Benedictine monks migrated from Pennsylva- nia to Gaston County in south central North Carolina in 1876 and began an education min- istry that eventually became Belmont Abbey
For most of its existence, the college was a base for quiet evangelization in the midst of the Protestant Bible Belt. Today, it is moving outward a bit more aggressively as the college grows in size and appeals to more students outside the region and increasingly the na- tion.
er interest in a rapidly growing area. Situated in the small town of Belmont, with a popula- tion of about 9,200 people, the college is only
bled since 1980, and it is today a major bank- ing center and the epicenter of the booming NASCAR motor sport industry. Belmont Ab- bey has taken advantage of its location by, among other things, establishing a unique undergraduate concentration in motor sports management.
But what distinguishes the college is a revitalized commitment to its Catholic and Benedictine roots, as evidenced by a national advertising campaign called \u201cGot Monks?\u201d, which began in October 2006. This has been only one of the initiatives launched by Dr.
Type of institution: Small liberal arts college
Undergraduate enrollment: 1,496 (2008\u201309
Dr. Thierfelder, a sports psychologist and former college All-American high jumper and Olympian, has established his priorities as strengthening the college\u2019s Catholic identi- ty, emphasizing its academic credentials and promoting athletic opportunities.
three components: Catholic and Bene- dictine goals, liberal arts programs, and
overall \u201cexcellence and virtue.\u201d Prog- ress has been consid- erable on the plan, which was launched in 2005.
One result of the advertising cam- paign and the overall strengthening of the college is a 34 per- cent increase in total
enrollment from fall 2006 to fall 2008. Much of this growth has occurred in the college\u2019s adult degree program, along with an impres- sive 10 percent enrollment increase among traditional-aged (18- to 22-year-old) students in 2008-09 over the previous year.
Although 68 percent of traditional stu- dents are from North Carolina, during this past academic year students came from 34 states and 26 countries as the college expands its appeal. One growing class of students are homeschooled; President Thierfelder and his wife homeschool their own children, and he frequently speaks to homeschooling groups.
About 53 percent of the students are tra- ditional. The college also provides evening and weekend classes in its Adult Degree Pro- gram; this is a rapidly growing group, which
included 701 students in the 2008\u201309 academic year. These non-traditional students, similar to the traditional ones, are most concentrated in business and education majors. The college does not have a graduate program.
education. Among the less common majors and concentra- tions are sports ma nagement and the motor sports manage- ment program, which includes four courses in ma nagement and marketing as well as an in- ternship. There is a theology ma- jor.
to Benedictine values through a First Year Symposium and end their work with a capstone Great Books course four years later.
well below average private-college tuition in North Carolina. The total for tuition, room and board in 2009-10 was $30,304, and 90 per-
merit-based aid such as stipends for honors students, the Felix Hintemeyer Scholarship for student leadership and the Sport at the Service of the Spirit Scholarship.
two separately incorporated entities, Belmont Abbey monastery and the college, which is lo- cated on the monastery\u2019s property.
The abbot of the monastery is always the chancellor of the college and responsible for maintaining the school\u2019s Catholic identity. A set number of seats on the board of trustees are reserved for the monks. The \u201cTen Hall- marks of Benedictine Education\u201d are promi- nently displayed in every classroom and throughout the campus.
Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B., who has been abbot since 1999, is a former president and dean of the college. He is currently chancel- lor of the college and interviews all full-time college hires. The abbot, who is a theologian with a degree in patristics, has strongly and consistently supported the implementation of
Dr. Thierfelder, a lifelong devout Catho- lic, was president of York Barbell Company before assuming the presidency of the col-
At the heart of Belmont Abbey College is its Benedictine identity, sustained by 18 monks at the Abbey. There is an atmosphere steeped in the Rule of St. Benedict and the values that
spring 2007 interview in the college\u2019s alumni magazine,Cro s sro a d s, the Benedictine heri- tage \u201censures that the educational approach
college documents, including the mission and vision statements. A new mission state- ment adopted by the board of trustees in 2007 states: \u201cOur mission is to educate students in the liberal arts and sciences so that in all
\u201cAt Belmont Abbey College, we work with you and your family to provide practical solutions that will enable you to obtain an authentically Catholic higher educa-
\u201cIn coming to a college begun by Bene- dictine monks\u2014a group founded by St. Benedict 1,500 years ago\u2014you would be- come part of a long tradition of learning and holiness.
lege possible for you. If you are strong academically, you may want to apply for an Honors Fellowship. If you are inter- ested in becoming a Catholic leader, you may be eligible for a Hintemeyer award. If you are talented in drama, you are a \u2018natural\u2019 for our John Oetegen Excellence in Theatre Scholarship. If you are athleti-
\u201cPlease visit our website: www.bac.edu and check our Financial Aid and Scholar- ship section to see what awards you are eligible for. We look forward to welcom- ing you to our beautiful campus!\u201d
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