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Belmont Abbey
Motto Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus
Motto in English That in all things God may be glorified
Established April 21, 1876
Type Private liberal arts college
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic (Benedictine)
Endowment $8,365,676 (2011)[1]
President Dr. William K. Thierfelder
Students 1,706 (2014)[2]
Location Belmont, North Carolina, USA
Campus 650 acres (2.6 km²)
Colors Crimson and cream
Athletics NCAA Division IIConference Carolinas
Nickname Crusaders
Mascot Crusader
Affiliations ACCU
Website BelmontAbbeyCollege.edu
Logo of Belmont Abbey College
Belmont Abbey Historic District
Site of college in U.S. state of North Carolina
Location 100 Belmont--Mt. Holly Rd. (NC 2093, E side), Belmont, North Carolina
Area 37.5 acres (15.2 ha)
Built 1876
Architectural style Other, Gothic Revival, American Benedictine
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 93000584[3]
Added to NRHP July 14, 1993

Belmont Abbey College is a private liberal-arts Catholic college located in Belmont, North Carolina, USA, about 15 miles (24 km) west of Uptown Charlotte. It was founded in 1876 by the Benedictine monks of Belmont Abbey. The school is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and the Order of Saint Benedict. It is endorsed by the The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.

Offering an undergraduate education, the college enrolls students from diverse ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds.[4]


St. Benedict

Belmont Abbey College was founded in 1876 as St. Mary's College by Benedictine monks from Saint Vincent Archabbey in Pennsylvania. Father Jeremiah O'Connell purchased Caldwell farm and donated the land to the Benedictines, hoping the community would found a Catholic educational institution in the Carolinas. On April 21, 1876, Father Herman Wolfe, from St. Vincent's, arrived with two students to take possession of the property and begin classes. In 1878, the college held its first commencement exercises. Katharine Drexel, a benefactor of the monastery and college, visited Belmont Abbey in 1904. The present name of the college was adopted in 1913. In 1967 John Oetgen, college president and Benedictine priest, conferred an honorary degree on the Protestant evangelist Billy Graham, marking what was at the time seen as a bold ecumenical gesture.[5] Originally a college for young men, Belmont Abbey became a coeducational institution in 1972.[6] In 1987, Sacred Heart College for women merged with the Abbey, and its campus began to host a variety of Abbey classes and programs.[7]


Maurus Hall is centrally located on campus and houses a student lounge, grill, and the Holy Grounds coffee shop. Across from Maurus Hall is the Haid, which serves as a student and community theater. The Haid was originally built as a gymnasium. The Abbey Players now perform there. Along Abbey Lane, towards the far end of the campus, are the Vincent Abbot Taylor Library and the William Gaston Science Hall. Administrative offices are located in Robert Stowe Hall, with classrooms on the second and third floors. St. Leo's Hall, built in the American Benedictine style, houses the Campus Book Store and Catholic Shop on the first floor. Professorial offices are located in St. Leo's Hall, and Grace Auditorium is located on the third floor.

The quad is located between the Poellath and O'Connell residence halls, both constructed in the early 1960s. Raphael Arthur Hall, constructed in 1967, offers students individual rooms and sits on the hill above Poellath, near Campus Police. The St. Joseph's Eucharistic Adoration Chapel, dedicated in 2008, is across from Campus Police. Wheeler Athletic Center, completed in 1970, is located behind Poellath Hall. At the back of the campus are the four Cuthbert Allen Apartment buildings, built in 1989. The newly rentivated Student Commons, located next to the new cafeteria, houses the campus mailroom, snack machines, a lounge area, and Student Life offices. The Lourdes Grotto, an official pilgrimage shrine, is situated behind O'Connell Hall.

Mary Help of Christians Abbey Basilica[edit]

The Lourdes Grotto

The Abbey Church, the most prominent building on the college's campus, was completed in 1894 under the supervision of Abbot Leo Haid. Drexel made significant donations to the completion of the structure, which served as North Carolina's first and only cathedral prior to the erection of the Diocese of Raleigh in 1924. The church is constructed in the gothic-revival style out of brick and granite, built in the shape of a Latin cross. The towers of the church, named Ora (the taller) and Labora (the smaller), can be seen from most of the college campus. The taller of the two towers holds bells which ring to signal the celebration of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours. The monastic community continues to hold daily services which are open to the student body and the public. Following the Second Vatican Council, the interior of the Abbey Church was renovated in a modernist style in order to facilitate the liturgical reforms of the era. In 1975, Belmont Abbey lost its territorial status and cathedral rank to the newly created Diocese of Charlotte. In 1998 Pope John Paul II named the Abbey Church a minor basilica in recognition of the historic and aesthetic significance of the structure.[8]

Sacred Heart Campus[edit]

The Sisters of Mercy of Belmont reside at Sacred Heart Campus, in downtown Belmont. In the early 1900s the sisters began a finishing school for girls that eventually became Sacred Heart College. Sacred Heart College closed in 1987, and the campus is now owned by Belmont Abbey; classes are offered at Sacred Heart for both traditional and adult degree students. Belmont Abbey continues to offer alumnae services to graduates from Sacred Heart College.[7]


Plans were proposed by the President of the college in 2008 to construct a new residence hall on campus in order to facilitate increased enrollment.[9] In the Fall of 2012, construction began on two new residence halls to open in the Fall of 2013.

In the Summer of 2011, construction began on a state-of-the-art integrated cafeteria. The construction was complete in time for the new cafeteria to open to the student body beginning in the Fall of 2012.


Reminder of the college's Aristotelian commitment

The Abbey is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and approved by the American Medical Association.[10] More than 80 percent of the faculty at Belmont Abbey hold doctoral degrees in their subjects. After completing a core curriculum, students declare a major and concentrate within their chosen areas of study.[11]

The college's First Year Symposium, required for incoming freshmen, seeks to acclimate new students to college life. Taught by professors from various fields, this course explains the theories of a liberal education and introduces students to the Rule of St. Benedict and the Catholic intellectual tradition.[12]

Chapel at Sacred Heart

Rankings and reputation[edit]

In 2006 the Abbey was ranked as one of the best colleges in the Southeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. The Abbey was likewise ranked first in North Carolina – and second in the Southeast – for class size by the U.S. News & World Report.[13]

Scholarship opportunities[edit]


Belmont Abbey Crusaders athletic logo

The Belmont Abbey Crusaders participate in the NCAA's Division II program. The Crusaders are members of Conference Carolinas. Men's and women's lacrosse, women's golf. Men's and women's tennis and men's and women's track and field have been added for the 2009 season. Al McGuire coached Basketball for the Crusaders from 1957 to 1964. During his tenure the team had 5 post-season tournament appearances.

In 2009, the Crusaders Baseball team reached the NCAA Division II World Series, at the USA Baseball Training Complex located in Cary, North Carolina. The Crusaders were ranked 6th in their respective regional tournament and went on to win four straight against nationally ranked teams to capture their first regional championship. The Crusaders fell to eventual National Champions Lynn University after winning two in a row. The Crusaders finished the season ranked 3rd in the Nation.

In 2012, Women's Volleyball, Women's Soccer, and Men's Basketball all won the NCAA Division II Conference Carolina title.

Student life[edit]

The Student Commons overlooking Pat's bridge

Organizations and Greek Life[edit]

The Abbey has over 40 student organizations, an active Student Government Association, and many Greek organizations belonging to the college's Greek Council. Kappa Sigma and Sigma Alpha are the only active fraternities on campus, while active sororities are: Tau Kappa Delta, Epsilon Sigma Alpha, Alpha Sigma Pi, and Delta Psi Theta.[14] Delta Tau Delta, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Tau Kappa Epsilon still have inactive national fraternity chapters.

Abbey Players[edit]

The Haid containing the student theater

Belmont Abbey has a theatre department. The Abbey Players of Belmont Abbey College were founded in 1883, and have been a part of campus life for over a century. At present, the theatre produces six shows a year, representing a wide repertoire of drama, comedy and musicals. Participation in the Abbey Players is open to any interested member of the Belmont Abbey College community, and students, faculty, staff and monks regularly appear together. In addition, it functions as the Belmont Community Theatre, which brings in theatre artists from the surrounding Metrolina area.


The new campus cafeteria (Built in the summer of 2012) is located on the residential side of campus, next to the Walter Coggins Student Commons. Maurus Hall contains a grill and Holy Grounds coffee shop.


Incoming freshmen are required to live in either Poellath or O’Connell; two-story single-sex residence halls. Beginning in the Fall of 2013, the students will have the option to live in the new residence halls currently being built (2012). Raphael Arthur Hall provides residents the choice to live in individual rooms. In addition to the three residence halls on campus, upperclassmen are eligible to live in either one of the four on campus Cuthbert Allen apartment buildings or the Cloisters, off-campus apartments in nearby Mount Holly, North Carolina.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable events[edit]

Faculty health care coverage controversy[edit]

In 2007 the college’s administration removed healthcare coverage for “abortion, contraception, and voluntary sterilization” after discovering that these were covered by the college’s healthcare policy. Eight faculty members responded by filing complaints to the North Carolina Department of Insurance, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the National Women's Law Center. The latter threatened a lawsuit on behalf of the eight faculty members, several of whom are lifelong Catholics.

The college’s administration have received statements of support from Catholic news sources and other organizations, and the administration has stated that they have no intention of reinstating those portions of the healthcare plan that are contrary to the Catholic identity of the college.[16]

After the student newspaper, The Crusader, published an article in May 2008 pointing out that the Abbey profits from the sale of contraceptives at two stores on its land, the Abbot responded by stating that: “"[They] are preponderantly good operations, i.e. 99 percent or more of their business is not problematic, and the employment generation and economic stimulation they provide for the community of Belmont are worth tolerating a small amount of evil. The Abbey is not willing to lease to them because they sell contraceptives, but despite it." [17]

Lawsuit against the Obama Administration over its contraceptive health care coverage mandate[edit]

According to a November 11, 2011 online news story by Patricia L. Guilfoyle of Catholic News Service,: "Belmont Abbey College is suing the federal government over a new regulation that requires employer health insurance plans to provide free coverage of contraceptives and sterilization, even if it may be contrary to their religious beliefs."[18]

Objection to a local No-Kill shelter[edit]

According to a June 20th, 2013 online news story by the Associated Press, Belmont Abbey College objected to the rezoning of a nearby 6 acre piece of land that would have been used for a no-kill shelter.[19]


  1. ^ "Belmont Abbey's Endowment". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  2. ^ http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/belmont-abbey-college-2910/student-life
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ http://www.gastongazette.com/articles/belmont-38887-president-abbey.html
  6. ^ [2] Belmont Abbey History
  7. ^ a b http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/gbnf/shc.html
  8. ^ [3] catholic-hierarchy.org
  9. ^ [4] Article in the Crusader
  10. ^ [5] Accreditation
  11. ^ [6] Academic programs
  12. ^ [7] FYS
  13. ^ [8] Link to News Releases
  14. ^ [9]
  15. ^ [10]
  16. ^ LifeSiteNews.com. "Belmont Abbey College Removes Employee Benefits for Abortion, Sterilization and Contraception", LifeSiteNews.com, May 7, 2008.
  17. ^ Wentowski, Ray. "Belmont Abbey Removes Contraception Coverage from Employee Healthcare, Benefits from Contraceptive Sales on Abbey Land", abbeycrusader.com, May 7, 2008.
  18. ^ http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1104431.htm
  19. ^ http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/No-no-kill-animal-shelter-in-Gaston-County-212311601.html

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°15′34″N 81°02′27″W / 35.2595756°N 81.0409625°W / 35.2595756; -81.0409625

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157 news items

Gaston Gazette

Gaston Gazette
Wed, 08 Oct 2014 08:45:00 -0700

BELMONT – When Martin Unger came to Belmont Abbey College two years ago as an associate head coach, he hoped it would increase his chances to become a collegiate head coach. On Wednesday, that dream came true for Unger as he was officially ...

Gaston Gazette

Gaston Gazette
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 08:00:00 -0700

GASTONIA – Several former local products will help Belmont Abbey College's men's and women's soccer teams celebrate homecoming on Saturday against Southern Wesleyan. The women's game opens the festivities at noon as the Lady Crusaders (2-5-2, ...
DFW Catholic
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 09:30:00 -0700

Belmont Abbey College is seeking a Chair of the College's Department of Sport Management and Motorsports Management, to begin August 1st 2015. This is a tenure-track or tenured position, with rank and salary based upon qualifications. A doctorate in ...

Gaston Gazette

Gaston Gazette
Fri, 10 Oct 2014 08:45:00 -0700

BELMONT – Both Belmont Abbey College basketball teams have released 28-game schedules that begin in mid-November. First-year coach Martin Unger's men's team has scheduled two scrimmages against ACC competition and potentially will have a third ...
DFW Catholic
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:18:45 -0700

Belmont Abbey College is seeking a Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) and Dean of the Faculty to begin July 1, 2015. This position, which reports directly to the President of the College, requires an earned doctorate, evidence of outstanding ...
Charlotte Observer
Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:07:30 -0700

KAREN HITE JACOB, BELMONT ABBEY COLLEGE. John Apple, organist and choirmaster at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Mount Holly, and Belmont Abbey organist Karen Hite Jacob will perform in the next Arts at the Abbey program at 8 p.m. Nov.

Gaston Gazette

Gaston Gazette
Sat, 04 Oct 2014 17:17:57 -0700

BELMONT – Homecoming was special for a couple of reasons for the Belmont Abbey College women's soccer team on Saturday at Alumni Field. After blasting Southern Wesleyan 6-0 to even its Conference Carolinas record, the Lady Crusaders honored the ...
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 21:14:13 -0700

BRISTOL, Tenn. – The members of the King University volleyball team have a tradition contrary to their winsome public personas, regularly scrawling letters on their knuckles before matches to give their hands a look akin to that of tattooed ruffians.

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