Published May 4, 2006
Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic college in the United States. When it was founded by the first U.S. bishop—Archbishop John Carroll—in 1789, its student body boasted a staggering 12 students—all males! Those modest beginnings have produced a world-class institution that would hardly have been envisioned more than 217 years ago. In those opening moments of our nation’s history, Georgetown was established to provide a place where young Catholics could pursue a quality education according to the traditions of our Faith.
Southern Catholic College may well be the newest Catholic college in the United States. It is located here in North Georgia and follows the same desires that prompted the establishment of Georgetown and all the other Catholic colleges that preceded its foundation. Catholic education is a high priority for the people of our Archdiocese of Atlanta, and the lay people who established Southern Catholic College are responding to that desire to provide institutions where our young people can be well educated according to the traditions of our Faith and can find many opportunities to practice their faith in worship, service and moral direction.
Unlike most other Catholic colleges, the founders of this institution are not clerics or Religious. The school does not fall under the immediate juridical control of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, although it is deeply committed to both following the Universal Church’s principles of higher education and collaborating with the Archdiocese in pursuing its vision, religious identity and policies.
It sits on 100 acres of land in Dawsonville. Its modest facilities represent a good beginning, and it boasts a student population of approximately 70 students—almost six times the number of that opening student enrollment at Georgetown.
The young men and women of this college hail from 15 states and include a rich diversity of ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds. The administration and faculty of Southern Catholic College are experienced educators and managers in higher education.
Like any nascent institution, Southern Catholic is pursuing funds to anchor its future and to continue its development and expansion. A five-year capital campaign is currently underway which has a component that is in effect until June 30 to match any donor gift up to $1 million. These funds are intended for scholarships and expansion activities. It will be many years before this new college achieves all of its potential, but it is off to a good start.
While it was established by the laity and falls under their direction, the college is also a part of the legacy of Archbishop John Francis Donoghue who encouraged its establishment, supported the dreams of its founders and continues to serve on its board. Unlike Archbishop John Carroll, Archbishop Donoghue was not himself the founder, but he was among those who supported this dream from its beginning.
I encourage you to become more familiar with this Catholic college that is located right here in our own state. Keep your eye on its future development and growth, contribute what you can to its development, and, above all, keep it in your prayers. Who knows what the future might hold—no one could have dreamt that those first 12 students at Georgetown would be the pioneers of such an institution as we see there today. More information may be found at www.southerncatholic.org.