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Class of 2020 Attends Catholic College Fair at Fenwick

February 12, 2019

Juniors are beginning to “wrap their heads around” college options, according to Julie Nelson of Xavier University in Cincinnati.

By Mark Vruno


The Fenwick Fieldhouse gym floor was filled yesterday with college recruiters greeting members of the junior class.

Recruiters from 29 schools set up display tables and were extremely happy to greet the nearly 300 members of the Friars’ Class of 2020. The juniors were excused early from classes on Monday afternoon to attend a Catholic College Fair in the Fieldhouse Gymnasium; the annual event is coordinated by College Counselor Ms. Laura Docherty.

“This kicks off our [recruiting] season,” reports Megan O’Rourke, Assistant Director of Regional Recruitment for Undergraduate Admissions at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “It’s always fun to see the juniors get excited about college,” notes Ms. O’Rourke, who has been “doing this for 13 years.” Yet seeing the nervous smiles of eager 17-year-olds never seems to grow old for her.


Students flocked to the Marquette U. table, where recruiter Megan O'Rourke fielded questions.

Fenwick’s college-counseling team of Mr. Rich Borsch and Ms. Docherty “prepares the juniors well,” she adds. “These students know what to inquire about and generally ask good questions. I’m always super-impressed with the caliber of students here at Fenwick – plus, they’re good kids.” 

Julie Nelson, O’Rourke’s counterpart at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, concurs that Fenwick Friars are a different breed. “This is a hit-or-miss week for us [as recruiters], but it’s always a hit at Fenwick,” says Ms. Nelson, who is Xavier’s Midwest Regional Recruitment Director for Undergraduate Admission. “It’s good to get Xavier on their ‘radar.’ The vast majority of students here treat the event seriously, like the opportunity it is, and engage with university personnel. They don’t stand huddled in the middle of the gym like it’s an eighth-grade dance.”


Recruiter Julie Nelson from Xavier looks on as an eager, prospective student shares her contact information.

Nelson, who lives in suburban Batavia, has worked in college undergrad admissions for 26 years. But this year is different for her: “I, too, have a high school junior going through this process,” she notes, meaning she can empathize with the Fenwick parents also at this stage. “These juniors are just beginning to wrap their heads around college options,” she continues. And in-person fairs like Fenwick’s help to “humanize” the process. “It’s not just looking up a school’s website on the Internet,” Nelson concludes.


Owen Bligh, Associate Dean of Admission at Providence College in Rhode Island, made a special trip from the East Coast to be with his “fellow Friars” from Fenwick.

Mr. Borsch commended the juniors during this morning's announcements: "This whole process is about gathering information so you can make a good choice," he admonished. "You had a good start yesterday."

Colleges present at the fair:

Mid-America Catholic Colleges (MACC)

Aquinas College

Cardinal Stritch University

Holy Cross College (Indiana)

Loras College

Marian University (Indiana)

Marian University (Wisconsin)

Mount Mercy University

Quincy University

St. Ambrose University

St. Mary’s College (Notre Dame, Indiana)

St. Mary’s University of Minnesota

St. Norbert College

Viterbo University


Benedictine University

The Catholic University of America

Creighton University

DePaul University

Dominican University

Edgewood College

John Carroll University

Lewis University

Loyola University (Chicago)

Marquette University

University of Dayton

University of Notre Dame

Providence College

Saint John’s University/College of Saint Benedict

Saint Louis University

Xavier University


Student-athlete Sean Carpenter (football) gets information from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.


More students at the Marquette table.

Elise Leopold (left) and Earl Hester (right) do some due diligence.

We caught junior Miles Bishop off guard -- and in deep thought about his potential future!


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