I had the good fortune to visit Sacred Heart University, a Catholic institution in Fairfield, Connecticut.
I gleaned some “crunchy nuggets” of information to share about the school. Here they are.
- SHU was begun in 1963 as a commuter school. Now it is primarily residential college with 3,400 full-time undergraduates and about 1,000 part-timers. The campus also serves 1,400 graduate students.
- Former GE CEO Jack Welch gave a bunch of money to the business school. It’s now named for him.
- Despite its small size, SHU offers NCAA Division I competition in 32 different sports. Including bowling. Basketball is the most popular spectator sport.
- SHU offers a bunch of different pre-professional majors: pre-Dental, pre-Law, pre-Optometry, pre-Osteopathic, pre-Pharmacy, pre-Physician’s Assistant, and pre-Veterinary. Health education is big, obviously, and nursing is offered. Business is also big.
- Community service seems to be an important aspect of student life here. Perhaps it’s a part of the religious focus here. Or perhaps it’s something in the water.
- Students vary in their religiosity on campus. If you want to focus on your faith, you certainly can. But not everyone chooses to focus. Plus there are students who come from different faiths. Nine credits in religious studies are required, but that requirement is flexible and includes some philosophy. So the requirement is not about Catholicism, but about faith as an integral aspect of life. That said, it’s a Catholic institution—if that is uncomfortable for you, perhaps there are better choices.
- SHU offers bingo once a week. Bingo. Prizes range from airline tickets to computer printers.
- Big Red, the Pioneer , is the mascot. He’s been on the scene for only three years.
- Sororities and fraternities are on the rise. Historically, about 5% of students have been Greek. But a bunch of national organizations have come onto campus, so the proportion of students going Greek has gone way up, and will likely continue to rise.
- Freshman year is very structured because of the common core that all students are required to take. Once you move to sophomore year, curricular choices become broader. Students who like the common core recognize that the requirements allow (and expect) that students will take subjects that are completely new to them. Thus students may very well change majors upon completing the core.