Source: Boston Globe
By Globe Staff
Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline has been placed on probation following concerns about the school’s financial resources and planning, according to the school and an accreditor.
In a joint statement Thursday, the Greek Orthodox school and the New England Commission of Higher Education said the commission voted in November to place the college on probation for two years.
According to the statement, the “Commission found that Hellenic College, Inc. does not now meet the Commission’s standards on Institutional Resources and Planning and Evaluation. The Commission also issued a Notation to the College that it is in danger of not meeting the standards on Organization and Governance and The Academic Program.”
The commission will monitor conditions at the school during its probationary period, and the college will maintain its accreditation during that time, with continued “eligibility for federal funding, including student financial aid,” the statement said.
New Hellenic President George M. Cantonis said in the statement that things are improving at the school.
“We want to reassure our students, faculty, staff, donors and larger community that under our new leadership, Hellenic College Holy Cross is taking appropriate action to address NECHE’s recommendations,” Cantonis said. “We are implementing plans to increase giving and improve revenue streams, simplify and make effective our governance structure and focus our degree programs. Our financial situation is improving.”
Cantonis said the college “ended Fiscal Year 2019 with an excess of revenue over expenses from operations and we are currently operating a balanced budget. We look forward to working with NECHE to address the areas of probation and notation expeditiously and continue our tradition of developing the best clergy and lay leaders.”
The Globe reported in August that the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education noted last spring that the college had run an operating deficit for nearly eight years, borrowed money from its endowment, and suffered from declining enrollment and poor planning. Like many small colleges, Hellenic, which enrolls just over 154 students, relies heavily on tuition and suffers when enrollment declines.
Religious schools in the Northeast are among those that have seen the most precipitous drop in enrollment over the past decade.
Hellenic describes its mission on its website.
“Hellenic College’s curricula in the liberal arts and pre-professional studies stimulate students’ minds while preparing them for careers in which they can serve both society and the Church,” the site says. “Whether in education, human services, business, law, or ministry, our graduates embody their faith and enrich our world through their other-directed vocations.”
Deirdre Fernandes of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.
Travis Andersen can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
This seems to be a chronic problem at HC/HC. Wouldn’t the Church be better served if the experiment known as Hellenic College was finally phased out? Is a four-year liberal arts college with a total enrollment of 154 (fewer than 40 per class-year) really viable?
Serious consideration should be given to merging Holy Cross with St. Vladimir’s to create a world class theological school that will train the clergy the Church in America needs now and in the future.
George: You are correct that HC/HC has had “issues” for many years. Revolving door of Presidents and money issues; not to mention the INSISTENCE from overseas that GREEK be taught & used. People must ask, “Why all the mismanagement? Where did the money go?”
As far as St. Vladimir’s and HC/HC merging, it won’t happen. The schools have had and will continue to have faculty exchanges, but to merge is another story. HC/HC insists on its Greek identity; SVS has a TOTAL Pan-Orthodox perspective and attracts many converts.
HC/HC must solve its “issues” and become a stable institution. Then, they must decide “WHO” they really are. Are they an ethnocentric entity first or an Orthodox theological institution of higher learning for the REAL American Church?
In the late 1960’s when I attended Hellenic College, the Rev. Dr. Vaporis opined that Hellenic College should be closed down and instead Holy Cross concentrate its resources in the development of a first class graduate school in Theology, History, etc. specializing on the Orthodox peoples and cultures. Such an approach could produce a unique and outstanding institution to the American academic landscape. Of course, ethnic tribalism prevented this idea from serious consideration. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
We had a chance and blew it. Due to ethnocentricity, we lag so far behind the Catholics. Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, etc. We love to take shots at them, yet where are our colleges, our universities, our hospitals, etc.? We have done nothing to become part of the fabric of this wonderful country, yet we love to expound as to how these others do not have the true faith. Yet, if we say that one way of demonstrating our faith is to use it to assist others, then we get a fail grade. We love to proudly say, “that is the church we do no got to”…yet we do nothing, not a thing to spread the faith. For example, even the Armenians put us to shame, just look at their weekly eastern diocese e-newsletter……… come on Greeks, make this a world-class college or fold up the tent. Come on Antiochians create a wing at St. Jude’s or fold your tent. Come on Russians, ROCOR, OCA, Moscow Exarchate: join together into one American-Russian, yes American-Russian, not Russian-American, Church, etc.
It makes good sense to combine St. Vlad’s, St Tikhon’s, Holy Cross, St. Nerses, and Holy Trinity and create one world-class seminary to rival Harvard, Yale, or Princeton. None of our faculty, I say none, since the days of Meyendorff, Schmemann, or Florovosky has had a world-class reputation or has been a household name, none at all. Time to get with it people; we are going against the gospel parable and hiding our talents under a rock. For this, I am sad and shed a tear.
We are either the problem or the solution, and sadly, I see no solution on the horizon. Therefore we, ourselves, must be the problem; and if so, I must ask the question WWJD regarding our lack of faith, lack of Christian love, lack of Christian outreach, lack of Christian stewardship. In fact, the Russian Church in Jerusalem is doing more for the people there than we are doing here. As Pogo said, we have found the enemy, and it is us. May God save us all!