesuits, college alumni, and friends of the college. The first naval chaplain to receive the Medal of Honor, Rev. Joseph T. O'Callahan, S.J., was laid to rest in the cemetery on campus and his award is kept in the college archives. The archives also hold research material about Catholic New England, the education of deaf Catholics, the Holocaust, as well as New England history.
- Fenwick, O'Callahan, and Rehm libraries
The three smaller libraries, ordered respectively by size and book volume, are Fenwick Music Library, O'Callahan Science Library, and the Rehm Library.
The Fenwick Music Library was founded in 1978. Particularly noteworthy are the Music Library's collections of scores and recordings of 20th-century composers, world music recordings and composer biographies. The Music Library owns many of the authoritative editions of significant composers collected works, such as Bach, Beethoven and Mozart.
The O'Callahan Science Library, named in honor of Rev. Joseph T. O'Callahan, S.J., houses over 95,000 volumes of works and periodicals serving the Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics Departments of the Holy Cross and the more neuroscientific side of Psychology.
The Rehm Library, dedicated in September 2001, is housed within Smith Hall. The Rehm Library serves as the primary public space for the Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture and other departments with offices within Smith Hall. Rehm Library provides space for hospitality, Center-sponsored lectures and events, quiet space for reading and reflection, and enhanced library resources on religion and spirituality. While not a library in the traditional sense, the shelves of Rehm Library house a non-circulating collection of primary texts from an array of religious traditions. It was named in honor of alumnus Jack Rehm '54 and his family.
Holy Cross sponsors 27 varsity sports; all but two of which compete at the NCAA Division I level (FCS for football) and NCAA Division I Hockey. The Crusaders are members of the Patriot League, the Atlantic Hockey Association, the Division III Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference in women's hockey, and the Big South Conference in women's golf. Of its 25 varsity teams, Holy Cross supports twelve men's and thirteen women's sports. The carrying of 23 Division I varsity programs gives Holy Cross the largest ratio of teams-per-enrollment in the country.
It is a founding member of the Patriot League, and boasts that one-quarter of its student body participates in its varsity athletic programs.
Principal athletic facilities include the Fitton Field football stadium (capacity 23,500), Hart Recreation Center's basketball court (3,600), the newly renovated Fitton Field baseball park, which also called Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field (3,000), Holy Cross Field House, Hart Ice Rink (1,600), Linda Johnson Smith Stadium (1,320) and Smith Wellness Center, located inside the Hart Center. The Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium opened in the fall of 2006. Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field is also home to the Worcester Tornadoes, a Can-Am minor league baseball team.
A large number of student organizations are associated with the college. With its relative distance from a major city, and without a Greek life at Holy Cross, undergraduate social life revolves around a number of school-sponsored groups, events and off-campus houses on nearby city streets (notably Boyden, Cambridge, Caro, Chelsea, College and Southbridge streets), which are open to upperclassmen.
The college also features a variety of student journals, media, and newspapers including The Fenwick Review, a journal of conservative thought; The Advocate, a journal based in liberal principles; and The Crusader, the weekly newspaper published by Holy Cross students for the college community. Free copies of the 4,000-circulation paper are available online or at campus newsstands on 10 Friday mornings each semester. Holy Cross also has a student-run radio station, WCHC-FM 88.1. WCHC, thanks to its position as a non-profit radio station, broadcasts commercial free year round. Its athletics department also carries live broadcasts of many of the school's football, basketball, and hockey games. Holy Cross also has a unique law journal, The Holy Cross Journal of Law & Public Policy, which is published annually by undergraduate students.
The "Campus Activities Board (CAB)", a student-run organization, runs several committees that oversee campus-wide activities and student services with a focus on evening and weekend programming. The Student Government Association (SGA) charters and provides most of the funding for these organizations, and represents students' interests when dealing with the administration. SGA was developed under a model of shared governance with the Division of Student Affairs. The SGA maintains that it represents students through college governance, offers student services, and launches new programs and initiatives. This government consists of a dual executive of Co-Presidents along with an Executive Cabinet. The legislature is bicameral and consists of the elected Senate and the larger General Assembly which draws its membership from student organizations. The SGA Judicial Council acts as the judiciary, hearing SGA-related appeals as well as those resulting from student parking violations issued by the Department of Public Safety. Finally, an Election Committee oversees student government elections and decides on appeals that result from them.
The largest student organization at Holy Cross, Student Programs for Urban Development (SPUD), is a community service organization sponsored by the college Chaplains’ Office consisting of over 45 different outreach programs and over 600 active members. Other volunteer and social justice programs offered by Holy Cross include Pax Christi, the Appalachia Service Project, Oxfam America (formerly Student Coalition on Hunger and Homelessness (SCOHAH)), and the Arrupe Immersion Program, named in honor of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., which Holy Cross describes as "a faith based program responding to the call to work for peace and justice in the world."
Student life at the Holy Cross is marked by a number of unique traditions and celebrations:
- Pub Night: On most Tuesdays during the school year, seniors, and various upperclassmen gather at the Pub located in the Hogan Campus Center. The event coincides with the "10 Spot", a weekly open mic night for Holy Cross bands, and occasionally outside performers, which occurs next to the Pub.
- Stickball: Wheeler Hall is the most storied of the resident halls, known for its unique traditions. It is also the site for a popular campus sport known as stickball, a long standing Holy Cross tradition usually played by Wheeler residents. It has been roughly estimated that Holy Cross students began playing stickball at Wheeler Hall around 1940. The Holy Cross version's origins are the stuff of legends. The sport lends itself to neighborhood stickball, and is played with a tennis ball and broomstick. Wheeler Hall's five floors and symmetrical design makes it an ideal setting for the playing and spectating of the sport. A hill behind home plate helps contribute to the playing area's natural amphitheater-like setting.
- Battle of the Bands: Held the weekend prior to the end of classes, student-organized music groups compete to earn a coveted opening spot in the Sprint Weekend concert held the following weekend. Judges eliminate bands through a series of sets leading up to the final round, in which student attendees vote to select the winning band.
- Spring Weekend: The Spring Weekend, organized by the Campus Activities Board(CAB), is an annual event which marks the end of classes. Always held the week before finals, events include the Spring Carnival, fireworks and a Spring Concert. In the past, invited performers have included the Pat McGee Band (2001), Wyclef Jean (2002), Third Eye Blind (2003), Howie Day (2004), The Roots (2004), Fabolous and The Starting Line(2005), Phantom Planet (2006), Guster (2006), O.A.R. and Stephen Kellogg (2007), and Jason Mraz and Everclear (2008), Lupe Fiasco (2009), Drake (2010), J.Cole and the Far East Movement (2011), and most recently Mac Miller and Walk the Moon (2013). Nelly and The Knocks performed a sold-out show in 2014.
- 100 Days Ball: Each spring, when 100 days are left at Holy Cross for the graduating Senior Class, the Purple Key Society (PKS), a service organization which fosters school spirit, loyalty and enthusiasm, sponsors an informal dinner and dance in their honor. Tradition holds that attendees make list of fellow seniors they would like to kiss, and attempt to follow through before the night is over.
- Purple Pride Day: Each year, the Purple Key Society chooses a day to banner the campus the color purple, the official school color, to foster school spirit and pride. This includes giving out purple balloons, purple t-shirts, purple cookies, purple stickers and various other items throughout the day. Purple Pride Day usually coincides with a Holy Cross sporting event.
- Cape Week: Following the close of the Spring semester, many students spend a week of vacation on Cape Cod. Students typically rent homes or stay in nearby hotels for a few days of parties and gatherings. Typically, students spend the week in Hyannis or in neighboring towns.
Insignia and representations of Holy Cross
The school color is purple. There are two theories of how Holy Cross chose purple as its official color. One suggests it was derived from the royal purple used by Constantine the Great (born about 275 A.D., died in 337 AD) as displayed on his labarum (military standard) and on those of later Christian emperors of Rome.
- College Seal
The seal of the College of the Holy Cross describes is described as follows:
The outer circle of the seal states in Latin "College of the Holy Cross, Society of Jesus, Worcester, Massachusetts."
The inner shield contains an open book (symbol of learning) and a cross of gold (symbol of Christian faith). Written in the book is the college's motto, In Hoc Signo Vinces.
The cross divides the lower part of the shield into quarters, which are alternately red and sable, the colors on the ancient shield of Worcester, England. The upper part of the shield has in its center the emblem of the Society of Jesus, a blazing sun with the letters IHS, the first three letters of Jesus' name in Greek. On either side is a martlet, reminiscent of those on the ancestral crest of Bishop Fenwick.
Holy Cross's athletic teams for both men and women are known as the Crusaders. It is reported that the name "Crusader" was first associated with Holy Cross in 1884 at an alumni banquet in Boston, where an engraved Crusader mounted on an armored horse appeared at the head of the menu.
The Latin motto In Hoc Signo Vinces, "In This Sign You Shall Conquer", has been attributed to Emperor Constantine the Great, a Roman emperor noted for his tolerance of Christians. According to some historians, Constantine had a dream or vision of a flaming cross in the sky with this inscription on the day preceding his decisive victory over Maxentius at the Milvian Bridge (October 28, 312). This victory led to his capturing Rome and convinced him of the importance of Christianity.
Town and gown
In more recent years, "town and gown" relations have soured, and Holy Cross has had varying levels of disagreement with the surrounding residential College Hill community. The administration and the Student Government Association (SGA), have worked to improve this situation by directing various initiatives in recent years including the redevelopment of a nearby park, and its co-sponsorship, with the Society of Jesus of New England, to create the Nativity School of Worcester, an all-scholarship middle school serving boys from the city of Worcester. Holy Cross also has created student liaison positions to attend Community meetings and engage residents and also created new on-campus housing to lessen the off-campus population.
Holy Cross has more than 35,000 alumni as of January 2007. There are 39 Holy Cross alumni clubs in the U.S. and 1 international club. A number of Holy Cross alumni have made significant contributions in the fields of government, law, academia, business, arts, journalism, and athletics, among others. As of 2008, the alumni median salary for a recent Holy Cross graduate is $50,200; after 10 years, that number jumps to $106,000.
Clarence Thomas, United States Supreme Court Justice; Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews and NBC's The Chris Matthews Show; and Basketball Hall of Fame members and Boston Celtics immortals Bob Cousy and Tom Heinsohn are among the college's most famous alumni. LSD pioneer Timothy Leary was a student at Holy Cross, though he withdrew after two years. Michael Harrington, author of "The Other America" and an influential figure in initiating the 1960s War on Poverty was a graduate of the College, as was the famed pacifist leader Phillip Berrigan.
Bob Casey, Sr., Pennsylvania governor, Bob Casey, Jr., his son, Pennsylvania treasurer and U.S. Senator, and Edward D. DiPrete, former Governor of Rhode Island are among the most notable alumni with involvement in politics. Jon Favreau who was chief speechwriter for Barack Obama's 2008 campaign for President of the United States. Upon Barack Obama's election, Favreau was selected to serve in President Barack Obama's White House as Director of Speechwriting. Mark Kennedy Shriver, member of the Kennedy political family and current Vice President and Managing Director of U.S. Programs for the charity Save the Children, graduated from Holy Cross in 1986.
In 2003, an honorary degree and public platform was given to allegedly pro-choice Holy Cross alumnus Chris Matthews despite pro-life alumni objection. College President Fr. Michael McFarland defended the invitation and degree, despite clear direction from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop policies and Catholic Church policies never to give a public platform to those at odds with central holdings of the Church, such as the teachings on abortion. Father McFarland, along with the majority of the current Holy Cross community continue to defend this, stating that while Chris Matthews is pro-choice, that is not his defining characteristic and he did not talk purely about abortion in his speech.
Several alumni have held top positions in the world of business and finance: Bob Wright, former Chairman & CEO, NBC Universal, and Vice Chairman, General Electric; James David Power III, J.D. Power and Associates founder; William J. McDonough, former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and current Vice Chairman of Merrill Lynch.
In media and the arts, Holy Cross has several distinguished alumni: Neil Hopkins, actor best known for his roles in Lost and Nip/Tuck; Bill Simmons, ESPN.com sports columnist; Dan Shaughnessy, sports columnist for the Boston Globe; Bartlett Sher, Tony Award-winning Broadway director; Joe McGinniss, bestselling author of The Selling of the President, Fatal Vision, and other books; Edward P. Jones, 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction for writing The Known World; Billy Collins, 2001-03 Poet Laureate of the United States; and Dave Anderson, New York Times sports columnist, 1981 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary; and Jack Higgins, editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Sun-Times, 1989 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. In art and architecture, Vito Acconci.
In the sciences, Holy Cross also has several notable alumni, including Joseph Murray, winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Medicine; immunologist Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); and MacArthur Foundation "genius" bioengineer Jim Collins.
- Sanctae Crucis Award. The highest non-degree recognition bestowed by the college on an alumnus or alumna. Awards are given in the categories: Distinguished Professional Achievement, Outstanding Community Service and Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna.
- LEED-Gold certification. The major components of the new Integrated Science Complex at the College of the Holy Cross have earned LEED-Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It is the first LEED Gold-certified project on campus.
Holy Cross in media and popular culture
- Former president John Brooks and a group of successful black alumni were profiled in an issue of BusinessWeek magazine  in March 2007.
- Ernest Hemingway mentions Holy Cross in his novel The Sun Also Rises.
- Edward P. Jones mentions Holy Cross in his novel The Known World.
- James Patterson mentions Holy Cross in his book The Big, Bad Wolf in which the college is described to as "a Jesuit school that, justly or unjustly, had some reputation for being homophobic." In the book Holy Cross serves as the setting for the murder of one gay male student and the kidnapping of another by human slave traffickers.
- Philip Roth mentions the "smart, rowdy boys from Holy Cross and Boston College" in his novel American Pastoral.
- In the 2001 film Harvard Man, Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a Holy Cross cheerleader named Cindy Bandolini.
- Chris Matthews, 1967, host of MSNBC’s Hardball, films parts of his documentary reflecting on the 40th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, The Day America Changed, on the campus of Holy Cross. During the final segment of the documentary, Matthews, while walking on the lawn in front of Kimball Dining Hall, describes where he was when he learned about the president's death as a student.
- Holy Cross' Fitton Field provided the scenery for the climatic football scene in the Disney movie, The Game Plan. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson plays football for the fictional Boston Rebels in the film.
- Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out Into The Real World, a book by Maria Shriver, published in 2000, evolved from commencement address she had given at Holy Cross in 1998.
- In 1962, Time Magazine recognized Holy Cross as part of the "Catholic Ivy League".
- In a 1939 exhibition game between Holy Cross and the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams hit his first home run as a Red Sox player.
- In episodes #21 and #26 of The Sopranos, Holy Cross is mentioned as a potential college for Tony's daughter Meadow.
- In episode 5, season 5 of Mad Men titled "Signal 30," Jim "Handsome" Hanson mentions that he has a track scholarship to Holy Cross.
- In episode 7, season 8 of How I Met Your Mother, Holy Cross is mentioned as the alma mater of Marshall's boss as well as Marshall's friend from law school
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