The only Jesuit Catholic college in the country to offer an exclusively undergraduate liberal arts education, College of the Holy Cross enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the preeminent schools in the United States. Small class sizes, devoted faculty members, and a challenging curriculum have made the college an increasingly popular choice for many top-notch high school students. Others are attracted to the beautiful campus, active student body, and friendly living/learning environment. Whatever their reasons for choosing Holy Cross, few students are disappointed when they arrive, as evidenced by the school’s ninety-five percent freshman retention rate and overwhelmingly positive student satisfaction statistics.
The college has grown in both size and stature since it was established in 1843 as an academic community where the Jesuit ideals of educational integrity and social justice could flourish among its male students and faculty. Founded by Benedict Joseph Fenwick, the second bishop of Boston, the school originally comprised only one wooden building and a half-finished brick structure on a hill overlooking the largely unsettled town of Worcester, Massachusetts. There was little evidence to suggest that such a prominent college would eventually arise from this undeveloped setting.
Coeducational since 1972, the college is today home to around 2,800 young men and women and the campus is widely recognized as one of the most impressive in the country. Driving through the black, wrought-iron gates that form the entrance to Linden Lane, the treelined passageway that leads through the campus, visitors are immediately struck by the school’s beautiful architecture and perfectly manicured grounds, which are spread over 174 acres. Ivy-covered residence halls and open green spaces are intermixed with technologically advanced academic buildings and state-of-the-art athletic facilities. There are three wellendowed libraries, two multi-sport recreational facilities, a recently renovated campus center, and a comprehensive art complex. Completed in 2001, Smith Hall, located in the center of the campus, is the home of the college’s Center for Religion, Ethics, and Culture, as well as the philosophy and religious studies departments, the Center for Interdisciplinary Special Studies, information technology services, and the registrar’s office. The Center’s primary public space is the two-story Rehm Library, which provides space for hospitality, lectures and events, quiet space for reading and reflection, and enhanced library resources on religion and spirituality.
With its outdoor sculptures and idyllic flower gardens, the award-winning campus is both peaceful and picturesque. Few who visit the school are disappointed by its physical surroundings. Perhaps more impressive than the campus, however, are the strong traditions and deep loyalties that have taken root here for many generations. Each year, young men and women from all over the country come here to participate in a vibrant academic and residential community where the Jesuits’ founding principles continue to flourish. These students experience an educational environment where intelligent dialogue is encouraged and scholarly exploration is rewarded. Along the way, they become part of a close-knit social atmosphere where lifelong friendships are fostered. Alumni carry these meaningful lessons and experiences with them by continuing to seek ways to integrate their faith, their lives, and their value-centered education.