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Thomas Mead
Thomas Mead is the Executive Vice President of The Cardinal Newman Society.

Overview to the dorm room.” Families seeking such an

education would do well to consider the col-
When we published the first edition of The leges profiled in these pages.
Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College on
All Saints Day in 2007, we already knew that Expanded Profiles,
it was going to be an important new resource
for Catholic families, as pre-orders for the New Colleges
book had flooded and overwhelmed our of-
fice throughout that September and October. Since the first edition was published, we have
All told, more than 20,000 people visited established wonderful working relationships
our website to learn about the Guide and the with what we refer to as the “Newman Guide
21 colleges we recommended. We distributed colleges.” Because of these relationships, the
8,000 copies of the book to parents, grandpar- profiles in this edition have been enhanced in
ents, priests, guidance counselors, principals, a number of ways, including the inclusion of
bishops and even Pope Benedict! a letter to parents and students from each col-
By the spring of 2008, our research staff lege president.
had already begun work on this edition and In addition, the economic crisis that be-
Pope Benedict had travelled to America to ad- gan in the fall of 2008 clearly impacts family
dress Catholic college presidents about the budgets. For this reason we have given the
role that faith must play in all aspects of cam- financial aid office of each college space in
pus life. the profile to discuss the various financial aid
At this point we decided that we could options that they provide and, in most cases,
much better support Pope Benedict’s vision direct contact information.
for the renewal of Catholic colleges by mak- This complements the work of our Center
ing The Newman Guide available to even more for the Study of Catholic Higher Education,
Catholic families. which in January 2009 published an analysis
As a result, this edition of the Guide is of tuition at Newman Guide colleges compared
available both as a book and as a free online to other Catholic colleges and other private
resource at colleges. The study concludes that not only
Instead of reaching thousands of Catho- are the Newman Guide colleges faithful, they
lic families, we will now be able to reach tens are also affordable relative to other options.
or hundreds of thousands of parents and stu- Each profile examines the college’s mis-
dents seeking a faithful Catholic education. sion, governance, academics, spiritual life,
All of us at The Cardinal Newman So- student activities and residential life. Each
ciety believe that there is tremendous value of these areas was evaluated for strength of
in an education where faithful Catholicism Catholic identity. We also provide informa-
permeates the campus “from the classroom tion on such information as unique majors,

The Newman Guide 13


sports opportunities and the local commu- dents and most are somewhere in between.
nity. Students looking for a college in an urban,
An earnest attempt was made to provide suburban, small town or rural environment
primarily objective information in order to will have several options in each of these cat-
offer a comprehensive aid to parents and stu- egories.
dents. Likewise, a broad range of orthodox
In 2007 we recommended 20 U.S. colleges Catholic spirituality is available at these in-
and one unique program in Canada because stitutions. Are you looking for traditional
of the strength of their Catholic identity. We devotions and the Extraordinary Form of the
are thrilled that in this edition we are able to Mass? How about a charismatic experience?
recommended 21 U.S. colleges, four interna- Something in between or a little bit of both?
tional colleges, one unique program in Texas You will find several choices in this Guide.
and two distance learning opportunities. In The criteria for selection reflect an art,
addition, we include in a single profile insti- not a science. There is no magic formula for
tutions in Rome which are available to U.S. tallying points and we have not weighted cer-
students. tain characteristics over others.
Over the course of the past four years, our
staff has interviewed hundreds of presidents,
How Colleges Were Selected faculty members, parents, students, alumni
and others. We have reviewed thousands
The colleges we recommend are character-
of pages of materials including newsletters,
ized by the following:
websites, alumni magazines, course catalogs,
• They give priority to their Catholic
admissions material, news reports, etc.
identity and actively practice it in most, if not
It should be noted that the responsibil-
all, aspects of campus life.
ity for determining that the colleges recom-
• They are generally assiduous in en-
mended are Catholic rests with each college’s
suring that dissenters from fundamental
local bishop. Only a bishop can make this de-
Catholic Church teaching are not given a
termination, and we have relied on a college’s
platform for their work.
inclusion in the bishops’ Official Catholic Direc-
• They are committed to providing a
tory as proof of their Catholicity. Where there
quality education.
are questions or a particular college’s status is
• Any deficiencies are more than out-
unclear we communicate with its bishop for
weighed by success in other areas.
You will find a variety of institutions
recommended in this Guide. Some are well-
known for their orthodoxy, some are relative- Getting Started
ly new colleges and some are older Catholic
colleges that are living proof that a renewal Choosing a Catholic college is a daunting
of Catholic identity is possible. A number of process, and to help put it in context we have
the colleges are focused exclusively on the included several essays to assist your family.
liberal arts or even a Great Books program, First, we are grateful to once again in-
while others provide a strong foundation in clude a foreword from our long-time friend
the liberal arts but offer dozens of majors in and chairman of The Cardinal Newman So-
various disciplines. ciety’s National Advisory Board, Father Bene-
A few of the colleges have very small dict Groeschel, C.F.R. We are also pleased to
enrollments, a few have thousands of stu- have an essay on the state of Catholic higher

14 The Newman Guide

Thomas Mead

education by Patrick Reilly, one of the editors We also once again provide a “frequently
of this Guide and the president of The Cardi- asked questions” section to both explain some
nal Newman Society. of the terms used in this Guide and help you
We received such a tremendous response navigate the college search process.
from readers of the first edition on essays by In the appendix you will find Pope Bene-
Father C. John McCloskey, noted philosopher dict’s address to Catholic educators which he
Dr. Peter Kreeft and Catholic education ex- delivered in April 2008 at The Catholic Uni-
pert Eileen Cubanski that we are reprinting versity of America.
them in this edition. Finally, we need to emphasize that this
Father McCloskey, an Opus Dei priest Guide is a starting point. As Father Groeschel
and expert on our patron, John Henry Car- notes in his foreword, all of the recommend-
dinal Newman, writes about finding God on ed colleges can be described as faithful, but
a college campus. Dr. Kreeft, a prolific writer they are not all the same, and they each have
and philosopher from Boston College, ex- strengths and weaknesses even on matters of
plains why it is so important to study theol- Catholic identity.
ogy and philosophy. Mrs. Cubanski, the ex- After reading the profiles and narrowing
ecutive director of the National Association your choices, we cannot stress how impor-
of Private, Catholic and Independent Schools, tant it is for students to visit a campus, ide-
discusses the value of a Catholic education. ally spending the night and attending a few
We have also included a new essay by fi- classes.
nancial advisor and Our Sunday Visitor colum- The Cardinal Newman Society’s goal in
nist Phil Lenahan about paying for a Catholic producing this Guide has been to help connect
education. parents and students with Catholic colleges
Kathryn Lopez, a noted Catholic writer and universities that are vibrant examples of
and editor-at-large for National Review On- a strong and faithful Catholic education. In
line, has contributed an essay on the critical all of our work, we are guided by fidelity to
importance of finding a college with a resi- the Holy Father and Magisterium and hum-
dence life experience that reinforces Catholic bly present this Guide in the spirit of fulfilling
values on chastity. our mission to promote the renewal of Catho-
lic higher education.

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