Holy Cross Greets Students With Open Arms

For the first time in awhile, I was on campus for freshmen move-in day.

It is quite a sight to behold — car after car arrives and a swarm of current students, faculty and staff greet the freshmen and their families and immediately take all of their belongings up to their rooms.   As you can see in the video, it is a tradition for current students to greet the freshmen with the same open arms with which they were greeted when they first arrived on campus for their first day.

If this is a tradition that repeats itself year after year, then someone had to be the first to experience this ritual.  This got me to thinking about Holy Cross alum James Healy and his first day on campus — most likely he was filled with a blend of nervousness and excitement just like this year’s freshmen.

But there must have been a special anxiety to his first journey to campus.  James was born in Georgia in 1830, the son of an Irish immigrant plantation owner and a female slave.  At the time, Georgia law dictated that a child of this type of union was a slave.  But James would go on to become the very first valedictorian at Holy Cross in 1849, the first African-American Roman Catholic priest and the country’s first African-American Catholic bishop.

What must it have been like when he first arrived Holy Cross?

I can imagine what he saw – the lush, green hillside of Mount Saint James, the babbling brook at its base, the seven hills of Worcester and their inspirational vistas.

But I can’t imagine how he felt.   I do know that he was welcomed with the same open arms that this year’s freshmen were and perhaps then, a tradition began.

Andrew N. Carter
Associate Director of Admissions

A Slam Dunk for Perspectives

November was an exciting month full of unpredictable weather, the beginning of college basketball season, and the Perspectives program put on by the admissions office here at Holy Cross. This is after all my favorite time of year and I was able to capture all of the glory in one weekend with Perspectives and the Holy Cross Crusader Men’s Basketball home opener. Perspectives is a program designed to showcase diversity at the college as well as give participants an opportunity to have intellectual debate, understand the selective college admission process, and envision themselves as members of the ‘Sader Nation’.

Throughout the program, the students were challenged to step out of their comfort zone and have serious conversations about diversity; from ethnic diversity to religious diversity, socio-economic diversity, diversity of opinion and more. Through conversations with each other, faculty/staff and current students they were each able to feel like Holy Cross students for the day and express their thoughts and opinions through rigorous discussion.

We then put the academic discussions aside to witness the Sader Nation in full swing with the men’s basketball team’s home opener against the College of Charleston. Nothing beats the first home basketball game, the stands were full with fans eagerly awaiting our team and new coaching staff looking to predict what the next five months will hold. We came to the game prepared…faces painted, purple, black and white shirts on ready to cheer on the men in the packed gym! Unfortunately the men ultimately fell to the Cougars but the Crusader spirit was alive in our group.  I can’t wait for more!

Julliana Jennings

Assistant Director of Admissions

Connect With Holy Cross From the Comfort of Your Home

Have you ever wondered what the freshman dorms are like at Holy Cross? Or what the favorite meals are from Kimball? Or what classes and research experiences are available to biology majors?

These are all great questions to ask a current student during one of our upcoming online chats!  (Next up is tomorrow night’s, from 7-10 PM EST).

Throughout the year, we offer several opportunities for prospective students, parents, and guidance counselors to connect with current students and admissions staff online. The chats are open forum, so you can ask your own questions or just sign on to see what others are talking about.  It’s a great way to learn more about the school and the application process without having to leave your living room.

Registering for a chat is easy! Simply visit our chat web site, click on “Register for Chat Event” (it’s in black at the top of the page), fill in your information, and you’re off and running! The chat screen will pop up and you’ll be greeted by many friendly Holy Cross representatives who are available to answer your questions.

We look forward to chatting with you!

Diane Soboski
Assistant Director of Admission

Do Non-Catholics Feel Comfortable at Holy Cross?


Just last Friday, I attended Shabbat dinner here on campus alongside five Holy Cross faculty members, and seven Holy Cross students. Rabbi Norman Cohen ’72 , led the service, and two  students prepared a traditional Jewish meal, including a fantastic matzah ball soup, and a beautiful loaf of Challah. It was a wonderful night of reflecting on our respective Holy Cross experiences, and getting to know each other. The night further solidified my love for Holy Cross, and its open-minded appreciation for diversity.

Growing up in Worcester’s Jewish community, I never thought that I could feel comfortable at Holy Cross. Now, having worked here for a little over two years, I can tell you that at no point have I ever been made to feel excluded, judged, or like an “other,” for not being Catholic. On the contrary, working here has helped me to more fully recognize how much we all have in common. The Jesuit sentiment of being “men and women for others” is very similar to the Jewish tradition of giving Tzedakah, or charitable donations.  The words Tzedakah comes from the Hebrew root Tzadei-Dalet-Qof, meaning righteousness, justice or fairness, (all words we rely on heavily at Holy Cross).

Though the majority of students at Holy Cross are Catholic, our community is enriched by Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Protestant, Orthodox, Coptic, Hindu and non-practicing faculty and students. While we do have a religion requirement among our common area requirements, it can be fulfilled with classes like Comparative World Religions, Ancient and Medieval Hinduism, and Zen Buddhism.

Shabbat dinner is just one example of the opportunities Holy Cross provides its non-Catholic students.  Earlier this year, our Center for Religion, Ethics, and Culture hosted a Zen Meditation and Social Justice Forum, and every Sunday, an interdenominational Christian service  is held on campus. Finally, the Chaplain’s office will drive any student to any of the wide array of worshipping communities in the city of Worcester.

Come for a visit, and hopefully you’ll find that Holy Cross is a  comfortable place for you to explore your own faith, and the faiths of others.

Julia Sanders

Admissions Counselor

Multiculturalism at Holy Cross

During my four years in admissions, I have always played a hand in multicultural recruitment and have observed that diversity in colleges is an area that is increasingly receiving a lot of attention.  In terms of figures, Holy Cross is on par with many of our peer institutions in the area of racial diversity with about 17% ALANA (African American, Latino American, Asian American and Native American) students in the general student body and about 21% in the current freshman class.  As an Asian-American myself, I tend to look at racial diversity in whatever environment I am in very closely and I have come to realize that I can’t look only at percentages alone.  The reality is that there simply are not many ALANA students on college campuses and not many ALANA professionals in the working world (though I do think the situation is improving incrementally) so looking for institutions where 50% of the student body is ALANA for example is futile because you’ll be hard pressed to find an institution that has those kind of numbers, especially private institutions.

What I think is more important to focus on when looking at the issue of diversity on college campuses is the climate surrounding the issue of diversity.  What infrastructure is in place to nurture multicultural education?  What student organizations exist to focus on a variety of cultures and provide students associated with those cultures a home base while providing students who are not associated with that culture a learning opportunity?  How does the administration and faculty support and nurture multicultural learning?  Though I have not been at many institutions, I have observed campus life on two other small liberal arts institutions prior to Holy Cross and can say that I have been most impressed by the infrastructure that is in place at Holy Cross.  To date, we have 12 student organizations that identify as Multicultural Student Organizations (MSO’s) and focus on issues that range from a variety of cultural backgrounds such as Hispanic, Asian and Caribbean cultures to LGBTQ issues to women’s affairs.  Furthermore, there is a well thought out support system in place to make sure that these organizations have the support and resources they need to be successful on campus.  The Office of Multicultural Education at Holy Cross also plays an instrumental role in providing multicultural awareness on campus.  The office educates, promotes and serves to empower the campus community on issues of diversity, multiculturalism and the value of human differences through classes, workshops, training sessions peer education and consultations.  At Holy Cross, we also require all students to take a cross cultural studies course as one of their core requirements to stimulate critical reflection on issues involved in encountering other cultures and to “help students think systemically about the fundamental assumptions underlying cultural differences.”   Some of these courses Introduction to Comparative Politics, Writing Madness in Africa, and Introduction to Islam.  And these are only the official structures that are in place.  There are a number of informal ways that different members and offices in the community strive to promote diversity on campus that you won’t find mentioned in our catalog or on our website.

Though much of what I have written focuses on cultural and racial diversity, we at Holy Cross also value diversity in the area of spiritual views, political beliefs, sexual orientation, geography and thought.  We as admissions professionals work hard to create an incoming class that is diverse on a variety of levels and see one representation of this in the over 80 different student organizations on campus.  And ultimately at the end of the day, we are all different from each other even if we are of the same race, ethnicity, religious faith, etc and the challenge we place before students is the task of fleshing out those differences, embracing them and learning from them.

Tran Kim-Senior
Assistant Director of Admissions
Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment