Belmont Abbey College - Cardinal Newman Society

Belmont Abbey College

Year Founded 1876
Number of Students 1,159
Location Belmont, NC
Total Cost (Tuition, Room & Board) $29,081
Net Price (learn more) $23,066
Number of Majors 16
Catholic Students 53%
Catholic Faculty 56%
Median High School GPA 3.22
Median SAT 1074

See the Q&A for more detailed information!

In 1876, Benedictine monks planted their roots in North Carolina, which was then the nation’s least Catholic state, and built the first and only abbey cathedral in the history of the United States. Partially as a result of the monks’ efforts and example, Roman Catholics are today the largest Christian body in the neighboring city of Charlotte.

The monks’ faith and perseverance remain evident at Belmont Abbey College, which is under the direct ownership of the Benedictine monastery.  Today the College enjoys a dramatic increase in enrollment, an outstanding faculty, a quality core curriculum, and a national reputation for tenacity on behalf of Catholic principles.

In recent years, Belmont Abbey has championed religious freedom in disputes with the federal government. When the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that the College had to include coverage for contraception in its employee health insurance plan, the College’s leaders refused to compromise the College’s Catholic mission. In 2011, the College was the first of many religious organizations to sue the Obama administration over its health insurance mandate affecting both employees and students.  President Bill Thierfelder has testified before Congress on religious freedom concerns.

The leadership of Abbot Placid Solari, O.S.B., and Dr. Thierfelder has been inspiring. Abbot Solari has led the monastery since 1999 and is a former president and dean of the College. Dr. Thierfelder has been president since 2004, bringing a wide range of experiences as a businessman, sports psychologist, former college All-American high jumper, and Olympian.

“As a small community, we have an intentional focus of trying to have monks directly involved in the College,” said Abbot Solari. “The presence of the monks in the school is the best way to impart the image we want for the College.”

Belmont Abbey provides a strong witness to the Catholic faith, even though only about half the faculty are Catholic. The remainder are primarily Protestant and Evangelical Christians. The president and all the vice presidents are practicing Catholics.

Belmont Abbey and Dr. Thierfelder are passionate about finding ways to make a private education affordable. To that end the college has introduced a four-year tuition guarantee, has frozen room and board, and hasn’t raised tuition in nearly five years. 

The curriculum, policies, and leadership are all clearly directed toward a serious and authentically Catholic education. In 2016, the college also began educating seminarians of the newly formed St. Joseph College Seminary of the Charlotte Diocese, demonstrating the vitality of Catholicism in the region and the Abbey’s foundational role. The recently revised core curriculum offers a thorough grounding in the liberal arts and Western thought, and a new Great Books Honors College will be introduced in fall 2018. Campus life features frequent opportunities for the sacraments and prayer, single-sex residences, and a variety of activities including NCAA Division II athletics. 

More than half (1,159) of the Abbey’s students are of traditional college age; the rest (396) are adults taking evening and weekend classes. 

For traditional students, a new core curriculum was introduced in 2011, with heavy emphasis on the liberal arts, the Catholic intellectual tradition, and Western thought. Of the 120 credit hours required for graduation, 53 are in the core curriculum. Students become acclimated to Benedictine values through a First-Year Symposium and take required courses in rhetoric, logic, grammar, and writing; Western civilization; literary classics; political philosophy; scripture study; and theology.

Theology faculty members have received, or applied to, the local bishop for the mandatum, as is required by college policy, and the courses provide sound Catholic theology.

Belmont Abbey offers 16 majors, with a balance between liberal arts and career-oriented programs. More than half the full-time students concentrate in business or education. A new program of interest is the Catholic educational studies degree which prepares graduates for careers as Catholic school teachers, youth ministers, or parish religious education directors. Motorsport management is also a very popular major, in part because of the nearby NASCAR headquarters. The College has a reputation for its strong biology department, which has a 100 percent placement rate for graduates into medical, dental, and veterinary schools.

In the fall of 2018, the Abbey will introduce a new Great Books Honors College.  This program aids students’ progress toward wisdom about the fundamental human questions through the reading many of the greatest ancient, Christian, and modern texts in the Western Tradition.  The program allows students to choose between a 120-credit curriculum in great books, a 90-credit great books major with 30 credits of electives, or a 75-credit great books curriculum in which students also choose any other major at the Abbey. The curriculum will culminate with a senior year that aims to bring the wisdom of the great books to bear on the contemporary “crises of the West” regarding matters such as marriage, technology, globalism, the idea of progress, and our understanding of rights and the common good.  Students in the Honors College will also take part in a number of cultural events in Charlotte and a beach retreat centered on the reading of a Shakespearean play, and they will be offered the opportunity to study abroad. 

The College also features the Felix Hintemeyer Catholic Leadership Program, which selects students who have earned exceptional academic records, a strong involvement in parish or Church activities, and evidence strong leadership qualities. Those selected receive a generous grant and travel to Rome in the summer after their junior year.

The Saint Thomas More Scholarship program provides scholars with a series of seminars, two public lectures, several social events each year, and an opportunity for a values-oriented internship.

Spiritual life at Belmont Abbey is centered at the historic Abbey Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians, constructed with financial support from St. Katharine Drexel. The brick structure features Bavarian painted-glass windows. A granite platform where slaves were once sold has been carved out as a baptismal font, with a plaque that reads: “Upon this rock, men once were sold into slavery. Now upon this rock, through the waters of baptism, men become free children of God.”

Three Masses are celebrated each weekend. Sunday Mass at 7 p.m. features student-led readings and reverent praise and worship music. The monastic community’s Mass is celebrated at 5 p.m. on weekdays when school is in session and 11 a.m. daily during school breaks. Confession is offered 30 minutes before each weekday Mass. Students can join the monks for the Divine Office prayers of Vigils, Lauds, Midday Prayer, and evening sung Vespers. 

The Blessed Sacrament is exposed 15 hours a day during fall and spring semesters in the St. Joseph Adoration Chapel. Regarding the chapel’s construction in 2008, Dr. Thierfelder told The Catholic News & Herald, “I wanted this to be the first thing that we broke ground on, because I thought that it communicated, more powerfully than I possibly could, what we actually value and what we think is at the core and root of Belmont Abbey College.” Mass is celebrated every Tuesday morning in the chapel. The chapel is also used frequently by student groups for various purposes, including weekly praise and worship on Wednesday nights and communal prayer by the men’s and women’s households. 

A Lourdes Grotto in the center of campus was dedicated in 1891 and has been given special status as a Pilgrimage Shrine for religious vocations. There is a special program of prayer at the Shrine each May.

There are many other opportunities for spiritual enrichment: “United by Praise” nights of praise and worship, Confession, and Adoration; Rosary in the Grotto; breakfast reflections on the Rule of St. Benedict and daily life led by Abbey faculty and staff; mountain retreats with Abbot Placid; men’s and women’s households; and student-led off-campus retreats. A team of four missionaries from the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) provide mentoring and discipleship training and teach students to lead weekly Bible studies, which currently include about 100 students. Each year, Campus Ministry organizes a trip to the National March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Despite a substantial number of non-Catholic students, ministry activities are distinctly Catholic. For those who are not Catholic, the College provides an active R.C.I.A. program.

With the addition of two new residence halls in 2013, campus housing accommodates about 850 students in single-gender buildings.  Overnight visitation by members of the opposite sex is prohibited.  Students over 21 are allowed to possess and drink alcohol in moderation in the apartments and one residence hall for upper-class students. bac2

The residence halls recently underwent a major renovation, bringing wireless Internet access, electrical upgrades, and new lighting, heating, and air conditioning. In 2012, the College completed a 13,000-square foot, state-of-the-art dining center, doubling the serving capacity and enabling continuous service throughout the day. The former dining hall has been converted into a new 24-hour Student Center.  Student mailboxes and the campus post office are also located there. The Student Center is located in the midst of the residence halls and only 50 feet from freshman residences. Students also enjoy Holy Grounds Coffee Shop and Cafe, which has a piano and large-screen television, and The Catholic Shoppe, a religious book and goods store on campus. 

The town of Belmont is quaint, with several boutiques, restaurants, and shops and an old-fashioned hardware store—but also many new restaurants and retail businesses. Belmont is 10 minutes west of Charlotte, which offers numerous activities and events. The Student Activities office often makes tickets available for concerts, sporting events, and theater. Charlotte is home to some of the nation’s largest banks and several museums, as well as NASCAR, the NFL, NBA, and the U.S. National Whitewater Olympic Training Center. 

Students have access to a Wellness Center for routine medical and counseling issues. Gaston Memorial Hospital is located about eight miles west of the campus. 

The Charlotte Douglas International Airport is an easy 10-minute drive from Belmont and is a major hub for U.S. Airways. 

Students have access to about 30 student clubs and organizations. There is a student-run newspaper, The Crusader, and a literary magazine, Agora. Founded in 1883, the Abbey Players perform in the College’s historic Haid Theater and students may be eligible for the Father John Oetgen, O.S.B., Excellence in Theatre Scholarship. Three sororities and two fraternities are also available.  Greek life is committed to community service and the mission of the College, organized according to the Benedictine Hallmarks, and involved with FOCUS Bible study.

One popular student group is Crusaders for Life. Members help support the work of the on-campus maternity home, MiraVia; pray two Saturdays a month at a Charlotte abortion business; and organize and travel in buses to the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. 

Students enjoy concerts sponsored by the Arts at the Abbey series while earning “cultural events credits.” Belmont Abbey encourages all students to attend several cultural events each year.

Among the options available for community service are working with maternity homes or crisis pregnancy centers, helping needy and homeless people in the area, teaching religion to young people at local parishes, and mentoring and coaching at local schools.

President Thierfelder takes sports seriously, and the athletic director works directly under his supervision.

“I believe sport is a means of developing virtue,” says Dr. Thierfelder. “The athletic director’s role is to make certain that sports and a virtuous life are fully integrated in the athletic department.”

Belmont Abbey has 29 sports teams—29 varsity and five junior varsity. Of these, 10 men’s and 10 women’s teams compete in NCAA Division II through the 12-team Conference Carolinas. The sports teams have enjoyed great success, at both the regional and national levels. There is an active intramural sports program.

The College’s athletic facilities include a fitness center, a basketball court, a wrestling area with mats, a baseball stadium, and a softball, baseball, lacrosse, and soccer field. Fitness facilities are available both on campus and off campus.  In 2012, a new fitness center was opened which everyone associated with the College can use six to eight hours a day.  Soccer, baseball, and softball fields are available on-campus. At the nearby U.S. National Whitewater Center and Olympic Training Center, students take advantage of the public park’s custom-made whitewater river.

Belmont Abbey College is a growing institution that has set an exciting course. After more than a century of providing a liberal arts education to students in the region, many of them not Catholic, the College is attracting Catholic students from around the country, highlighting its religious identity and educational mission.

“The campus is 140 (now 142) years old,” a student commented. “It has a stability from the monks, yet there’s an excitement of growth. The College still feels young.”

And Belmont Abbey’s Catholic identity has a unique quality, since the College is a bastion of Benedictine spirituality in a largely Protestant region of the country. It is a college that offers much to Catholic students who choose to live out their faith, just as Belmont Abbey has chosen to live out its Catholic mission and Benedictine charism with resolve and enthusiasm.

Questions & Answers

Answers from the college on the most important questions. Click a topic below to read more.

Is your institution accredited by at least one regional or national education association?

Yes

Please identify each accreditor and indicate whether it is approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

Belmont Abbey College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which is recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Please cite evidence of student or alumni accomplishment, such as graduation rate, graduate school placement, job placement, awards, etc.

Alumni of Belmont Abbey College enjoy success in a variety of professions and fields.  Congressman Patrick McHenry, ’99, is the Representative for North Carolina’s 10th District; Luis G. Lobo, ’83, is Executive Vice President, Multicultural Banking Manager for BB&T; and Captain Louis E. Antosek, ’68, is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and former commander of the US Naval Medical Research Unit in Cairo, Egypt. 

Traditional students graduating in the spring of 2017 have received job offers from such employers as Wells Fargo, BB&T Bank, Bank of America, Xerox, US Senate Budget Committee, Duke Energy, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Libraries, Holy Angels, and CaroMont Regional Medical Center.  Of the students responding to the Senior Survey, 30% of graduates indicated that they were already employed and would continue to remain employed in the same position.  Another 16% of respondents will begin a new, full-time position following graduation. 11% indicated that they would be attending a graduate program in the fall of 2017. 

Please identify any notable public recognition of your institution’s academic quality in the last three years, such as rankings, awards, etc.

Belmont Abbey College is ranked as a “Top Ten College” in the Southeast byU.S. News and World Reportfor 2017-2018.First Thingsmagazine has named Belmont Abbey College the #1 “school on the rise, filled with excitement.”  

Additional Academic Quality information, clarification or description (optional)

Our new Core Curriculum is comprised of several courses deliberately focused on the Catholic intellectual tradition and our Western heritage. Courses such as Rhetoric I & II, Western Civilization I & II, and Classic Texts in Political Philosophy I & II introduce students to literary and historical monuments of Western thought.

Are more than half of the current members of your faculty practicing Catholics?

Yes

Approximately what percentage of your current faculty members are practicing Catholics?

56%

Are members of your faculty officially informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the institution?

Yes

Are members of your teaching faculty expected, as a condition of employment, to respect Catholic teaching and comply with Catholic morality in their public actions and statements both on and off campus?

Yes, All Abbey faculty are provided an orientation on the mission and Catholic, Benedictine history of the College. The President of the College meets with each faculty candidate in person for a 45-60 minute discussion of the mission and history of Belmont Abbey College and we expect faculty to uphold and promote the ideals of Catholic intellectual life in the shaping of our students’ character. In accordance with ex corde Ecclesiae, We welcome all non-Christian faculty to contemplate those ideals in the light of reason.

Please identify key undergraduate faculty who are noted experts in their field, have produced important publications, have leadership roles in academic associations, etc. and briefly describe such accomplishments (optional):

Professor Simon Donoghue, Director of the Abbey Players, is a talented actor, producer, and teacher, as well as a  playwright. Dr. Gerald Malsbary, who teaches Latin, Greek, and German is a professional translator of note..Dr. Eugene Thuot, a Fulbright Scholar and emeritus Director of the Honors Institute, has spent his scholarly life studying Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Dr. Farrell OGorman specializes in southern Catholic literature, and has recently published on Catholicism and American Borders in the Gothic Literary ImaginationDr. Joseph Pizza is an expert on Catholic poetry. Dr. Al Benthall’s special expertise is lyric poetry.  Dr. Robert Tompkins is a well known botanist., Dr. Grattan Brown is a specialist in Catholic bioethics and the rights of conscienceDr. Ron Thomas has recorded a popular video series on Catholic theology and is especially knowledgeable about liturgy and contemplative theology. Dr. Judith McDonald specializes in science education and has done tremendous work in helping girls in science. Dr. Sara Powell is nationally recognized expert in middle school education with her most recent books includingAn Introduction to Education: Choosing Your Teaching Path(2009) andIntroduction to Middle School(2nd ed., in press).  Dr. Daniel Hutchinson is an expert on World War II POWs; Dr. Svetlana Corwin is a specialist in the life and writings of Fyodor Dostoevsky; and Dr. Patrick Wadden is an expert in Medieval Irish History. 

Does the institution have a department of Catholic theology, distinct from “religious studies” and other disciplines?

Yes

Are courses in Catholic theology clearly identified and distinguished from other courses dealing with religion?

Yes

Do all faculty in the theological disciplines have a mandatum according to the procedures established by the local bishop or other competent ecclesiastical authority?

Yes. Theology faculty members have received, or applied to, the local bishop for the mandatum, as is required by college policy, and the courses provide sound Catholic theology. The college has also recently partnered with the St. Joseph College Seminary sponsored by the diocese of Charlotte, and is revitalizing its philosophy program to serve both the college seminarians and also the wider student body.

Do all faculty in the theological disciplines make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?

No. The mandatum is the proper requirement for undergraduate faculty and institutions, and we require it of all Catholic faculty members in theology. The Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity are more proper for pontifical faculties teaching in seminary.

Does your institution require that all theology courses be taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium, and also to the principles and methods proper to Catholic theology?

Yes

Please identify the theology courses that are included in the undergraduate core or distribution requirements and the professors who routinely teach those courses:

The theology core is routinely taught by all professors in the department, and consists of TH105 Introduction to Scripture together with TH205 Introduction to Theology.

Please describe the place of Catholic theology in your institution’s undergraduate curriculum and how it is distinct from other institutions. 

Belmont Abbey College requires all students to complete 6 hours of study in Theology as a part of the Core Curriculum, so all students take Introduction to Theology and Introduction to Scripture.  These courses are taught with the New Evangelization in mind, and aim to correct misconceptions of Church teaching, and are therefore equally valuable for Catholic and non-Catholic students.  Our Introduction to Scripture course aims, by not separating the content of the two Testaments, to show the theological character and unity of the whole biblical canon.  These emphases are especially important in a classroom setting where half of traditional students are not Catholic.

Please identify any course that every undergraduate student must take:

FS101 First-Year Symposium; RH101 Rhetoric, Logic, Grammar, and Writing I; RH102 Rhetoric, Logic, Grammar, and Writing II; HI101 Western Civilization I; HI102 Western Civilization II; EN211 Literary Classics of the Western Tradition I; EN212 Literary Classics of the Western Tradition II; TH105 Introduction to Scripture; TH205 Introduction to Theology; PO211 Classic Texts in Political Philosophy I; PO 212 Classic Texts in Political Philosophy II. Students must also take a class in the U. S. Constitution, a fine Arts Class, a Class in the Social Sciences, a Math Class, and two science classes.

Please identity the courses that students may choose from in order to satisfy common curriculum distribution requirements:

There are several options in each Core area for: Fine Arts, Lab Sciences, Mathematics, and Social Science.

How many credits are required for graduation and what percent are from core / distribution courses?

120 credits   44%

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more courses in which they are taught authentic Catholic doctrine and practice?

Yes

If yes, please describe them generally and note how many courses are required?

TH105 Introduction to Scripture and TH205 Introduction to Theology present all students with a Catholic understanding of scripture, tradition, doctrine, and practice.

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more interdisciplinary courses relating theology or philosophy with other disciplines?

Yes

Additional Core Curriculum information, clarification or description (optional):

The first-year symposium and western civilization courses  introduce students to the rich cultural heritage of the West and the role that monastic culture played in preserving and shaping intellectual life after the fall of the Roman Empire.  Rhetoric and the Belmont Abbey Reader provide our students with access to the great literary monuments of the Catholic intellectual tradition, along with other texts of lasting substance for philosophical and moral reflection.

List the major, minor and special program areas that students may choose for specialization while pursuing an undergraduate degree:

Majors: Accounting, Biology, Business Management, Criminal Justice, Catholic Educational Studies, Educational Studies, Elementary Education, English, Government & Political Philosophy, History, Liberal Studies, Mathematics, Motorsports Management, Psychology, Sport Management, and Theology.

Note: Students majoring in Biology, Business Management, and Mathematics may select specific concentrations within the major.

Minors: Accounting, Biology, Business Management, Catholic Educational Studies, Chemistry, Classical Studies, Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Economics, Education, English, Entrepreneurship, Government & Political Philosophy, History, Interdisciplinary Minor, International Studies, Justice & Peace, Mathematics, Physics, Pre-Law, Psychology, Sport Management, Theatre Arts, and Theology.

 

What are the three most popular majors or specialty disciplines for undergraduate students, and about what percentage of undergraduate students specialize in these disciplines?

Business Management, 24% 
Sport Management, 12% 
Elementary Education, 11% 

Does each undergraduate degree program require Catholic ethical formation related to the student’s major field(s) of study?

In each major area, BAC strives to provide a view of the individual discipline within the framework of the Catholic understanding of the human person and the legitimate ends of creation.

Does your institution regularly provide academic events to address theological questions related to specialized disciplines?

Yes.

If yes, please describe:

Several lecture series on campus bring in clerics, academicians, artists, and public intellectuals of international note to address topics of Catholic morality and social teaching. Campus lectures have been delivered by Cardinal Schornbörn, archbishop of Vienna, Archbishop Michael Miller of Vancouver, Father James Schall, S.J,, of Georgetown, Father Robert Spitzer, S.J.., Father Joseph Koterski, S.J., Professor Hadley Arkes of Amherst College, William Saunders of Americans United for Life, Rabbi David Dalin of Ave Maria University, and Barbara Nicolosi of Act One in Hollywood. Dr. Stephen M. Barr, Professor of Physics at the University of Delaware, gave the 2017 Cuthbert Allan lecture addressing “Science and Christian Faith: The Myth of Conflict.” 

Does your institution require cooperation among faculty in different disciplines in teaching, research and other academic activities?

Yes.

If yes, please describe.

Faculty from each of the academic divisions of the College (Humanities, Social Sciences, Professional Studies, and Mathematics and Science) teach in the First-Year Symposium.  Collaborative teaching is definitely encouraged.  For example, two faculty members, one in Economics and one in Theology, recently developed and taught a new course, Business Economics & Catholic Social Thought. 

Additional Programs of Study information, clarification or description:

The Core Curriculum of Belmont Abbey College consists of 53 credit hours for most students, but those who enroll after having completed some college coursework can be awarded credit for some courses. Common transfer courses for the Core Curriculum include Social Science, Mathematics, and Writing courses. 
The information on major areas of study above is based on traditional students who have declared a major.

Does the local bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) select or approve the appointment of your chaplain?

Please see explanation; Campus Ministry is sponsored and supported by the Abbot and monks of the Benedictine Abbey on campus.

Does your institution offer Mass on campus at least on Sundays and other days of obligation?

Yes

On average, about what percentage of undergraduate students attend Sunday Mass (including the Saturday vigil Mass) during the academic year? 

About 71% of our students identify as Catholic, and of the group about 90% attend our Sunday Mass.  

Does your institution offer daily Mass to students?

Yes

On average, about how many undergraduate students attend daily Mass during the academic year?

On average you can count on about 40 students attending daily Mass, though of course we do see increases at various times during the year.

Does your institution offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to students at least weekly?

No.

Are all of the Masses celebrated on campus reverent and in accord with liturgical norms and directives?

Yes

Are the altar servers at your institution’s Masses male only or both male and female?

Female altar servers are permitted, but most servers are male.

Please list the schedule of Masses, noting the following for each Mass: the day and time, the Form or Rite of the Mass, and the style of music, if any (chant, traditional, contemporary, etc.):

Monday 5:00 p.m., Ordinary Form, traditional music

Tuesday 10:00 a.m., Ordinary Form, no music;
5:00 p.m., Ordinary Form, traditional music,

Wednesday 5:00 p.m., Ordinary Form, traditional music

Thursday 5:00 p.m., Ordinary Form, traditional music

Friday  5:00 p.m., Ordinary Form, traditional music

Saturday 11:00 a.m., Ordinary Form, traditional music

Sunday 11:00 a.m., Ordinary Form, traditional music w/organ;
7:00 p.m., Ordinary Form, reverent praise and worship music and traditional hymns

Does your institution offer Confession on campus at least weekly?

Yes

List the schedule for Confession by day and time:

Monday 4:30-5:00 p.m. 

Tuesday 4:30-5:00 p.m. 

Wednesday 4:30-5:00 p.m. 

Thursday 4:30-5:00 p.m. 

Friday 4:30-5:00 p.m. 

Saturday 10:30-11:00 a.m. 

Sunday 10:30-11:00 a.m.  

Impromptu confessions are always a possibility with our various monks who are priests as they walk across campus! 

Does your institution offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at least weekly?

Yes

List the schedule for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by day and time:

We have an Adoration Chapel that is open 24 hours a day, with Exposition from 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. daily.

Please identify regularly scheduled devotions on campus for students such as the Rosary and prayer groups:

All students are invited to join the monks in praying Lauds, Mid-Day Prayer, and Vespers; Men’s and Women’s Households has weekly meetings and a weekly Rosary in our Lourdes grotto; Wednesday evenings, after Reposition, there is Praise and Worship in the Adoration Chapel; FOCUS runs 20+ Bible Study groups on a weekly basis; United by Praise, an evening of Adoration, praise, and reflection, and Confession, takes place once or twice each semester; students organize an annual Total Consecration to Mary as well as a May crowning; and students also organize off-campus men’s and women’s retreats at least once a year.

Does your institution offer retreat programs available to all Catholic students at least annually?

Yes

Please describe any formal programs to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life:

We have an (extracurricular) men’s discernment group which meets once a month and a similar women’s discernment group is forming as well. One of the monks holds frequent meetings of “Quo Vadis” which examines and reflects on discerning a vocation to the Priesthood and religious life.

If your institution has formal vocation programs, about how many students participate in them each year?

About 15 students participate when the above-mentioned groups meet.

Are you aware of any graduates from your institution (not including seminary students, if any) who are ordained to the priesthood or have entered religious life? Please describe.

In the past 9 years, between five and ten graduates have entered the priesthood or religious life. There are certainly many more graduates who have done so during our 135-year history!

Additional Chaplaincy information, clarification or description (optional):

A priest and a brother from the monastery assist Campus Ministry with a daily presence during the week.

Please describe options for students to reside on and off campus:

O’Connell and Poellath Halls are suite style halls with four double occupancy rooms sharing one bath.  These buildings are 50 percent sophomores and 50 percent freshmen.  Raphael Arthur is an upperclassmen hall with four private rooms sharing a bath.  Cuthbert Allan Apartments house four upper-class students sharing an efficiency apartment. Two new residence halls, St. Scholastica for women and St. Benedict for men opened in August 2013. These house 110 students. The bedrooms are suites with 2 private bedrooms, a small common area, and a shared bath.

Does your institution offer only single-sex residence halls?

Yes

Your institution offers single-sex residence halls for (please put an “X” in front of any that apply):

X    All students
Any Student who wishes
No students
All freshmen (only if not “All students”)
Only freshmen
Other

What percentage of students living on campus live in single-sex residence halls?

100%

When are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit common areas of residence halls?

Common areas in the residence halls are limited to the two new buildings. The genders can visit these areas during regular visitation hours only.  The Student Center is open 24/7 with security cameras and regular checks by Campus Police and the Student Life staff.

Are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit students’ bedrooms? (Not including irregular (once or twice a semester), “open house” events.) 

Yes

If yes, when?

Students in O’Connell, Poellath, St. Benedict, and St. Scholastica’s Halls are allowed visitation until 12:00 a.m., 7 days a week. Those residing in the Cuthbert Allan Apartments and Raphael Arthur Hall have visitation until 12:00 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday evenings.

If students of the opposite sex are permitted to visit students’ bedrooms, does your institution have an “open bolt” policy? Please describe.

No. All suites in O’Connell and Poellath hall are checked by the Residence Life staff at the close of visitation.

How does your institution foster sobriety and respond to substance abuse on campus, particularly in campus residences?

Students of the age of majority may consume in moderation in Cuthbert Allan Apartments and Raphael Arthur Hall only, and not in the presence of those under 21. Alcohol use is framed within the perspective of moderation and the virtue of stewardship. We are stewards of our bodies and are accountable for what we do with them.  Underage drinking is taken very seriously as is abuse of alcohol by those of age.  The Residence Life staff works closely with other key departments to provide a proactive approach to alcohol education.

How does your institution foster a student living environment that promotes and supports chastity, particularly in campus residences?

We have an explicit policy on Christian Sexual Morality.  In keeping with John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, we make clear that sex is a gift from God to be enjoyed by those who have received the Sacrament of Marriage and for the purpose of the mutual good of the spouses and for bringing children into the world as a gift from God, in accord with Catholic teaching and Canon Law.

The Residence Life staff educates students about respect for the Abbey’s Christian Sexuality Statement in all aspects of the students’ lives.  This includes dress, inappropriate posters and daily respect for the opposite sex.  Students who do not abide by this policy face the possibility of suspension or expulsion.

Does your institution have formal programs to foster Catholic prayer life and spirituality in campus residences?

Yes

If yes, please describe:

All Head Resident Assistants (HRAs) and Resident Assistants (RAs) receive annual formation in Benedictine spirituality as a part of RA training. HRAs and RAs are also trained in how to live out the College’s Catholic mission through their roles. HRAs and RAs offer regular programming for the residents in their wing throughout the academic year, including spiritually-focused programming. HRAs and RAs will often pray with, and for, their residents. 

FOCUS is active and present in the halls with almost 200 students involved in regular Bible study. Additionally, the Director of Catholic Student Formation and Leadership also directs the Hintemeyer Catholic Leadership program, and offers retreats both on and off campus for all students, overseeing the RCIA program as well.

Additional Residence Life information, clarification or description (optional):

The Residence Life Program is based on the Catholic understanding of the human person, and is lived out in the ten hallmarks of Benedictine prayer and learning.

The mission of the Office of Residence Life is to create a residential community that supports the College’s Catholic mission and Catholic identity, and encourages academic achievement and personal growth within the community formed by the Benedictine Hallmarks. The Office strives to foster a welcoming, diverse, and supportive living and learning community which facilitates and exemplifies mutual respect, responsibility, integrity, compassion, and generosity.

Please identify and briefly describe officially recognized student clubs and activities at your institution that…

foster spiritual development:

All activities are scrutinized for the possibility of spiritual enrichment and the development of the whole person. Even those that are purely for “fun” occur within the framework of community and friendship. Campus groups that foster spiritual development include the Men’s Household, Women’s Household, Crusaders for Life (pro-life club), and the Lolek Society that focuses on healthy relationships and dating. There are numerous events throughout the year like praise and worship events and retreats that help students grow in their faith.

engage in corporal works of mercy:

Community service is organized according to Matthew 25:30-41. All student groups and athletic teams must perform community service each semester. A number of student groups and athletic teams perform community service that engage students in corporal works of mercy, including: Crusaders for Life, the Abbey Volunteers, women and men’s volleyball, lacrosse, baseball, track & field, cross country, soccer, golf, tennis, women’s softball, and men’s wrestling teams.

address sexual issues (including birth control, abortion, homosexuality):

Speakers come to campus to discuss chastity, proper dating, and the role of marriage. We also have vocation nights for students who are considering a vocation to priesthood or the religious life. We have a very active Pro-Life club and sponsor an annual trip to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Students organize and pray the Rosary outside of local abortion clinics. There is no LGBT organization or variation thereof and all clubs and organizations must comply with Catholic teaching.

address issues of social concern:

We offer a minor in Social Justice studies. Also, students are actively involved in clubs that link social concerns to Catholic teaching.

address particular academic interests:

There are many groups hosted by academic departments, including AGORA, a student literary club and publication, the Crusader newspaper, the Honors Institute, the Saint Thomas More Scholars, and the Felix Hintemeyer Program, all of which host co-curricular programs and projects and require the maintenance of a high GPA for continued membership.

address particular cultural interests:

The Abbey has a very active art club that works in many mediums and different projects. Many of the works are religiously inspired. BAC is home to the Abbey Players, the longest-running amateur theater company in the state of North Carolina. Many students participate in performances, stage design, lighting, and acting. Many of the Abbey Players’ productions are focused on major Catholic figures, including Father Damien of Molokai and Saint Thomas More.

provide opportunities for athletic pursuits:

If applicable, in which athletic Division and Conference does your institution compete? (Please specify NCAA, NAIA, etc. as well as Division Level.) 

Belmont Abbey is a member of THE NCAA DIVISION II and Conference Carolinas. We have 19 varsity teams, and 2 J.V. teams. Abbey Athletics is based on the idea that sport, properly directed, develops character and virtue and ultimately praises the Creator, who bestows upon athletes their gifts and abilities. The Abbey also has an intramurals program open to all students.

What athletic teams are offered for men and women?
MEN’S SPORTS:
BASEBALL
BASKETBALL
BOWLING
CHEERLEADING
CROSS COUNTRY
CYCLING
GOLF
LACROSSE
SOCCER
TENNIS
TRIATHLON
TRACK & FIELD
WRESTLING
VOLLEYBALL

WOMEN’S SPORTS:
ACRO & TUMBLING
BASKETBALL
BOWLING
CHEERLEADING
CROSS COUNTRY
CYCLING
FIELD HOCKEY
GOLF
LACROSSE
SOCCER
SOFTBALL
TENNIS
TRACK & FIELD
TRIATHLON
VOLLEYBALL

SPIRIT SQUAD
BAND
DANCE

How do you help develop the mind, body, and soul of student-athletes?

The Belmont Abbey College Department of Athletics values each college athlete as student first and athlete second, and in so doing, strives to create exceptional students so that in all things God may be glorified. In this endeavor, the athletic department is guided by the Catholic intellectual tradition and the Benedictine spirit of prayer and learning.

While training our athletes to become superior competitors, the Department believes in adhering to the physical and emotional needs of student-athletes in order to maintain their health and well-being. Caches, faculty and staff continuously encourage learning and academic excellence while strengthening the athlete’s talents and performance.

The Department supports athletes in developing virtue, sportsmanship, honesty and integrity.
All students are highly valued and regarded as significant participants in diversifying, expanding and developing our college as well as our athletic program. The Athletic Department will ensure the equal treatment of all student-athletes.

please list all student clubs not listed in the above categories:

Please see the BAC web site. There are over 30 student clubs and organizations.

Does your institution require all student clubs and activities, including those listed above, to operate in accord with Catholic teaching?

Yes

How does your institution address student clubs and activities that may conflict with Catholic teaching?

Students wishing to start a club or conduct an activity on campus must have the approval of the Dean of Student Life, who ensures that all events and activities are in accord with the Catholic and Benedictine values of Belmont Abbey College.

Does your institution require student services like health care, counseling and guidance to conform to Catholic ethical and moral teaching and directives?

Yes

Has your institution’s diocesan bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) officially recognized the institution as Catholic?

Yes

Do your institution’s governing documents include or reference the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?

The Articles of Incorporation list the “essential characteristics” of a Catholic university as given in Ex corde 13.

Do your institution’s governing documents or institutional policies require conformity to the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?

The Articles of Incorporation of the college state: “This Corporation, sponsored by the monastic community of Belmont Abbey and subject to the Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church…”

What is your institution’s mission statement:

Our mission is to educate students in the liberal arts and sciences so that in all things God may be glorified. In this endeavor, we are guided by the Catholic intellectual tradition and the Benedictine spirit of prayer and learning. Exemplifying Benedictine hospitality, we welcome a diverse body of students and provide them with an education that will enable them to lead lives of integrity, to succeed professionally, to become responsible citizens, and to be a blessing to themselves and to others.

Does your institution have a written policy regarding speakers and honorees that at a minimum meets the standards established by the United States bishops in “Catholics in Political Life?”

No. but any speaker who is to address the campus community at large is approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Dean for student life, both of whom are practicing Catholics, along with the President, who has taken the oath of fidelity.  The annual graduation speaker is the presiding cleric for the baccalaureate Mass.

How does your institution address student and faculty invitations to speakers and honorees who have publicly opposed or acted contrary to Catholic moral teaching? Speakers or guests who will address the College at large are approved in advance by the appropriate administrators, who work to ensure that public lecturers and honorees are individuals who are not known to have publicly and directly opposed Catholic moral teaching.

Additional Institutional Identity information, clarification or description (optional):

The founding Members of the Belmont Abbey College corporation are the professed monks of Belmont Abbey. Among their reserved powers are: the right to approve candidates elected by the Board to be the college President, the right to approve candidates for the Board of Trustees, the right to elect up to nine members of the monastic community to the Board, and the right to dissolve the college corporation and take over direct operation of the college.

Describe the makeup of your institution’s undergraduate student body with regard to sex, religion, home state/country and type of high school (public, private, homeschool):

Total number of TRADITIONAL undergraduates: 1159 

Male: 56% Female: 44% 

68% of Traditional Students report a religious affiliation. of those, the percentages are as follows: 

Catholic: 71% Other Christian: 24%
Jewish: <1% Muslim: 0% Other: 1% 

Approx. 53% of on-campus students are Catholic.

Number of states represented: 45
Top three states: North Carolina, New York and South Carolina
Students from top three states: 58% 

Catholic HS: 30% Homeschool: 10%
Private HS: 15% Public HS: 45% 

Most up-to-date information provided by the College.

Additional Student Body information, clarification or description  (optional):

Belmont Abbey College has two main academic programs, a Traditional Program and a Center for Continuing & Professional Studies directed to older, working adults. The statistics above are based on enrollment in the Traditional Program only. 

Religious identity figures are based on the self-identification of traditional students who provided this data at the point of enrollment. 

Editor’s Note: Campus safety and security information for most colleges is available via the U.S. Department of Education website here.

Are prospective and current members of your institution’s governing board(s) informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of your institution?

Yes

Are more than half of the current members of your institution’s governing board(s) practicing Catholics?

Yes

Do Catholic members of your institution’s governing board(s) make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?

No. With regard to the Board of Trustees, the college follows the policy outlined in the Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae of St. John Paul II, and the norms contained in The Application of Ex corde Ecclesiae for the United States promulgated by the Conference of Bishops.

Is your institution’s president a practicing Catholic?

Yes

Does your institution’s president make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?

Yes

Additional Leadership information, clarification or description (optional):

The President and his wife are oblates of Belmont Abbey Monastery. 

The Chair of the Theology Department is a board member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. 

The Abbot of Belmont Abbey is ex officio the Chancellor of the college. One of the primary duties of the Chancellor is safeguarding the mission and identity of the college as a Catholic and Benedictine institution. 

President's Note

A message from the president.

Dear Parents and Prospective Students:

It brings me great joy to introduce Belmont Abbey College to you.

In coming to a college founded by Benedictine monks over 135 years ago, you would be part of a long tradition of learning and holiness that I hope you will make your own. Blessed John Henry Newman captured the essence of our college in these words: “It is all, and does all, which is implied in the name of home.  Youths, who have left the paternal roof, and traveled some hundred miles for the acquisition of knowledge, find an ‘altera Troja’ and ‘simulata Pergama’ at the end of their journey and in their place of temporary sojourn.

“…Moreover, it [the College] is the shrine of our best affections, the bosom of our fondest recollections, a spell upon our after life, a stay for world-weary mind and soul, wherever we are cast, till the end comes.  Such are the attributes or offices of home, and like these, in one or other sense and measure, are the attributes and offices of a college in a University.” It is in a home, such as this, that a student can fully experience the blessing of a liberal arts education.

I don’t believe in accidents. I believe in Divine Providence. If you’re reading my words right now, it’s no accident. God is calling you to look and discern and pray and to say, “Maybe I’m supposed to be here. Maybe I’m supposed to be contributing in some way to what God is calling this place to be!” And I’m hoping that you’re going to come and join us!

I look forward to personally welcoming you to our beautiful campus sometime soon.

Sincerely in Christ,

Dr. William K. Thierfelder

Contact Belmont Abbey College

704-461-6665

100 Belmont-Mt Holly Rd
Belmont, NC 28012

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