To the Editor:
When Theodore Kalmoukos asked me to answer a number of questions about the current status of Hellenic College Holy Cross, I did so in good faith and at some length. That he chose to print only a very small portion of my full response did a disservice not only to HCHC but also to your readers, who deserve better than an incomplete account serving one individual’s apparent agenda. Here is the narrative section of my response, which I hope you will share with them:
“You would please note that the current enrollment numbers are below our targets due to:
- resistance to requirements for vaccinations
- inability for the school to do its normal recruiting due to COVID travel and meeting restrictions. Camps, conferences, competitions of all kinds, church visits, etc., were all either highly restricted or did not occur at all because of pandemic concerns.
- Until March of 2021, much of the recruiting period, NECHE had placed HCHC under the cloud of accreditation probation. We successfully had that status reversed as the result of our aggressive and thorough addressing of the issues of governance, finance, and planning.
Further, academic and strategic plans are in place, income has exceeded expenses for 2 fiscal years in a row, and we are on budget for the 3rd. We have reduced debt, increased the endowment, and board and academic committees are in place and functioning with collegiality and efficiency. Holy Cross Press has been revitalized, Institutional Advancement has new experienced leadership, and there is a new Dean of Holy Cross and New Testament professor, Fr. George Parsenios, who left the Princeton Theological Seminary to join us.
One of the concerns expressed by the accreditation agencies was that we were understaffed given not only the responsibilities of running and managing the institution, but to also be able to generate the staggering reporting now required to maintain accreditation. We are properly staffed now, and the culture is one of collegiality and focus.
Our responsibility is to provide the best training possible for our future clergy, to be a center – if not the center – of Orthodox thought and study in the U.S., and to provide an undergraduate option for young people who wish to receive their college education in an Orthodox environment. The faculty, board, and administration are committed to those responsibilities.”
Numbers taken out of context, as in this latest opinion piece by Mr. Kalmoukos, can be grossly misleading. I hope that in the future you will allow your readers access to all of the information provided to you, so that they can draw their own conclusions.
George M. Cantonis, President
Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
Theodore Kalmoukos’ response:
I asked only for the enrollment numbers and the annual operating costs of HCHC and not for any explanations or spinning.
I used accurately Mr. Cantonis’ answers in my analysis. I understand his frustration about the state of HCHC under his presidency, but his attempt to spin shows his panic. One more thing: Mr. Cantonis knows very well that we know all about the confusion that exists in his administration, including serious issues such as the identity of the School.
I challenge him to give us an interview on all of the issues concerning HCHC.
Here are the questions I sent to him regarding the numbers, and his reply to me on the numbers.
I am doing an article on Hellenic College – Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Is it possible to please provide me with the following information?
1) How many students are enrolled at Hellenic College presently?
2) How many of those will be entering Holy Cross Theological School?
3) How many students are enrolled at Holy Cross School of Theology?
4) How many of those students are enrolled in the MDiv program leading to the Holy Priesthood?
5) What is the total number of employees including professors at both Hellenic College-Holy Cross – administrators, secretaries, Deans, all who are salaried by the schools?
6) What is the annual cost of operation of Hellenic College-Holy Cross?
Your response will be greatly appreciated. If you could respond by Monday February 21st will be great.
Friday February 18, 2022”
“Dear Mr. Kalmoukos,
Below please find the answers to your questions:
3- 83, plus 3 finishing theses, 5 auditing, 4 external students from the BTI enrolled through the exchange program
4- 36. Also: Summer of ’21 – 34 Diaconate students and 17 in the Kallinikeion Greek language program
5- 56 full time salaried employees
6- the annual cost, net of depreciation and interest, for the fiscal year ending June ’21 – $8,978,892”