August 30, 2018
Students in Class of 2022 at table outside the Pryzbyla Center

From the looks of things, the 850 students of the class of 2022 are alright, both on paper and in person. Yes, they’ve got high GPAs and SAT/ACT scores, as you would expect, but they’re not just smart. Two-thirds of them performed community service in high school, 41 are Eagle Scouts, 72 were youth ministers or retreat leaders, and 304 were captains of a varsity sport in high school.

 They come from the Middle Atlantic states (61%), New England (14%) and the South Atlantic (14%), with plans to study in the schools of arts and sciences (41%), business (22%), and engineering and nursing (11% each). Their interests are many and varied.

They are, all in all, a stellar group, says Dean of Admission James Dewey-Rosenfeld. “Not only are they academically prepared, but their level of involvement outside the classroom, in terms of leadership roles,” is impressive, he said. “These are young people coming in who cannot only make an impact on campus but in the city, outside the classroom, as well.”

And they’ve got energy, judging from the atmosphere on campus in the days before the semester began. At the orientation barbecue, students streamed out of the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center and headed for lunch on a sparkling late summer Saturday. They walked in small groups and spirits were high.

Earl Patterson from Philadelphia is planning to study psychology and may add criminology as a minor. He loves the fact that campus isn’t too far from home (just far enough) and close to downtown D.C.

“You step out the door and you’re in the city,” said Patterson, turning and waving several times as groups of young men walked past, calling his name. New friends already? “I’ve met a lot of people.” And off he went to join some of them for lunch.

Phil O’Brien was already wearing his Catholic Cardinals t-shirt and sitting with a group of guys, eating plates of barbecue and chips. From Fair Haven, NJ, he plans to study management and was drawn to Catholic University’s opportunities for both service and internships. And another thing, too: the small class sizes.

“You’re not just a number,” O’Brien said, sunglasses shading his eyes from the glare. “You can get to know your professors.”

Many other students were already wearing their Catholic University gear, too, and a few had donned Washington Nationals shirts, even as the team’s prospects were fading.

Christina Fairbanks, William Hartman and Abby Stevens
Orientation Advisors, left to right, Christina Fairbanks, William Hartman and Abby Stevens

Under another tent nearby, groups of orientation advisors sat in hard-to-miss cardinal red and white shirts, chowing down. Each had been assigned a group of freshmen, helping them unload their cars on move-in day and debriefing with them each afternoon when orientation sessions ended.

Christina Fairbanks and Abby Stevens, both senior nursing students, were doing this for the second time.

“We like to think of it as a full-year thing,” said Stevens, who, like her fellow advisors, gives out her contact info in case her advisees have questions once classes began. The two were thoughtful for a moment when asked if they had any observations about this year’s incoming class.

“They seem comfortable in their own skin,” said Stevens, with Fairbanks adding that they were perhaps “a little more outgoing” than last year’s class.

Back in the big tent, Scott and Laura McKinnon were seeing off their son, Scott, who will be studying business and hopes to play baseball for Catholic. A native of Long Island, McKinnon was polite and excited about starting his college career.

McKinnon Family

“Everybody’s really welcoming,” he said, looking around the tent. “The city is close, but it’s an awesome, beautiful campus.”

His grandparents, Betty and George Newman, had also come along to see him off. Betty remarked on the army of orientation advisors who made move-in day an organized affair. Two generations’ worth of heads nodded when asked if they were confident Scott would do well at Catholic.

“They’re great parents,” said Betty proudly. “They gave him all the tools he needs.”

McKinnon smiled at his grandmother and said, “I’m ready to go.”