Campus Notebook: Scholarships; upcoming Newman Society conference

This article appears in the Campus Notebook feature series. View the full series.

Editor's Note: Welcome to NCR's college round-up, where every Friday we bring you the latest news in Catholic college and university life. Do you have news you would like to share? Email Shireen Korkzan at

Three Newman Guide-recommended colleges are offering graduate scholarships to alumni of fellow Newman Guide-recommended colleges in the fields of psychology, law and business, for the 2017 school year.

Every year, the Cardinal Newman Society publishes The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, which includes a list of 20 recommended colleges. Criteria are based on adherence to the Catholic faith.

Divine Mercy University's Institute for the Psychological Sciences, located in Arlington, Va., offers up to $5,000 towards obtaining a master of science or a doctor of psychology degree in psychology.

The Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, Fla., offers a full ride and a living stipend of up to $10,000. All alumni of Catholic universities are eligible to apply for the scholarship and stipend.

Benedictine College's School of Business in Atchison, Kan., has so far offered scholarships to 14 master of business administration students who previously studied at Newman Guide-recommended schools. The MBA courses are offered in person and online.

The Chicago Tribune recently published a feature story on Benedictine University's large enrollment of Muslim students. Currently, 24 percent of Benedictine's students identify as Muslim, and the number is rising.

In July 2016, Benedictine College hired Ali Yurtsever to be its Muslim faith adviser to accommodate the university's growing Muslim population. Halal meat is offered in the student café. Muslim students are also permitted to leave class a few minutes a day to pray in an interfaith prayer room. Islam directs Muslims to pray five times a day.

The unusually large Muslim population at Benedictine, located in the Chicago suburb of Lisle, Ill., is attributed to the university's having a strong science curriculum and to the availability of science and tech jobs in DuPage County.

There are also two Islamic schools educating students through high school within a 20-minute drive from campus — College Preparatory School of America and Islamic Foundation School.

The Institute of Catholic Culture and the Cardinal Newman Society will present a conference to discuss the next generation of Catholic higher education on Jan. 28 at Cathedral of Saint Thomas More in Arlington, Va.

The conference, titled "CRISIS: Catholic Higher Education and the Next Generation," will focus on how "faithful" Catholic colleges can move forward "from the secularist agenda set forth 50 years ago" by the Land O' Lakes statement brought forth by Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, then-president of University of Notre Dame. The statement argued that Catholic colleges should have "true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical," and was signed by presidents of other Catholic colleges, including Boston College, Fordham University and Georgetown University.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

On Jan. 25, Fr. David Garcia, San Antonio's archdiocesan director of the Old Spanish Missions, will speak about the missions' works of art at St. Mary's University as part of the university's Catholic Intellectual Tradition Lecture Series.

Garcia's lecture will focus on how indigenous people used art to express their religious faith.

The event is free and open to the public.

To celebrate Villanova University's upcoming 175th celebration, Christine Quisenberry, the university's director of presidential initiatives and events, asked the co-owners of a New Jersey-based craft brewery to make a special beer in its honor.

Villanova alumni Ryan Krill and Chris Henke opened Cape May Brewing Company in 2011. Today, their beer is sold in hundreds of bars, liquor stores and restaurants across the South Jersey and Philadelphia areas.

Krill and Henke both told CBS Philly they were happy to take on the challenge. Together, they came up with the "Demisemiseptcentennial Ale," a classic pale ale with German pilsner malt, CMBC's house ale yeast strain and Centennial hops.

The new beer's release party will be on Jan. 25 in the brewery's tasting room. Villanova alumnus Matt Szczur, Chicago Cubs outfielder and Cape May native, will be there. Eventually, the "Demisemiseptcentennial Ale" will be distributed to other bars and restaurants in the region.

William Peter Blatty, the author of The Exorcist and the Academy Award-winning screenplay of its film adaptation, died of multiple myeloma on Jan. 12 at the age of 89. A devout Catholic, Blatty authored a petition to the Vatican to remove the Catholic label from Georgetown University, his alma mater.

Blatty accused Georgetown of embracing secularism and not complying with the Vatican's outline of requirements for Catholic colleges, Ex Corde Ecclesiae. In 2012, he founded the Father King Society to "make Georgetown honest, Catholic and better." That same year, he sent the petition to the Washington archdiocese. The petition received more than 2,000 signatures.

Chicago collectors Gerald and Barbara Weiner recently gave The Catholic University of America more than 600 Ethiopian leather religious manuscripts, including Christian, Islamic and "magic" texts.

The manuscripts date to the 18th or 19th centuries and are valued at more than $1 million. The "magic" scrolls are Christian prayer talismans worn around the neck to cure ailments, such as headaches and labor pains.

Dr. Aaron M. Butts, a professor of Semitic and Egyptian languages and literature at CUA, told Catholic News Agency that not much research has been done on these manuscripts because using them for prayer have been banned by the Ethiopian church at different times. However, CUA plans on making its new manuscript collection available for research. Washington, D.C., where CUA is located, is home to one of the largest Ethiopian populations outside of Ethiopia.

[Shireen Korkzan is an NCR Bertelsen intern.]

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here