HCHC Home » About HCHC » History of Hellenic College

History of Hellenic College

Holy Cross was founded at Pomfret, Connecticut, in 1937 to educate men for priestly vocation. A decade later, Holy Cross relocated to Brookline, Massachusetts. By the 1950s, it was evident that the clergy of the Greek Orthodox Church in America needed to hold accredited educational credentials equivalent to those held by their counterparts serving other sectarian denominations or religious traditions. A new institutional vision thus emerged that advocated the establishment of an accredited undergraduate college and the transformation of Holy Cross into an accredited graduate school of theology. Accordingly, Holy Cross began to move toward offering a three year graduate program of theological studies leading to the degree of Master of Divinity (MDiv). Holy Cross also began to convert its three-year pre-theology course of study, which granted only a certificate, into a four-year program leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA). These curricula changes and necessary staffing were in place by the late 1960s. So, in 1968, Hellenic College, Inc., was launched. The newly incorporated institution of higher learning, known as Hellenic College, Inc., consisted of a four-year undergraduate college, Hellenic College, and a three-year professional graduate school of theology, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology.

The founding of Hellenic College, Inc., was an endeavor that sought to fulfill a vision declared thirty years earlier. On October 5, 1937, at the ceremonies marking the opening of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School in Pomfret, the Greek Ambassador to the United States, Demetrios Sicilianos, stated, "Our good Archbishop Athenagoras and I envision that the School will some day in the future develop into a university for Greek-Americans."

The initial collegiate endeavor consisted of a four-year program of study in the liberal arts leading to a baccalaureate degree with the opportunity to concentrate in one of three fields of study: Pre-Theology, Hellenic Studies and Elementary Education. As such, the College offered appropriate preparation for those seeking graduate theological education or for those pursuing a teaching career in parish church, parochial, or public elementary schools. The College also served as a center for "Hellenic Studies," which provided a thorough education in the language, philosophy, history, and ethos of ancient, Byzantine, and Modern Greece.

In the late 1970s Hellenic College was fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).  Shortly thereafter, the undergraduate effort was reformulated into a full-fledged Orthodox Christian college. Beginning in the early 1980s, under reformulation, Hellenic College was publicly identified as a faith-based institution of higher learning and two new areas of study were added: Business Administration and Human Development.

Today, Hellenic College offers the degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA) with concentrations in Classics and Greek Studies, Elementary Education, Human Development, Management and Leadership, Literature and History, and Religious Studies. The College provides academic programs of quality that lead to employment, as well as opportunities to engage in a variety of extracurricular activities. Student life at the College is characterized by experiences in faith and learning, which are directed toward developing a deeper understanding of  Orthodox Christianity and its Hellenic heritage. Recruitment focuses on identifying college-bound Orthodox Christians who possess a religious-spiritual commitment and seek to deepen their faith while in pursuit of their higher education.