Crossroads Spring 2015

Page 1

History: Connecting Dreams And Futures To The Past.

What’s in a Name? The Stories Behind The Namesakes Of Belmont Abbey College Architecture.



1876. One monk, two students, and a vision for the future.



I have definitely been excited about seeing this particular issue come to fruition. During my time as a student at Belmont Abbey, I minored in history and became very close to the professors and fellow students within the program who were just as keen on connecting to the past as I was (and still am). Small, yet driven in its mission and purpose, our History department is still going strong and a proper write-up from our magazine is long overdue. In tribute, we thought interweaving the inspiring stories of the department’s teachers with a look at the last 176 years of the College’s own history would be quite fitting. In our first article, we learn about the personalities who made the History department what it is today. We also discover the driving force that binds every student of history together: an insatiable curiosity for making sense of the past and letting it give us a sense of purpose for our present and future. Without respecting and acknowledging what came before us, we falter in grasping who we really are. We want our readers to know that by studying history, we may come closer to God, as we see His hand at work throughout time. 2


Next, we learn about the people many of our buildings on campus are named after: Robert Lee Stowe, Fr. Cuthbert Allen and Abbot Leo Haid, to mention only a few. While you may walk by a building on campus hundreds of times, you may not realize the importance of a moniker like O’Connell or Wheeler and how it relates to the Abbey’s unique history. You will find the backstories to be truly interesting. We then look at the genesis of the Abbey’s beginnings in 1876. One Benedictine priest – Father Herman Wolfe – and two students, with a vision to bring Catholic higher education to the post-Civil War South, broke ground and initiated the journey that would culminate into the monastery and college we know today. It is a testament to the bold determination of the Abbey’s figurative ancestors and one which we hope readers will take to heart. Finally, we say a bittersweet farewell to Dr. Sheila Reilly, a professor of biology who served the College community (even with a stint as Academic Dean) for 28 years. Her infectious, but serious enthusiasm for the intricacies of science won over many a student during her time at the College. While we wish her a happy and productive retirement, we know her presence will be sorely missed. As an unabashed defender of the humanities, I consider the importance of history as a discipline to be just as important as that of mathematics or biology: it is essential for understanding the world around us. Memorizing facts and dates may not be every student’s cup of tea, but I encourage all Abbey students, past and present, to keep digging deeper and discover something they love about the past. You may be surprised at what you find.

Emily Williams



History: Connecting Dreams and Futures to the Past. Students and professors, both young and old, take a look back at the Abbey’s Department of History and the benefits of studying the past.


What’s in a Name? The Stories Behind the Namesakes of Belmont Abbey College Architecture. Learn how every campus building received its title and the inspiring people they honor.


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Spring 2015


From The Office Of The President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 From The Office Of The Abbot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6-13

Monastic News Three Men And 160 Years Of Service To God . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14-15 Fr. Elias Ordained To Priesthood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 A Vision And A Journey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Crossroads Crossroads is the official publication of Belmont Abbey College. Vice President of College Relations and General Counsel R. Gregory Swanson Director of Marketing & Communications Rolando N. Rivas Editor Emily Williams ’07

Campus News Crusader Success Hub Puts Students First . . . . . . . . . . 17 Calendar Of Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Assistant Editor Design & Production Supervisor Renae Heustess

Faculty & Staff News Farewell Dr. Sheila Reilly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18-19 ABBEY STAFF: New Faces, New Places . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20-23

Sports News Abbey Sports: Changing Lives For 90 Years . . . . . . . . . . 24 Mike McGuire: His Inspiration, His Values Will Live On At The Abbey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Women’s Soccer: Champs! Eight Times! . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Alumni News A Letter From Your Office Of Alumni Relations . . . . . . 26 Homecoming 2014 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Serving Through His Faith: Congressman Patrick McHenry ’99 Uses Leadership Skills And Spiritual Guidance From His Days At Belmont Abbey College . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28-29 Class Notes And In Memory Of . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30-31

Contributors Dr. Tiffany Adams Stephen Miss Andrew Achter Dr. Frank Murray Bradley Baker ’05 Christine Goff Peeler Dr. Grattan Brown Fr. Arthur Pendleton, O.S.B. Sharell Cannady Jay Phillips Amy Carpenter Dr. Alyson Pompeo-Fargnoli Dr. Nicholas Conger Chris Poore Fr. Elias Correa-Torres, O.S.B. Dr. Kristina Reihl Dr. Ian Crowe Dr. Sheila Reilly Simon Donoghue Rolando Rivas Dr. Troy Feay Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B. Gretchen Filz Michael Salomon Fr. Frances Forster, O.S.B. Dr. Stephen Shivone The Gaston Gazette Heather Smith Julia Gunter Dr. Bill Thierfelder Dr. Daniel Hutchinson Martin Unger Sharon Johns Teresa Waclawik ’15 John Keating Dr. Patrick Wadden Fr. David Kessinger, O.S.B Stephen Ward Dr. Ed McGee Dr. David Williams Patrick McHenry ’99 Dr. Joseph Wysocki

Photography Mission Statement of Belmont Abbey College: Our mission is to educate students in the liberal arts and sciences so that in all things God may be glorified. In this endeavor, we are guided by the Catholic intellectual tradition and the Benedictine spirit of prayer and learning. Exemplifying Benedictine hospitality, we welcome a diverse body of students and provide them with an education that will enable them to lead lives of integrity, to succeed professionally, to become responsible citizens, and to be a blessing to themselves and to others.

Christopher Coutinho Photography Encaptured & Co. Event Photography Renae Heustess Rolando N. Rivas

Beginning with the next issue of Crossroads, Class Notes will no longer be included in the publication but instead will be shared in the Monthly Alumni e-Newsletter.

Printing Professional Printers

Send your Class Notes or Change of Address info to: Office of Alumni Relations, Belmont Abbey College 100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Road, Belmont, NC 28012 Email:


You can also connect with your fellow alumni online via the new Belmont Abbey Alumni Association Facebook group: The Facebook group enables you to network and share personal updates, pictures and news with the rest of the Abbey family. If you prefer to send your updates to us for posting on Facebook, forward them here:

Abbey Mailbag To submit comments about Crossroads, email or send letters to: BELMONT ABBEY COLLEGE Crossroads – Attention: Renae Heustess 100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Road, Belmont, NC 28012 Copyright 2015 Belmont Abbey College

Spring 2015


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


From the Office of

The President A Living History Written With Each Passing Moment By Dr. Bill Thierfelder first chapter, I found a letter dated March 8, 1928 from Fr. M.A. Irwin, a priest of the Dioceses of Raleigh, who wrote about his life changing experience while attending the Abbey from 1880-1882. The following extract from his letter is a testimony to the lasting impact an Abbey education has on those fortunate enough to call her Alma Mater.

“History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity.” ~CICERO, Pro Publio Sestio

One of our beloved monks of recent memory, Father Paschal Baumstein, O.S.B., wrote a wonderful history of the Abbey entitled, “My Lord of Belmont.” I have read it several times and each time, I have gained additional insights into the faith and character of the men who built the Abbey and the students who Abbot Leo Haid said, “...would spread God’s blessing over this beautiful country in the years to come when perhaps few of you who are listening to me now shall be among the living.” I recently came across another history of the Abbey written by Fr. John P. Bradley, entitled, “The First Hundred Years: Belmont Abbey College 1876-1976.” At the end of the 4


“...We understand well what humility and poverty meant in those days. The brothers, and even some of the fathers, wore underneath their habits trousers made from the commonest cotton cloth of the country, and patched clothes were often seen. The brothers were gnarled, knotty, and brown from the labor with the earth, but they were men of God, most faithful and edifying in the discharge of all their duties. I treasure the memory of St. Mary’s College (renamed Belmont Abbey College on Thanksgiving Day, 1913) in the days of its poverty, and am glad that I witnessed such purity and zeal and labors and holiness and order and learning amid so many obstacles. I would prefer to go back and begin again as I did, rather than be placed in the midst of luxury and convenience. Poverty and humility, united with holiness, order and learning are the producers of the finest and the most valiant characters. The old orders produced great and noble men, erant gigantes in diebus illis (There were giants in those days)... My memory of early Belmont is rich in recalling the spiritual values of life there, I am glad that my footsteps were directed there. I can understand all beginnings and foundations on account of my experience there and I read with sympathetic insight the news of our holy foundations in their beginnings. Nearness to God was the note that I felt in my early days at Belmont.” Understanding our history has brought me closer to those who came before me, and they have inspired me to carry on the good work they began well over a century ago. It is remarkable to consider that each of you reading these words are part of the amazing history and wonder of Belmont Abbey. It is also exciting to think that with each passing moment you could be writing a new line. I look forward to you adding your achievements, milestones and continuing participation in the life of the College and Monastery to the Abbey’s historical record. I hope to see you in the next Crossroads! God bless, Bill

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Spring 2015

From the Office of

The Abbot

Passing the Mantle of Abbey Historian By Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B. Benedictines have traditionally been interested in history. The stability of the monastic community, combined with the work of the monastery’s scriptorium, provided an ideal environment for writing down and passing on the community’s story. Furthermore, the authentic transmission of life according to Saint Benedict’s Rule, through nearly two millennia, necessarily required an understanding of the way this life had been conducted under the varying circumstances in the past so as to be able to live it with integrity in the present. This process continued when the Benedictine monks first came to North America, bringing with them their tradition of education, first to western Pennsylvania, and then from there to North Carolina. The lives and careers of Father Thomas Oestreich and Father Anselm Biggs overlap and mirror each other in interesting ways. Both came to Belmont for their schooling, both earned doctoral degrees,

Spring 2015

and both spent their entire monastic life in the Abbey’s academic apostolate here at Belmont, both served as rectors of the Abbey’s seminary. Father Thomas, born in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1872, came to school at the Abbey in its very early years. He entered the novitiate in 1892, professed his vows in 1893, and was ordained a priest in 1897. Bishop Leo Haid recognized Father Thomas’ intellectual acumen, and sent him as the first Belmont monk to study at the new international Benedictine college of Sant’ Anselmo, in Rome, where Father Thomas also became the first Belmont monk to earn a doctorate. Upon his return to North Carolina, he became Bishop Haid’s secretary, and began a long career, first as rector of the College from 1909 until 1924, then as rector of the seminary from 1924 until 1936. While accompanying Bishop Haid on several trips to Europe, and through European contacts from his student days, Father Thomas assembled a valuable collection of books which became the foundation of the College library. Declining health led Father Thomas to spend his final years at Saint Joseph Hospital in Asheville, serving as chaplain to the Sisters of Mercy, who provided his healthcare. Father Thomas died in 1943. As Father Thomas’ distinguished career was drawing to a close, another was about to begin. In 1931, Gordon Biggs entered Belmont Abbey College from Pochahontas, Virginia, where he was born in 1914. He entered the novitiate in 1933, receiving the name Anselm, was professed in 1934, and ordained in 1940. Abbot Vincent recognized Father Anselm’s

intellectual acumen and, at a time when finances did not allow most Abbey monks to continue advanced studies, made sure that Father Anselm was able to enroll at Catholic University, where he earned his doctorate in Medieval History. Upon his return to Belmont, Father Anselm, in addition to numerous assignments in the monastery, embarked on a career as the backbone of the College’s History Department until an unfortunate fall, suffered while standing on a chair to hang maps in preparation for class, brought his teaching career to an abrupt end in 1999. Father Anselm died in 2001. Father Thomas and Father Anselm, two of Belmont Abbey’s most distinguished scholars, have left a valuable legacy. Father Thomas passed on the mantle of Abbey historian to his younger protégé, Father Anselm. Father Anselm, in his turn, became the mentor to a number of students, some of whom followed him in teaching careers as Professors of History. In particular, two men influenced by Father Anselm’s example have made enduring contributions to Belmont Abbey – Dr. Frank Murray and Father Paschal Baumstein. Perhaps most important for us today is the fact that this legacy of a strong and vibrant History program continues at Belmont Abbey College today under the able guidance of Dr. Troy Feay, Dr. Daniel Hutchinson (’02), and Dr. Patrick Wadden, all worthy successors of Father Thomas and Father Anselm.


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


HISTORY Connecting Dreams And Futures To The Past. By Emily Williams Since 1952, the History department American Institute for Conservation of the Abbey in 2002 and his Ph.D. from of Belmont Abbey College has been Historic and Artistic Works. Senator Florida State University, has won inspiring students to better understand Patrick McHenry, a member of the several awards for his academic work the world that came before them, to United States House of Representatives on World War II and German POW’s. study humanity’s triumphs and foibles, since 2004, earned his B.A. in History He was also among 25 German and to appreciate the subtle nuances of from the Abbey, graduating in 1999. American academics and professionals different cultures and investigate the to attend last year’s American Council The trio that makes up the roots of on Germany’s civilization – and, Young Leader hopefully, gain a Program. Dr. refined sense of Wadden, whose self. It is, and in classes on Viking some ways always and Early has been, a small Christian Ireland department. There have been a hit are currently only among students, three full-time hails originally professors from Wicklow, overseeing the Ireland, but department’s received his Ph.D. administrative and from Oxford teaching University where responsibilities. he taught for two years before Yet, given the coming to the fact that the Abbey. He courses offered in describes the the discipline are History major as always full, having “many popular with strengths” to be students, and proud of: focused on varied “First, for a eras and small department, concentrations we offer a great within History diversity of upper(Medieval Ireland, Pictured left to right: Dr. Daniel Hutchinson, Dr. Troy Feay, Dr. Patrick Wadden level classes. In Modern Africa, the two years that Genocide, WWI I have been here, we have had classes on and II and the Civil Rights Movement, department’s faculty – Dr. Troy Feay, topics ranging from ancient Greece, to name only a few), it is by all means a Dr. Daniel Hutchinson and Dr. Patrick through various aspects of the Middle definitive major at the College. Recent Wadden – certainly have the collective Ages, to modern Europe and America.” History majors at the college have gone backbone to live up to the department's Wadden also mentions the “innovative on to graduate schools such as the reputation. Dr. Feay, who chairs the pedagogies” that he and Dr. Charlotte School of Law and The department, came to Belmont Abbey in Hutchinson have used in teaching their College of William and Mary; have 2005 from Notre Dame where he courses with great success. “Daniel is interned at places such as the Pacific specialized in French Colonial history. really the expert on this, but he and I Aviation Museum in Pearl Harbor, Dr. Hutchinson, who received his have both used the ‘Reacting to the Hawaii; and have found work at the undergraduate degree in History from



The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Spring 2015

Past’ competitive role-playing game in recent courses. Students act out historical events and their actions are informed by their reading of primary and secondary sources. Because of the competitive nature of the games, they really do engage with the topics very thoroughly.” As may be expected in such a small department that frequently engages its students on a one-on-one basis, Wadden says the group is pretty close-knit. “Once a week during the semester, we have a ‘History Digest’ which is a get-together with the majors for lunch, during which we chat about history, contemporary events, and anything else that crops up. It builds a sense of community among students and helps establish a relationship between them and the faculty. We also have occasional video nights and there was a trip to Ireland this past spring to study Irish history first hand.” When looking into the background of how the Abbey’s History department got started, it is apparent that it was set on a strong foundation from the very beginning. Like many of the disciplines taught at the College, there are roots of Benedictine values on which the study of History is built. Prospective students contemplating History as their major can usually find flyers in Dr. Feay’s office which outline such values as Stability (developing a rooted identity), Hospitality (welcoming others as Christ through understanding global identities), Humility (realizing the complexity of the human experience), and appreciation for the dignity of the human individual. This is not surprising, given that a Benedictine monk established the core collection of History books nearly 100 years ago. Mr. Simon Donoghue, the Director of the College’s Theatre program and former reference librarian, has always held a deep interest in the story of how the department was founded.

Spring 2015

“The earliest monk who was involved in establishing the History department was Fr. Thomas Oestreich,” says Donoghue. “He purchased the core of the library’s history textbooks during his trips to Rome, especially after WWI, buying books from monasteries. Oestreich eventually passed the torch to Fr. Anselm Biggs, who had connections with Dr. Frank Murray. It’s interesting to see the continuity of it all, since Fr. Anselm knew Oestreich and Oestreich himself was a protégé of Abbot Leo Haid. Also, Fr. Anselm and Dr. Murray both attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C., so there is a connection there also.” Simply mentioning the name of Dr. Murray will bring a smile and warm memories to any student who has spent time in his classroom. Dr. Murray, who retired in 2006, came to teach at the Abbey in 1962 as the History department’s first full-time faculty member, eventually becoming chair of the department in 1977. Like Mr. Donoghue, Murray finds the story of how his department took shape to be fascinating. “When interviewed in 1962, I visited the relatively new Abbot

Dr. Frank Murray


Vincent Taylor, “History is O.S.B. Library to necessary for get a snapshot of personal the history identity. We holdings,” Dr. Murray recalls. must have a “As I pulled a sense of who we number of books are, not just for off of the shelves, individuals, but I checked the for societies and inside covers and there written were communities as either the names well. It is also of Fr. Anselm necessary to Biggs or Fr. form proper Thomas Oestreich. relationships, My curiosity was piqued. I later for both learned that along individuals and with Fr. Julien communities; Pohl, co-founder you need to of the library, know who you Oestreich are before you established what was to become the can form a nucleus of one of position of the strongest stability.” collections in the library. Dr. Troy Feay Consequently, the department established awards in the honor of these two Benedictine giants: the Anselm G. Biggs, O.S.B. Scholarship award and the Thomas Oestreich, O.S.B. Award for Excellence in the Study of History.” As one of the longest serving faculty members at the Abbey, Dr. Murray can offer a delightful plethora of anecdotes of his experiences as a professor, but admits it is a challenge to choose a favorite: “When one has served as a faculty member for a halfcentury, it is difficult to single out one event in the History Department that stands out,” he says. However, a particular memory from 1983 does

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


“We all know history is important because it’s the sum of all recorded events. But underneath the surface, it is the sum of all human existence: life, love, death, defeat, victory, challenges, and acceptance.” Bradley Baker ’05

come to mind. “The department was sponsoring the traveling Smithsonian poster exhibit: ‘Black Women: Achievement Against All Odds.’ One of the women featured was Septima Poinsette Clark of Charleston, S.C., called the ‘grandmother of the civil rights movement.’ When the College later decided to award her with an honorary doctorate, President John Dempsey asked me to escort her around campus. It was one of the greatest honors of my life and the picture taken after Commencement of Ms. Clark and myself in our academic robes was one of the framed treasures that hung in my office until my retirement.” Bradley Baker, a History alum of 2005 and close friend of Dr. Murray, says that he cannot recall his time in the professor’s classes without immense fondness. “I feel as though being a student in Dr. Murray’s history classes gave me the quintessential Belmont Abbey College education that I had heard about,” he says. “It was electrifying. He had a way of getting the class’s attention by using the catchphrase, ‘As you know,’ at the beginning of his lectures. This was a signal for us to hone in on important information for retention. And it worked.” Baker explains that Dr. Murray’s kindness as a professor and his penchant for getting to know his students beyond the classroom contributed to the experience: “We have a small cadre at Belmont Abbey. You get to know your professors and vice versa. I would often meet him afterwards and we would go out to eat and I learned things about his life. Not only was I learning about the history he was teaching us, but the lessons he learned from life personally. It was both an inspiration and an example.”



Another faculty member well beloved by students is Dr. Ed McGee, who retired in 2011 after teaching courses on Russian and American history for 25 years. Known for his zestful enthusiasm for the subjects that he taught – including Ballroom dancing – and his never failing cheerful disposition, Dr. McGee says that familiar energy is what spurred him Dr. Ed McGee on to entertain his students and inspire them with his own love of history. “Invariably, walking into class was always a pleasure,” he recalls. “I always had a really good time in those classes; I had a lot of excitement for what I was teaching. It was never the same, always something fresh and exciting.” Like any seasoned History professor, Dr. McGee has an explanation as to how he came to fall in love with the past. “I came to history because I actually had spent so little time on it in grade school.” he says with a hearty laugh. “It was really the sense of discovery when I started studying it more; I got deeper into it and it seemed that nothing gave you the kind of perspective of where you were than a

From the long list of courses McGee taught at the Abbey, he gives a nod to his courses on Russian history – recounting the exploits of Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great and the rise and fall of Communism – as a personal favorite. “I had marvelous papers and responses from students on the subject of Russian history. In all honesty, nothing made you appreciate your own American history more than looking at the history of the Russian countries; the contrast is amazing. It again brought that certain perspective into focus that I spoke of.” However, it was the eclectic quality of his senior seminar papers that McGee says he found the most rewarding: “I could always count on amazing papers being presented in my seminar class for graduating seniors at which I would marvel at. I’ve had papers on Volkswagen Beetles, a paper on Houdini and everything in between. Those papers I remember with great fondness.” At the present moment, the Abbey’s current three history professors are the next generation’s McGees and Murrays. While they come from different backgrounds and focus on different areas and contexts of history, they all hold a similar opinion about the imperativeness of its role in a student’s curriculum, its vital place in the humanities and how it helps to craft the human experience.

“The utility to studying history is that people in the past have the same problems as we do, in terms of politics, social/economic dynamics and examining how they succeeded or failed. Their struggles can help inform us about our own struggles in the present or at least give us a profound sense of humility in that we have to be very careful about what we do and how we do it.” Dr. Daniel Hutchinson grounding in history. This is because it gives you the sense of where you are going. There is a particular balance and perspective to this and I wish we could all learn from the past in this way.”

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

“History is necessary for personal identity,” says Dr. Feay. “We must have a sense of who we are, not just for individuals, but for societies and communities as well. It is also necessary

Spring 2015

to form proper relationships, for both individuals and communities; you need present or at least give us a profound to know who you are before you can sense of humility in that we have to be form a position of stability.” very careful about what we do and how He also points to the Benedictine we do it.” facets of history to give examples of Dr. Wadden, who joined the Abbey how learning about history shapes us. in 2012 from Oxford University where “One of the things studying history he taught courses on Celtic and does is give one a sense of identity; it Medieval British History, says reading also promotes the idea of hospitality: and studying are always at the center of once you know who you are, you can what makes be more welcoming history come alive: to others without “Studying history being defensive or “Critical and independent is important for feeling threatened. two main reasons: Then there’s thinking are the crucial the knowledge you humility: we all skills of the historian, so acquire and the think we are selfdiscipline and made people, but in we try to teach all of our methodology you fact, we are not; we students how to do this. practice,” he says. come from “But studying traditions and But these aren’t only history is not just communities that historians’ skills. They about knowledge; shaped us. Our it’s also about choices are also are skills that can be learning a determined by those transferred into many discipline. communities. We Historians try to also have an disciplines and careers, build up a picture appreciation for the and they prepare our of what happened dignity of the in the past, how it individual: by students to become happened, and studying the responsible citizens who why it happened, individuals of the by reading texts past, we can assess the vast that were written acknowledge that amount of information during the period even those who have we want to study. been long dead are that is available to them We call them worthy of us trying in the modern world.” primary sources – to comprehend and but primary understand them.” Dr. Patrick Wadden sources don’t Dr. Hutchinson always tell us what agrees, saying that we want to know; one must learn from they tell us what the past to shape a the author wanted wise, well-balanced his or her audience future that is free (as to know, whether much as it can be) that was a medieval king or the from past mistakes: “What drew me to newspaper-reading public.” history is frankly the drama of human The key, he says, is to learn how to life and the crazy things these people read sources critically, which is a skill did,” he says. “The utility to studying that historians are obligated to instruct history is that people in the past have their students in. “Critical and the same problems as we do, in terms of independent thinking are the crucial politics, social/economic dynamics and skills of the historian, so we try to teach examining how they succeeded or all of our students how to do this. But failed. Their struggles can help inform these aren’t only historians’ skills. They us about our own struggles in the

Spring 2015


are skills that can be transferred into many disciplines and careers, and they prepare our students to become responsible citizens who can assess the vast amount of information Dr. Billy Graham received an Honorary Degree from that is available to Belmont Abbey College in 1967. them in the modern world.” The Abbey’s three historians are obviously passionate and persuasive about what they teach. Hearing the stories of how they got that way is just as delightful. While they may come from different backgrounds and geographical locations, they all share a common denominator in that the environment they grew up in and their personal experience influenced their areas of focus within the discipline. Dr. Feay’s area of specialization in history tends to cover topics such as Imperialism, Colonialism and Genocide, which developed from growing up with parents who were missionaries in Africa. Dr. Hutchinson’s draw to history was linked to the South he was also raised in, including his experience as a student here at the Abbey: “I went to a small high school run by Benedictine monks in Northern Alabama, so when I was researching colleges, this place seemed like a natural fit. I’m from the South, so Southern history really interested me. Choosing WWII as my area of focus was sort of an accident. During Easter of my senior year at the Abbey, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and I happened to watch a documentary about German POWs in Alabama during WWII that was on television. I thought to myself, ‘Hey that might make an interesting paper topic one day.’ As it turned out, I ended up writing about it during my first year of graduate school and it sort of snowballed from there.” For Dr. Wadden, it was living amongst the rich remnants of Irish history that influenced his studies. “The primary focus of my research is the history of Ireland and her neighbors

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


Dr. Frank Murray and Septima Poinsette Clark

during the early Middle Ages,” he explains. “I came to it because, growing up in Ireland, the past is very close by – in my hometown there are still the remains of a castle built in the twelfth century and a Franciscan friary built in the thirteenth. In one way, the Middle Ages were very familiar, but in another they are very exotic. People lived very differently: they ate different food, lived in different houses and had different expectations. This combination of the familiar and the exotic attracted me to study medieval history.” Not surprisingly, that also includes the histories of monasteries during that time. “Monasteries in Ireland were in close contact with other parts of Europe through a vast network of monastic communities – they shared books, news and goods. The Benedictines, and later the Cistercians and others, paid little heed to borders between countries as they built communities all across the continent. They didn’t have the Internet, but these men and women were very clued in to contemporary events well beyond their own communities.” History draws people for different reasons. Some students may be attracted by the chance to deeply study and become an expert in a favorite time or place while others want to gain a better understanding of the human condition. Some may just have a knack for remembering names and dates and communicating that information on paper. For the professors, teaching History at Belmont Abbey means different things for different reasons. “I came to the Abbey having studied in Trinity College, Dublin and Oxford University, and having held a research position at Harvard,” says Wadden. “They’re all excellent schools and I enjoyed my time in each of them very much, but they are also very big schools. I wanted to teach somewhere smaller, where it was possible to have a relationship with the students. That’s not possible in classes of hundreds, but


is when you have only 15 or 20 students. Here at the Abbey, we believe that education is about more than just academic development, it is about helping our students develop as rounded individuals. We try to achieve that through our relationships with them, and those kinds of relationships are only possible in schools like ours.” Also, Wadden says, studying Medieval History can be quite unique when you are attending a college founded by a monastery: “The Middle Ages are sometimes known as the ‘Benedictine centuries’ because of the importance of Benedictine monks as recorders of history, so what better place to study medieval history than in a school which has a tradition of history-recording that goes back well over a thousand years?” For Dr. Hutchinson, it is the ever present nature of history and how we

In Dr. Murray’s opinion, comprehending the complexity of history is an essential for anyone to fully grasp the discipline they choose to study, for everything comes back to it. “The great Spanish novelist Cervantes noted that history is the mother of truth. Everything man has said and done politically, economically, religiously, socially and culturally is the domain of history. History, therefore, is important because it is all encompassing and studies events as they happened in time and place. All disciplines must turn to history because it is the informative discipline presenting an academic foundation for all studies.” As a former student who says that his choice of major helped define and shape who he is, Bradley Baker concurs with Dr. Murray. “We all know history is important because it’s the sum of all

“Everything man has said and done politically, economically, religiously, socially and culturally is the domain of history. History, therefore, is important because it is all encompassing and studies events as they happened in time and place. All disciplines must turn to history because it is the informative discipline presenting an academic foundation for all studies.” Dr. Frank Murray

continue to live it on a daily basis through the world around us that matters to him. “2014 was an election year; and the issues that dominate our current politics have a prehistory that goes back decades. A study of the past can help unravel it and help to give your average citizen a better-informed decision at the ballot box – much more so than the latest campaign ad can. I think that’s a pretty pragmatic rationale for why studying American history is so useful.”

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

recorded events. But underneath the surface, it is the sum of all human existence: life, love, death, defeat, victory, challenges, and acceptance.” Through studying History, Belmont Abbey believes every student will emerge with not only a sense of who they are and where they came from, but also an understanding of the many factors that continue to generate the future.

Spring 2015

What’s in a Name? The Stories Behind the Namesakes of Belmont Abbey College Architecture By Gretchen Filz Belmont Abbey Monastery and College located in Belmont, North Carolina, has been an enduring icon of Catholic heritage in the South. In 1876, Benedictine monks from a Pennsylvania monastery began a new endeavor on a plot of North Carolina farm land located in Gaston County, just ten miles due west of Charlotte. From the beginning, its purpose was to bring Catholic higher education to the Carolinas. Today, Belmont Abbey College continues in faithfulness to its founding mission—academic excellence and a strong Catholic identity. The founder of Belmont Abbey, Abbot Leo Haid, gave much attention to the external structure of his new community. He believed that the prominence of the monastery’s buildings—designed to be aesthetically pleasing and enduring—would best express the foundational Benedictine value of stability in a physical location. Under the influence of Abbot Haid and the monkarchitect Fr. Michael McInerney, O.S.B., beauty and dignity became characteristics of Belmont Abbey’s architecture. Each of the buildings on campus is a testament to Abbot Haid’s vision.

Mary Help of Christians Abbey The Mary Help of Christians Abbey (Monastery) is the oldest building on campus, serving as the residence and cloister of the Benedictine monks. Its three wings were built successively in 1880, 1891, and 1894. Its most prominent feature is its beautiful, statuetopped portico where guests would be received by the Abbot. The historic building underwent complete renovations in 1977 following its centenary anniversary. Monastery Garden – 1938

Spring 2015

Mary Help of Christians Basilica The Abbey Church of Maryhelp was built in the Gothic Revival style in 1894 under its founder and first abbot, Leo Haid (1849-1924). It replaced the much smaller Chapel of Maryhelp built on the campus in 1877. The church, named in honor of Mary Help of Christians, a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary under whose patronage the Abbey was placed, was completely remodeled in 1965. The church was North Carolina’s first and only cathedral until the Diocese of Raleigh was established; after this, in recognition of its historic significance, it received the title of minor basilica in 1988 under Pope St. John Paul II. The basilica now enjoys a place on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a place of prayer and pilgrimage for local Catholics.


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


Robert Lee Stowe Hall

Dormitory – 1900

The Haid

Robert Lee Stowe Hall, built in 1886 and originally called the College Building, was once the largest structure on campus. It housed all the college services including the first theater. As Belmont Abbey grew into a more prominent and influential institution, ecumenical efforts and greater interaction with the local community increased. As a result, in 1983 the College Building was renamed in honor of area industrialist Robert Lee Stowe (1866-1963). This move emphasized the College’s historic ties to Gaston County and the monastic vow of stability. Stowe Hall currently provides space for administrative offices and classrooms.

The Haid gymnasium, built in 1929, was designed by Fr. Michael McInereny, O.S.B. It served as the College gymnasium until the new Wheeler Center opened in 1970. The theater moved to The Haid in 1979 and the building was completely renovated in 1987 as a theatre and ballroom. The Haid is home to the locally famous Abbey Players productions. Haid Gymnasium – 1929 Its namesake, Abbot Leo Haid, was a great patron and promoter of the performing arts throughout his thirty-nine years as abbot. He believed that theater was an excellent educational tool for students to both learn a valuable craft and to learn by giving expression to enduring values through acting. For Abbot Haid—himself a published playwright—theater was an art, and he expected students to bring sophistication and professionalism to their performances.

With the construction of St. Leo Hall in 1906, the College’s commitment to beauty and diversity blossomed. In addition to its thoughtful architecture, the facility was also used for cultivating the visual and performing arts. Central to campus activity, at different points in its history the building has housed the gymnasium, auditorium, bookstore, theater, library, dormitory, and professors’ offices. The building, designed by Fr. Michael McInereny, O.S.B., was named in honor of Abbot Leo Haid’s name saint, Saint Leo the Great, a fifth century Bishop of Rome and Doctor of Church who had one of the most important and influential pontificates in Church history.

Abbot Vincent Taylor Library

Dining Room – 1886

St. Leo Hall

St. Leo Dramatic Hall – 1907

Abbot Vincent Taylor Library, built in 1958, was the last campus design by Fr. McInerney, O.S.B. The building was named for Abbot Vincent Taylor who graduated from Belmont Abbey College in 1897 and became its abbot in 1924, succeeding Abbot Haid. He notably brought the College from its foundational years into the modern age and a new era of educational standards. Abbot Taylor affiliated the College with the Catholic University of America, brought laymen onto the faculty, and created a sophisticated research library which bears his name. Today, both students and the monks enjoy the Abbot Vincent Taylor Library and its impressive collection of rare and valuable books.

St. Leo Library – 1939


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Spring 2015

Abbot Walter Coggin Student Commons Abbot Walter Coggin Student Commons, built in 1991 as the dining hall and student activities center, was named for Abbot Walter Coggin (19161999) who graduated from Belmont Abbey College as valedictorian. Under his leadership, from 1956 to 1970, the College saw significant growth. Many new facilities were constructed on campus in addition to a major reorganization of the College administration. Academic standards were strengthened and the curriculum was enriched. He also served as a math teacher and football coach in addition to his administrative duties. He loved teaching and his students, who in return held him in high regard. A new dining hall opened in 2012 and the Student Commons now houses the Crusader Success Hub—a one stop shop for all Abbey student services. (See article on page 17.)

William Gaston Science Building The William Gaston Science Building was built in 1968 under Abbot Coggin in order to facilitate a science lab, additional classrooms, and faculty offices. Continuing the Abbey tradition of naming its buildings after prominent historical figures of the local community, the building was named in honor of William Gaston (17781844). William Gaston served as the United States Representative for North Carolina and is the man for whom Gaston County is named. As a Roman Catholic in elected office, he is credited with helping to remove official discrimination against Catholics from North Carolina law.

O'Connell Residence Hall, Raphael Arthur Residence Hall, Poellath Residence Hall The O’Connell Residence Hall is one of three campus dormitories constructed during the expansions of the 1960’s, in addition to the Raphael Arthur Residence Hall and the Poellath Residence Hall. Rev. Jeremiah J. O’Connell was an Irish-born priest of the Diocese of Charleston who donated the land on which Belmont Abbey

Spring 2015

was founded. Desiring to bring Catholic higher education to the Carolinas, he bought the 500-acre Caldwell farm and offered it to the Benedictines to build a Catholic college on the property. O’Connell lived in a cottage on the property for the remainder of his life. The Raphael Arthur Residence Hall is named after Father Raphael Arthur (1887-1941) who served as the primary professor of English literature and writing. The Poellath Residence Hall is named after Brother George Poellath (18761963) who served as the sacristan of the Abbey Church for over fifty years. Known for his elaborate decorations for liturgical celebrations, he spent countless hours in the service of God.

Cuthbert Allen Apartments The Cuthbert Allen Apartments were built in 1989 and serve as apartment-style student housing. The apartments were named after Father Cuthbert Allen (1906-1977) who served as the College rector from 1936-1942. Father Cuthbert was known for his attentiveness to students, both past and present, and the special interest he took in their development. Ever the witty and engaging teacher, during recreational hours Father Cuthbert was often seen surrounded by Abbey students holding impromptu discussion sessions.

Wheeler Center The Wheeler Center was also part of the campus expansions under Abbot Walter Coggin in the 1960’s and was built to serve as a new athletics complex. The building, which opened in 1970, was named after Howard “Humpy” Augustus Wheeler, Sr. (1902-1968), the beloved coach who fathered all of the Abbey’s organized athletics programs. A former WWII naval officer, Humpy Wheeler was the first layman to hold an enduring appointment on the Abbey faculty. He was hired in 1929 to be the all-around coach for Abbey sports in addition to teaching responsibilities. He remained at the Abbey for the rest of his life. Today the Wheeler Center houses a gymnasium, fitness center, and is centrally located to the tennis courts, baseball, softball, and soccer fields.


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College



Three Men and

160 Years of Service to God By Emily Williams The summer of 2014 saw three of the Abbey’s Benedictine monks celebrate special anniversaries of their vocations. Father Francis Forster and Father Arthur Pendleton celebrated the 50th year of their ordination to the priesthood at Belmont Abbey. Father David Kessinger celebrated his 60th anniversary of monastic profession. Aside from their duties within the monastery, Father Arthur, Father David and Father Francis have all been active in the academic life of Belmont Abbey College for many years. Father David has served at the monastery for the longest span of time, arriving in Belmont in the fall of 1949 as a student and taking his monastic profession in 1954. Along with spending many years teaching plane geometry at the College, Father David, who holds a degree in library science from The Catholic University of America, has also served as a librarian by maintaining and developing the College’s library holdings. Father Arthur began teaching chemistry in 1963 and continued to teach part-time after his retirement from teaching some years ago. A native of Rhode Island, he arrived at the monastery in 1958 at the age of 28 after studying textile chemistry and coloring at the Rhode Island School of Design. “I thought about being a priest at several stages in my life,” he recalls “I considered the priesthood when I was in grammar school, high school, etc. The only problem is that I couldn’t imagine myself standing up in front of a crowd of people and preaching. That eventually changed.” Father Francis, who once served as the College registrar, came to the monastery fresh out of the U.S. Air



Pictured left to right: Father Arthur Pendleton, Father Francis Forster, Father David Kessinger

Force during the Korean War. He felt the call to join the monastic community while still in active service. “I got the call, you could say, when I was serving in Korea. I worked with a chaplain there. Later, I visited the Abbey while I was stationed nearby here in North Carolina. When I got out of the service four years later at the age of 24, I came right over to join the monastery.” It was the “community life” of the monastery that drew him to settle here, he explains. “I knew that I wanted to be a priest, just not a parish priest – I didn’t want all the social, public interaction; and to be a monk at that time, one had to be ordained.” Answering God’s call was an easy decision to make, he says. Father David came to the Abbey from Clifton Forge, Virginia after a priest told his sister, who was a novitiate at the Sisters of the Holy

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Cross in Washington, D.C., about Belmont Abbey. Abbot Vincent Taylor then got in touch with Father David and invited him to come and visit. However, he says he actually felt his true calling to the priesthood long before he ever came to the Abbey. “I think it was when I was in the 5th grade learning to serve as an altar boy that I had my first inkling of wanting to have a vocation to the priesthood,” he says. “I grew up in a town of 6500 people and the parish priest had lived there, alone, for 26 years. I had that in the back of my mind growing up. Then to come to Belmont Abbey and see the monks living in community, I thought ‘Well, this must be where it all fits together.’” Recognizing a significant milestone is important in anyone’s career or personal life. For a monk, it is an opportunity to share with friends and

Spring 2015


family the fruits of one’s commitment the confines of Belmont Abbey, all to God and a monastic spiritual life. three men have certainly garnered a How did these three monks feel about great many memories that come to reaching this anniversary in their lives? mind for them during this celebration. For Father Francis and Father Arthur, Not surprisingly, for Father Francis, it is they took a decidedly humble, the memory of his ordination. “That was the capstone,” he says, understated approach. thoughtfully. “That was the purpose for “I’m pretty much at peace about my coming to the monastery.” it,” says Father Arthur. “Four years ago, Father Arthur remembers finally the monastery celebrated the 50 years’ getting over his fear of public speaking jubilee of monastic profession (which is – a crucial element for being able to give different than the jubilee of ordination). homilies. This time around, I was at the Mass, “All along, I had dreaded preaching but I didn’t invite people deliberately. in front of people. Every time I thought Some people heard about it, but I didn’t about the priesthood, I could not get too excited over it.” imagine myself doing that. I was a bit Father Francis agrees: “A monk is a timid. We practiced giving homilies monk,” he says, with a shrug, “whether here at the monastery during our it is 40 years or 50. I also did not invite training and we had to do so without anyone or make a fuss about it.” notes – just memorization. And when Despite their mutual desire to keep we did so, the audience wasn’t all that a low profile, Abbot Placid Solari interested in what you had to say. believes both men were deserving of the Eventually, after I was ordained, I had recognition they received. to give a homily. So one day, I get up “Father Francis and Father Arthur into the pulpit (this time with notes), have both served the monastic and I see all of these people smiling at community and college community me. If you want to talk about nice quietly, each in his own way,” Abbot experiences, that would be it for me, Placid says. “When Father Francis was because I knew they were all so happy serving as the registrar, he used his to see me there.” technical skills to repair anything Father David’s memories focus on electronic around the monastery, going the music he has encountered on about his business and not seeking any campus. “My siblings and I have always notice. He was the ‘go-to’ person said we were surrounded by music from whenever something needed to be fixed or taken care as far back as of. Likewise, when we Father Arthur were in the “Living in community under the has an womb, as my practice and rule of St. Benedict and amazingly mother was a having the opportunity and training to keen mind music and breadth teacher,” he serve God’s people, to serve Christ and of intellectual says. “My spread the good news – it truly is a interests. He own gift and marvelous gift.” has served as love of music prior in the which came Father David Kessinger monastic from my community mother and father had a particular impact on my perhaps more often than anyone in the time here. I was a member of the Glee community’s history.” club here at the Abbey and I have Father David says the wisdom he always loved the Gregorian chant we has gained through his many years at sing as monks.” the monastery is based on recognizing At the ages of 81, 84, and 89 the perks that come along with the respectively, all three men are at the monastic vocation. “Living in stage in one’s life when advice is usually community under the practice and rule dispensed to and sought after by young of St. Benedict and having the people. For those seeking guidance with opportunity and training to serve God’s discerning a religious vocation, they people, to serve Christ and spread the counsel: consider attending a seminary, good news – it truly is a marvelous gift.” After spending so much time within go on discernment visits and retreats,

Spring 2015


and give some thought to what God may be calling you to do. Father David’s most important advice is quite simple: “Be open to what it is to which God is calling you and be faithful in the practice of religion.” As for Father Arthur and Francis, they give a direct but serious answer: “Give it a try,” they both say.

Father Elias Ordained to Priesthood Father Elias Correa-Torres was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Peter J. Jugis in 2014. He was born in Oklahoma. His parents are originally from Puerto Rico, so he grew up speaking Spanish at home. He holds a Ph.D. in meteorology from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. “I was working as a meteorologist for a private company at the time I made the decision to come to Belmont Abbey (in 2008),” Father Elias said. “In studying for the priesthood, I did my theology studies at the School of TheologySeminary of St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.” Father Elias was ordained to the transitional diaconate in April 2013, and he finished his seminary studies in December 2013. After a Benedictine monk is ordained to the transitional diaconate, he takes on the title of “Father.” Father Elias serves as formation director in the monastery and as adjunct faculty member in the College.

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College



A Vision and a

Journey By Gretchen Filz

In 1876, the last year of post-Civil War Reconstructio n in the South, a Benedictine priest settled on a 500-acre plot of North Carolina farmland. Father Herman Wolfe had traveled to Gaston County by train from his home at Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, the first Benedictine monastery in the United States. Father Wolfe’s mission on this new frontier was to do as the men of his Order had done for more than a millennium—establish new monasteries in new lands; to make a new home from which to live out the ancient Rule of St. Benedict and its vows of stability, obedience, and conversion of life. Father Wolfe did not undertake his legendary journey to the south alone; he brought two students with him. Those students would join him in the ambitious double-mission of founding a college alongside the monastery. This education-minded endeavor represented the Benedictines’ new vision for Gaston County’s “old Caldwell Place.” The property came to the Benedictines by way of Father Jeremiah O’Connell, an Irish-born missionary priest of the Diocese of Charleston. Father O’Connell purchased the defunct farm from the local Caldwell family with the intention of it serving as a foundation for Catholic higher education in the Carolinas. He sold the land to the Benedictines with one stipulation – they must build a Catholic college on the property. The monks accepted Father O’Connell’s land and his vision, and an exciting new chapter of Catholicism in the south began. Despite the scarcity of Catholics in


a deeply Protestant state, a very small and relatively new population of Catholics inhabited Gaston County and the nearby city of Charlotte. Further, Catholics from the northern states were migrating to the south for economic reasons, slowly adding to their number. Thus, the goal of building a Catholic college became an important investment in a hopeful future, making the Benedictine venture the seedbed of something truly great. The journey of that first Benedictine monk was repeated as additional monks joined Father Wolfe to expand the North Carolina settlement. Among them, the monastery’s first abbot, Father Leo Haid, arrived on the scene. It is said, when Father Haid first viewed the property, he could see Crowder’s Mountain in the distance. As a result, he changed the town’s name from Garibaldi Station to Belmont, which means “beautiful mountain.” Establishing a flagship college in conjunction with a monastery—in an area with few Catholics to lend support—was a monumental task for the monks. In those days, especially in the rural missionary territory of the South, farming was essential for survival. The Benedictines envisioned a working farm, tended to by pioneer monks skilled in a variety of trades, would support the basic needs of the monastery, the college, and its monks and students. A vineyard, a fresh spring, and plenty of land made it a promising endeavor. Students were also expected to participate in farming chores alongside the monks as part of a wellrounded education. In addition to farming, in the early days, the monks did all the manual labor and building construction for the monastery and college. They believed the structures they built should be both enduring and beautiful. They drafted the architectural designs, cut the wood,

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

and baked the bricks using crude tools and God's providence. Pray and work—Ora et Labora—is the Benedictine path of sanctification laid down by St. Benedict himself, and put into practice each time the monks left the choir to build the edifice of their legacy in the local community. The most glorious of their constructions was the Abbey Church of Maryhelp, built in 1892, the first and only abbey cathedral in the history of the United States. Not only were the monks skilled farmers, builders, and handymen, they also served as the college’s professors. Even in its early days, the school offered an expansive curriculum. The monks taught all of the classes, and each monk was expected to be accomplished in a plethora of disciplines so that any one of them could teach any class; whether it be religion, mathematics, Latin, philosophy, literature, rhetoric, chemistry, music, or history. The Abbey’s pioneer monks were true Renaissance men. The major guiding force behind all of this prayerfully ambitious activity was Abbot Leo Haid, who led the monastery for its first thirty-nine years. The vision he instilled in his fellow Benedictines, and the level of excellence he inspired in them, is truly legendary. The foundational principles he laid down for the college became its enduring character. Perhaps the most significant of these was the standard of the close relationship the monks were to have with the students in their charge, including the mingling of monks and students in extra-curricular activities such as theater, music, and sports. The goal was to inform and educate the whole student—mind, body and soul—a legacy which continues to be a hallmark of Belmont Abbey College to this day. The journey that began with one monk and two students on a train from Pennsylvania has culminated in a bustling, prosperous North Carolina institution of over 1600 students today. Yet, true to the original vision, Belmont Abbey College remains the very center of Catholic higher education in the Carolinas. It serves as a testament to the endurance, prayer, and commitment of the Benedictine monks who, from generation to generation, continue to persevere in their mission of excellence in Catholic education.

Spring 2015


Calendar of Events March 7-15

College closed for Spring Break


St. Benedict's Day


Arts at the Abbey Palmis Trio - Europe at 8:00 p.m.


Puts Students First. by Teresa Waclawik ’15

April 2-6

College closed for Easter Break

9-11 & 16-18 Abbey Players present The Sting directed by Jill Bloede at 8:00 p.m. 25

Directors Showcase directed by student directors at 8:00 p.m.

May 3

Arts at the Abbey Spring Concert at 3:00 p.m.


Residence Halls close


Baccalaureate Mass at 9:00 a.m. and Commencement at 11:00 a.m.

Summer School Sessions May 26-June 23 Summer School Session I (short session) May 26-July 22 Summer School Session II (long session) June 24-July 23 Summer School Session III (short session)

August 18

Classes begin

Spring 2015

The desire for student success started when a few monks picked up two students along the way to North Carolina, thus founding Belmont Abbey College. This importance of one-onone, individual attention bestowed upon those early students by founding monks has become a tradition in the technology age. The Crusader Success Hub began with that very thought in mind—student success. President Bill Thierfelder’s mission since arriving in 2004 has been to ensure student success by making private college more affordable and more efficient. Phase one of the Affordable Private College Model was to cut student costs in order to make it easier for students to afford. Belmont Abbey cut tuition from $29,000 to $18,500 back in 2013 and has kept it constant since then. Partially in order to be able to keep tuition at this low constant rate and partially to continue to keep the focus on the student, the Crusader Success Hub was born. Instead of having to shuttle from different offices across campus, students can now go to one main office located in the Student Commons. At the constantly staffed front desk, a student can receive immediate help or be directed to the right department within the Hub. The Crusader Success Hub brings efficiency to student services while cutting down administrative costs so that student tuition goes right back into operations and fundraising can focus on enhancing the student experience. This “One-Stop-Shop” contains Financial Aid services, the Registrar, Admissions, and the Business Office. In addition to convenience and student focus, the Hub strives to exemplify the


Benedictine Hallmark of hospitality. “They are always helpful and the location is more convenient than the old one,” comments Freshman Jada Mauney. “They even know my name here!” Other changes have been made around campus to accommodate students since a portion of the Student Commons was utilized for the Crusader Success Hub. The old sewing room in the bottom of O’Connell Hall by Clancy’s is now a twenty-four hour study area, complete with individual study desks. The Mezzanine now has a new flat screen TV for meetings and recreation. Additionally, the La Pointe Room is now open to the public as another casual study lounge. One major benefit of the new Affordable Private College Model is the shift in focus of the Abbey’s fundraising efforts. With student success as a primary goal for the College, there are other student-focused improvements on the horizon—enhancements to research capabilities, technology improvements and state-of-the-art, waste-reducing print services. With the help of our donors, students can look forward to all of these soon becoming a reality.

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College



The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Spring 2015


Farewell Dr. Sheila Reilly By Emily Williams Dr. Sheila Reilly, a much loved lecture hall. As my colleague Dr. would be able to probe beneath the professor of Biology, will be retiring at Elizabeth Baker often says, ‘Labs are veneer of superficiality to develop a the end of the spring 2015 semester our great books,’ and that is so true. clearer understanding of the world, how after beginning her teaching career at They are vehicles for us to really get to it works and how fragile it is. How know our students, their hopes and science seeks the truth via the scientific the Abbey in 1987. In the nearly 30 dreams, their likes and dislikes and method can be reflected in how all of us years she has served the College, Dr. their concerns.” ask questions daily and strive to answer Reilly has kept active, whether it was them.” serving a term as Interim Dean of the As a professor who has dedicated College from 2006-2007 or completing And her plans for retirement? Not her life to the sciences, including a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Carolina’s surprisingly, Dr. Reilly has no intention serving as a chair of her department Medical Center in 1997 and 1998. She of slowing down, but instead keeping along with being chair of the College’s will be dearly missed, but looks back on up the pace and staying as busy as she Mathematics and Natural Sciences her time here with fondness and the ever was. “I plan to bump up my division, Dr. Reilly has a passionate sense of a job well done. involvement with volunteer work with opinion about the importance of the organizations, specifically at Holy “I have so many great memories,” sciences in collegiate learning. Angels. I want to spend more she says. “The best memory is time with my family and have just watching students find their stack of novels I want to way. It is a privilege to be “Labs are vehicles for us to really get to know aread. Lastly, I still hope to involved in that process.” Other teach a course here and there, memories include field trips to our students, their hopes and dreams, their at least in the Adult Degree Highlands Biological Station in likes and dislikes and their concerns.” Program. I cannot go cold the fall and enlivening turkey, so the Abbey is not rid conversations with students Dr. Sheila Reilly of me yet. Most of all, I do eager to learn. not want to lose touch with “I also fondly remember my colleagues – my good taking students to Oak Ridge buddies on the second floor of the “All one has to do is just pick up a National Labs in Tennessee to William Gaston Science building. current newspaper to understand why participate in a radiation course run by We’ve many tales to tell from the past the sciences are so important. From the Department of Energy. It was an 25+ years.” global warming to Ebola to the measles amazing experience. Classes went from outbreak and the importance of Dr. Reilly says it is especially the 8-5p.m. every day, and we were vaccinations – all require what we call spirit of the Abbey that has created probably one of 4-5 colleges at each scientific literacy (in biology, it is called such special memories and associations session. Students received a stipend, ‘biological literacy’). Students learn to for her after so many years spent on and we lived in this very old hotel for understand how science arrives at campus. “I guess I would have to say $25 a week. I stashed 3-4 students in a answers and how that process is that there is a peace about the Abbey. It room and cooked a lot of pasta on one ongoing.” is a place to learn, grow and to feel safe of those crazy stove/sink/refrigerator doing it. I think the peace is a direct combinations. I could write a book Dr. Reilly points to the critical consequence of having the monastery about those times.” thinking that is deeply imbedded in the on campus. I’ve rather enjoyed being sciences and how students can benefit And, of course, one cannot forget able to share a tiny portion of the place from it for a lifetime. “Too often, all we about lab times. “I really enjoy lab. the monks call home.” are exposed to are sound bites. By They can be a lot of work, but they are understanding that science is a way of such an important part of our courses. knowing how something works, I would They make what we talk about in hope that students, even with no more lecture come alive. I would never have than basic Biology 101 under their belts, been happy spending all my time in a

Spring 2015

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College




Dr. David Williams Is New Interim Dean well-received Quality Enhancement Plan (“Promoting Information Literacy Over Time” or PILOT) that helps students intelligently navigate various kinds of information available in the 21st century. Dr. Williams has taken a decidedly active role in maintaining the College’s welfare for several years, being a familiar presence on campus that faculty, staff, and students alike can readily depend upon. In addition to his duties as Interim Dean, Dr. Williams also taught two sections of Theology in the fall of 2014 and will teach one course in the spring of 2015. Crossroads recently sat down with Dr. Williams to ask him how he is settling into the transition from the professorial life into the realm of administration. Belmont Abbey College is very proud to announce faculty member Dr. David Williams as the new Interim Dean of Academic Affairs. Following the departure of the College’s previous Dean, Dr. Carson Daly, who is now the President of Mount St. Mary College in Newburg, New York and the departure of Dr. Mark Newcomb, previous Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, to the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas, Dr. Thierfelder asked Dr. Williams to step in and fill the position. As many faculty and administrative staff alike would agree, a quick glance at Dr. Williams’ resume will swiftly convince anyone of his unparalleled competency for taking on this role – as a Theology and Political Science professor with a Ph.D. in each field, he has taught at the Abbey for fifteen years. Within that fifteen year timespan, he has chaired both the Theology and Government & Political Philosophy departments simultaneously; won the Adrian Faculty Excellence Award in 2009; chaired the Faculty Assembly for three years, and served on various technology committees and the College’s Professional Affairs Committee, which makes decisions on faculty promotion and tenure. He was also instrumental in the development of the College’s


How does a faculty member typically transition from teaching to administrative work and what are the perks/challenges? I’m not sure any transition is typical. But for me, I think it’s been easier than it could have been. I’ve done about as much administrative work as a faculty member can, and my whole family has something of a history in educational administration – my grandfather, my uncle, and my father were all involved in it for many years. So perhaps it’s in my DNA. As for perks/challenges, I think those are two sides of the same coin. The main challenge is the sheer number of meetings and decisions involved in something as complex as the academic affairs of a whole college, and the primary perk is the sense of accomplishment when you successfully resolve someone’s problem or see a correct decision bear fruit. Students have generally praised you as an excellent teacher in the classroom, much of it attributed to your personal enthusiasm. How do you feel giving up teaching for this position?

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

I think good administration is also a form of teaching, but more individualized, as often you are advising someone how to fulfill a goal or explaining some issue. I would hope that any dean would always try to be teaching at least one course. It’s important not to lose touch with students. How do you think your academic background as a faculty member prepared you for this position? It’s not so much background as the actual work and experience here the last fifteen years have given me. You grow to know the College well, and you have a depth of memory to deal with issues. Often, knowing where you have been is the best way to figure out where to go next. Along the way, I’ve chaired special projects, departments, and committees that have given me a chance to know many different areas of the College and learn from the people working here. If the purely academic background as a theologian helps, it’s in explaining the mission and focus of the College as a Catholic and Benedictine college with a focus on the liberal arts and on professional studies. Given your background as a Theologian, do you have a way of integrating that knowledge into your new leadership role at the College? It always comforts me that St. Paul once called administrative ability a gift of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:28). It’s not flashy – but like any gift, it’s given for the benefit of others. And the benefit of good administration is that it’s a way of enabling other people to do their best work, in the best way, for the greater number. If I’m helping our students, faculty, and staff to do all the good things they’re already doing more easily and start on even bigger and better things we would like to do, then that’s the service a dean is meant to give.

Spring 2015


Dr. Stephen Shivone Steps In As Interim Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Stephen Shivone, Assistant Professor of English, recently became the Interim Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs following the departure of Dr. Mark Newcomb and Dr. Carson Daly. Dr. Shivone came to the Abbey in 2012, specializing in teaching literature of the English Renaissance. He earned his B.A. in Liberal Arts from the College of Saint Thomas More in Fort Worth, Texas in 2001 and most recently received his Ph.D. in Literature from the University of Dallas, Texas. As Dr. Shivone shares with us in this recent interview, his academic experience has included administrative work, which makes him an excellent fit for his new position. How does a faculty member transition from teaching to administrative work? I don’t know what is typical in this situation, but I can say that administration demands different habits of mind from academic work. Teaching is an essentially contemplative activity, though of course it also involves many practical tasks like creating course policies and grading. But the root of all genuine teaching is the contemplative activity of the teacher, as Thomas Aquinas saw. Administration, quite obviously, is much more dependent on the exercise of the practical virtues, particularly prudence. I enjoy the exercise of practical judgment and negotiating what the Chinese call “the thousand things.” I find it satisfying in some way, though in the end my heart is with teaching and the life of the mind. What sort of plans do you have in place for running the Thomas More Scholarship program? I am still developing my plans. Transitions in leadership often involve a certain amount of impiety toward the previous leadership and inherited traditions. So, while I would like to make some changes, I want to avoid anything that would violate the established identity of the program or the intentions of its founder. How did your academic background as a faculty member prepare you for this position?

Spring 2015

Crossroads welcomes new faculty and staff and congratulates those who have stepped into new roles.

FACULTY: New Faces Dr. Tiffany Adams Full-time Lecturer in English

Being a faculty member at the Abbey, even if only for a couple years so far, gave me an understanding of the main concerns of an academic administrator – the faculty, the curriculum, and above all in my current position, the students. Also, it has given me a sympathetic understanding, a kind of connatural knowledge, of the life of the faculty and the classroom. I have had previous experience in administration. When I was at the College of Saint Thomas More in Texas, I was in a mixed position involving teaching and administration. I really had very similar responsibilities there to the ones I do here. I served as Dean of the Upper School at Anthem Preparatory Academy in Anthem, Arizona, which at the time had about two hundred students; it was a position combining the roles of Academic Dean and Dean of Students and I taught a high school great books seminar two hours each day in addition. It was a wonderful school, perhaps the best secondary school I have ever encountered. But of course I wanted to teach more, and I wanted to teach in college, so I decided to come to the Abbey. But now I am back in a mixed position. It’s rather amusing to me that I am constantly trying to escape these mixed positions and keep finding myself in them again and again. It’s a bit Oedipal.


Dr. Adams earned her B.A. in English from the University of South Carolina, Columbia and her M.A. in English from Morgan State University. She received a doctorate in English from the University of Georgia, where her dissertation focused on Caribbean women novelists. Dr. Adams has taught a wide range of Literature courses for the University of Georgia, Clafin University, the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and Winthrop University. In 2005, Dr. Adams was a Visiting Researcher at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad. “I am excited to be a new faculty member in the English Department at Belmont Abbey College because I have great potential to grow professionally within the Belmont Abbey family. My goal as a teacher of literature and writing is to provide my students with a solid foundation in the respective traditions and to create opportunities for learning that showcase complexities of identity and culture. I view teaching as a collaborative process and feel that my role as an instructor is to guide students’ understanding of course content while fostering critical thinking skills and creating a supportive learning environment that encourages independent thought and welcomes honest discussion.”

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College



Dr. Nicholas Conger Assistant Professor of Business

Dr. Kristina Reihl Full-time Lecturer in Psychology

Dr. Conger earned his B.B.A. in Marketing and Advertising from West Virginia University, Morgantown and his M.B.A. in Finance at the American University in Washington, D.C. He also received a D.B.A. from the Swiss Management Center in Zug, Switzerland. Dr. Conger’s research and teaching interests include International Business, Finance, Management, Global Regulatory Reform, and International Marketing. He has given a number of faculty colloquia presentations on topics related to International Finance and previously served as a Senior Risk Examiner with the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Dr. Reihl earned her B.A. in Psychology with high honors from Hofstra University and her M.S. in Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. She also received a doctorate in Psychology from Nova Southeastern University, where her dissertation research has focused on combat veterans, trust, and mental illness. Dr. Reihl’s clinical experience includes working with victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and conducting Marriage and Couples Therapy. Her research interests include anxiety, aggression, schizophrenia, and suicide prevention.

“I look forward to leveraging my career as a Federal Bank Examiner and regulator of and Manager at Freddie Mac; an active duty and oversees combat military officer; and an International Doctorate to bring lessons learned, best practices and a practical application to business theory in the classroom. In support of the Liberal Arts curriculum, many of my classes will include references and examples of historical events, geography, public speaking, teamwork, communication, critical thinking, global awareness, and ethics and writing skills.”

“As a practicing clinician, trained in health and clinical psychology, I believe I have a unique perspective on the field. My professional experience providing clinical services, as well as my background in empirical research, will allow me to teach classes from both a clinical and scientific perspective. I also plan to continue my endeavors in research here at the Abbey, and look forward to involving students in that process.”

Mr. Stephen Ward Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Mr. Ward earned his B.A. in History from North Carolina State University, and his J.D. at Mercer University. Mr. Ward, who in addition to being an adjunct instructor for the past several years at Belmont Abbey College, has also taught a broad array of courses for many years at Pfeiffer University and Central Piedmont Community College. He served for five years in the Office of the Public Defender in the twenty-sixth prosecutorial district of North Carolina. Presently, Mr. Ward is the Superior Court Coordinator in the Office of the District Attorney for the twenty-sixth prosecutorial district. Mr. Ward is an expert on crimes related to controlled substances and trafficking, and is a celebrated speaker for criminal procedure conferences across the country. “I spent 30 years as an Assistant District Attorney handling everything from traffic tickets to first degree murder cases. Coming to Belmont Abbey lets me bring the courtroom to the classroom and translate all the theory students are learning into what happens in the real world. This should provide them with a perspective that few students in this discipline receive.”

Dr. Ian Crowe Visiting Associate Professor of History

FACULTY: New Places Both the Theology and Government & Political Philosophy departments required new chairs when Dr. David Williams became Interim Dean of Academic Affairs.

Dr. Crowe earned his Ph.D. at UNCChapel Hill (Early Modern Europe), his M.Litt. in Theology at the University of Bristol, and his undergraduate degree at Oxford. He joins us after several years of teaching at Brewton-Parker College in Georgia.

Dr. Grattan Brown

Dr. Joseph Wysocki

Associate Professor of Theology & Chair of the Theology Department

Full-time Lecturer in Psychology and Chair of the Government & Political Philosophy Department

Andrew Achter, Full-Time Lecturer

Dr. Joseph Wysocki took the helm of the Government & Political Philosophy department. An alumnus of BAC, Dr. Wysocki returned to campus in 2010 as an assistant professor of Government. Focused on American government, his research interests are centered on Congress and the Presidency.

Mr. Archer earned his M.A.L.A. at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD. He is also an Abbey Alumnus who received his undergraduate degree in English. He taught as an adjunct faculty member in the Government & Political Philosophy department before recently becoming a full-time lecturer.

Dr. Grattan Brown took over as chair of the Theology department. He came to the Abbey in 2006, winning tenure and promotion to associate professor in 2012. Specializing in moral theology, his research has centered on ideas of conscience and bioethics.


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

in Government & Political Philosophy

Spring 2015


STAFF New Faces

New Places

Alyson Pompeo-Fargnoli Director of Counseling Services

Leslie Andsager Admissions Operations Specialist

Sharell Cannady Director of Institutional Research

Alyson Pompeo-Fargnoli joins us from Winthrop University, where she was a Mental Health Counselor and Assistant Coordinator of Disability Services. She holds a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Montclair State University in NY. She earned her M.A. in Counselor Education and B.A. in Psychology from The College of New Jersey. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC), and holds a Substance Abuse and Addictions Counseling certification (SAC). Alyson and her husband are active volunteers in their community and members of their church.

Carlos Calderson Assistant Men’s Soccer Coach

Sharell Cannady became the new Director of Institutional Research in August 2014. She began her career at the Abbey in 2012 as Assessment & Research Analyst.

Michael Salomon, Head Coach Men’s/Women’s Tennis

Lisa McAlister Professional Tutor, Academic Affairs

Julia Gunter, a 1981 graduate of Belmont Abbey College, came to work at the Abbey in 1992. She is the Executive Director of Adult Degree Program, and has now taken on the challenge of also serving as the Executive Director of the new Crusader Success Hub located in the Abbot Walter Coggin Student Commons.

Michael Salomon came to the Abbey in May 2014 as Head Men’s & Women’s Tennis Coach. Salomon served as an assistant coach for one year at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland after graduating in 2013 with a degree in Economics. He had a solid four-year tennis career with the Mountaineers, was a Northeast Conference Men’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and received the Sheridan Award. In 2014, Salomon earned his MBA from the Mount, and he and wife Kelly were married in June.

Ashley McCallister Senior Executive Assistant, President’s Office

Sharon Johns Faculty Coordinator

Ellie Feely Admissions Counselor Kyle Gibson Assistant Track/Field & Cross Country Coach Daniel Kurtz Manager of Prospect Research, College Relations Anthony LePore Assistant Coach, Men’s Lacrosse

Andrea Milis Resident Director Todd Miller Assistant Baseball Coach Elizabeth Sanicola Admissions Counselor Chelsea Treat Assistant Women’s Lacrosse Coach Taylor West Admissions Counselor

Julia Gunter ’81 Executive Director of the Crusader Success Hub and Adult Degree Program

Sharon Johns came to the Abbey in 2006 as the Data Manager of Admissions. As of January 2015, she now serves as our new Faculty Coordinator in the Department of Academic Affairs.

Heather Smith Learning Technology & Information Fluency Librarian Heather Smith came to the Abbey in 2012 as a Library Administrative Assistant. She recently accepted the position of Learning Technology & Information Fluency Librarian. She will be responsible for the Learning Commons public service desks and Information Literacy Instruction.

Martin Unger Head Coach, Men’s Basketball Martin Unger was named Head Men’s Basketball Coach in October 2014. Unger came to the Abbey in June 2012 as Assistant Coach and was elevated to Associate Head Coach in September 2012 after the appointment of Stephen Miss to Director of Athletics. Spring 2015


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College



Abbey Sports: Changing Lives for 90 years.

Crimson in our veins. Crusaders forever. by Teresa Waclawik ’15 Hal Haid

Belmont Abbey College has a long history of athletic pursuits to ensure student growth in body, as well as in mind and spirit. From the days Babe Ruth when Belmont Abbey College was a boarding school and later a junior college, athletics have always been a key part of our identity. For approximately the first 75 years of our existence, for example, the male students were required to play baseball as part of the curriculum. This focus would not be possible without the appointment of athletic leadership in the form of our first athletic Al McGuire director, Father Leo Frierson in 1923. The Abbey has had a long history of enthusiastic athletic directors, including the famous Alumni Howard A. “Humpy” Wheeler who served for the longest term of Alex Castellanos forty years. We are blessed


today with our current athletic director, Stephen Miss, who ensures the pursuit of athletic accomplishments continues to be framed by the pursuit of sportsmanship and spiritual and academic accomplishments. Throughout the years, the Abbey has offered a wide variety of sports. Although discontinued, Football, along with a few other sports such as Gymnastics, Boxing, and Swim Team, has been a big part of Belmont Abbey’s heritage. Walter Coggins, both Abbot and President of the College at the time, coached the 1938 football team which won the National Junior College Championships, thus concluding a season for a team that had been unbeaten, untied and unscored upon. The Abbey has produced several notable coaches and athletes, including MLB player Harold Haid, professional basketball player Alex Pledger, professional soccer player Antonio Suarez and recent MLB player Alex Castellanos. The Abbey baseball team even played against Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees on one of his multiple visits to the Abbey in the 1920’s and 30’s. Al McGuire took his first head coaching job as a basketball coach at the Abbey. He later went on to win National Championships at Marquette and become a famous basketball broadcaster before being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. But the Abbey does not pursue athletics just for its own sake—it has a holistic approach of ensuring every individual grows in mind, body, and spirit presently best exemplified through the Women’s Soccer team. Belmont Abbey’s Women’s Soccer team has

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

played at the Conference Carolinas Tournament eight times in the last seventeen years. Of 125 teams given the ethics awards, only 13 were also awarded the team academic award and national tournament birth. Belmont Abbey, ranked as silver, was one of these thirteen teams. This accomplishment puts Belmont Abbey Women’s Soccer in the top 99th percentile of all NCAA athletic teams irrespective of their division–quite a feat of athleticism, academics and sportsmanship. Participating in the NCAA Division II, the Abbey now offers for men and/or women: Lacrosse, Wrestling, Track and Field, Cross Country, Tennis, Soccer, Basketball, Volleyball, Baseball, Softball, and Golf. All but 4 of the 19 men’s and women’s teams have participated in Conference Carolinas Tournaments at least once and many of them several times. With a talented coaching staff who seek not only to improve athleticism but also character, Belmont Abbey anticipates that all teams will soon make it to Conference Carolina Tournaments to exemplify sportsmanship and talent. At the Abbey the goal for athletics has always been that it should be properly directed. Guided by the words of Pope Pius XII “Sport, properly directed, develops character, makes a man courageous, a generous loser, and a gracious victor; it refines the senses, gives intellectual penetration, and steels the will to endurance,” this remains the philosophy at the Abbey. We expect not just results on the field, but also off the field in forming men and women into citizens who become a blessing to themselves and others.

Spring 2015


Mike McGuire: His Inspiration, His Values Will Live On At The Abbey

Champs! EIGHT TIMES! Belmont Abbey Women’s Soccer team won the 2014 Conference Carolinas Championship with a 1-0 win over Pfeiffer in November, 2014. The Crusaders captured the Conference Carolinas title for a record eighth time with a record of 12-6-2. They advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third year in a row where they traveled to Georgia and fought hard against the North Georgia Nighthawks. They lost 4-1 in the opening round. Congratulations, Lady Crusaders, on an outstanding season.

Spring 2015

By John Keating Men’s Head Soccer Coach

When Belmont Abbey coaches hit the recruiting trail they refer back to some key questions during the process of identifying and evaluating prospective student athletes: Can the player make a difference for us on the game field? Does he have good practice habits which Michael Reilly McGuire would raise the level of those around him? Is he interested in growing in love with God and honoring Him in the way that he conducts himself ? Does he understand he’s coming to the Abbey for a liberal arts education first and an athletic experience second? Is he mature, already a man, or is he still going through the teenage rebellion phase? Is he trustworthy and selfless? In Michael McGuire we felt we had found a young man who embodied all of the above criteria. On top of that, once we met the McGuire family, we recognized the apple had not fallen far from the tree. We lost Mike tragically during the pre-season, and we miss him terribly. He was an inspiration to us even in his short time as a Crusader, and especially during the last few days of his life when he was fighting for survival. We have a locker dedicated to him now. No one sits in that locker space. We leave it vacant because it expresses the emptiness in our hearts when we think of training and playing without Mike. His family is insistent that we use this tragedy positively and honor his memory in the process. To that end, we will identify a player each year who mirrors Mike’s qualities, and we will ask that player to carry on the memory of Mike McGuire in the way that he competes in the #5 jersey and in the way that he conducts himself. Consequently, for generations to come, Mike’s brief but shining influence will continue in the dayto-day life of the Abbey men’s soccer program.


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College




March 14

Hello from your alumni family at Belmont Abbey College. We hope the New Year has brought you and your loved ones much joy and many blessings. One blessing for the College that occurred before the New Year was the opening of the new Crusader Success Hub in the Student Commons. The Hub centralized all of our student administrative functions, giving students one location to go to for answers and solutions. Exciting developments such as these are not possible without the generosity of alumni and friends like you.

The Charlotte St. Patrick's Day Parade Details to follow; time and location TBD

So far, 2015 has been a busy year for the Alumni Office. We’ve hosted events in several cities, and I always enjoy getting to meet you. It is an honor to hear your stories and to reminisce with you about your days at the Abbey. We will continue to reach out to as many cities as we can throughout the year. These gatherings provide a great opportunity for you to connect with fellow BAC alums, share your past, and network with friends, old and new. If you have an interest in hosting or helping to plan an event, I would love to work with you. Please call me.

October 2,3,4

The Alumni Association and the Office of Alumni Relations are dedicated to the goals and mission of Belmont Abbey College. We continue to find new and innovative ways to engage and educate our alumni. Your Alumni Office is striving to improve our programs and initiatives. We will be adding Alumni Association board members at our next annual meeting, during Homecoming 2015 (October 2-4). If you have an interest in serving your alma mater, we welcome the opportunity to talk with you.

Calling all 1965 and 1985 Graduates!

Above all, I encourage you to stay connected to us. Watch for the next issue of the Alumni E-Newsletter to arrive in your inbox. Send in your stories and accomplishments so we can share them in the next issue. Update your contact information with the Alumni Office and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To find important program updates, event listings and contact information, please go to our website (

Stay tuned for details.


Your reunions are being planned.

Your participation and support of the College as an alum is foundational to our current and future success. Please stop by the Lowry Alumni House to visit any time you are on campus. We will welcome you “home” with open arms. Thank you on behalf of our college community for your generous support through your time, talents, and treasures. We truly appreciate you and the joy you bring to Belmont Abbey College. With Abbey Spirit and Blessings, Christine Goff Peeler Alumni and Community Relations Director


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Spring 2015



Photographs Courtesy of Tammy Cantrell - Encaptured & Co., 2014 Spring 2015


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College



Serving Through His Faith Congressman Patrick McHenry ’99 Uses The Leadership Skills and Spiritual Guidance From His Days At Belmont Abbey College By Emily Williams


The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College

Spring 2015

One of the Abbey’s most prestigious graduates is Congressman Patrick McHenry. Currently serving his fifth term in the United States House of Representatives, where he represents North Carolina’s 10th district, McHenry graduated in 1999 with a bachelors degree in history. Prior to being elected to Congress in 2004 at the young age of 29, McHenry represented the 109th District in the North Carolina House of Representatives. He also served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, a post he was appointed to by President George W. Bush. By all accounts, McHenry’s time here at the Abbey was memorable and positive. Indeed, McHenry says it greatly influenced his decision to fall into the political career he holds today. “My time at the Abbey instilled a great sense of public service in me,” he says. “As a history major, I learned about leaders spanning numerous countries, regimes, and time periods, including many great American leaders. Additionally, my role on campus as a leader of our chapter of the College Republicans enabled me to work with and get to know local elected officials in Gaston County and across North Carolina.”

Spring 2015

As any Abbey history major can attest, the experiences of the classroom are greatly enhanced by the quality of the professors. For McHenry, it was Drs. Murray and McGee who stood out in his memory. “There was European History with Professor Murray and Russian History with Professor McGee. Both stood out for their unique ability to truly bring the subjects to life.” But, like any other typical Abbey student, cramming for tests and spiritual development were also in the mix. “Another memory, although not one I recall as fondly, was my sleepless final week at the Abbey spent in the library, finishing up my senior thesis and the library fines from overdue books that came with it. Another great memory was Abbot Placid, who was then the Academic Dean, offering constructive encouragement not just on my grades (which was definitely needed) but also my prayer life and practicing my faith. Those lessons still guide me today.” There are those today who may knock a liberal arts education – some may deem it impractical or that, in an unstable economy, studying aspects of the liberal arts means a lifetime of financial debt or not developing marketable skills. McHenry’s opinion on this philosophy is short and forthright: “I would argue that is a rather short-sighted viewpoint. A strong liberal arts education, like the one I


received at the Abbey, provides you with the ability to think critically. This is a skill I have put to good use during my adult life—both as a small businessman and during my time in public service.” However, it is not just critical thinking skills that have made an impact on McHenry. The Abbey lends a certain spiritual dimension to its students’ lives one may not find so easily anywhere else. McHenry makes sure to point out he was no exception to this rule: “My time at the Abbey strengthened and deepened my faith,” he says. “Few places have as much meaning to me as the Abbey. My father and sisters graduated from the Abbey, I was baptized by Abbot Oscar and married by Abbot Placid at the Basilica, and my parents are buried on campus. My newborn daughter Cecelia was baptized at the Abbey as well. With the monks living in the middle of campus, you have direct access to people with faith-centered lives. Few colleges can provide a similar experience, an experience which has stayed with me for the years since my graduation and which I continue to observe to this day.”

The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College



Provided by The Office of Alumni Relations The following Class Notes are based on information gathered from March 2014 through February 2015. You can connect with your fellow alumni online via the new Belmont Abbey Alumni Association Facebook group: The Facebook group enables you to network and share personal updates, pictures and news with the rest of the Abbey family.


FRANK O’DONNELL has retired from his career in “big box” retail and is restoring cars from the 60s in his garage. He is the owner of G.D.I. Restorations in Troy, Virginia and has restored and sold Thunderbirds, Corvettes, Porsches, Rivieras, and Cutlasses. His current project is a 1970 yellow Oldsmobile 442. He and wife Dee recently celebrated 35 years of marriage.


MATT JONES became engaged to ALLISON REARDON '00 on December 17, 2014. They plan to be married in September of 2015.


HEATHER (SMITH) WELCH and husband Joe of Raleigh, NC announce the birth of their son, Jack Smyth Welch on April 4, 2014.


Matt Newey and Ren Newey announce the birth of their first child, Claire Avery, on December 5, 2014. The Neweys live in Austin, TX.


Scott Delatte was married to Rebecca Kuechle on Saturday, December 20, 2014, at Saint Matthew Church in Charlotte. Scott and Becky live in New Orleans.


Patrick Yodzis was married in Winston-Salem, NC on August 2, 2014 to Claire Young. The wedding was well attended by Abbey alumni. The groom is a nephew of John Keaton ’74; the bride is a sister of Sean Young ’12. Fr. James Solari, Academic Dean of Belmont Abbey during the 1970s, concelebrated the nuptial Mass.


Patrick McHenry and wife Giulia announce the birth of their daughter, Cecilia Rose, on August 15, 2014.


Rich Buerkle and brother Dave Buerkle ’96 won the Men’s 30s Doubles Competition in the 31st Annual Helen Drake Tennis Invitational in Destin, FL last April. They dedicated the win to their brother, James, who also attended the Abbey. Dave and Rich are pictured below wearing their Abbey tennis shirts with pride.

Pictured at the reception are, from left to right: (first row) Lee Benson ’12, Esther Vish Camarata ’11, Patrick Yodzis, Claire Young, Tom Varacalli ’11; (second row) Sean Young, Kelsey McNulty Kuhlman ’11, Ana Leija ’11; (third row) Jonathan Torres ’12, John Keaton, Vincent Camarata ’11, and Matthew Pope ’12.


Jordan Anderson competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in Daytona, FL on February 20, 2015. Anderson continues to secure sponsorships and has a promising future ahead. Congratulations, Jordan.


Gary James Bowers passed the North Carolina bar exam on April 4, 2014. He joined the law firm of Stoner, Bowers, Gray & McDonald, PA in Lexington, NC as an associate attorney.



The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


Ross McKnight and Dorothy McKnight '13 announce the birth of their first child, Lúthien Marie, on September 21, 2014.

Spring 2015


Provided by The Office of Alumni Relations

In Loving Memory 1938 – Sister Mary Gertrude Weldon Sacred Heart Convent Belmont, North Carolina – July 15, 2014 1939 – Helen Clarice Wells Johnson Flower Mound, Texas – December 5, 2013 1960 – George Edward Burt Newport News, Virginia – June 1, 2014 1963 – Richard J. Buttimer Milledgeville, Georgia – December 6, 2014 1965 – Jerome “Jerry” R. Vincent Asheville, North Carolina – July 14, 2014 1969 – Patrick Cunningham Leesburg, Virginia – November 6, 2014 1969 – Glenn E. Hudson Calabash, North Carolina – April 28, 2014 1990 – Chrisia Ann Davis Woodard Dallas, North Carolina – May 29, 2014

Spring 2015


Forever in our PRAYERS. The Magazine of Belmont Abbey College


Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Charlotte, NC Permit No.

100 Belmont-Mt. Holly Rd. Belmont, NC 28012


O This is the time.

The place where possibilities and purpose meet.

Every day a new generation is yearning to grab the baton. is is their time to discover new possibilities and new directions, to forge that unique combination of talents that makes them who they are.

This is the place. At Belmont Abbey College, our education brings together all aspects of an individual – intellectual, physical, and spiritual. Here we continually nd new opportunities to connect passions with purpose. Here students enjoy making lifelong friends and learning from talented mentors.

This is our mission. We strengthen every student's sense of self through excellent academics, real-world experiences and a spiritual foundation that touches the soul. We will not wait for the future. For when talents, skills and abilities nd their purpose, the world can change for the better – now.


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.