Campion College outside of Sydney, Australia, is a faithfully Catholic liberal arts college established in 2006 under the patronage of the English martyr St. Edmund Campion.
The College welcomes English-speaking students for one or more semesters or to complete a full degree, and it has had several students from the U.S., England, Canada, and New Zealand. They fit well within the close-knit community, which has 92 students in 2013.
The College is governed by a 10-member board of trustees, the Campion Institute. The eight-member Campion Foundation launched the college and provides financial support, but has no direct control over the institution. Since 2012, the college is led by Dr. Ryan Messmore, a native of the United States and a former research fellow in religion and a free society at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Campion College offers a fully-accredited three-year bachelor’s degree program in the liberal arts. The College has several credit transfer and recognition agreements with colleges in the U.S. Students planning for graduate studies in the U.S. should check to ensure that a Campion degree is accepted.
The cost of studying at Campion is relatively low. Not only are degrees awarded after three years, but the total cost for tuition, room and board in 2013 (February-November) is about $29,300 in U.S. dollars according to exchange rates in June 2013. Scholarships and need-based grants are available.
The integrated core curriculum for all students includes 24 required courses in subjects including history, literature, philosophy, and theology. Students also can choose extra courses in Latin, science, mathematics and ethics as electives.
Core subjects are taught in sequence, with some flexibility in choosing courses in the third year. For example, in history, students progress from an overview course to ancient history, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Reformation, and beyond. In the third year, students have options such as studying the 20th century or taking the course Australian Politics, Culture and Religion.
Theology courses consider Christian culture, revelation, the Sacraments and contemporary theology. Optional courses include contemporary theology, sexual ethics, bioethics, and Catholic social teaching.
All college lecturers hold doctorates.
The chaplaincy team is led by Father Luke Holohan, S.M., who provides daily Mass in the college chapel. To nurture the spiritual life of students and staff, the team provides other sacraments and activities, including confession, Eucharistic Adoration, spiritual retreats, and individual spiritual direction. All-night Adoration occurs every first Friday of the month.
Every fortnight, the College hosts a "Formal Hall," a special dinner held in conjunction with special feast days at which students and staff wear academic gowns. Students and staff also join together for brief times of daily prayer.
Campion students are active leaders in the local Catholic community, including the Australian Catholic Students Association (ACSA), the annual Corpus Christi procession in Sydney, and various Catholic charitable organizations.
Campus housing includes separate men's and women's dorms or houses, with both single and double rooms, with air conditioning and wireless internet access. A linen service is provided for laundry needs.
Students can also rent nearby homes or apartments.
The college is located in Old Toongabbie, one of the oldest suburbs of Sydney, and is located 18 miles from the central business district. It is also near Parramatta, a major business and commercial center.
Three medical clinics, as well as the 975-bed Westmead Hospital, are in the vicinity.
Most travelers to Australia arrive at Sydney International Airport. The 45-minute trip from Sydney to Campion is possible by automobile, bus, and rail service.
Students engage in a number of clubs and activities coordinated by the Campion College Students Association. There is a debating team, chess club, public speaking club, and campus pro-life group that works to support local pro-life organizations.
Favorite events include an annual soccer tournament, talent night, and formal Campion Ball. The annual Campion Olympics is hosted by the classics society. Students enjoy regular poker nights and playing billiards and ping pong in the student common room. Students play the grand piano and a variety of other instruments at Formal Hall every fortnight.
Since the inception of Campion, students have provided assistance to members of the local community and along with staff hold an annual BBQ for the neighbors.
There are many outstanding cultural, shopping and sports opportunities in Sydney, a city of nearly five million people. Residents and tourists enjoy the beaches, including Bondi Beach, about 45 minutes away.
Hiking is a popular activity in the nearby Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
The Bottom Line
The only liberal arts college in Australia, Campion College was founded to provide students an opportunity to be well-educated and grow in the Catholic Faith. The College’s founders carefully studied the renaissance taking place in U.S. Catholic higher education, and they have sought to plant a similar flag of orthodoxy in Australia.
Today Campion is a successful Catholic institution that offers a unique experience to American students seeking a study-abroad option or a full degree. While certain aspects of Australian colleges and universities are unfamiliar to U.S. students—for example, a three-year undergraduate program and a February-to-November academic year—the opportunity to study at Campion with its strong curriculum and Catholic identity could be very appealing to the faithful, adventurous student.