Wednesday, July 23, 2014

About  Contact  Join  Donate

The College of Saint Mary Magdalen

The College of Saint Mary Magdalen is a small residential Catholic liberal arts college founded in 1973, as part of the new wave of renewal in American Catholic higher education. Now the College is undergoing its own internal renewal, with a new name, an expanded curriculum focused on the Great Books, and an emphasis on student development in virtue.

In 2010 the board of trustees changed the name from Magdalen College to more clearly honor its patroness, Saint Mary Magdalen, more strongly affirm its Catholic identity, and indicate a somewhat new direction. In 2011, the trustees selected the College’s fourth and current president, Dr. George Harne, who has both a background in the Great Books—having received a Master’s degree from St. John’s College—and a doctorate in musicology from Princeton University.

“We want our graduates to be part of the ‘creative minority’... the creative force that will transform the West,” says Dr. Harne.

The College’s recently revised curriculum integrates Socratic study of the Great Books with the classical seven liberal arts. The study of theology and an eight-semester series of seminars in philosophy and humanities are at the center of the integrated curriculum. In their junior and senior years, students complement these studies with concentrations in theology, philosophy, literature, or politics. Students also study in Rome during the spring semester of their sophomore year.

StudentsThe College offers a Vatican-approved Apostolic Catechetical Diploma following the completion of six semesters of theology and catechesis that covers the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as pivotal Church documents and key texts by the Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Through this program, students are prepared to be effective communicators of the Faith in their homes, parishes, and communities.

The faculty, chaplain, and student life staff annually take the Oath of Fidelity, and theologians have received the mandatum.

The College of Saint Mary Magdalen rests on the 3,500-foot Mount Kearsarge in Warner, New Hampshire, a quaint town of 2,800 residents in the Lakes Region. But students are also just 90 minutes from Boston, with numerous educational, cultural, and social opportunities.

Students come from across the United States and other countries, and over 95 percent are Catholic.  A significant number of the students have gone on to graduate study, and about 10 percent of the graduates have become priests or other religious.

With the assistance of an investment by the Catholic Order of Foresters, the College was able to double its freshmen class for the 2012-2013 academic year.  Accredited by the American Academy for Liberal Education, the College is seeking regional accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

The tuition is less than half the typical private-college tuition in New Hampshire, and the College strives to help families who need financial aid.


The College of Saint Mary Magdalen’s liberal arts education is built upon the careful reading, study, and discussion of the Great Books of the West, covering key texts from ancient Greece, Rome, the Church Fathers, medieval authors, modernity, and post-modernity. The College orders its curriculum according to the traditional seven liberal arts, combined with a strong emphasis on theology, philosophy, and the fine arts—the latter being rather unique by comparison to most other colleges, with a strong emphasis on music.

With the exception of two concentration courses per semester in the junior and senior years, all students follow the same Great Books curriculum. The course of studies includes a four-year philosophy and humanities sequence of seminars, a summer course of studies in Rome and Norcia, three years of theology leading to an Apostolic Catechetical Diploma, four years of music and art, two years of Greek or Latin, three years of science, and courses in logic, geometry, grammar, rhetoric, and non-Western cultures. Students complete a junior project based in their concentration and as seniors complete comprehensive exams and write a senior thesis.

Freshmen and sophomores take a writing workshop each semester in which they prepare one paper each week on a topic related to the humanities. Class meetings include oral presentation of those papers and practice in writing and editing.

The College’s authority to award the Apostolic Catechetical Diploma, granted by the Vatican to the College in 1983, is unique. Historically, this diploma has only been available through graduate programs. Students must demonstrate their mastery of the fundamental teachings of the Church by completing six semesters of theology based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other key theological documents. The diploma is presented to students upon completion of their bachelor’s degree.

Students may elect to participate in the Honors Program, which was launched by Dr. Harne in his previous role as academic dean. With form and content similar to graduate seminars, the honors colloquia explore a variety of topics such as modern cinema, Dante’s Divine Comedy, a Catholic understanding of gender, the operas of Mozart, and phenomenology. Honors students must maintain a grade point average of 3.25 or higher and complete six honors colloquia, 16 credit hours of honors-level courses, and an honors thesis.

Spiritual Life

Our Lady, Queen of Apostles Chapel is the center of campus spiritual life. The chaplain offers Mass and Confession daily, marking Holy days and the liturgical seasons with special observances. No classes are held during Mass times. Students also gather for Lauds and Vespers in the chapel.

On important feast days such as the Immaculate Conception, the College of Saint Mary Magdalen closes its offices and marks the feast with Mass, special meals, speakers, and other activities.

The Rosary is prayed daily in the chapel or residence halls, and adoration and Benediction are available on a regular basis. Both the men’s and women’s residences have chapels in which the Blessed Sacrament is reserved.


The College places a special emphasis on reverence and beauty in campus liturgy, with a strong commitment to liturgical renewal.  Dr. Harne says it was the beauty of the liturgy that initiated his conversion to the Catholic Church, entering “through the door of the 

beautiful.” The student choir sings chant, motets, polyphony, and traditional hymns.

In 2011, Magdalen announced that students would chant the Propers of the Mass in newly composed English settings. Dr. Harne explained: “The introit, offertory, and communion chants of the Graduale Romanum have largely disappeared from the celebration of Mass.  These chants have remained the ideal, being advocated in all magisterial documents concerning the liturgy in the past one hundred years, including those following the Second Vatican Council.  Restoring the singing of these chants to our celebration of the Mass is another step toward fulfilling the Holy Father’s call for a reform of the reform.”

All Masses are celebrated ad orientem, facing East as was traditional for much of the Church’s history, and students kneel to receive the Eucharist. Mass is celebrated in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary (or Tridentine) Forms.

Residential Life

Built with clapboard siding, brick, and shuttered windows, the residences are a “home away from home” for students enrolled at the College.  Both residences—St. Mary’s for the women and St. Joseph’s for the men—have a large living room, a chapel where Christ resides in the Blessed Sacrament, study areas, and laundry facilities. Each bedroom accommodates several students with bunk beds, wardrobes, storage spaces, and a bathroom.

In past decades, Magdalen was known for its unusually strict policies governing student behavior, including mandatory Mass attendance, rigorous room inspections, and dating restrictions. But today the College’s policies are similar to other faithful Catholic colleges, allowing students independence while strongly encouraging moral development and growth in the virtues. Opposite-sex visitation is not permitted in the campus residences.

All students participate in the Campus Service Program by working in the library, serving in the administrative offices, or helping maintain campus facilities. This program helps defray the cost of tuition and promotes responsible stewardship of the campus buildings and grounds.

Student Activities

The College of Saint Mary Magdalen concurs with the German Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper that “leisure is the basis of culture,” and believes that student activities can be more than idle diversions. Students may choose from a variety of on-campus activities, and the College’s location in beautiful New Hampshire offers students access to Boston (with its historical, cultural, and athletic attractions), the beauty of the Atlantic Coast, and nearby slopes for skiing and snowboarding in the winter.

On campus, the initiative of the students and the efforts of the student life staff combine to provide activities for students year-round. These include a film series, concerts, student run clubs (such as Spes Vitae, the pro-life club), an intramural sports program, the Outdoors Club, the St. Joseph’s Confraternity, the Sodality of Mary, a Knights of Columbus council, a New Evangelization Group, the Art Club and the Cooking Club. The basketball and soccer teams have hosted other collegiate teams in recent years.

The St. Genesius Players, the College’s drama club, has performed works by Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, as well as popular musicals.

Members of the college choir sing at daily Mass, and the full College Choir sings at each Sunday Mass and on Feast Days. Smaller ensembles, such as the Performance Choir, Polyphony Choir, and the chant schola, require an audition. The choirs of the College sing at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Manchester, in the procession for the Boston Eucharistic Conference, and at various other venues. Music also finds a prominent place around campus in more informal settings, such as the Academic Convocation, parents’ weekend, and the annual Advent celebration (following the “Lessons and Carols” service.).

Pro-life activities are another important component of student life, with over half the student body participating in the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. Many students also participate in local pro-life activities, attending marches and vigils in Concord, and supporting the national “40 Days for Life.”

Annual traditions include the elegant and formal dance known as the Winter Ball, a men’s and women’s retreat weekend, the Fall Festival, and special meals hosted by each class.

The locale provides ample opportunities for outdoor and winter activities both on and off campus.

The Bottom Line

SignThe College of Saint Mary Magdalen offers an education of the whole person—both in and beyond the classroom. With joy, theCollege proudly proclaims its fidelity to the Church, its commitment to intellectual excellence, and its determination to prepare Catholic leaders who will fearlessly renew the culture for Christ.

Students attending Magdalen find themselves in a small community that is intensely serious about the liberal arts and the Catholic faith, finding expression in the beautiful and reverent liturgies and music.  Even so, the College has worked to ensure that campus policies balance expectations with students’ need for independence.

Today Magdalen offers students an idyllic setting and the opportunity to freely participate in a small community seeking to know the Truth, love the Faith, and transform the world.

Quick Facts

Students: 61
Location: Warner, New Hampshire
Founded: 1974
Majors: 1
Med. SAT: 1210
% Catholic: 98%
Med. H.S. GPA: 3.3
How Much? $27,200
tuition, room and board
For admitted & enrolled traditional undergrads


Join Magdalen Online:

Phone: 877-498-1723  Address: 511 Kearsarge Mountain Rd., Warner, NH 03278
Email: Send Admissions a question or comment
Questions and Answers

The college answers the most important questions...
 click + to open

Academic Quality






Core Curriculum


Programs of Study


Chaplaincy or Campus Ministry


Residence Life


Student Activities & Services


Student Body


Institutional Identity




President's Letter
Dear Parents and Prospective Students:

At the College of Saint Mary Magdalen, we believe that a faithful, Catholic, Great Books education is a danger—a danger to the forces of secularization and moral relativism that threaten to overtake our nation. We believe that the education we offer prepares our graduates to embody and communicate the divine gifts of truth, goodness, and beauty that will renew and transform our nation and the world.

But what makes the College of Saint Mary Magdalen unique?  

We combine fidelity to the Magisterium with a rigorous Great Books curriculum (with concentrations in Theology, Philosophy, Literature, and Politics) that draws its strength and coherence from the Catholic intellectual tradition as it has developed over two millennia.

We cultivate a collegiate culture rooted in traditional Catholic piety and liturgical practice—featuring Gregorian chant and ad orientem celebration of the Mass in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms—through which our students can respond freely to Christ’s call to radical discipleship.

Our students can spend a semester in Rome, the Eternal City, exploring its classical and sacred treasures.  By successfully completing our required six semesters of theology that comprehensively treat the Deposit of Faith—as it is articulated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church—our students can earn an Apostolic Catechetical Diploma.

Our beautiful New England setting—with plentiful opportunities for hiking and skiing—and our proximity to Boston and other urban areas give students the chance to experience and enjoy the full range of natural and cultural riches of the region.

We not only liberally educate our students but also prepare them, through career planning and internships, for their postgraduate lives.

The complete education we offer at the College is not for the faint of heart: the journey to freedom—intellectual and spiritual freedom—is arduous. But no one at the College undertakes this journey alone. The students, the faculty, and the larger community of the College support one another within and outside the classroom, seeking to become fully human and fully free, thriving in the light of Truth.

We invite all who wish to know the Truth, love the Faith, and transform the world, to come and join us.

In the hearts of Jesus and Mary,

George Harne

Information from Career Services Office
Beginning in the academic year 2012-2013, the College of Saint Mary Magdalen launched an internship program for their students that includes opportunities in wide variety of fields locally, in New England, and across the country.  The College also actively encourages and assists students seeking admission to graduate school and professional programs.  Please see the College’s website for details.

Information from Financial Aid Office
Over 90% of the students at The College of Saint Mary Magdalen receive some form of financial aid. The college makes it possible for every eligible student to finance his or her education through a variety of need and merit-based awards, as well as private loans. Need-based financial aid is based on a review of the Magdalen Aid Application, along with supporting documents, and is offered to worthy students who would otherwise be unable to attend a private college. Merit scholarships are based on academic achievement, talent, leadership skills, and other criteria. They are offered to first-time, full-time students, with the exception of the Achievement Award, which is open to both new and returning students. These awards are renewable each year, for a maximum of four years.

The Presidential Scholarship is a full tuition scholarship awarded in honor of Pope Benedict XVI. This is awarded to an incoming freshman who has written a compelling essay in response to one of Pope Benedict’s encyclicals—Deus caritas est, Spe salvi, or Caritas in veritate—demonstrating his or her close reading of the text. 

Many Magdalen graduates have followed the call to consecrated life in the Church.  In support of those students discerning vocations, The Fulton Sheen Award offers repayment of student debt while they are in formation for the priesthood or religious life.

Students receive valuable work experience as well as additional financial assistance by participating in campus work study. Work study grants are calculated and awarded based on financial need. Students are assigned to various departments on campus and receive awards which are deducted from tuition fees. 

Please contact Marie Lasher at or call 603.456.2656 for more information.


| Terms Of Use | Privacy Statement
Copyright 2014 by Cardinal Newman Society -- 9720 Capital Ct., Ste. 201, Manassas, VA 20110