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Student Profile
Charlie Meyer '00 

By Paige Fogarty ’00

Charlie Meyer '00 Charlie Meyer, a fourth-year student from Cheyenne, Wyo., has found an excellent balance of academics and extracurricular activities at Holy Cross. “I am interested in just about everything,” he says. A Rhodes Scholar candidate and a Dana Scholar in the College Honors Program, he serves as head eucharistic minister as well as a Naval ROTC battalion commander. This open-ended view of the world has followed him throughout his career at Holy Cross.

An economics major, he expresses a desire to continue his studies in history and political science. What motivates his research in the College Honors Program, however, is his interest in theology. Taking a leap from the norm of writing an honors thesis in one’s major, Meyer is very passionate about creating a broad-based study of St. Ignatius’ commitment to the ideal of a spirituality based on freedom. “After going on the spiritual exercises, I became interested in the history of St. Ignatius,” Meyer says. “I think he is one of the most interesting saints because he related to God through the world. This can be applied to anyone’s life, whether it is being an engineer or going into the military.”

He points to his experience in the College’s First-Year Program (FYP) as a tremendous opportunity to personalize his studies. “The full-year, seminar style classes offered by the FYP as part of its yearly theme were a great experience. To attend classes with 12 to 15 people didn’t spoil me—it shaped me; looking back now, I realize almost all the classes I’ve taken tend to be smaller seminars whenever I can get into them. It is such a unique way of learning.”

The benefits of learning in a small environment are exactly the reason why Meyer chose Holy Cross over other, larger Jesuit schools. His favorite class is a case in point. “I took a Christology seminar with Fr. (John E.) Brooks that had only eight people in it,” he says. “We studied a theologian of our own choosing. At the end of the semester, instead of taking a test or writing a paper, we had to present an oral defense before a board of theology professors chosen by Fr. Brooks.

Along with his economics major and research interests in religious studies, Meyer has been involved in the Navy ROTC. Over the course of his four years at Holy Cross, he has taken an extra class each semester as part of this program. “The least I’ve had is five classes each semester,” he says. This year his duties as both battalion commander and senior midshipman place him in a leadership role for the approximately 100 students enrolled in the program. As a result, Meyer has sacrificed much of his free time. “It’s a significant responsibility,” he says, “but I knew that before I took on a lot of these things, and I’m learning a lot from each of them.”

While it would seem that Meyer has no time for extracurricular activities, this is definitely not the case. With spirituality a vital part of his life, he is deeply involved in the campus ministry program at Holy Cross and, also, with the Knights of Columbus. When asked how he balances all of these commitments, he says, “No sleep.”

When asked to name a few of the indelible marks Holy Cross will leave on his life, Meyer immediately mentions “the people.” Impressed by the willingness of professors to meet with students outside of class to discuss both course materials and their own personal experiences, he says, “They make you think in new ways—For me, that’s phenomenal.” Meyer also has deep appreciation for the interest the Jesuits and members of the Chaplains’ Office have taken in him, noting the many benefits he received from having the opportunity to go on retreat. “And, of course,” he says, “I will take with me the memories of time spent with friends and the academic challenge of this place … the new ideas that have come to me in every realm of study … art history, physics, the whole gamut.”

Motivated by his love of learning, Meyer takes every opportunity to broaden his life experience—moving halfway across the country to attend college, attaining his pilot’s license, working his way up to a leadership position in the Navy ROTC, and deepening his spirituality through research and campus involvement. His postgraduate plans, which also reflect this same love of learning, include attending flight school at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Okla.

“ Attending flight school with the Navy offers the opportunity to do and learn new things,” he says. “I am looking forward not only to getting a paycheck but also to being able to lead people. That is what we train to be ready to do both at Holy Cross and in Navy ROTC.”

At press time, it was announced that Charlie Meyer would deliver the valedictory address at the College’s 154th Commencement.

 

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