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May 2, 1997     The Message
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12 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana St, Meinrad Continued from page 1 them to do some other service," he said. "This school is a school for Catholic leaders, and in this process I've learned what Catholic leadership is all about," Fritz commented. "That's what I have seen as I watched these men make this difficult decision." Saint Meinrad College is an undergraduate, liberal arts insti- tution for Catholic men, accorcl- ing to a statement released by the college. Its five formations program provides students the opportunity to mature academi- cally, spiritually, in character, in physical wellness and in volun- teer service to the community. Among its alumni nationwide are many priests and bishops, businessmen, lay ministers, edu- cators, physicians, attorneys, and health professionals. The statement explained the reason for the closing: "The decision of the Board of Trustees, in the faoe of the Col- lege's long tradition and distinc- tive mission, was based on a number of interrelated factors. First, identifying and enrolling students is a challenge for near- ly every college in the United States, from private colleges to well-known public universities. This is especially true for small, specialized institutions. Second, this competitive recruitment challenge was compounded for Saint Meinrad College because it is best known throughout the Midwest for its seminary pro- gram, which today is a special program within the larger liber- al arts institution. Finally, the continuing need for financial assistance for students to attend college, particularly a private col- lege, remains daunting. "While valuing the College's important mission and service to the Catholic Church and Ameri- can society, the Board of Trustees judged that the costs of enrolling and aiding an outstanding, yet very small, student body have become too great. They acknowl- edged that the stresses caused by the trends in recruitment and financial aid do not show evi- dence of diminishing in the near future." Benedictine Father Mark OKeefe, President-Rector of Saint ii Meinrad College, said, "With this decision, there is great disap- pointment and sadness among faculty, staff, students and admin- istrators of Saint Meinrad Col- lege. "Although we accept the judgment of the Board of Trustees and the monastic community as the most prudent course in light of current external circumstances, it is nonetheless a difficult time for all involved," he said. "Through- out the coming year, the College Administration will work to insure, as much as possible, that all of its current students will be able to graduate without serious disruption, either at Saint Mein- rad College or at another college to which they might transfer. Also in the year ahead, we will find ways to celebrate the College's tradition and the accomplishment of its graduates." The decision of the Board will allow Saint Meinrad to further focus and direct its personnel and financial resources to the work of Saint Meinrad School of Theology, according to Father O'Keefe. "Certainly the ability to re- focus our considerable resources to the work of Saint Meinrad School of Theology will only enhance our service to the Church throughout the United States and, indeed, the world." Saint Meinrad College has its roots in the seminary, estab- !ished in 1857, shortly after the first Benedictine monk arrived in Indiana from Switzerland. It was separately incorporated in 1959 and accredited in 1961. In 1992, in the face of declining enrollment in college seminaries across the country, the Board of Trustees of Saint Meinrad Col- lege voted to expand the College's programs to include young men who were not pursuing a voca- tion to the priesthood but who wanted a college rich in spiritu- ality and the Benedictine tradi- tion. Lay leadership students who selected Saint Meinrad College as the setting for their collegiate experience had sought not only a solid liberal arts education, but also a distinctive holistic Catholic formation. This year, Saint Meinrad Col- lege drew 100 students from 24 states and one foreign country. L00F!ZG00T_00 BEER /!!11100 Comflknenh'oF Home Beverage Washington, IN i i :iii!U +2 :: Michael thrfough a grant from St. Mary's Medical Center, Outpost camping experience for fifth and sixth celia Meredith at the diocesan ( 556, or toHfree in Indiana (800) 637-1731. Dr. Jane A. 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