Colleges are like miniature worlds, teeming with their own life, diversity, and atmospheres. In this country, schools are a slice of our melting pot society with diversity and pluralism in everything from race to religion. In light of this, colleges and universities, as well as other stakeholders in the future of our country, spearhead various centers and initiatives. In terms of religion, according to Pew Research, Christianity makes up 70 percent of the total population, with about 21 percent of the total who identify as Catholics. Various Christian groups and centers are active on campuses, so we at Best College Reviews decided to look specifically at Catholic Newman Centers. These centers are named after the famous 19th-century English intellectual and convert, John Henry Newman, whose work The Idea of a University is still studied in schools around the world today. Newman Centers function as a place for young Catholics to further religious ideals and goals through prayer, study, religious services, community service, and relationship building activities. The information used for the ranking is taken from school’s Newman Center websites and The Newman Connection an online institute dedicated to helping educate and encourage young Catholics in their faith. Statistics on student populations were gathered from The Newman Connection.
The Newman Centers on this list were chosen based on the following criteria:
- The Newman Center offers regular Mass times during the week.
- The Newman Center regularly offers Eucharistic Adoration, Confession, and other opportunities for spiritual growth.
- The Newman Center offers regular community-building events.
- The college must have a Catholic population of greater than 100 students.
- Percentage of Catholic students, relationship with the local parish, and specific site amenities was also taken into account.
50. Boise State University – St. Paul’s Catholic Student Center
The Newman Club at Boise Junior College was founded in 1948 by Fr. Peplinski. Throughout the years, both the College and the Newman Center grew into what they are today, a State University, and a thriving Newman Center complete with a chapel and student center. Today, the St. Paul’s Catholic Student Center also serves as a stable community consisting of Boise State University faculty, staff, alumni, and friends in the region who assist in the mission of St. Paul’s. They provide consultation and support for the students of the University. The Newman Center offers worship, study, social activities, and service to encourage and assist in the spiritual growth and development of the whole person.
49. Georgia College and State University – Campus Catholics at GCSU
Campus Catholics at Georgia College and State University is a dynamic organization that encourages students to show initiative and seeks to remind them of their responsibility to make their faith the driving force of their daily lives in their personal, family, educational, professional, and social environments. The group accomplishes this mission by providing daily Mass, regular Confession and Adoration times, as well as weekly social events, movie nights, retreats, parties, traveling opportunities, and all-around fun. Sponsored by Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Campus Catholics at GCSU is a top-notch place for Catholic students to find a home away from home.
48. Columbia University in New York – Columbia Catholic Ministry
Columbia Catholic Ministry hosts a variety of events each week, including Sunday Mass and Supper, weekly Holy Hour and cookie baking social, and Confession. Because Columbia is located in the heart of New York City, there are numerous of off-campus opportunities for students. The group travels to Harlem to work with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity on Friday mornings, serving soup in the soup kitchen, and they travel to the Upper East Side each month for Catholic Underground, a special Holy Hour led by Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. Participating in these unique service opportunities play an integral part of the Catholic student life at Columbia University in New York.
47. Murray State University – Murray State Newman House
This quote found on the Murray State Newman House homepage captures the essence of their mission: “The world does not need what you have, but who you are.” The Murray State Newman House functions mainly to help students grow academically, emotionally, and socially. There is a very small percentage of Catholics on campus (10 percent) and even less in the larger community (2 percent). With this in mind, and working with the local St. Leo’s Catholic Church, students serve the campus and community, engage in Bible studies, host fun events, attend lectures or spend quality time with fellow Catholics. St. Leo’s has Mass everyday, but Tuesday and there are opportunities for engaging in ministries such as retreats at the local Camp Bear Creek. There is a specific Mass for students on Sunday nights followed by a free-dinner where all are welcome. Recently, there has been great excitement at the potential at MSU’s Newman House, with FOCUS missionaries coming in light of a grant of $100,000 from Catholic Extension.
46. Indiana University – St. Paul Catholic Newman Center
The St. Paul Catholic Newman Center at Indiana University is known for being especially open to incoming freshman, sponsoring numerous events, just for freshman including: freshman hang-out, freshman cookout, freshman escape retreat, and several others. Not only does the Newman Center offer a warm welcome to these new faces on campus, the center strives to serve the students and faculty at Indiana University by providing warm environment and a place to call home. This vibrant community of committed Catholics exists to help students deepen their faith during their time at Indiana University.
45. Colorado State University – Saint John XXIII Catholic Center
Students at Colorado State University can participate in Ram Catholic, which is the Catholic Campus Ministry organization of Saint John XXIII Catholic Center. The Center provides a prayerful, social, and joyful home for students to discover their faith; students come together to worship, receive the Sacraments, explore the Word of God, discern vocations, attend retreats, and form lasting friendships. Ram Catholic provides ample opportunities and events, one notable ministry is the Aggiornamento Institute, which hosts respected Catholic scholars, faith formation classes, and provides professional and vocational mentorship for students.
44. Drake University – St. Catherine Catholic Newman Center
All Drake University students are welcome and are not required to be Catholic in order to attend and participate in St. Catherine Catholic Newman Center sponsored events. In a relaxed atmosphere, students build community, are invited to share faith and retreat experiences and are challenged to reach out in service to others in the local community while addressing issues of justice. The Center is a place to worship and grow in faith as well as a place to study and meet new friends; there is everything from movie nights and study sessions to various service programs. Approximately 20 percent of Drake University students identify as Catholics; these students, along with anyone who is interested, will find a “home away from home” at the St. Catherine Catholic Newman Center.
43. Susquehanna University – Catholic Campus Ministry
Susquehanna University is a small private liberal-arts school in central Pennsylvania, about 50 miles from Harrisburg. There are about 2400 students who attend, of whom around 800 identify as Catholic. The Catholic Campus Ministry at Susquehanna University (CCM) oversees service, activities, events, and the recently built Newman Center. The Newman Center offers a great place to hang out with friends and build life-long relationships. As for activities, Catholics at SU have much to choose from and getting involved is easy: serve at Elijah’s Soup Kitchen, SU S.E.R.V.E., St. Pius X (the local Church and partner of CCM at SU), Haven Ministries, or a LIFETEEN volunteer to name a few. Faith formation is a focus with a weekly Sunday Mass and free dinner, as well as service in the liturgy; the CCM website also relates fellowship and fun activities such as ice-skating and bowling.
42. Baylor University – St. Peter Catholic Student Center
St. Peter Catholic Student Center is a place where Baylor students can come to find home and community. Located on the south side of the Baylor campus, the center is open from 10 am to 11 pm on the weekdays, Sundays, and most Saturdays. The goal of the St. Peter Catholic Student Center provides a place on campus where Catholics can participate in campus events and promote their faith while growing in friendship with each other. The center is a place where students can study, relax, eat, and hang out. In addition to being a place for fellowship, there are opportunities for service including “SPROUT”, which is a college-based retreat outreach team that aims to serve local parishes by organizing and executing spiritual retreats for high school and junior high students. Not only does this program reach the surrounding community, but it also gives college students the chance to serve as role models within.
41. George Mason University – St. Robert Bellarmine Chapel
George Mason University is home to St. Robert Bellarmine Chapel and Catholic Student Center, located within an easy walking distance of campus. The lower level of the facility is composed of a gathering hall, kitchen, lounge, library, and makes for a comfortable environment with wireless internet, couches, and gas fireplaces. Activities hosted by Catholic Campus Ministry includes daily Masses, small group Bible studies, retreats, social events, prayer opportunities, guest speakers, volunteer opportunities, and more. Whether students are looking to find community, grow in their faith, or a just a safe place to study, St. Robert Bellarmine Chapel delivers.
40. Eastern Illinois University – EIU Catholic Newman Center
The door is open to everyone at the Eastern Illinois University Catholic Newman Center. Founded in the fall of 1939 as a place for the Catholic students of Eastern Illinois Teacher’s College, Mrs. Dorothee Coleman opened her home to the thirteen students who called themselves the Catholic Study Club. Today, 36 percent of Eastern Illinois students identify themselves as Catholic and the group has grown into the EIU Catholic Newman Center. The facilities include a 5,000 square-foot chapel, a large gathering space, the Moriarty Lounge, a basement lounge, library, sand volleyball court, picnic area, fire pit, and Marian Shrine. The building is open 24-hours, and anyone may stop by at any time to pray, study, hang out, or raid the fridge for a snack.
39. Bloomsburg University – Catholic Campus Ministry at Bloomsburg University
The Newman House is the home of Catholic Campus Ministry (CCM) at Bloomsburg University. Open from 9 am to 10 pm seven days, the Newman House is the perfect place to study, pray, have a cup of coffee, take a break, watch TV, or check out video games. The goal of the Newman House is to be a home away from home for students. It includes a chapel for Mass and prayer, a fully equipped kitchen, a dining room, a living room with a TV, a game room, and a space for study groups. Catholic or not, everyone is always welcome at the Newman House. In addition to this fantastic facility, CCM provides numerous social, service, and educational activities for students looking to deepen their Catholic faith.
38. Minnesota State University – St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center
The St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center sponsors many different organizations and programs that allow the students of Minnesota State University to learn about their faith, minister to the local community, attend retreats, serve others through charitable work, and much more. Students will be challenged in their faith through many opportunities for Eucharistic adoration, Sacramental preparation, participating in the liturgy and music, and other forms of Catholic devotion and prayers. The groups also take several trips during the year including a mission trip to Mexico and a pilgrimage to Rome. The St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center is an important aspect of student life at Minnesota State University.
37. Eastern Michigan University – Holy Trinity Student Center
The goal of the Holy Trinity Student Center at Eastern Michigan University is “to know Jesus Christ and to make Him known. We seek a deeper conversion to Truth, Beauty, and Goodness as we offer a peaceful and prayerful environment to grow in our faith. We’re not against anybody – we’re for everybody. Come hang out.” This welcoming statement makes it clear that this Newman Center is set to serve the student population at Eastern Michigan. Through numerous events, both contemplative and fun, the Holy Trinity Student Center offers something for everyone. Notable events include Daily Mass, Bible Studies, parties, prayer hours, Confession, dinners, and many other events.
36. Cornell University – Cornell Catholic Community
Cornell Catholic Community is one of the most vibrant communities on the list. With a plethora of retreats, events, opportunities to receive the Sacraments, and special care for first-year students, this community serves the Catholic population at Cornell University. The vision of the community expresses a desire for students to form a loving, accepting, challenging, and supportive faith community, to study, learn, and grow in knowledge and understanding of their faith, to live based on virtue, to educate for justice and service, to promote personal balance, integrity, and authenticity, and to develop into creative and loving leaders. The group strives to live up to this noble vision and supports students during their college years at Cornell.
35. Kansas State University – St. Isidore’s Catholic Student Center
Miniature golf, ice skating, capture the flag, bowling, ultimate Frisbee, picnics, and parties – these are all activities that are available for students through St. Isidore’s Catholic Student Center at Kansas State University. These enjoyable activities are complimented by the plethora of spiritual activities that St. Isidore’s provides through Bible study, RCIA classes, retreats, praise and worship, counseling, marriage preparation, educational courses, and vocational discernment. These services and more are a central part of what St. Isidore’s Catholic Student Center has to offer. Although St. Isidore’s is primarily for Catholic students, faculty, and staff of Kansas State University, the programs and activities are open to the entire community.
34. Ithaca College – Catholic Community at Ithaca College
The mission of the Catholic Community at Ithaca College is to foster awareness of God’s presence, build community, develop love for creation, and integrate faith, justice and service into everyday life. Approximately half of Ithaca College students identify as Catholic. Every Thursday night, students may attend Confession, followed by a fireside Mass around the fireplace of Muller Chapel, and then top-off the night with a home cooked meal, and sometimes a community program or activity. In addition to these Thursday night gatherings, the Catholic Community offers lunches, parties, retreats, potlucks, and various gatherings. Participating in this dynamic community is a great way for students to find community, build their faith, and support one another while receiving an Ithaca College education.
33. Truman State University – Catholic Newman Center
In 1955, the Kirksville Catholic Newman Center was organized at what was then Kirksville State Teacher’s College. Twenty-four years later, in 1979, the Newman Center acquired their first Catholic student house, “Cornerstone.” Over the years, the group has continued to grow and expand into an important part of campus life at Truman State University. Their vision statement reads, “We, as a Catholic collegiate community, celebrate God with all people by providing numerous opportunities that encourage fellowship and nurture spiritual growth.” This community lives up to the vision by offering regular Mass times, opportunities for social service, as well as numerous social events geared towards comradery amongst the members of the Newman Center.
32. Louisiana Tech University – Catholic Student Center, St. Thomas Aquinas Parish
The Catholic Student Center at Louisiana Tech University is uniquely Catholic, but students of any faith background are welcome to participate in activities at the center. The Center is equipped with a great room with ping pong, foosball, pool, chairs and tables, a student lounge with fireplace, television, video games, couches and piano, a kitchen, library, parish and campus ministry staff, a sound system, and free internet access throughout the building. Students use this center as a place to study, learn, find community, and just hang out with other Catholic students. The parish works hard to provide Masses at times that are conducive to a college student’s schedule, ensuring access to the Sacraments.
31. Georgia Southern University – St. Matthew Parish and Newman Center
Everyone is welcome to participate in the weekly prayer, outreach, and social activities hosted by Catholic Eagles, the Catholic Newman Association at Georgia Southern University. Their mission says, “Catholic Eagles promote interest in the worship and teachings of the Catholic Church. We seek to be disciples of Christ and share His love with all. We desire to enlighten and bond with fellow Christians in the pursuit of growth in faith, friendship, leadership, and service to others.” The group lives up to this mission through regular Mass and participation in the Sacraments, social activities, and a strong community bond between students and the local parish of St. Matthew’s in Statesboro, Georgia.
30. Trine University – Trine Newman Catholic Fellowship
Although Trine Newman Catholic Fellowship is focused on Catholics, they are intentional about being inviting to all. The group is open to anyone that is interested in learning more about God and the Catholic Church. Students can further their faith in God and their fellow students through fellowship, discussions, prayers, Bible studies, retreats, and other events. Part of the group’s mission includes becoming stronger Christians by being faithful, open-minded, loving, and welcoming. Students involved in this dynamic group will find opportunities for community through concerts, pizza nights, and service projects. Trine University is a small school, with approximately 2,000 students, 250 of which identify as Catholic.
29. Bethel College – Catholics at Bethel
Open to all Bethel students regardless of their faith tradition and beliefs, the Catholic Campus Ministry at Bethel College seeks to bring students closer to each other and to God through prayer, fellowship, conversation, service, Sacraments, faith and leadership experiences, and fun. The group offers “Catholic lunch hour,” lectio divina Bible study, carpools to Mass, lunch and discussion with visiting Bishops, and other events; they are supported by the Little Flower parish. Bethel College is a Christian liberal arts college located in Mishawaka, Indiana.
28. Grove City College- Newman Club
The Newman Club at Grove City College is dedicated to educating students of all faith traditions who are interested in the Catholic faith. Their desire is to answer questions from all students so that they may have an authentic understanding of the Catholic Church and her teachings. In addition to providing answers for inquiring students, the Newman Club offers fellowship and community for Catholics on campus. They offer regular Mass and rides to Mass, book clubs, dinners, social events, and regular meetings. The Newman Club at Grove City College is affiliated with the Church of the Beloved Disciple in Grove City, which is about a mile outside of town.
27. Ferris State University – Catholic Campus Ministry
The Catholic Campus Ministry at Ferris State University provides many opportunities for community, worship, and friendship for the students. Every Sunday during the school year, a meal is prepared for the college students by the parishioners of St. Mary and St. Paul Church. This ministry has been occurring for many years to the enjoyment of the students. The Newman Center is a group of students who come together to worship and pray as well as support the community through service and volunteer work. In addition to these events, college students are encouraged to be involved in the parish through liturgical ministry. The relationship between the local parish and the students of Ferris State University is complimentary and worthy of emulation.
26. Central Michigan University – St. Mary’s University Parish
The welcoming page on St. Mary’s University Parish’s website reads, “We want you to know that we’re on this campus to help you, wherever you’re at in your walk with Christ. And even if you’re not sure, or have been hurt in the past, there are people here to help you every step of the way… We want you to challenge yourself, get involved, serve and join in fellowship with people just like you. St. Mary’s is more than four walls and an altar. Somewhere between Bible studies, Adoration, retreats, and studying for exams until 2 a.m. you will not only find a home, but a chance to rest in God and develop a relationship greater and deeper than you could have ever thought possible.” This beautiful invitation sums up the heart of the Newman Center at Central Michigan University, a place where every student, regardless of where they are at in life, can find a home.
25. Kennesaw State University – The Catholic Center
The goal of the Catholic Center at Kennesaw State University is to be a “home away from home.” By creating a coffee shop atmosphere where students can out with other people of faith, find a place to study, or just listen to music, this student organization is an important part of life at Kennesaw State University. The atmosphere at the Catholic Center is so relaxing, it is sometimes referred to as the “Catholic Spa.” Students will enjoy weekly faith and worship nights, bi-annual retreats, dances, socials and other events in addition to just spending time hanging out in community at the Center.
24. Clarkson University – Newman Club
The primary goal of the Newman Club at Clarkson University is to help students in their faith through Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, retreats, special devotions, and through serving the needy. The secondary goal is to bring students into fellowship with each other through dinners, parties, games, social events, movies, and much more. The Newman Club is a place where friendships are formed and memories are made. There is no doubt about it; the Newman Club is an important part of campus life at Clarkson University. Clarkson University was founded in 1896 and is a private research university located in Potsdam, New York.
23. Michigan State University – St. John Student Center
The St. John Student Center at Michigan State University is a Catholic Church in a university community that seeks to join students of all ages, from all walks of life and from all corners of the world. Their vision states, “As a Eucharistic people, we nurture spiritual growth through worship, evangelization, stewardship, education, service, justice, outreach and hospitality.” The Center reaches the 12,000 students who identify as Catholic at Michigan State as well as others, by providing education, retreats, service projects, community events, and regular access to the Sacraments. Catholic students will grow in their faith and enjoy a vibrant Catholic community during their time at Michigan State through the St. John Student Center.
22. Kutztown University – St. Christopher Catholic Newman Center
The welcoming statement from the St. Christopher Catholic Newman Center sums up the nature of this student group – welcoming, open, friendly, and encouraging students in their faith and everyday lives.
“The Catholic Campus Ministry at Kutztown University is committed to the needs of the students, faculty and staff. Using universal principles of belief in God and growing in our personal and communitarian spirituality, we utilize our gifts of practical tools for leading a joyous, abundant and peaceful life on this earth. Wherever you may be on your spiritual path, Saint Christopher is a place where you will find a supportive environment with opportunities for personal growth. We aspire to strengthen the confidence of each person at every point in their life, encouraging a personal and thorough knowledge of and active service in our church and community.”
21. Ball State University – St. Francis Newman Center
The staff of St. Francis of Assisi University Parish and Newman Center invites all students, faculty, and staff of Ball State University to experience the Catholic Church through the celebration of the Sacraments, service, intellectual formation, retreats, social gatherings, and other forms of outreach. There is always something going on at the Newman Center, from a final exams breakfast to parties, to special Masses and service projects, there are ample opportunities for students looking to find community and deepen their Catholic faith. Ball State University was established in 1918 and is a public research university located in Muncie, Indiana.
20. The University of Utah – St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center
The St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center at the University of Utah offers intellectually challenging exhortations by Dominican Friars, backpacking in Utah’s renowned National Parks, and regular access to the Sacraments. There is no doubt that this center exists to help Catholic students, of which there are approximately 4,500 who identify as Catholic, grow fully as people, in mind, body, and spirit during their time the University of Utah. There are two Masses offered every Sunday as well as a Sunday meal, the Liturgy of the Hours on campus every Tuesday morning, freshman group, Candlelight service, Frassati Nights, small groups, service trips, outdoor events, prayer vigils, and Kate’s Café, a place to hang out, study, and fellowship. The St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center is a flourishing student group at the University of Utah.
19. Florida State University – Catholic Student Union Center
There is no doubt about it, the Catholic Student Union Center at Florida State University is thriving. The groups gathers every Wednesday evening in the social hall of the Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More, they have their own student Mass every Sunday in the main church followed by an ice cream social, they go on trips and have events like retreats, river float trips, hikes, Bible studies, intramural sports, costume parties, Christmas parties, and more. Through daily access to the Sacraments, Catholic students have the opportunity to grow in their faith during the formative college years. Students will flourish in this group through a combination of fun, spiritual, and community activities.
18. University of Akron – Newman Catholic Campus Ministry
Located in the Diocese of Cleveland, the mission of the Newman Center at Akron is to help form Catholic young men and women in a strong Catholic identity. This is accomplished through participation in the Sacraments, education, service in peace and justice issues, leadership development, and healthy relationships. Since 1936, Akron Newman, as it is called on their website, has helped thousands of young Catholics become good citizens, students, and human beings. In seeking social engagement with other young Catholics, every Wednesday night there is a home-cooked meal and fun activity. Spiritual opportunities abound with three parishes making the Mass and Sacraments available daily. Akron Newman is truly “A Place to Belong.”
17. The George Washington University – GW Newman Center
The Newman Center at George Washington University welcomes anyone to stop by to pray, study, eat, or just hang out. There are always a variety of activities going on, and with over 500 students registered, this campus group is thriving. At this Newman Center students will find community, social activities, and chances to grow in their spiritual lives through the life of the Church. Mass is offered during the week at the Newman Center, and on the weekend at St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church. George Washington University is private research university located in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington D.C., with two other campuses nearby. It is the largest institution of higher learning in the District of Columbia.
16. The university of South Dakota – St. Thomas More Newman Center
Open 24-hours, the St. Thomas More Newman Center is a Catholic community on the University of South Dakota campus that seeks to welcome all to their formational, social, and service events every week. There is room to pray, study, relax, and enjoy fellowship with a community of friends who are working for the same goal. There is a Chapel with the Blessed Sacrament at the center which serves as a quiet place to worship and pray. The Center also offers movie nights, parties, mission trips, dinners, and more; there is always something happening at the St. Thomas More Newman Center, a great place to make friends, have fun and learn the Catholic faith.
15. Northern Arizona University – Holy Trinity Catholic Newman Center
Become a “Catholic Jack” at Northern Arizona University. This Newman Center is organized, active, and inviting. There are myriads of opportunities for faith formation, which seems to be the major mission of the Newman Center at NAU. Their mission is, “to invite students into a deeper relationship with Christ and his Church, leading to a lifetime of Discipleship and Evangelization.” This mission is accomplished by retreats, daily Mass and Confession, service opportunities, World Youth Day pilgrimages, weekly Bible studies and worship nights, and more. Two specific events worth mentioning are “Newman Night” which features Mass, a free dinner donated by local restaurants, all with a speaker and discussion on a specific topic and, every semester, the Holy Trinity Catholic Newman Center offers the Lumberjack Awakening Retreat, a time of reflection, spirituality, and relationship building.
14. University of Tennessee – John XXIII University Parish Catholic Center
In 1893, a Newman Center was established at the University of Tennessee in the basement of Immaculate Conception Church. Throughout the years, the meeting places moved to the cafeteria, classrooms, a dance hall, several rented houses, and finally its home at 170 Melrose Place, which became the Catholic Center. This site was a combination gift and purchase from the Edward Ashe family. Today, the John XXIII University Parish Catholic Center is a flourishing University Parish that is dedicated to serve students and faculty at the University of Tennessee. They provide many opportunities to grow in faith and form friendships with fellow Catholics. A unique aspect is the intramural sports teams, combining exercise and team building with competition. Students may participate in flag football, sand volleyball, softball, and basketball. There are numerous other activities provided by the Center, ensuring there is something for everyone.
13. Arizona State University – All Saints Catholic Newman Center
The All Saints Catholic Newman Center serves the Catholic population of over 18,000 Catholic students at Arizona State University, something it has been doing since the first ASU Newman Club was formed in 1932. During the 1960’s, ASU saw considerable growth, leading to growth in the Newman Center. In order to accommodate the growing numbers, construction began on a two-story facility adjacent to Old St. Mary’s Church, a building that now serves as the present-day hub of the ASU All Saints Newman Center community. The mission of the Newman Center is to provide a home for the students as well as members of the university community. Currently, the Newman Center offers discernment groups, retreats, Bible studies, Newman Nights, and many other opportunities for students.
12. University of Oregon – St. Thomas More Newman Center
All humans seek a place of peace and rest, a place to grow personally and socially. The St. Thomas More Newman Center at the University of Oregon is dedicated to serving the academic community of the University of Oregon and Lane Community College as just that sort of place. It all started in 1915 with the first Newman Club, noting milestones in 1962 with the arrival of the Dominicans, and in 1965 with the groundbreaking of the current Newman Center. The Center is strong in a Dominican spirituality, and a nicely done website helps navigate, understand, and learn of all the Center has to offer. “Theology on Tap” is designed for young Catholics to talk theology with a Dominican friar while enjoying fine ales and beer. There is local outreach to help the poor, a mission trip to Yakima, and volunteering with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Lastly, it is clear the emphasis of this Dominican-run Center is liturgical, spiritual, and theological: Mass, music, liturgical service, Sacraments, prayer groups, study groups and discernment are emphasized and vibrant.
11. Ohio State University – St. Thomas More Newman Center
Ohio State University is a big school, with about 62,000 students, 15,000 of which identify as Catholic. This can be overwhelming for any new student. With this in mind, St. Thomas More Newman Center is a place to make a “home away from home”, to meet supportive friends, and to grow as a young Catholic. The Center at OSU has a strong missional sense with clear “core values”: Liturgy, Welcoming Community, Service, Faith Formation, Stewardship, Servant Leadership, and Development. St. Thomas More Center seeks to serve the community and campus is many ways. For example, the Service and Justice ministry helps serve the homeless, volunteers at the YWCA, works at the Habitat for Humanity, and works with 50 other religious organizations to help improve justice issues in Columbus. There are many ways to spiritually develop, from Bible Studies to prayer groups, women’s groups, Young Catholic Professionals, and, of course, the Mass and Sacraments.
10. Nicholls State University – St. Thomas Aquinas Colonel Catholics
Nicholls State University is a small public university in “Cajun Country” Louisiana, about 50 miles southwest of New Orleans offering many different majors. The St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center is home to many Nicholls State “Colonel Catholics”, as they call themselves. Faith formation, service to the community, academic lectures and concerts at Aquinas Nights, the Mass and Sacraments, and retreats all play a role in the Newman Center at Nicholls State. The Awakening retreat is a highlight for many to renew their commitment to God. Colonel Catholics participate in the March for Life in Washington, take a mission trip to Jamaica, and serve the local campus and community as well. If interested in a smaller school with a vibrant faith life in both a parish and on campus, Nicholls State University fits the bill.
9. University of Washington – Prince of Peace Catholic Newman Center
The Prince of Peace Catholic Newman Center was founded in 1908 and was the first Dominican-run Newman Center, as well as the 5th oldest Newman Center in the US, according to their website. The Center’s mission is to serve the University of Washington and to build a faith community. The Dominican tradition plays a prominent role in the practical aspects of carrying out their mission with Dominican priests, staff, and spirituality: retreats, community service, social action, multicultural events, Bible studies, and the Sacraments. The Frassati Young Professionals and Graduate Student program plan and execute an annual fall retreat, this year the title being, “The Good, The Bad, The SAINTS: learning to live the beatitudes”! VERITAS, the Newman Center’s Undergraduate Program, provides many opportunities in weekly small group settings for friendship and faith-formation, as well as weekly fun activities for the larger community. All in all, the Center is a great place for relationships, service, and leadership.
8. University of Illinois, Chicago – John Paul II Newman Center
“Building Tomorrows Church – Today” is the slogan of the John Paul II Newman Center at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Based on the website for the Newman Center, there are many events, activities, and opportunities for spiritual, academic, and social engagement and improvement. Dedicated and named to honor the Polish philosopher Pope John Paul II it is fitting that the Center is focused on “well-rounded students.” To that end, daily Mass (except Saturday) is offered, Confession and all the Sacraments. This year is special as the director, Fr. Patrick Marshall marks his 25th year of service. The Center will celebrate this milestone with a 25/50 Gala celebration. In step with forming well-rounded students are a host of events and activities: The upcoming “Lecture on Cardinal George’s Godly Humanism” and the “Koinonia Student Retreat”, and service projects such as helping an inner-city school with a painting project to name a few. All in all the John Paul II Newman Center is a vibrant way to bridge the Church and university experience.
7. University of Pennsylvania – Penn Newman Catholic Center
Serving the University of Pennsylvania since 1893, the Penn Newman Catholic Center is an important part of student life. Penn Newman is a ministry of Saints Agatha & James Parish and is overseen by a professional staff who work with student leaders from the University. Ongoing ministries provided by the center include regular Mass, a Newman Schola Choir, daily Rosary and Vespers, “Connections,” a small group faith-sharing program, Newman dinner every Thursday night, Mass offered in different languages including Korean and Spanish, spiritual mentoring and direction, RCIA, and opportunities for volunteer work. In addition to these regular ministries, the Center offers retreats, mission trips, community service, study hours, and pilgrimages. Students won’t be disappointed at the Penn Newman Catholic Center; there is something for everyone and excellent support during the college years.
6. North Dakota State University – St. Paul Catholic Newman Center
It all started in 1928 when 36 students got together for the Catholic Students’ Club. This small group of young men and women began regular meetings and has now blossomed into the St. Paul Catholic Newman Center, serving many young NDSU Bison Catholics with over 80 small group Bible study, service, and prayer groups as part of FOCUS ministry. The Center has a chapel, study lounges, kitchen, conference rooms, and a social hall. Daily Mass is offered as well as the Sacraments and every semester there is a Koinonia Retreat for spiritual reflection and renewal. Catholics at NDSU also serve and help with Catholic Charities North Dakota, engage in liturgical ministry, work in the Knights of Columbus, or attend various events, workshops, and Catholic speakers. Overall, the St. Paul Newman Center has a strong faith-building mission and sense that many young Catholics have found vital to helping them reach their life goals.
5. University of Southern California – Caruso Catholic Center
The University of Southern California Caruso Catholic Center is one of the leading university-based Catholic ministries in the United States and is run in conjunction with Our Savior Parish. Approximately one-third of the student population at USC identify as Catholic. The center is a central gathering place for the community of “Catholic Trojans,” both past and present; it is a place for families, alumni, undergraduate and graduate students, young professionals, faculty, staff, and the community to connect, celebrate Mass, get involved in service or participate in in the large number of programs, events, and ministries. Every Thursday night, there is a free community dinner, there are small communities and Bible studies that meet on a weekly basis, retreats, social justice projects, movie nights, shopping trips, bonfires, and more. Without a doubt, the Caruso Catholic Center is one of the best.
4. University of North Dakota – St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center
One of the greatest hopes of the St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center at the University of North Dakota was to provide residence halls for its Catholic students. This vision became a reality when the Newman House officially opened its doors for the fall semester of 2008. Housing is provided for both men and women; women may live in Kappa Gamma Zeta, Catholic Women of Life. There are currently two men’s houses, one is next door to the women’s house, and the other is next door to the Newman Center; there are plans for a third men’s house to be starting soon. The goal of providing student housing is to foster an environment to grow in virtue and community. There is no doubt that the St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center supports the Catholic students at the University of North Dakota.
3. Montclair State University – Newman Catholic Center
For more than 50 years, the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry has been an established institution at Montclair State University, complimented by a favorable partnership between the Archdiocese of Newark and the University. In fact, in recent years, the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry has been recognized as one of the largest, most active organizations on campus by the Student Government Association. In 2011, they were named “Organization of the Year,” and led the MSU Relay for Life by raising the most funds of any single organization for three years in a row. The Newman Catholic Center serves the Catholic population at Montclair State, of which approximately 50 percent of students identify as Catholic. The Center is located in a 150-year old house adjacent to the University’s Campus – which houses the Daily Mass Chapel, library, recreation room, and offices for the Chaplain, FOCUS missionaries, and staff operations. Without a doubt, the Newman Catholic Center at Montclair State University is one of the best of the list.
2. Bowling Green State University – St. Thomas More University Parish
Founded in 1939, the St. Thomas More University Parish began with the help of some very dedicated students. As early as 1916, there was evidence of a Catholic organization present at Bowling Green State University, but it wasn’t until 1939 that Father Horrigan approved the formation of a Newman Club for university students. Today, the Newman Club serves the Catholic student population of over 7,000 Catholic students and is a flourishing campus club with excellent facilities including a 17-room center complete with a large meeting hall, library, bookstore, and offices. Mass is held daily in the center’s chapel. The Newman Center also offers housing where students can live in community with other committed Catholics.
1. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign – St. John’s Newman Center
St. John’s Newman Center at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is like a mini-campus within a campus. The facility includes St. John’s Newman Hall, which offers housing, dining, recreation, and more to students. The Newman Hall has all the amenities of a traditional dorm – fitness center, laundry, study lounges, direct TV, AC, and even a library. Student life at the Hall is described as “tight-knit”, where faith and fun come together for a life-changing experience. St. John’s Newman Center is vibrant with social activities, Bible studies, faith formation, retreats, academic lectures, and more. There are multiple priests and sisters present to students with daily Mass and with traditional liturgy as well as a more contemporary every weekend. As for service and social justice students are very involved. “[Students] help feed the hungry at the Newman Shares! Food Pantry, assist the elderly with weekend service projects, serve the poor on several mission trips across the country each break, and much more.”