Wyoming Catholic College

I recently had a trip to Lander, Wyoming to visit Wyoming Catholic College and speak to the faculty and student body.  I am overdue in my review of the trip.

First, I must say that the kids who can go to WCC are very fortunate

If you have children approaching college age and don’t know where they should go, consider WCC… if you can get them in

The land is beautiful, the faculty are dedicated, the vision for their education is clear, the identity is Catholic.

They have the kids learning how to learn through a modified program of the trivium et quadrivium.  A former long-time student of Fr. Reginald Foster and acquaintance of mine of years past left a tenured position at an Eastern university to move to Wyoming and teach Latin. 

The kids are speaking Latin in their classes and even bantering a bit outside classes. 

Latin is common feature of daily life, even in the dining hall.

They are not immersed, but they are doing everyday things with the Latin language.

The students I met smile.  They walk up to you, smile, and introduce themselves by name, and where they are from, and what year of studies they are in.   They like it when you speak Latin to them and are ready to engage.

They don’t have distractions, either.  The technology policy at the college permits no mobile phones.  Students may have personal computers for writing, but without an internet connection.  They can consult the internet on a college computer. 

While I was there I heard story after story about how divine providence is at work to build this school.  Astonishing "coincidences" brought faculty to the place at exactly the right time, as well as funding to keep the place growing.   The former and present bishops love the place.  They have good chaplains who provide the Novus Ordo in Latin and the TLM on a regular basis.

They asked me to sing a TLM: Missa cantata.  Their choir was very good, the Gregorian chant schola strong.  The whole student body sang the Ordinary in Gregorian chant: Missa Orbis factor… Mass XI.  

In the "small world" meetings, their sacristan used to serve Mass for me when I lived in California, along with that young man who left the A’s to pursue the priesthood.  A young lady with a Minnesota sweatshirt was from my home parish in St. Paul. 

After my talk another young lady came up to me and told me that years ago I gave her First Holy Communion.  Several of the faculty had friends in common with me. 

Though right now they are in temporary digs in Lander itself, I had the chance to see where they are going to build their new campus.  It will be situated in a valley near Lander.  The campus will include a stable for the students’ horses.  All students are required to learn to ride. 

There are lots of outdoor activities which are meant to harmonize their academics.  When they first arrive, they have – if I remember correctly – a three week camping trip guided by pros.  They hike and ride and have stargazing trips.

Quite a few of the students have firearms.  The gun safe is minded by the college’s chaplain!  So… the students get their guns from the priest and practice shooting.  Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.

Here are some photos of their plans and location.

If you go to Lander to visit the school, there is a fine B&B nearby in a beautiful house owned by people who moved to the town so that they could be near the school.  In the far corner they have established a small but well-stocked GK Chesterton reading room.

I stayed at this B&B while there.  Simply wonderful.

Furthermore, I was stunned to find an exceptional restaurant in Lander that reminded me strongly of places I have eaten at in places like New York… except the beef was far far better.

Models of the new campus.

I found the descriptions of the academic program to be very intriguing.  In addition to the Latin, the students are learning classical rhetoric.  They must learn to present a thesis style treatment of a question, stand up in front of people, and defend their position.  The faculty bring in outsiders, lawyers, businessmen, etc., to give feedback on the presentation.

Look at the reading list!

A telling dimension of the quality of the school is found in the waiting list to get in and the fact that they haven’t lost any students.  A few students did leave for one reason or another, but every one of them came back and re-enrolled. 

And to top it off, the tuition didn’t sound all that bad, around $23K per year, which includes room and board.

I wished I had had a couple more days there to see what was going on in depth.  But I saw enough to know that parents with kids approaching college age should seriously think about Wyoming Catholic College. 

God seems to be blessing this project.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. James Locke says:

    despite the horrid architecture, you should consider visiting the University of Dallas. We really are pretty much awesome :)

  2. John Fannon says:

    Sounds perfect, Father. Dorothy Sayers (of Peter Wimsey fame) recommended the trivium as a sufficient education for life in a paper ‘The Lost tools of Learning’ to Oxford University in 1947.

    But to other things. You mention Wyoming as a beef country Father.

    A few years ago, BBC correspondent recounted his experiences in a Wyoming restaurant. One of the party asked the waitress ‘What can you recommend to someone who is a vegetarian?’ At the sound of the English accent, the crowded restaurant became silent. The waitress replied ‘I’d recommend he get out of Wyoming’
    Gales of laughter, handshakes, drinks bought, etc

  3. Phil_NL says:

    Looks great in many ways, though I wonder: why does it seem that all Catholic institutions of higher education in the US have a liberal arts focus (or are exclusively teaching liberal arts programs)? It might be lack of exposure to the alternatives on my part, being across the great pond, but I never see such an college or university offer solid science, law or economics/business programs.

  4. Truly, Father, this looks like educational paradise! I wish they needed a Latin/Greek teacher, in which case I’d be applying quicker than you could say Publius Ovidius Naso… but I guess they’re pretty well stocked for Latinists!

  5. revs96 says:

    “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition”

    It doesn’t have that much to do with the liturgy (unless you give the B. Sacrament a 21 gun salute), but I think we have another classic phrase from Fr. Z

  6. ckdexterhaven says:

    I would like to send a child or two there, but financially, it’s not looking good right now. If you read this, would you please pray for us?

  7. Melody says:

    It sounds like an enviable place to attend. However, I’m not sure I could stand the technology policy. As a women on her own, I view my cell phone as a safety measure.

  8. Leonius says:

    You will find a gun is a much more useful safety measure Melody.

  9. Robert of Rome says:

    Seems like a wonderful place! Do they need a theology professor?

  10. Melody says:

    LOL, coming from California I have never even held a gun. The phone is intended to ring the people who do have the necessary training.
    I do study Shito Ryu Karate though.

  11. ndmom says:

    Well, I have kids in college and approaching college, and I would not seriously consider this school.

    I had to search on the Newman website to find out how many students are enrolled: 62 (2008-09 school year). It is not currently accredited. The technology policies are more suited to high school students than young adults in college (though perhaps there is little cell service out in the middle of nowhere anyhow). Yes, the curriculum is wonderful, but my high school son is reading many of these works in his “Great Books” model independent school. He is an avid Greek/Latin/classics scholar, loves to shoot, and would thrive in an atmosphere of highly motivated students and professors, but where are the upper-level calculus courses? Statistics? Real Analysis? How about the hard sciences? If he’s not interested in graduate school or becoming a teacher in a Catholic high school, what sort of position could he reasonably be expected to get with a degree from an unaccredited school that no one has ever heard of? (Even the graduate school application process would be dicey). And the horse thing would be a pretty hard sell.

    This looks like an excellent boarding school for grades 9-12, but college? It’s really an extreme niche school, not a realistic option for most families, no matter how devout and dedicated to academic excellence they are.

  12. Father: Thank you for an uplifting report to start the day! That the next generation is studying Latin is very encouraging. Firearms? Some of your readers could serve as firearms instructors as they seem quite knowledgeable on the subject. I have thought for years of setting up Mossad-type teams to “visit” recalcitrant bishops and theologians to “make them an offer they can’t refuse”. JUST KIDDING.
    A great day to all!

  13. introibo says:

    My current 8th grader wants to go here mainly because of the horse program!

    Ndmom, there are a few schools in this country (Thomas Aquinas in CA, Christendom, Wyoming Catholic) that have the classical curriculum. It’s pretty much assumed that these kids will go on to grad school/ law school, or just to become good wives and mothers (I know, that sounds terribly sexist). Maybe it’s not the most practical school if you’re looking to go into science, math, or medicine…but it will get you a better liberal education (in the true meaning of the word) than most “liberal arts” colleges.

  14. TNCath says:

    Wow, you’ve made my day with this posting, Fr. Z. Thank you!

  15. ies0716 says:

    Overall looks like a good school, but a few things concern me.

    First is the purely liberal arts focus. I think a liberal arts core with options for different majors would be preferable. With the current policy, they are closing themselves off to all science, engineering, and business students. Granted, there is always grad school, but you need an undergraduate background in laboratory science, math, and engineering to get into grad school in the hard sciences.

    Second is the restriction that doesn’t allow Internet access on students’ personal computers. While I am guessing this is for reasons of preventing temptation, that issue could be easily handled with a campus-wide filter similar to what most large companies use for their workforce. The Internet is a great source of information (i.e. WDTPRS) and I don’t think the acceptable Catholic solution for young adults is to just deny it.

    My third issue is the somewhat harsh system for determining financial aid. It basically prevents students from extremely poor families from attending, as they and their parents could pay nothing and they wouldn’t be eligible for Federal loans. As for personal loans, try getting a personal educational loan for $24K a year when your parents make less than $20K per year and have a bankruptcy within the past seven years, as was my case when I was headed to college.

    Finally, I think the mandatory attendance policy for classes is just silly. If students can digest the material and do well on exams without attending every single class, there is no need for the school to try to babysit them. [Perhaps at your school, you listened to teachers reading their notes. There is more than that going on in the classroom at WCC.]

    Overall, this seems like a decent idea but it seems to fall a little too much into the “sectarianism” trap that a lot of faithful Catholic colleges do these days. While I cringe at the thought of sending my children to “Catholic Lite” colleges like Notre Dame or University of St. Thomas (MN) or even worse, public universities, I can’t see schools like this as a viable alternative unless they make at least some effort of preparing students to exist in the modern world.

  16. Tom in NY says:

    @phil_NL: Two things for Europeans to remember:
    (a) in the USA, “college” means undergraduate education. Canisius College, Buffalo, teaches liberal arts (including economics and accounting) and grants Masters degrees. Canisius College, Berlin Germany, is an institution which elsewhere may be called “gymnasium” or “athenaeum,” or to confuse German-speakers, high school.
    (b) for the breadth of more comprehensive universities, check catalogues of Boston College, Georgetown, Villanova, Duquesne, St. Louis Univ. and many others in the States.
    Baccalaureum litterarum graecarum et latinarum, et gradum magistri gestionis negotiarum perfeci.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  17. ndmom says:

    I’m familiar with TAC and used to live near Christendom. I’ve met graduates of both schools — the men are teaching at either the high school or university level, and the women are….well, homeschooling moms. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course, but a school that prepares many or most of its female students for lives as homeschooling moms is naturally going to have a limited market appeal.
    I’d rather see the creation of more independent Catholic secondary schools that can offer a classical curriculum and solid spiritual formation that prepares students to attend a wide variety of colleges — not just Christendom/TAC/Dallas but also Columbia, Ohio State, Stanford, Chapel Hill, Chicago, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, William and Mary, Georgetown, Purdue, etc. Schools like Wyoming, as admirable as their goals may be, seem to be encouraging faithful Catholic parents to assume a bunker mentality. No Internet service? No cellphones? These kids live in the 21st century. They need to learn to cope with the distractions of modern life rather than shunning them.

  18. Peco says:

    OK ndmom I get the message from the rather snarky comment that you don’t think a lot of Wyoming Catholic College. (I wonder if the nd in ndmom stands for Notre Dame – that might explain a lot. Just wondering)As someone who has a degree in the “hard sciences” and a further degree in law, from my perspective a liberal arts education is a wonderful way to learn to think, to learn the skill of learning, to develop an ordered mind, to analyze, to think independently, to develop wisdom, to develop faith, to cultivate the mind, and to prepare for life. I have nothing against the hard sciences but the fact remains that most people do not end up in what they so assiduously study for and many of them are then lost. A liberal arts education is not wasted! And Wyoming Catholic College sounds like a great place to me unless you value stature and prestige over principle (a la Notre Dame or a host of other so-called Catholic colleges, in my opinion). And in my opinion the whole idea of accreditation is overblown. We homeschooled our children and we NEVER had a problem with college and the whole supposed accreditation thing. But then one of our daughters is going to that small liberal arts wasteland called Christendom College. I guess that is also a modified boarding school by some standards. I’ll take it any day! It is an orthodox, faithful, authentic Catholic school that prepares students for life without undermining their faith; and as they say at Christendom: Catholicism is in the air they breathe. And graduates from there seem do do rather well no matter what field they pursue. My other daughter will attend Wyoming Catholic College – yeah, the little boarding school up in Lander Wyoming where they take Catholicism seriously.

  19. viennaguy says:

    It sounds wonderful! Wish I had gone there!

    On a side-note, I notice you’re wearing a suit and collar Father. I thought you were a big defender of the cassock? ;-) [It is not the custom in the USA for diocesan clergy to travel in public in a cassock.]

  20. q7swallows says:

    Happy to say that WCC is Daughter #1’s first choice for college next year.  Your review was very reassuring.  Please pray for her acceptance!

    PS ~ One of her first inquiries, btw–in fact, *the* first question she asked them was: “Is the TLM offered regularly?”

  21. big white van says:

    WCC is where my 10 year old wants to go. A Catholic college with mandatory horsemanship classes and outdoor adventures is her dream school.
    My oldest is praying for admission and a generous scholarship to University of Dallas, another one of the handful of truly Catholic universities left in this country. She is also applying to Benedictine, Christendom, University of St. Thomas-Houston and Providence College but UD is where her heart lies.
    yes, I have concerns about her choice of major (English Lit with a possible minor in Medieval Studies) but I trust that if she goes to a truly Catholic college and spends 4 years surrounded by staff and friends that will help her grow spiritually and academically God will be provide.

  22. big white van says:

    BTW, University of Dallas has an excellent and respected business program and has since long before it came on the radar of the Newman list.

  23. ndmom says:

    Yes, ND stands for Notre Dame. And don’t misunderstand me — I have a great respect for the liberal arts and am encouraging my children to pursue the liberal arts in college rather than a vocational business degree. (Though the youngest has an engineering bent and I may have to cave.) I have explained countless times why my kids are studying Latin and Greek in high school instead of Spanish or Mandarin. But it is possible for well-formed Catholic young adults to attend solid secular and even state universities without becoming cultural Philistines or losing their faith. Duc in altum! Be not afraid! You don’t need to keep you kids in a Catholic internet-free bubble in order to form solid Catholic adults.

  24. An American Mother says:

    Unless you’re planning on a career as a scientist or engineer, a good solid liberal education in the old-fashioned sense is the best route to take, because it teaches you how to read, write, digest, summarize, and REASON.

    I AP’d out of sciences, never took a science course in college. Math was not required to graduate unless you were in the Engineering School. I did languages (modern and classical), history, and English lit. exclusively. And this was an Ivy.

    The horse thingy is a plus, but there are schools that offer extensive equestrian programs if that’s what you want. I wonder if they’d let you bring an English saddle . . . .

  25. Tom in NY says:

    @Peco: Liberal arts colleges do include sciences among the liberal arts, viz., biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. Knute Rockne was a teaching assistant in chemistry to a cleric who developed synthetic rubber. “Logic” in the Greek trivium meant geometry and philosophy.

    But you’re very right to point out a liberal education (including literature and social science as well as natural science) does prepare the student to think critically and learn independently. It can mean the difference between working in the laboratory and managing same.

    Salutationes omnibus.

  26. Jerry says:

    Peco, thanks for your perspective on a liberal arts education. You do realize, however, that the ad hominem you opened with is far snarkier than anything ndmom wrote?

  27. EXCHIEF says:

    nd mom & others
    My family and I visited WCC about 18 months ago just to see for ourselves even though we have no children to enroll there. We met with the staff, toured, viewed the curriculum and the long range plans. We were impressed enough to devote a portion of our tithe to WCC each month. Why? A number of reasons. One, the physical environment even with temporary quarters is awesome. The spiritual focus cannot be argued. In terms of the academic focus my own experience with a liberal arts undergraduate concentration was extremely positive. My experience having attended a once Catholic university with the same liberal arts focus was extremely beneficial. All of the “specialization” I needed came in grad school but the solid foundation in liberal arts served me as well as, if not better than, the specialized post grad degree…and it continues to serve me well in my 43rd year in professional life.

    The mandatory wilderness survival experience, according to the students, helps build both strong bonds among incoming students and a self-confidence which lasts forever. Embarking on a new and strange experience (college away from home) both of those benefits are important. As for the equine portion of the overall program I will admit to having a dog in that fight. We are horse people and have breed, raised and trained young horses and we ride regularly. Even the equine experience has a purpose. Taking care of a horse and working with it builds responsibility. It also has the advantage of “clearing ones head” from the trials and tribulations of intense academic work. An hour a day spent grooming a horse and working with it is therapeutic.

    If I had a child loooking for a meaningful college experience and had I the funds necessary, WCC would be at the top of the list of colleges I would encourage my child to consider. Having said all of that, though I completely understand the rationale, living w/o a cell phone or internet access would drive me nuts.

    Finally. I was not aware of the accomodation of firearms. But, being an avid sport shooter I concur with that. It is another diversion from the stresses of academia and like horses shooting builds discipline. It can also provide students an opportunity for some inexpensive and easy to engage in friendly competition.

    WCC remains in our prayers.

  28. Central Valley says:

    Fr. all these connections with California’s Central Valley have the thumbprint of God on them. It can only mean you will be named bishop of Los Angeles or Fresno very soon. Oremus. [Quod Deus avertat.]

  29. Tom in NY says:

    @ndmom: Starting an independent or diocesan Catholic high school needs as much enterprising spirit as starting WCC or a business for profit. Competition for parents’ funds is severe — will Mom and Dad forgo a new car to send their child to an unproven school? Especially if their property taxes already exact similar amounts for the school board as for independent school tuition?

  30. Leonius says:

    “First is the purely liberal arts focus. I think a liberal arts core with options for different majors would be preferable. With the current policy, they are closing themselves off to all science, engineering, and business students. Granted, there is always grad school, but you need an undergraduate background in laboratory science, math, and engineering to get into grad school in the hard sciences.”

    Sometimes it is better to do a few things well than all things average, specialisation will lead to higher achievement in that chosen area due the extra focus that will be possible.

    “Second is the restriction that doesn’t allow Internet access on students’ personal computers. While I am guessing this is for reasons of preventing temptation, that issue could be easily handled with a campus-wide filter similar to what most large companies use for their workforce. The Internet is a great source of information (i.e. WDTPRS) and I don’t think the acceptable Catholic solution for young adults is to just deny it.”

    As well as preventing temptation it will also prevent hours and hours of time wasted that would have been better spent studying the things that someone paid all that money for them to study or engaging in the college community.

    Internet filters are not 100% effective and you should note that for the purposes of information you can use the computers provided by the College so they are not completely cut off from the internet they are just prevented from using the internet alone and unsupervised.

    “My third issue is the somewhat harsh system for determining financial aid. It basically prevents students from extremely poor families from attending, as they and their parents could pay nothing and they wouldn’t be eligible for Federal loans. As for personal loans, try getting a personal educational loan for $24K a year when your parents make less than $20K per year and have a bankruptcy within the past seven years, as was my case when I was headed to college.”

    Excellence always comes with a high price.

    “Finally, I think the mandatory attendance policy for classes is just silly. If students can digest the material and do well on exams without attending every single class, there is no need for the school to try to babysit them.”

    Perhaps the aim is not just to do well but to do the best a student can possibly do. Perhaps there are also reasons other than merely doing well in exams for that policy, such as building a sense of community and instilling the importance of discipline and punctuality in their students, as previously mentioned the students are been heavily invested in to go to those classes, they are there to work not to waste time goofing around if they are found to be are smarter than average.

  31. r7blue1pink says:

    As a Mom whose son is disceringing attending WCC, I find ndmoms comments very condascending. You sound like a neo-cath, for real. My husband who works for the largest food corporation in the world can tell you that from his experience today’s college kids can not think or display any form of leadership. They are the most greedy, arrogant and pompous people who can not lead or think for themselves and have no concept of anything that doesnt include texting, computer use or verbal communication. Most college grads dont even work in their field of study.

    It seems your beef boils down to “Academic freedom”. Is that not the slippery slope that Universities like ND fell under?

    Children who attend colleges/universities that have a solid critical thinking curriculum (IE. Liberal arts) are the future leaders of our Nation and our Church. Its not about the prestige, its not about the future money they are going to make. It took my husband 16 years to get his degree,being a full-time Marine, having a Part time job and being a husband and father to our now 8 children. We lack nothing and live well within our means.

    Who are you to say that these kids aren’t following God’s call /plan for them? Sounds like you are the one planning your children’s future and lives rather than helping them to discern what God is asking of them.. It doesnt work that way.

    Accredidation is a moot argument. Graduates of the University of IL MBA program- which up until about 5 years ago had NO accredidation, landed jobs without any difficulty. Recruiters and HR departments of fortune 500 companies do NOT look at school accredidation- they look at character and leadership and ability to adjust to different situations with ease. They look for team players- those who can think out of the box and become future leaders of that company. It has been written about in the WSJ, Fortune 500 and many other career publications. Liberal arts is getting a new focus from secular media. WHY? Because young adults cant think and they cant lead.

    My SIL is a graduate from Harvard, she cant even find a job in her field of study- the prestige of being a Harvard grad is no longer there and its not an automatic “hire me” because I made it thru Harvard. Same for my BIL who is in his last year at Columbia, he said he’ll be lucky if he gets a clerking job when he graduates.. And this coming from a student who is in the top 5 in his class.

    What is important, I think, to most Catholic families- is that our children follow the plan which God has chosen for them, that they be surrounded with a continuing living faith, that their souls are constantly nourished and that they continue to be IN the world and not OF the world. This is the core- we must never compromise, we must never assume that our kids will loose their faith regardless of WHAT school they go to.

    As for me and my house- we aren’t ready to throw our sheep into the Lions den without a shotgun =)

  32. Girgadis says:

    American Mother, something tells me it would be a sacrilege to show up anywhere
    in Wyoming with an English saddle.

  33. bcmershon says:

    My daugher is at Christendom, but WCC was on the final list.

    Grad school is for vocational discernment like MBAs, Engineering and other specialization.

    Christendom, TAC and WCC are educating children for a lifetime–not just for their first job.

    Christendom has the TLM three or four days a week–but not on Sundays yet. But a parish a short drive away does.

  34. ndmom says:

    Tom in NY,
    I know full well how difficult it is to start up an independent Catholic school. My kids have attended two of them. They start up very small, meeting in borrowed quarters with a handful of students, and only gradually progress to getting their own facilities and building up the necessary enrollment to offer a solid curriculum. I guess my point was that the approach that Wyoming College is taking — small classes, tight control over students’ lives, a necessarily limited curriculum (in the sense that it excludes much of higher-level math and science courses), etc. — is more appropriate at the secondary rather than the college level.

    And, to be clear, I am well aware of the benefits of a classical education. That’s why we spent a small fortune providing one for our kids rather than sending them to the superb public schools in our district. Learning to read, to think, to reason (and to pray) is essential.

    Again, I honestly don’t believe that most Catholic families — even most solid and orthodox Catholic families — will find that their children’s college needs will be met at Wyoming. Your views may vary, and if you are a homeschooling family interested in preparing your sons either for law school or to teach in Catholic high schools or TAC/Dallas/Wyoming/Christendom, and your daughters to be homeschooling moms, Wyoming might be perfect. But it’s hard to see the appeal of a Wyoming for families who don’t fit that description. And that doesn’t make such families any less “Catholic” than those who choose Wyoming.

  35. Brian2 says:

    I had a longish post I was going to put up about the pros/cons of the WCC aproach, from my perspective as a philosophy professor, but chose not to do so for a variety of reasons. Instead I want to pipe in and say that NDMOM has many valid concerns about the great books approach, and they are shared by serious educators committed to the liberal arts and classical texts. This isn’t to say that they are right, but that they shouldn’t be abused or blown off in the name of a commitment to liberal arts. The choice between Great Books and Big-State-University (or Big-Catholic-Lite-University) is a false dilemma. There are schools like University of Dallas that offer a robust core curriculum, an orthodox catholic atmosphere and the opportunity for advanced science and math courses in those majors. This cuts the Gordian knot so to speak. And it is important in these discussions to be aware of all the different approaches, the advantages and disadvantages of each. Well, I;ve got to go teach the Analogy of the Cave.

  36. JohnMa says:

    I currently attend one of those Catholic in name only universities. I really wish we were more Catholic and have been vocal in my opposition of funding the LGBT group on campus and funding the pro-abortion group on campus.

    That being said, college is a place where the young adult is supposed to mature and prepare for life in the real world. From the description above, WCC does a very good job of doing so in its outdoors/team building exercises, its faith building, and in classical education. However, I don’t think they are doing such a good job in other areas.

    You don’t have to have intensive math and science courses but at least make them challenging. Calculus and a lab science would suffice. The no cell phone/internet rule is just crazy. Sure, they can access the internet on the school’s computers but many times you just want to check out something quickly, say an online dictionary, and can’t do so under this policy. How are they going to learn to manage their time and temptations if they don’t do so in college?

    Finally, I hate the argument that “well mom and dad paid for it so…” Many students finance their own higher education. If I am responsible enough to take $250,000 in student loans, which I have had to do, then I am responsible enough to know when I should show up to class.

    In summary, all schools have their positives and their negatives. High school students need to make up their minds about how the balance plays out for them. However, that shouldn’t prevent us from attempting to make all schools better by pointing out just what those negatives are.

  37. Bryan says:

    As a graduate of a formerly Catholic (and that’s with a big capital C) university which is the alma mater of a number of princes of the Church, which, in the rush to be able to stick their noses into the public funding trough, slid into being nothing more than your normal private university that just happened to be run by a religious order, what WCC is providing is what my parents and I thought I was going to experience.

    It turned out vastly different. Not to say it’s not a great University, it’s just not a Catholic one anymore; the presence of the Jesuits and the University Church on campus notwithstanding.

    I received a liberal arts education. Philosophy, theology, literature, logic, languages, art history, writing, science were all part of that mix. It taught me how to THINK, not necessarily how to build a spreadsheet or even a computer (which I learned on my own…).

    Don’t discount that critical skill of being able to exercise the God-given talent of a rounded education in preparing a young person to seek their own path in God’s world. And to not loose their faith in the process? That, in and of itself, is something that you can not be sure of if your short list only includes Georgetown, Fordham, Boston College, etc etc etc.

    Somehow, I’m Jesuit educated, but still Catholic.

  38. JosephMary says:

    I have friends, a young family with 5 children so far, who jsut moved there. The husband is a pro-life doctor and had difficulty finding a niche and he found it there in Lander with the IHS. They just moved in January and so far are very impressed with the town and college.

    I know that at least one of the professors there writes for the HPR and is very highly regarded.

    I have donated myself to the WCC and have the Gregorian Chant CD the students produced for Christmas.

    We will need such stout hearted individuals more than ever in years to come…young people with survival skills and so forth and who are not attached/addicted to all the modern technical things such as cell phones.

  39. NeoCarlist says:

    I’ve been an IT professional for about 27 years now, and from my perspective the technology policy at WCC is fantastic. Sorry folks, I’ve had pleny of experience watching the young folks use of technology in the workplace and in college. Keeping the distraction away from them during the school year is a great idea. Maybe they’ll even learn how to look things up in books. And wonder of wonders, they may learn how to have real friendships and real conversations instead of believing that they are really communicating with each other via Facebook wall postings.

  40. Margaret says:

    Ahh, but JosephMary– the niggling question that is burning at some of our brains is this: could your pro-life doctor have gone to WCC for his undergrad and then gone on to med school? I’m guessing not.

  41. Peco says:

    I think it is a GOOD thing that WCC has the policy that they do regarding cell phones, computers, etc. It would be good to actually read what WCC has to say about their policy. It makes sense. I really don’t think that the students will be so terribly deprived, stunted and harmed by this so “un-modern” and rigid approach. Oh my gosh they won’t be able to text and have instant access to … what?! And I don’t think it has much to do with protecting these young adults from temptation. Check out their rationale.

  42. Peco says:

    Margaret –

    I’m betting he could!

  43. Dave N. says:

    …today’s college kids can not think or display any form of leadership. They are the most greedy, arrogant and pompous people who can not lead or think for themselves and have no concept of anything that doesnt include texting, computer use or verbal communication. Most college grads dont even work in their field of study.

    My hope is that this is the only bitter, sweeping over-generalization I will encounter today (footnotes and spell check, please). As someone who works in a large public university, I encounter many, many fine college students who easily dispel such statements. I’m also extremely happy I don’t have to work for this person’s husband(!)–and not everyone agrees that the entirety of the college experience is about “landing a job.”

    Personally, I wouldn’t send my kids to an unaccredited school in a zillion years, but I guess I can respect parents’ decisions to do otherwise—-if they believe the benefits truly outweigh the lack of Federal student loan availability and the important discipline and oversight that accreditation provides for the school. The accrediting organization WCC is working with (AALE) has a somewhat tainted past and was even suspended from granting new accreditation for a couple of years as I recall. Potential students should also understand that applying for accreditation and having it timely granted are two different things–c.f. the Ave Maria University experience.

    In a brief scan of the website, some other sort of odd things immediately stand out, most notably the lack of a PhD for school’s president and numerous faculty. Is such a degree necessary to be a good instructor or run a college? Not really–but things like this at least give the impression that the school has set the hiring bar pretty low. Not a deal-breaker, but for me this would be a definite red flag that I would ask some pretty vigorous questions about if I were thinking about sending my kids there.

    There are plenty of other great schools out there. Caveat emptor!

  44. Peco says:

    And the accreditation factor hardly means a thing to me, but I certainly do agree with the sentiment of Caveat emptor! And that has been a guiding principle in the selection of college by my daughters (Christendom and WCC). I have mostly disdain for the post graduate education I received at a public university and at a Catholic-in-name-only Jesuit university.

  45. I understand that the accreditation process is on right now.

    In the meantime, I need to add a couple notes.

    The college is striving to form Catholic human beings. They are good young ladies and gentlemen who can think, express their thoughts, and practice – and explain – their faith.

    A great many young people who graduate from fancier schools are not ladies and gentlemen, do not know or practice their faith, and they are so inarticulate they can’t even tell you why.

  46. irishgirl says:

    I never married, so no kids, and consequently never had to agonize what college they were to go to.

    If I were young, I wouldn’t be able to fit into a place like WCC. Why? Because I’m not smart enough!

    This is a place for ‘brainy leader types’, not ‘average’ people like myself!

    I’m not putting the place down, of course not. I’m sure it’s a wonderful place if that’s your bent. And if I had some brains, they probably would not accept an ‘older’ student!

    I get appeals from WCC all the time, but I can’t contribute right now because I’m not working.

  47. Discipulus Humilis says:

    I will read a selection from the reading list, particularly on rhetoric and writing. Thank you for this wonderful post.

  48. roamincatholic says:

    As someone living in WY, and who happens to be the Director of Catechesis at the parish who hosts the Freshmen for their “Winter Outdoor” orientation… let me offer some insight to the criticism.

    First, these students (even as freshmen) are AMAZING. To see them all at Daily Mass is such a blessing. Three students recently took a “pilgrimage” here to the church in Jackson, and I spent the day with them, talking about Catholic Culture, philosophy, “what’s wrong with the world”– and also practical things, like their own vocational discernment. I am so impressed with the maturity of their faith, and how it’s integrated in to their lives.

    Second, WCC recognizes it’s not for everyone. Their new campus plan only intends on housing for 400 students. It’s not trying to be Notre Dame or Boston College (fortunately).
    Also, regarding finances– if they get their accreditation this spring, students will be eligible for Pell Grants and Stafford Loans– it’s the same with any new school… they have to prove their mettle.

    Third, in attending the classes, it’s amazing to see the students debate with each other. Everyone participates, whether it’s Aquinas on the Incarnation, or the significance of the stages of Hell in Dante’s Inferno.

    Last, the technology issue. We’re in Wyoming. Cell service is splotchy as it is (come visit, see how it is!). But more than that, our modern society with all of this technology has the tendency towards isolating people, rather than connecting them. I think it’s wise, because it forces people to become community, rather than disengage from classmates in favor of “virtual reality”. This technology is how liberals join liberal convents on the other side of the world who think just like them. In the past, if they had a religious vocation, it was the community near their hometown they joined. It’s how the Body of Christ is meant to interact, IMHO– rubbing against each other (even in conflict, or perhaps especially so) in order to become HOLY.

    Fr. Z– I was so sad not to be able to make it over the Pass to attend the Missa Cantata you said (or sung, as it were…)– I heard it was phenomenal! Maybe next time, we can arrange to have you stop over in Jackson, as well?

  49. ies0716 says:

    I realize that my former comments may have come off as sounding too harsh toward this college. I agree with 95% of the things they are doing, and I believe that this college will do well in forming young Catholics in their faith. All I was trying to get across is that their approach is not perfect [NEWS FLASH: DOG BITES MAN! FILM AT 11!] and there will be trade-offs associated with choosing a school such as this one. The only area where I would be very critical is their policy about cell phones and the Internet, as I stated in my original post. Technology is a crucial part of the modern world and the Internet contains many wonderful sources of knowledge that shouldn’t be just shoved aside because of the potential that it may be misused. I realize that availability of the Internet is a temptation to waste time or indulge in impurity, but part of becoming an adult is to learn to resist temptation, even if it is present.

  50. ckdexterhaven says:

    I only went to a state school, not a hoity toity school like certain others on here… so take it for what it’s worth.

    PBS’ Frontline had an outstanding show last week called “Digital Nation”, and earlier a show called “Growing up online”. Both shows are sobering in how our kids don’t know hot to communicate or relate to others. Some of us are old fogeys, and we learned how to navigate our Blackberries/Iphones just fine.

    I’d much rather have a kid that knows how to think and reason even if they *only* become a lowly home school mom.

    Plus, there’s also value in spending time out in such a beautiful part of our country. Learning self reliance, and yes firearm management might serve all of us well in the future.

  51. NobisQuoQue says:

    It sounds like WCC is a good school, but I just wanted to reply to those who criticize liberal arts colleges for not offering math or science options. As a graduate of the University of Dallas, I can testify that UD is a good option for those Catholics who want to study science, but who also want to attend a faithful Catholic college. As an example, one of my sisters graduated from UD with a double major in chemistry and biochemistry. She got into her first-choice med school and now works as a pro-life doctor. Another sister majored in physics and now works as an engineer. (She didn’t have to go to grad school, although she certainly was qualified to do so). The FSSP also has an apostolate in Dallas. And UD students are encouraged to spend a semester studying abroad in Rome.

  52. kjmacarthur says:

    The question of accreditation is a bit of a red herring. WCC is a new school. It is not usual, particularly for a private school, to start out accredited. An accrediting body will not accredit something that does not yet exist. The normal practice is for a school to function for a while and then receive accreditation. Some of these “start-ups” affiliate with another school during this period. E.g. Our Lady of Corpus Christi, which is a very small enterprise that is trying to get off the ground, currently operates as a “satellite” of U of St. Thomas in Houston, and their students get course credit through UST.

    I teach (or attempt to do so) at a university and I would like to make two points: 1. I wish I could unplug my students from all the media. Only about one-in-twenty students gets any real benefit from the new technology. For the rest, technology does positive harm. 2. If I could get a job at WCC, I’d be off like a shot.

  53. An American Mother says:

    Girgadis, an English saddle (even a hunting saddle) would be as rare as an Oxbridge vegetarian in Wyoming.

    I did work one summer as a ranch hand in the Sand Hills of Nebraska, also definitely western saddle territory. I used an old cutting saddle, which was a GOOD thing because I rode fence and I looked like the White Knight in Alice with all the rolls of wire, cutters, fence stretcher etc. dangling. But I DID go so far as to bring a French snaffle bit in my luggage, and got my sorrel QH gelding started on basic dressage in my spare time. How the cowboys laughed and laughed — until they realized that once I taught that boy to side pass and turn on the forehand I could open, pivot through, and close a five bar gate without getting out of the saddle. When you’re as short as I am that’s a big benefit, but it’s a time and labor saver for anybody.

    I absolutely agree, exchief, that as Teddy Roosevelt said “the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.” And the most important time may not be the time spent in the saddle, but the time grooming, feeding, clipping, and so forth. A good break from both studying and technology, not to mention the physical exercise.

    And the gun policy is good too!

  54. Peco says:

    “I wish I could unplug my students from all the media. Only about one-in-twenty students gets any real benefit from the new technology. For the rest, technology does positive harm.”

    “Both shows are sobering in how our kids don’t know hot to communicate or relate to others.”

    Finally, it seems like some common sense is coming through with regard to the technology policy at WCC. I’m sure that my daughter will not be harmed by the immensely sensible policy at WCC. The over reliance on all of the superfluous technology tends to be more harmful than the absence of it during college. Believe me, they know how to use the technology!

  55. James Locke says:

    Honestly, on the subject of internet filters, I find that the internet is an essential tool for my schooling. As a Senior at the University of Dallas, we are given quite a bit of liberty. We the students of UD are not here because out parents chose the University for us, we are here because we want to excel! Internet filters simply show that the administration of the school do not trust the students with their own time.

    It annoys me when parents say that they “sent their child to X Univerosyt /College” because it demonstrates that they do not wish to let their children grow on their own.

    At least here at UD we do not have that. I know much of the administration and they tell me that they receive calls from concerned parents who wish to know exactly what their son is doing. This kind of hovering parenting is an insult to their adult child.

    On the note of mandatory classes, UD does have a loose policy of mandatory classes, essentially allowing each professor to do as they wish. They encourage the professors to maintain a reasonable 3 hours of missed classes before being removed from the class. But this looseness allows the young adult be himself and learn to be responsible.

  56. ies0716 says:

    Fr. Z,

    I would like to comment that I am offended by your sarcastic, snarky comments on my last two postings. I am a faithful, TLM-Mass attending Catholic who reads this blog religiously. I thought I was contributing to a fruitful discussion by expressing my reservations about this college. Obviously, my input is not welcome and I will refrain from offering it on this blog in the future.



  57. Peco says:

    By the way – I love the gun policy. They ought to require students to have a concealed carry permit (hmmm … maybe Wyoming doesn’t even require one – that would be even better)instead of having them locked up – what good are they when they are locked up?

  58. Margaret says:

    Just for kicks, I looked up Med School entrance requirements at Stanford (top-tier) and SUNY Upstate (state school.) They both require a full year (i.e. two semesters each) of biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and physics. All must be lab-based classes, and full-time classes in that particular subject (i.e. “survey of science” classes won’t cut it.) The only difference I could find between them is that SUNY didn’t require calculus, unlike Stanford and most other places. So the answer would be, no– a WCC grad could not go on to med school, unless he or she was willing to put in additional years elsewhere to get the pre-reqs done. And even the SUNY school discourages picking up any of this coursework at community college, which means getting admitted, or at least registration privileges at another “real” college or university…

    I fully appreciate that pre-med is just one benchmark in assessing a college. But frankly, we need many more articulate, well-formed, pious Catholics in medicine. We need them to be at the tops of their fields, highly prestigious individuals, so that they can actively shape the ongoing debates on medical ethics, abortion, euthanasia, genetic experimentation, etc. I don’t want to see these questions left in the hands of the materialists and the pagans.

  59. ndmom says:

    “The college is striving to form Catholic human beings. They are good young ladies and gentlemen who can think, express their thoughts, and practice – and explain – their faith.”

    Fr. Z, I’m guessing that all of those young people ARRIVED at Wyoming as young ladies and gentlemen with some serious critical thinking skills, and a deep knowledge of their faith.

    “A great many young people who graduate from fancier schools are not ladies and gentlemen, do not know or practice their faith, and they are so inarticulate they can’t even tell you why.”

    And that is a tragedy, but there are plenty of other graduates of such “fancier schools” who don’t fit that description, and in fact are ladies and gentlemen who both know and practice their faith. They go to daily Mass and adoration, and spend time in prayer each day. They go to confession regularly. They study the classics along with biochemistry, electrical engineering, and econometrics. They run tutoring programs and volunteer at homeless shelters. They pray outside abortion clinics. They are an example, often a heroic one, to their more secular classmates of what it means to be a faithful Catholic living in the world. And some of them go on to become solid Catholic priests and religious. :)

    Colleges can only do so much in the four years they have our students. For better or for worse, the bulk of the credit or blame for how they turn out as adults rests with their parents.

  60. Peco says:

    Margaret – I know doctors that went to Christendom. Maybe they had some hardships getting all the requirements, and, yes, maybe they had to go the extra mile to get in or they had to be more selective about where they went. But I’ll betcha that they are EXACTLY the kind of doctors that you would love to see! I’ll also bet that they are much better off for their education at a place like Christendom or WCC or TAC or Benedictine or Ave Maria or several other faithful orthodox authentic Catholic schools.

  61. NeoCarlist says:

    James Locke, As a senior in college, you’re not an adult. Sorry. I know college kids think they are grownups, I certainly did when I was that age, but you’ll realize in about 10 years that you’re not even close. I will indeed chose a narrow selection of colleges for my children to attend (and UD is one possibility) because I am the parent and responsible for their upbringing in the faith, and responsible for using my 50 years of experience and knowledge to guide them in choosing their path in life and their place in the world. And, frankly, also because I’m writing the checks. The internet is not essential to your schooling. Again, I’m an IT professional certainly not a technophobe. But I find that young people (and not so young) use it as a crutch.

  62. Peco says:

    ndmom – I’m sure there are good Catholics at all those places you mention, but I sure as heck don’t plan to spend my money to send one of my children to a supposedly Catholic institution that actually actively undermines the Faith – and yes it does happen. Most of these supposedly Catholic schools ought to be shut down because of misrepresentation. I think it was Archbishop Sheen who said something like it being better to send a son or daughter to a secular school where they know they will have to stand up and fight for their Faith rather than to a supposedly Catholic school that will actively seek to undermine and rob them of their Faith while masquerading as Catholic and falsely holding themselves up as Catholic.

  63. Sam Schmitt says:

    ndmom –

    Maybe you haven’t met many TAC grads? The ones I know are lawyers, doctors, college professors, a mathematician, professional artists and musicians, a college president, priests and nuns – and yes, teachers and housewives. But more than their occupations, they are thoughtful, articulate, faithful Catholics. They have invested in themselves and their intellectual lives – not just their earning power – and it shows.

    I think it’s too bad that young people will spend their most formative years getting a credential for a job (which they may change at some point) when they are much more than workers! Or rather, their work should fit into a bigger picture or family, friends, church and society, etc. The liberal arts helps to give you that “bigger picture.”

  64. Peco says:

    NeoCarlist – Bingo! I couldn’t have said it better- about the maturity of college kids, choosing colleges, who pays or helps pay for college and the technology policy!!

  65. Francisco Cojuanco says:

    The only real problem I have with the college is that it is unaccredited. While I don’t dispute the doubtless excellent liberal-arts education it offers, in the end, when young Johnny applies to law school or a graduate school, the word “unaccredited” will raise red flags every step of the way. For better or worse, admissions committees will see it as a diploma mill (though I very well know it isn’t, but academics have prejudices, and it’s a phenomenon of “once burned”).

    You want an experience that will count for something? Apply to TAC (I applied but sadly didn’t make it – it’s the UC system for me). They are very much accredited, and my professors speak highly of their scholarship.

    And I agree with the quote from Bishop Sheen, as someone who goes to a secular school (albeit a good one) – it’s easier to fight Satan when he looks like Satan than when he looks like a (dissident) Catholic priest.

  66. introibo says:

    I believe the equestrian program does teach both English and Western disciplines, although their treks are done Western, for practical purposes.

  67. ies0716 says:

    There is a definite lack of charity in these comments toward those who don’t think that the hunker-down, man-the-trenches approach to Catholicism is the best way to approach being a faithful Catholic in the modern world. I have nothing against those who choose to go to a college such as Wyoming Catholic. The curriculum looks amazing and I’ve bookmarked their reading list for my own future reading. However, I do question the wisdom of sending young adults to college in what is essentially a bubble and expecting them to do well in the outside world. I had this same argument when I was in the military with graduates of the US Air Force Academy (I was a ROTC grad), who spent their college years in a very intensive military environment where the curriculum was set and nearly all of their decisions are made for them.

    In response to NeoCarlist, yes, 18-21-year-olds are adults insomuch as they are responsible for their own actions and decisions in life. I’ve definitely matured a lot since I was that age (I am now 27 and married with a child) but I wouldn’t deny my 18-year-old self the right to choose what college I was to attend. If kids are raised well and attend faithful Catholic schools K-12, then they should be able to navigate the mine field of college life without giving up their faith.

    All that being said, I’m still not sure quite what to think about this college. It has many aspects that I like but it has many limitations as well. Luckily I have many years before our oldest goes to college (and maybe in that time Wyoming Catholic will start up an engineering program).

    P.S. Fr. Z – sorry if I snapped at you in an earlier comment. If you disagree with my posts, I’d appreciate if you posted it in a rebuttal instead of just inserting snarky comments, though.

  68. Catholic Dad says:

    Why is the Catholic young lady dressed in skin-tight blue-jeans? Is there a dress-code there?


  69. ndmom says:

    I agree, college is not (or should not be) about getting a credential, but about getting an education. The problem with Wyoming is that it is simply not in the position to provide that education to the many, many students whose academic interests and talents don’t fit within the confines of its very limited (but indeed excellent) curriculum. Margaret made an excellent point about the inability of premed students to meet med school requirements at school like Wyoming, but there are many other examples in fields such as economics, physics, applied mathematics, modern languages, fine arts, engineering, and architecture where students cannot simply hop into a graduate program without several years of serious and rigorous preparatory coursework at the undergraduate level. I agree with Margaret that we need faithful and competent Catholics in ALL professions, at the highest possible levels. That won’t happen if every devout family is convinced that Wyoming and similar schools are the only possible college environments to which they can entrust their children.

  70. NeoCarlist says:

    Francisco, How long was TAC in existence before it was accredited? I’m probably a lot older than you but I remember when it was a new school. Would you have advised the early students there to go somewhere else? How then would the school become accredited with no students? And for an earlier commenter, the lack of PHD status for some of the staff is really only something that another academic could possible care about. PHD’s pretty much only impress other PHD’s.

    But honestly this issue is one that I’m a bit torn about, especially as my oldest approaches college age. I love WCC. We spend a lot of time in Wyoming, and at least one of my kids wants to go to WCC. But while I agree with the validity of the liberal education, and even agree with the idea that college should not be thought of as simply a job training program; the reality of today is that it is. Our sons who don’t have a vocation to the priesthood/religious life will need to be able to support families. Spending $80-90,000 on college only to have to go to grad school to get a marketable skill is a pretty rough road. My experience in the workplace with Catholic liberal arts graduates is that they are pretty unmarketable, and often uprepared for the day to day grind of the workplace. So there’s the dilemna, there isn’t a snowballs chance in hell that I will send my kids to a Notre Dame or any state school, but I don’t know if I’m doing them any favors sending them to a liberal arts school.

  71. ies0716 says:

    Catholic Dad – would you clarify your comment? I don’t find anything immodest about a standard pair of blue jeans. My wife owns many pairs similar to the one the young woman is wearing in the photo. What type of pants would qualify as modest in your eyes?

  72. roamincatholic says:

    A bit more about accreditation, and other things (having used to work in higher ed elsewhere)…

    A new school CANNOT get accredited until several years have passed, with successful operations (otherwise, I could open an accredited school, all by myself, tomorrow– how dumb. It defeats the point of accreditation).

    WCC is now available for “Pre-accreditation,” which allows it access to Title IV funding. It also means their credits are automatically recognized by other schools– should they transfer, or go on to post-grad, their efforts count.

    COST: The financial aid program at WCC is one of the best out there in Catholic private higher ed. Check out the Financial Aid section of the website (especially if you’re parents wanting to send students there, but worried about costs!: “Wyoming Catholic College is committed to making the unique education it offers available to qualified students regardless of their financial need. The College endeavors to meet the needs of each student through its program of financial aid, which includes a workstudy program and need-based scholarships.”

    The Technology Policy: I already addressed this (see above about how technology isolates community), but how many people are tired of the quickly catching on “text language” (Hw UB2day?, for ex.). I have heard horror stories of teachers who find this in essays submitted by students!

    And as for “needing” the Internet to do research… First, the Internet is available, so it’s not like they’re restricted from it. Second, I’d argue you don’t actually need it. With my own theology degree, I ended up buying more out-of-print and used books for my studies, than using all the rubbish online. Second, their own library is pretty amazing. They have all they need… and they can use those library card catalog skills that no-one seems to remember anymore…

    Again, I’d strongly suggest you go visit the campus and see for yourself! While you’re at it, maybe send some of your tithes toward the school so that they can develop that new campus!

  73. Melania says:

    Sounds like a great school. I’d love to have gone there myself.

    And, it doesn’t have to be the answer for all Catholic college students.

  74. Sam Schmitt says:


    I did not mean to imply that a college like WCC is for everyone.

    However, I do think that far too few young people give serious consideration to a liberal arts education because they are afraid it will prevent them from getting a “good (i.e. high-paying) job.” I saw this over and over while teaching at a prep school. They have bought into the myth that graduates of such colleges are somehow locked out of professional schools and are “doomed” to teach high school or being a homschooling mom. But graduates of TAC, for example, have gotten into the most prestigious graduate and professional programs in the country.

    So saying that you want to see Catholics in every profession is begging the question. The real question is which is a better preparation for, say, being a doctor – pre-med in undergrad (with perhaps a smattering of liberal arts) or 4 years of liberal arts and some extra schooling in order to get into med school. Here’s what a prestigious doctor (formerly on the board at TAC) had to say:

    “Q. Unlike the average pre-med student, our graduates have to complete an extra year of pre-med courses before they can be admitted to medical school. Do you think it’s worth it for a student interested in medicine to still come here?

    “A. I certainly do. Pre-med training is a wonderful thing and you can’t get enough of it. But getting an education in the classics enhances one’s whole life. To add a year of schooling so that you can have this experience is, really, a small price to pay.”

    I couldn’t agree more with what Margaret said, that “we need many more articulate, well-formed, pious Catholics in medicine. We need them to be at the tops of their fields, highly prestigious individuals, so that they can actively shape the ongoing debates on medical ethics, abortion, euthanasia, genetic experimentation, etc.” Do you think they will get the training they need for this at med school? Those who “shape the debate” are those well trained in ideas, who can think clearly, argue from principles, write effectively, and are familiar with bigger issues. But these are precisely the kinds of skills a liberal arts education gives you!

    As I said, I know people who have made the sacrifice and done extra years to get ready for programs in astronomy, music, medicine, mathematics, etc. But I don’t think one of them regrets going to TAC first. (Some even went *after* they got their professional degrees.) On the contrary, they all say that their liberal arts education has been of tremendous benefit in their professional lives.

  75. ndmom says:

    I share your concern about the bias against a liberal arts education, as I too battled the myth among the parents of our children’s friends who were all heading off to engineering or business programs. My son is a college sophomore majoring in history who is already tired of the “and what are you going to do with THAT?” comments he gets from family members and his teammates who are mostly majoring in finance or accounting. But I think you minimize the very real difficulties associated with the approach you suggest — that of studying philosophy or “Liberal Arts” at a school like TAC or Wyoming for four years, then incurring the extra expense and time of filling in the educational gaps before embarking on another expensive and time-consuming postgraduate program. It’s not easy to piece together the science, math, language, etc. courses required for many medical or PhD programs. Depending upon where a student lives, his financial situation, and the exact sequence of courses he needs to take, it may take two or more years to satisfy all of the requirements for many PhD programs. (You may not be able to take all of the math courses you need in one semester or even one year, for example). Furthermore, many undergraduate students enter college rather undecided about their intended major, and only discover a passion for microeconomics, or cellular biology, or Russian literature, or whatever, because they were exposed to an outstanding instructor in an introductory course.

    “So saying that you want to see Catholics in every profession is begging the question. The real question is which is a better preparation for, say, being a doctor – pre-med in undergrad (with perhaps a smattering of liberal arts) or 4 years of liberal arts and some extra schooling in order to get into med school.”

    What is the better preparation for, say, getting a PhD in economics? It’s most definitely NOT attending Wyoming and then spending another 2 or 3 years getting an economics degree at another school, unless you have unlimited time and financial resources. Ditto for engineering, the physical sciences, and many other fields. If you want outstanding Catholics in those fields, they will have to come from the graduates of other schools. And if you want your well-formed Catholic children to be free to work in whatever profession to which they feel called, then you have to accept that a school like Wyoming might not be a good choice for them.

  76. Catholic Dad says:

    Modesty is a virtue. Women in skin-tight pants are immodest. Period. It may now be the custom/fashion, but that doesn’t make it right.
    Pius XII in 1957: “The garment must not be evaluated according to the estimation of a decadent or already corrupt society, but according to the aspirations of a society which prizes the dignity and seriousness of its public attire.”
    Thanks for your question.

    [No. No Thanks! You have taken this discussion down a rabbit hole. Enough.]

  77. Sam Schmitt says:


    Yes, I do accept that a school like Wyoming might not be a good choice for them.

    In some sense I was arguing in the abstract – what is the ideal preparation for professional life – specialization all the way through or a broader education (and then specialization)? Of course I understand that not everyone can or is willing to put in more years to get into, say, an graduate economics program. Yes, it is harder, I know that – but if it’s better, I think people should at least consider it. It is possible – I know people who have done it and have benefited immensely, myself included.

    Also, I think it should be kept in mind that professional school – or any professional training – is not “destiny.” I am not working professionally in the field in which I got my graduate degrees – which I hear is not unusual. (I’m working at a non-profit as a researcher / editor / public relations person – is there a degree for that?) In fact, professional school in many ways can be limiting. With my degree in library science I can . . . . work in a library. But I feel that my liberal arts degree has opened me up to ideas and history and philosophy and thinking about life that I did not get in much of my other schooling.

    Another board member at TAC, a successful entrepreneur, was at first wary of his kids going to TAC – how is this practical, he thought. But he later changed his mind:
    “I started thinking, too, that although I had taken all sorts of mathematics and technical courses in college, I certainly wasn’t using any of this knowledge, and frankly, hadn’t thought about that material in ages. And yet, I was able to build a successful business. So I thought, it couldn’t hurt to have my kids get such a classical education. They’d still be able to pursue diverse employment options or advanced education.”

    Dispelling the “liberal arts myth” is more than just convincing people that yes, you can get a job after graduation. A young person should be led to think more broadly about his life, and that his education is a preparation for his life – the only one he’s got – and not just a job.

  78. An American Mother says:

    Gosh, Catholic Dad, what are us ladies supposed to do when we ride or work in the dog yard? If I don’t wear jeans that are tight in the leg, I will get horrific saddle sores – more like burns than abrasions – that take forever to heal. I have actually taken a couple of lessons in a side-saddle, but the saddles are outrageously expensive, have to be custom fit to your horse, and require a wide, straight-backed horse (most Thoroughbreds are neither).

    The young lady’s jeans are fairly snug across the leg, but it looks like from the rise that they are not snug higher up. And she is wearing a long sweatshirt that effectively hides her derriere.

    I don’t see what else she can do, other than wear jeans two sizes too big. And then they might fall down.

  79. ckdexterhaven says:

    ND Mom,
    Apparently there are kids who DO see the value of going to WCC, accredited or not, liberal arts or not. That’s their choice. As with any college that my child(ren) look at for higher education, we will weigh the pros and cons.

    It’s a lot easier to read real concerns from other posters like NeoCarlist, and Sam Schmitt than to read condescending comments like: “And the horse thing would be a pretty hard sell. This looks like an excellent boarding school for grades 9-12, but college?”

    Frankly, WCC looks like it cares about kids’ souls more than ND.

  80. boko fittleworth says:

    How does WCC propose to be a stable institution without a crazed pizza billionaire to lead it?

  81. Henry Edwards says:

    Good points can and have been made on two or more sides of the various educational issues here. As a technical sort who missed (and envies) this kind of liberal education, I’m not quite sure which strokes are best for which folks.

    But, more generally, I wonder whether WCC might be considered some sort of college-level analogue of home-schooling. Only in recent years, after a career in public higher education, have I had considerable contact (in TLM communities) with home-schooled children and youth.

    Perhaps it says as much about me as them to say that I’ve been surprised to find them (as a group) almost uniformly more poised, better adjusted, more out-going, simply more comfortable in their skins than the typical public and Catholic high school kids (as a group) I’ve known better in the past.

    I admit to an ability to spot the “best and brightest” in most any crowd. The home-schooled kids stand out from the pack in this way. So I wonder whether a few years hence the WCC graduates are going to stand out in similar fashion. Not for what they know, but for how they carry and present themselves.

  82. ndmom says:

    Actually, TAC might well be an excellent preparation for a career as an entrepreneur, at least in a nontechnical line of business. I think we agree on the importance of a liberal arts education, and its ultimate utility in a wide variety of professions. Given the realities of today’s employment market, and the increasing specialization in many fields, I guess I would rather ensure that my children had that intense classical education at the secondary rather than the college level. For example, here’s the reading list for my son’s 11th grade humane letters seminar: Homer, Iliad and Odyssey; Aeschylus, Oresteia; Sophocles, Theban plays; Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War; Plato, Meno, Euthyphro, Gorgias, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Republic; Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics; Augustine, Confessions; Athanasius, On the Incarnation. To some extent, he’s already getting the benefit of the sort of educational approach favored by TAC and Wyoming, albeit at a level appropriate for 16 year olds. But, with that background, I would have no problem with him pursuing a more technical course of study in college.

  83. robtbrown says:

    Disclaimer: Bob Carlson, one of the founders of WCC, is a dear friend of many years.

    1. WCC is a Catholic and catholic college, a bit like the four year Integral Program at St Mary’s Moraga, and those of St John’s. I don’t know of any Catholic college that offers a two year Great Books program (a la Univ of Chicago), as a preface to choosing a specific major. At one time KU did with the Pearson Program.

    2. Simply put, WCC is not a school of engineering. A student who wants that should go somewhere else.

    3. I know of no univ offering a degree in engineering that has enough gaps in the curriculum that would allow concurrent study of the classics. Engineering students are in the school of engineering, not the College of Liberals Arts.

    4. Obviously, if a student wants to go to WCC and medical school, it must be made clear that afterward graduation at least a year at a univ studying biology, chemistry, and physics. That, however, is not unique. I had a roommate who studied engineering (his father was dean of the school). After he finished his degree, he took what he still needed of the pre-med courses, then went to medical school.

    5. It is not uncommon for students to change their minds during their univ years. In fact, Garrigou-Lagrange began his univ years studying medicine (the Euro 6 year program).

    I know one man who graduated in engineering, did his Master’s, then went to Law School to be a patent lawyer. A summer of clerking left him bored with the law. After graduating from Law School, he did some required courses, then went to medical school. He is now a sub-specialist, a neuro-opthamologist. Really good guy–and a Catholic.

  84. ies0716 says:

    Catholic Dad,

    Can I ask if you are a member of SSPX? I know several members of SSPX and this is the belief they hold. The Church does not officially teach this, and I am guessing that Fr. Z. does not buy into it either or he wouldn’t have posted a picture of such an “immodestly clad” woman on his blog. Can I ask what you would consider appropriate clothing for a woman? Is any kind of pant/trouser acceptable?

  85. EXCHIEF says:

    Busy day and I haven’t had time to read all of the postings on this. But I have a comment for those that think one cannot go to WCC and on to med school because of the lack of science courses. There are a couple of secular colleges not that far from WCC that do offer those courses. Perhaps a WCC student could double enroll, enjoy the many benefits of WCC’s liberal arts education while taking the science courses at another institution. I’d bet WCC would help facilitate that.

  86. EXCHIEF says:

    One of the things that bothers me about some of the posts is one of the very things I admire about WCC. What bothers me is the focus some have on college being a place to aquire marketable skills vs actually learning concepts, ideas, and principles that are a whole lot more important in terms of being a good Catholic. I graduated from a then Catholic (now catholic) liberal arts college. The ability to reason and think as well as exposure to great books, great theology, and great philosophers has benefitted me tremendously in a profession that is in many respects pretty technical. As I said in an earlier post training (vs education) that came after graduation helped with the specifics I needed to do well in my profession. The Catholic value based, ethical, reasoning education I received as a liberal arts major has had a far greater impact on my LIFE (and career) than all the “marketable skills” courses I have taken since. I would rather my child learn to make good ethical decisions than learn how to make money.

    WCC is not for everyone. For the student who is absolutely certain a career in medicine, engineering, or science is for them they probably ought look elsewhere. For just about everyone else, especially those that want life long impact and life long valid education (again vs training) WCC or one like it makes a great deal of sense..

  87. Supertradmom says:

    I met one of the founders at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula several years ago-a charming and humble man. People fondly call Wyoming College, “TAC with Horses”–not a bad combination of classical education and the outdoor life. As to marketable skills, thinking would be the number one skill taught there and at other classical, Socratic colleges, such as TAC.

    God bless these institutions, the faculty and the students abundantly. These young people will solve part of the problem of apologists mentioned in the other thread today.

  88. Bruce says:

    Catholic Dad,

    I have looked at the picture of the young lady in the jeans and I think you are overeacting.

    “A puritan is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things.”

    G. K. Chesterton

  89. robtbrown says:

    I met one of the founders at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula several years ago-a charming and humble man. People fondly call Wyoming College, “TAC with Horses”—not a bad combination of classical education and the outdoor life. As to marketable skills, thinking would be the number one skill taught there and at other classical, Socratic colleges, such as TAC.
    Comment by Supertradmom

    Bob Carlson, one of the founders of WWC, was a student of John Senior, who was one of the founders of TAC. Despite being a founder, Senior decided to remain at KU.

    I don’t know what IBM’s policy is now, but at one time the company loved to hire Philosophy majors.

  90. I collect wacky start up colleges as a hobby (I have a whole bunch of them on my web browser). If you want a more business-focused small Catholic startup give John Paul the Great a look!


  91. cl00bie says:

    Wyoming is on my wife and my short list for where we’d like to retire. We live in New York and have decided we’d like to move to the United States.

  92. Catholic Dad says:

    An American Mother: The exception does not make the rule. The girl in the photo is neither riding a horse, not running the dogs. Not that TIGHT pants are modest for those activities, either. (Key word is TIGHT.) As you note, a woman should effectively hide her derriere.

    Isaac: I am not a member of the SSPX.
    What is appropriate attire for a woman? Clothing that shows feminine dignity and does not violate the virtue of modesty, and is appropriate for the activity. Obviously, appropriate attire for attending a college lecture is different from appropriate attire for attending equestrian classes.

    Bruce: Being opposed to women in tight jeans does not make one a Puritan. Nice try.

  93. Catholic Dad –

    The girl looks perfectly lovely – and modest…and reflect quite well her feminine dignity.

    What a shame that you would publicly criticize a young Catholic girl who is wearing clothes that are modest and in style!

    Maybe you should stop staring at her???

  94. AJP says:

    WCC is the most unique college I’ve ever heard of and I wish them much future success. I love the mandatory firearms training, although the horsemanship would not be my cup of tea (I’m scared of horses, wussy I know). I’ve always been fascinated by the Great Books curriculum, and wish I had gotten more exposure to it as a high schooler and undergraduate. Although to be fair, my not-exactly-orthodox high school and not-exactly-orthodox Catholic university both provided a pretty decent liberal arts core curriculum. It’s not for everyone, and WCC is not for everyone (and it’s not even for everyone in search of a classical/great books curriculum) but it is great that such an option exists for those who want it.

    There is one thing that puzzles me about schools like WCC, TAC, Christendom, etc. As many have already pointed out, the alumni of such schools can be found in many diverse professions. But it’s also been pointed out (and some personal experience bears this out as well) that many of the alumni, particularly the women, become homeschooling mothers who (presumably) do not hold paying jobs outside the home. I imagine WCC, TAC, and Christendom produce a high number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life as well. Now I think a liberal arts education is pretty good to have if you wish to be a homeschooler, a priest, or a nun. But how do folks manage this when an “affordable” school like WCC is $23k/year? Four years of that and a graduate is looking at a debt of $92,000! That’s a heavy burden for anyone, but how on earth do you pay that off if you’re a stay-at-home mom, a seminarian, or a nun? I’m sure some posters on here are familiar with people who’ve been in this boat – do these colleges offer special scholarships or loan forgiveness for such cases? Practically speaking, how does it work?

  95. Nan says:

    Margaret, plenty of people change majors, change colleges, graduate first then decide on further education and learn they need to go back for additional qualifications before being considered for other programs. Life is full of choices.

  96. ndmom says:

    Not sure about colleges offering debt relief to their graduates who are discerning vocations, but you can check out the Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations (founded by two friends of mine from Virginia). From their website:

    “The Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations is privileged to assist men and women to follow God’s call to service in the Church through a life of consecration. We operate the St. Joseph Student Debt Relief Grant Program for religious life and the St. John Vianney Student Debt Relief Grant Program for the parish priesthood. These grants eliminate the delay many young people encounter as they struggle to pay off their student debts before they can enter religious life. A grant pays candidates’ student loan payments while they are in formation for either religious life or the priesthood.”


  97. Supertradmom says:

    As to trousers for women, the jury is still out in my groups of mom friends. Firstly, it is hard to ride and muck out stables in a skirt and hard to do gardening in a skirt, planting potatoes, etc. Secondly, trousers should not be the norm, but the exception. It is interesting that Padre Pio would not hear Confession of women in slacks and gave a penance, in a now famous story, to a Canadian shop owner to stop selling slacks for ladies.

    In my close friends’ families, the girls wear skirts or dresses unless the chore or sport dictate otherwise. I think we are too blase in our culture about women in slacks. However, as one who used to ride, riding trousers are a must, unless one does side-saddle.

    As to college like WCC being “bubbles”, this is simply not true and not possible. Just as Moses had to take Egypt out of the Israelites over the 40 year desert experience, so too we all, including our kids, carry the good and bad things of our culture around in our beings. A few years of discipline never hurts anyone and prepares them better for the world, rather than continued immersion in the world, which only hardens the heart and dulls the mind.

    Go WCC, TAC, Christendom, Thomas More, etc. The more like those colleges, the better for America.

  98. An American Mother says:

    Catholic Dad, I think you’re being rather extreme.

    It is possible to dress in jeans or slacks without being immodest. Those of us who are physically active (not just on a horse or training dogs) wear them, and utility not provocation is the goal. Immodest pants – i.e. the dreaded spandex or the low-riding skin-tight jeans that you have to zip up with a pair of pliers – are perfectly useless for active women. But in point of fact, skirts can be far more immodest if they fly up or catch on a nail while you’re working, or if you have to climb up on something.

    And this young lady is a pretty good example of modest attire for college students in a rural environment (remember those horses? – she may be going to muck out) with a limited wardrobe and limited access to laundry services. Her jeans are NOT tight (all jeans are snug across the upper leg – how is that immodest?) and she’s wearing a sweatshirt. Should Father Z have denounced her on the spot?

  99. An American Mother says:

    Supertradmom –

    Most side-saddle riders wear a wraparound skirt over a regular pair of breeches and boots (they did this even back in the day. I have an old copy of the classic Riding and Driving for Women and that’s what the author, equestrienne Belle Beach, recommends.) The fixed head will give you a nasty burn on the underside of your right leg otherwise.

    But I always wear skirts or a dress when I’m going “out” – i.e. to church, work (unless we’re moving books or furniture, which does happen sometimes) or anyplace other than a quick dash to the grocery store in between gardening or dogs. Nothing looks frumpier than a lady of a certain age (which I am) in ill-fitting slacks.

    Nobody could say that my camouflage hunting pants with the brush guard fabric on the front and multiple pockets everywhere are immodest . . . but they sure are ugly. And hunting tests are not exactly a near occasion of sin as far as sins against modesty or chastity are concerned. Now, cursing and swearing at your dog . . . that’s another story!

  100. ies0716 says:

    Catholic Dad,

    I agree on your definition of modesty, but perhaps we disagree on its interpretation. I think we are also disagreeing on the meaning of “skin-tight.” I would not classify the jeans this young woman is wearing as skin-tight. Certainly they are form-fitting, but unless you’re talking about extra-baggy-fit (pants-on-the-ground) jeans, nearly all jeans are form-fitting to some extent. I agree that extremely skin-tight jeans that require extreme amounts of force to take on or off would almost always be immodest. The same would be true for extra-low-riding jeans, tops that show cleavage, skimpy bikinis, and many other outfits that our modern society considers appropriate and commonplace. I am aware of Pope Pius XI’s letter on two fingers below the collar bone, covering the elbows, and all the rest, but I think most Catholic scholars would agree that this letter merely expressed the Pope’s opinion and was not a binding teaching of the Magisterium. I am not aware of any writings of John Paul II or Benedict XVI on this matter but would be happy to read them if they exist. Obviously there are certain norms of modesty that are applicable across all times and places, but there are also some norms that change with the times. In ancient Palestine, women were expected to cover their heads in public and not even have their ankles exposed. Certainly no one would expect women today to abide by those norms.

  101. Girgadis says:

    American Mother

    I retired from the Thoroughbreds a few years ago (an occasional cross-country jaunt on an Icelandic pony is the extent of riding for me these days) but I discovered that what works for preventing pressure sores in the elderly will also work for equestrians. Invest in a package of Duoderm and just apply a piece to the areas that are prone to saddle or stirrup rubs. You can cut it to any shape you want.

    I’m guessing that anyone who objects to women in jeans would also object to women on horses. Too bad – it’s a wonderful sport and as WCC says in its description of the equestrian program, horses are the one of the most noble animals created by God. I would love to have gone to such a school.

  102. Supertradmom says:

    Thanks, American Mom, for the explanation on side-saddle attire. I wore jodhpurs when English riding and jeans when Western riding. Jodhpurs are “tight”. I was a lot thinner in those days….sigh.

  103. An American Mother says:

    Girgadis, if I could remember my hunting boots I wouldn’t NEED the Duoderm! As long as I have my good corduroy breeches and my high boots, I’m fine. It’s when I forget to put the boots in the back of the truck and have to wear my mud boots and borrow a pair of chaps that don’t really fit . . . . ouch!

    I’m between horses right now — my long-time T’bred mare became incurably unsound (at age 27), she is now carrying Special Olympics kids around (since all she has to do is walk and trot and she has an angelic temperament, it’s perfect). Here she is in happier days:


    I’ve tried 3-4 new horses but none are ‘the right one’. And with the economy the way it is right now (they’re furloughing folks at my job) and three ravenous Labradors, I really can’t justify another mouth to feed.

    Supertradmom, I was a lot thinner years ago too. My youngest is 18, so I probably have to stop blaming my babies for my avoirdupois someday soon!

  104. Girgadis says:

    American Mother

    She looks like a beauty – black, dark bay? Therapeutic horses aren’t always as pretty as she is. I’ll bet the kids love her.

  105. An American Mother says:

    Thanks, she’s a true black – with a white coronet on the off hind and a tiny crescent moon on her forehead. She washes out to brown in the summertime, though.

    The kids adore her – I wish you could see her eyes, she has what we call a “kind eye”. Very solicitous of the little ones – if she feels them lose their balance she will move over under them, and if somebody gets really tippy she simply comes to a halt without being told. Loves to put her head in your lap – really just a great big pet.

  106. scholastica says:

    Fr. Z,
    Thank you for your commendation of WCC and the time you spent with the students. My daughter is a sophomore at the college and though I’m a bit late commenting as I had to register for the site, I thought it might be beneficial to hear from a parent.

    I have to admit I was a bit surprised at the controversy stirred up by a simple travelogue as I don’t usually frequent blogs. I would like to answer first that WCC is not, nor doesn’t attempt to be the perfect school for every young person. However, for my daughter it is: she loves to read, loves horses, loves the outdoors, loves her faith, and loves the west, not to mention, she rather dislikes math and lab sciences. We used a combination of classical and Charlotte Mason in our homeschool, so this program indeed offered the perfect extension of that study. It is quite challenging though and far from a high school prep. My conversations with her have taken a quantum leap over the last two years as she is becoming very well grounded in theology and philosophy. They had to memorize all of Euclid’s Elements and be able to demonstrate his proofs, she is always writing a paper, and of course she can now speak in Latin. My second daughter was just accepted into the catholic college of her choice and she is the complete opposite: she loves math and science and will do anything to avoid a book. I would have never sent her to WCC! As to the usefulness of such an education to professionals, especially those in the medical field I don’t think it should be underestimated. My husband is a doctor and I’m a nurse and we both wish we had had more liberal arts in our background. In fact, medical school admissions as well as vet school now look very favorably on liberal arts degrees as it shows the person is more well-rounded and not a simple lab geek. These days if you want to get into med school you have a better shot with a liberal arts degree than pre-med. The science classes can always be taken in summer school.

    I was even more surprised at the frequent implication that women intending to homeschool don’t deserve a great education. Are they not the educators of the next generation? What of Chesterton’s oft quoted line, ” How can it be a large thing to teach one subject to many and a small thing to teach the world to one?” (not a direct quote) I do understand the cost issue, however WCC has been very generous in assisting students with scholarships and work study so that their loans can be kept to a minimum. It is a downside that the school is not accredited as that limits many scholarships and loans, but the school does try to make up for that. The students all consider themselves pioneers as indeed they are. After all, there were no roads or trains across the west when it was first settled; sometimes we just have to forge ahead anyway. If someone doesn’t lead, how will others be able to follow?

    Regarding the “bubble” issue, it is true, they are in something of a bubble. I mentioned to my daughter that this Monday is a national holiday, so the package she’s expecting won’t come through. She asked me, “What holiday?”. So, I have to make an effort to keep her up on current events. But, really, every college is a bubble of sorts. You have to ask yourself what sort of bubble do you want your child to spend those last precious years of formation as they are also becoming adults. These students are not completely out of the technological world either. Most of them have facebooks, they can keep cell phones locked up (like the guns) and use them when off campus, they know how to text and a few of the students are downright computer geeks! The difference is that they are learning a balance. It’s required of course, but they each chose this school knowing that is part of the environment, so you can’t say it is forced.

    Lastly, I must comment to catholicdad. Shame on you for drawing such attention to this young lady’s attire with your uncharitable judgment. I’m sure she also has a catholic dad and you might consider a letter of apology to both of them. My daughter told me that this lady went out the next day to buy new jeans, though as everyone else on this site agrees, there was nothing inappropriate in her clothing. Also, I can assure you that this is not what she wore to the lecture. When the school has a guest lecturer such as Fr. Z it is always in conjunction with a feast day celebration. The entire school attends a mass in honor of the day, there is a formal dinner, and then the lecture. Sunday dress code is in effect which means that the men wear coat/tie and the women wear a skirt/blouse or dress. Dress jeans that are not too tight are allowed as a part of the everyday dress code because the school understands they must be relevant to their culture. They are in Wyoming! Jeans are relevant! As a woman and mother, I too have struggled with this issue and have been through periods where I almost exclusively wore skirts. However, I live in the country now and find jeans very practical. As I was evolving though, it was the idea that if we are to be Christians in the world, not of the world, but for the world, we need to be relevant to our culture and attractive to it. How else can we make Christ relevant and attractive to the world? St. Francis de Sales exhorted christians to “be the most attractive persons in the room, barring frivolity”. (Introduction to the Devout Life). Bl. Zelie Martin and St. Gianna Molla both enjoyed putting together their family’s wardrobes in attractive styles. St. Padre Pio is wonderful of course and in his day I’m not surprised at his action, but have you ever seen the image of St. Gianna in slacks?
    In Beyond the Bird and the Bees, Gregory Popcak has a wonderful line which I shared with my daughter at a younger age when she was tending to be judgmental towards others dress: Regardless of how another person dresses, it is not your job or your children’s job to think lewd thoughts or even judgmental thoughts about them. To do so is immodest.

    Thank you again Father and to the many who have offered their support for WCC. As an emerging school it has many trials and challenges to face and would be very much assisted by your prayer and financial gifts as possible. I would recommend the CD of the Stations put together last year by the schola. I am continually astounded at the abilities of these students.

    In the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

  107. ies0716 says:

    Scholastica – excellent post. I think you did an outstanding job of expressing the thoughts that many of us have tried to express in this forum. I also apologize if I’ve come across as overly hostile toward WCC in any of my posts. Overall, this looks like an outstanding school and if any of our children ever decide to go there, my wife and I will support them 100% (even though neither of us are remotely “outdoors-y” ourselves). I was simply trying to respond to a vibe I got from many posts here that implied that Catholic parents must send their children to schools such as this one in order to be sufficiently Catholic. I also totally agree with your statement that we Catholics must be relevant to our culture. I consider myself to be a traditionalist Catholic, but I don’t think that we need to stop the clock in the 1950s and do everything exactly the way it was done back then (no TV, no cell phones, no Internet, no jeans) forever and ever. I can see the temptation toward this view but the simple truth is that the last 40 years have brought positive changes in the world as well as negative. It is our job as faithful Catholics to discern the good from the bad and live our lives in a way that preserves our values and identity but also engages the modern world for the purpose of evangelizing it!

  108. ALL: I just discovered a few comments here which followed a digression that went beyond absurd. I deleted them.

    Discussion of clothing can take place in some other place. I have closed this rabbit hole.

  109. Ed the Roman says:

    Looks like a great school. And that deleted fiber of this thread is what “Honi soit qui mal y pense” was coined for.

  110. prexpatrium says:

    Father Cook, WCC president, shared with parents the objectives of the school at a parent orientation. 1) Develop the habit of mastering complex systems; 2) Develop the ability to think and communicate; 3) Form the student’s will in order to choose Catholic in everything they do; 4) Lure the student into an encounter with the living Christ. These objectives seem so basic as to raise into question the need for higher education to achieve them. However, my 25-year experience as a husband, father and corporate banker indicates otherwise.

    I do not speak for Father Cook but I have concluded that these are the skills for temporal and everlasting “success”. Regarding the first two objectives I say this. In my corporate career almost all learning was done on the job. Market conditions, industry practices, and nomenclature change too quickly to be included in textbooks for a college class. Success is better aided by one’s ability to assimilate and apply quickly new job specific information from different disciplines. Success is also aided by one’s ability to ascertain the why? of things in order to be able to apply the how? under different situations and circumstances. I have on many occasions witnessed trained personnel become indecisive and ineffective because the situation had changed. This experience gives credence to a quote I can’t place right now, but I paraphrase – the world will always be in need of well-trained technicians, but they likely will always be working for those with a liberal education. I now understand why many MBA and medical programs want the liberally educated. Lastly on the temporal front, success requires the ability to persuade in writing, through an oral presentation. I had the privilege of attending a graduate business program at a top 20 school, with highly educated engineers, physicists, and business majors for whom communicating clearly was apparently not so easy. This fact was impeding their move into higher salaried management positions. I made the same observation about colleagues making multi-million dollar loan approval presentations.

    Objectives 3 & 4 relate to the more “lighthearted” matter of heaven or hell. I noticed that Father Cook did not mention as objectives the ability to become horse masters or intellectuals with an acute ability to ponder ideas for their own sake. The horse is a tool to aid the student in experiencing (knowing in the fullest sense) God’s book of creation, and a humble exercise in submitting to powers beyond their control (or freeze to death.) Managing the horse also teaches them, through a proxy, how to master their own emotions to aid in the practice of virtue. The rest of the curriculum teaches them to appreciate the good, the true and the beautiful. It is about fostering a closer relationship with Christ, the fountain that allows us to be purposeful husbands, fathers, citizens, and businessmen. If you are able to completely accomplish this with your children at home then God has blessed you. Thank God we have WCC for the rest of us.

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