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wyoming catholic college

wyoming catholic college

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Published by: Center for the Study of Catholic Higher Ed on Sep 02, 2009
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The Newman Guide

There may be no more beautiful place for faithful Catholics to pursue an undergradu- ate education than the brand-new Wyoming Catholic College in the Rocky Mountains. Situated in Lander, by the Wind River Moun- tain Range and the Popo Agie River, this new college is a magnet for outdoor lovers, from experienced enthusiasts to novices wanting a unique college experience.

One of the college\u2019s trademarks is its Freshman Orientation Program, which in- volves a three-week backpacking trip in the pristine Wyoming wilderness in August and a one-week winter adventure in January. The vast outdoor possibilities of the area inspired the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) to make Lander their international headquarters 44 years ago, and Wyoming Catholic College choose NOLS to administer the August adventure.

But there is more to this college than an
idyllic se\ue005ing. When it opened its doors to the
\ue000rst class in September 2007, Wyoming Cath-

olic embraced a Great Books and classical curriculum strongly permeated by orthodox Catholicism. Its goal is to provide the quality of education evident at Thomas Aquinas Col- lege in California.

Overall, the mission of the college is to educate the whole person: mind, body and spirit. To do so, the college emphasizes seven key objectives: Catholic community, spiritual formation, liberal arts education, integrated curriculum, great and good books, immer- sion in the outdoors and excellent teaching.

Wyoming Catholic College
Lander, Wyoming
quick facts
Founded: 2005 (frst students in 2007)
Type of institution: Very small liberal
arts college
Setting:Rur a l
Undergraduate enrollment: 62 (2008\u201309
academic year) 97 (2009-10)
Total undergraduate cost: $21,500 (tuition,
room and board for 2009\u201310)
Undergraduate majors:O ne
five key Points
1.\ue000Lay-run, strongly orthodox Catholic.
2.\ue000Emphasizes a Great Books and
classical liberal education.
3.\ue000Located in a beautiful setting in the
Rocky Mountains.
4.\ue000Seeks to capitalize on wilderness
5.\ue000Spiritual life is vibrant.
Wyoming Catholic College
The Newman Guide

One administrator told us, \u201cThe Catho- lic identity is the main reason we are here. John Paul II in Ex corde Ecclesiae says that the purpose of Catholic education is to serve the Truth, and to bring students to the Truth.\u201d

\u201cSince the vast majority of schools are no
longer even a\ue005empting to do that,\u201d he added,
\u201cand since it is not a mere question of \u2018culture\u2019
but of salvation and happiness, we feel justi-
\ue000ed in founding a college dedicated above all
to joyful and wholehearted pursuit and pass-
ing on of natural and supernatural truth.\u201d

In pursuing its goals, the college eschews the excessive use of technology. The purpose of this policy is primarily to foster direct, actual\u2014rather than virtual\u2014human contact and communication between students and faculty.

This mission in the wilderness is locat- ed in a town which has a population of 7,200 people in west-central Wyoming. The area, as

perhaps be\ue000ts its western image, is sparsely
se\ue005led; the nearest large city is Billings, Mon-
tana, about 200 miles north. Denver is the
closest major metropolitan area, and it is a
\ue000ve- to six-hour drive.

A four-square mile parcel of land has been acquired nearby which will eventually serve as the permanent campus. A breathtak- ing rendering of the future campus is shown on the WCC website. At the entrance will be the chapel followed by academic, recreational and residential precincts.

Until then, the college\u2019s interim location
is Holy Rosary Church, which provides reli-
gious, classroom and dining facilities. O\ue003c-

es, additional classrooms and a library have been created at the historic Baldwin Building, which is a 15-minute walk into downtown Lander. The six-credit equestrian program is

o\ue002ered at Central Wyoming College, a half-
hour away.
The \ue000rst-year class in 2007-2008 enrolled
35 students, and the overall enrollment was
boosted to 61 the following academic year.

In the 2008-2009 year, there were 33 women and 28 men who came from 30 states ranging from New Hampshire to Georgia to Califor- nia to Washington. The college will welcome 37 freshman in September 2009 boosting total

From the
Financial Aid Office
\u201cWyoming Catholic College is commi\ue005ed
to making its program available to quali-
\ue000ed students regardless of their \ue000nancial
need. WCC will try to meet the needs of
each student through its program of \ue000-
nancial aid, which includes Merit Schol-
arships, loans, work study and grants.
Prospective applicants and their families
may request a preliminary evaluation and

the \ue000nancial aid they cane expect (should the applicant) be accepted, by submi\ue005ing the \ue000nancial aid application and support-

ing documents.

WCC also awards a number of scholar- ships of varying amounts based on aca- demic merit. The applicant must have scored at least 1800 on the SAT or at least 27 on the ACT, and must show substantial achievement and a willingness to work and to succeed in an academic curricu- lum. Aptitude and zeal for learning, as demonstrated in the required essays and

other materials, will play a signi\ue000cant role
in determining the amount awarded.
The Merit Scholarship application should
be submi\ue005ed at the same time as the
admissions application or shortly a\ue004er-

For more information visit our website at www.wyomingcatholiccollege.com, call toll-free 1-877-332-2930, or e-mail admis-

Wyoming Catholic College
The Newman Guide
enrollment to 97 and expects to eventually
enroll 400 students.
These students study a prescribed four-
year program. Eight Catholic theology and
\ue000ve philosophy courses are required. Many
of the other courses have Catholic overtones.
Graduates will all receive the same Bachelor
of Arts degree; the \ue000rst class will graduate in
2011.All new colleges need to go through

an accrediting process, which takes several years. Wyoming Catholic is applying for ac- creditation from The American Association for Liberal Education. The college is also ex- ploring accredita-

tion with its re-

accreditor, the North Central Association Com- mission on Accredi- tation and School Improvement.


can rejoice that the pub- lished price for at- tending Wyoming Catholic\u2014already quite reasonable\u2014is

signi\ue000cantly higher

than what the aver- age student actu- ally pays, thanks to

generous \ue000nancial aid packages as the college
builds. Tuition, room and board were bargain
priced at $21,500 in 2009-10.

Wyoming Catholic is a lay-run, independent college with a strong connection to the local bishop, who will always be chairman of the 10-member board. Among the board mem- bers is Dr. Dominic Aquila, a scholar and ad- ministrator at the University of St. Thomas in Houston.

Also on the board is Father Robert Cook,
the college president, who has been a practic-
ing a\ue005orney, pro-life advocate and monk. In
April 2009, Father Cook was the \ue000rst college

president to publicly criticize the University of Notre Dame for inviting pro-abortion Pres- ident Obama to be its commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient.

Public Identity
Bishop David Ricken, while the bishop of
Cheyenne, Wyoming, helped start the college

and bestowed his Apostolic Blessing in 2005. Pope Benedict XVI also has given the college his Apos- tolic Blessing.

Everyone as-

with building the college is a strong Catholic,

commi\ue005ed to vig-

orously promoting its religious iden- tity. Father Cook told us, \u201cWe will encourage full par- ticipation in the li- turgical celebration of Mass, Rosary

and Adoration by all students all the time. We intend to do everything we can so that upon graduation, the students will leave stronger in the faith than when they came.\u201d

The \ue000rst year of the college was launched

with a Convocation Mass celebrated by Bish- op Ricken on September 3, 2007. Classes be- gan the following day, and former U.S. Secre-

tary of Education William Benne\ue005 visited the
campus on September 5.

The 2008-2009 academic year was ush- ered in by a Mass celebrated by Bishop Mi- chael Sheridan of the Diocese of Colorado Springs, Colorado; the homilist was Arch-

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