The College of the Holy Cross was founded by Benedict Joseph Fenwick, the second bishop of Boston, who wanted to establish a Catholic College within his New England diocese. Worcester, Massachusetts was chosen as the location and Holy Cross opened in November 1843 with the first classes held for six students aged nine to 19.
Enrollment increased to 100 students in three years and after a fire destroyed the college in 1852, the school was rebuilt and reopened in 1853. Holy Cross was chartered on March 24, 1865, after the school gained support from Governor John A. Andrews.
The school continued to grow to become one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation. About 2,800 men and women are currently enrolled at Holy Cross.
Holy Cross’s 174-acre campus, a nationally-recognized, award-winning arboretum, is located atop Mount St. James in Worcester, MA. Parts of the campus have wireless internet access and all residence halls have high-speed Internet capabilities.
Academic and residential buildings are clustered in the center of campus, with athletic and recreational facilities to the north and south. Fenwick Hall is the oldest building on campus and houses the office of admissions as well as Brooks Concert Hall. O’Kane Hall, notable for its clock tower, is connected to Fenwick. This cluster, which also includes Smith Hall, greets you as you enter the campus on Linden Lane.
Newly-renovated science laboratories provide students with the opportunity to practice field studies and three performance theaters, two art galleries, a concert hall, ballroom, dance studio, and movie theater give students good reason to explore the arts. Students interested in sports and those looking to get exercise use the Hart Recreation or Smith Wellness Centers, which have a variety of equipment to use as well as a pool, basketball and racquetball courts, hockey and ice skating arena and rowing tanks.
Holy Cross is located on top of one of the seven hills that distinguish the city of Worcester, which, with a population of almost 176,000 is the second largest city in New England. Worcester is located in central Massachusetts about an hour’s drive from Boston. The city is home to many libraries and museums in addition to performing arts centers and arenas – all accessible to students, especially if you have a car.
Holy Cross is an important part of the city, but not the major focal point. In recent years, the relationship between residents and Holy Cross students has soured over the noisy house parties students tend to have. Holy Cross’s Student Government Association has tried to improve the situation by increasing students’ interaction with locals, especially through community service. Many students also attend community meetings to engage with residents.
On most Tuesday nights, juniors and seniors gather at the pub in the Hogan Campus Center for “10 Spot,” a weekly open mic night for Holy Cross bands.
Organized by the Campus Activities Board (CAB), Spring Weekend marks the end of the semester and includes the Spring Carnival, Battle of the Bands, and a Spring Concert. Guests that have been invited before include Wyclef Jean, Third Eye Blind, Howie Day, The Roots, and Phantom Planet.
Each spring the Purple Key Society (PKS), a student service group, sponsors 100 Days of Dance, an informal dinner and dance in honor of the senior class. One tradition includes making a list of seniors you would like to kiss and following through by the end of the night.
Every year, the Purple Key Society chooses a day to celebrate school spirit by handing out purple balloons, purple t-shirts, cookies, etc. Purple Pride Day usually coincides with a Holy Cross sporting event.
Skirt Day celebrates the first unofficial day of spring when the women on campus put away their parkas and break out their skirts and tank tops.
Dave Anderson (1951) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist for the New York Times.
Ann Dowd (1978) is a film, theater, and television actress.
Tom Heinsohn (1956) is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and a former player and coach for the Boston Celtics.
Chris Matthews (1967) is a political commentator and host of the show Hardball on MSNBC.
Clarence Thomas (1971) is a US Supreme Court Justice.
The Holy Cross Crusaders compete in Division I (I-AA for football) of the NCAA, and are founding members of the Patriot League. While it is one of the smallest Division I schools in the country, Holy Cross also has the largest ratio of teams-per-enrollment in the country. Indeed, one-fourth of the student body participates in varsity sports.
The men’s basketball team won five Patriot League titles (1993, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2007) since the league formed in 1991, and the women’s team has showed several times in the NCAA tournament. The men’s team has also made appearances during March Madness and in 2002 was 14th seeded and lost to 3rd seeded Marquette.
Other teams have had success as well. The Holy Cross men’s hockey team has seen considerable success in recent years, beating the highly seeded University of Minnesota in 2006 in the first round of the NCAA Division I Tournament. The women’s lacrosse team made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006 and both the men and women’s rowing and crew teams have done well in the past.
Graduates of Holy Cross are admitted to medical schools at rates better than twice the national average.
The most ambitious project in the college’s history is currently under construction: a $60 million state-of-the-art integrated science complex.
Holy Cross is the oldest catholic school in New England.
Holy Cross considers itself a residential college that offers student a chance to learn outside the classroom. Ten co-ed residence halls offer comfortable living and a network of students to socialize with through hall activities, off-campus trips, and outdoor barbeques. Seniors have the option of moving into a new apartment building with two bedrooms, a shared living room, dining room, bathroom and kitchen.
The Hill Residences:
Healy Hall: located between the Hogan Campus Center and Lehy and home to 198 non-first year students.
Lehy Hall: located between Healy and Hanselman and houses 186 non-first year students.
Hanselman Hall: the middle of five halls in the area and houses freshmen.
Clark Hall: located between Mulledy and Hanselman and houses 192 students, mostly freshmen and sophomores, as well as first-year students in the Substance-Free Living Program.
Mulledy Hall: the largest residence hall at the end of Easy Street which houses about 405 freshman and sophomores.
Lower Campus Residences:
Alumni and Carlin Halls: located on either side of Kimball Dining Hall, they house 188 and 169 continuing students, respectively, and are the oldest residence halls at Holy Cross.
Apartment Building: this recently constructed, five-story residence hall accommodates 244 seniors in 61 apartments.
Loyola Hall: located behind the College Chapel and near the Millard Art Center, this hall houses 308 continuing students and is home to the Substance-Free Living Program for upperclassmen.
Wheeler Hall: located between Field Hose and Swords Science Complex, this hall is home to 271 first-years, as well as continuing students.
Every hall has a common lounge, a study area, and laundry facilities. Every room has a desk, chair, dresser, and bookcase.