Interview with Dr. George Harne, President of Northeast Catholic College

dr. george harne

This past week, I posed a series of questions to the President of Northeast Catholic College, Dr. George Harne. I was eager to learn more about the school, having written many recommendations for Kolbe Academy students who are applying there–some of the best and the brightest among them–and wanted to find out more about the unique opportunities that are offered at NCC. In particular, I was excited to hear about the scholarship NCC has developed specifically for Kolbe graduates. You can learn all about it and much more in the following Q&A with Dr. Harne.

Tell us about yourself: What is your background and what is your role at NCC?

My wife and I entered the Catholic Church about twelve years ago. I was gradually drawn to the Church through the beauty of the liturgy, the Catholic intellectual tradition, and the coherence of the Catholic view of reality. In short, I was mugged by beauty. We fell in love with the Church and wanted to become part of it. Our first two children came with us and since then we have had three more. We are so grateful for all that we have received as Catholics.

I serve as the President of Northeast Catholic College and as a teaching tutor. My wife serves as the choir director. We both host students in our home on a regular basis as part of the Confraternity of St. Joseph (for the men) and the Sodality of St. Mary (for the women). These are opportunities to gather together for a home-cooked meal, good fellowship, and practical, real-world discussions of what it means to be a Catholic man or woman today.

Why is NCC a good choice for Kolbe Academy students to continue their education?

Kolbe students are sharp and they excel with us. They’ve received excellent formation and both receive a great deal as students but also give from what they’ve learned in the first twelve years of their education. The fundamental orientation toward truth, goodness, and beauty that Kolbe students have as their foundation prepares them to flourish at Northeast Catholic College.

What scholarship opportunities do you offer to Kolbe students?

In recognition of the excellent education offered by Kolbe Academy, Northeast Catholic College is offering all Kolbe Academy seniors graduating with a B average or above, the Benedict XVI Scholarship to attend NCC this fall. The scholarship package includes free room and board for four years (a $32,000 value) and an additional $1,000 per year scholarship. We also realize that it can be very challenging to work out the finances for a Catholic education, so we have also set aside additional resources for aid-based need. For details, contact Northeast Catholic College at admissions@northeastcatholic.edu (“subject:  Kolbe Academy 2018”) or call 603-456-2656. We can help families create a pathway financially.

How have homeschooled students (particularly Kolbe students) fared at NCC in the past?

Very well.  Catholic homeschooled students—especially Kolbe Academy students—possess a broad openness to learning and an animating desire for wisdom. They have an excellent foundation and strong academic skills. These, combined with the many gifts and experiences that homeschooled students bring with them, prepare Kolbe graduates to succeed at Northeast Catholic.

Am I correct that your faculty practices tutorship over lecture? If so, can you describe how this works?

Our teaching tutors use a pedagogy that is informed by dialogue. If a reader opens a book of Platonic dialogues, he or she discovers that sometimes Socrates engaged in back-and-forth conversation with his interlocutors. At other times, he spoke at greater length, presenting a developed idea. At Northeast Catholic, we are flexible with our dialogue but always maintain a forward motion and cultivate student engagement. We are on the journey to wisdom together.

Unlike other colleges that are primarily Socratic without majors, we combine the Great Books with majors (in philosophy, theology, literature, and politics) and the fine arts. It is a unique combination of the best of both the Great Books approach and an approach rooted in classical disciplines (https://www.northeastcatholic.edu/academics).

How does NCC meet the spiritual needs of its students?

We are joyfully Catholic. Our community is fundamentally oriented to sacramental discipleship. We call all of our students to the pursuit of wisdom and holiness. Of course, we have Mass, rosary, Morning and Evening Prayer, Compline, retreats, the Confraternity of St. Joseph and the Sodality of Mary (see above), chapels in each residence with the Blessed Sacrament reserved, Confession, and more. People drive from all around to join our Holy Week liturgies. We place a great emphasis on beauty and reverence, with beautiful music, and reverent reception of the Eucharist. (We have altar rails and our priest celebrates ad orientem.) Our entire approach to student life is devoted to the joyful flourishing of the Catholic young person through freedom informed by truth.

Beginning in 2018, the college will welcome Fr. Michael Gaitley (author of 33 Days to Morning Glory), to oversee the spiritual direction of our students.  Fr. Gaitley’s “Marian Missionaries of Divine Mercy” will also be on campus and participating in our student life.

Our Catholic faith permeates who we are: https://www.northeastcatholic.edu/catholic.

What extracurricular and service opportunities are available for NCC students?

We have a beautiful mountain-side campus in New England and embrace everything the region has to offer. All students receive a pass for unlimited skiing, we cultivate a lively swing dance culture, and take advantage of the cultural riches of New England. Students hike, play a variety of sports, and explore Boston (and other cities and towns). We have a very active drama troupe and music seems to be everywhere. We enjoy feasting and celebrating the good things we have received.

Our students also serve through our Dignitas Scholars, our pro-life club (Spes Vitae), and through a variety of programs. These opportunities take students off campus and into the local communities. Some take students on service trips to other countries. And almost all of our students participate in the National March for Life in D.C. each year, as well as the New Hampshire March for Life.

And all of this is the tip of the iceberg.  There is much more information available on our website: https://www.northeastcatholic.edu/student-life.

How do your students prepare for postgraduate, professional life? 

Through our “Career Pathways Program,” students can spend their spring breaks and summers cultivating professional relationships through internships and networking in Boston, New York, and beyond (including in their hometown). They learn how to interview well, prepare resumes, and think carefully about vocations and careers. We walk alongside students as they make these first steps and assist them in building these networks, finding internships, and landing their first professional job. This past spring break, I took eight students to New York for an immersive experience. One student, who majored in philosophy, was just hired to J.P. Morgan in Manhattan yesterday. He’ll be starting in the next couple of weeks. He didn’t have to choose between a faithful Catholic education and a professional career. Students can learn more about our “Career Pathway Program” here: https://www.northeastcatholic.edu/careers.