Ask Spencer Brandenburg, a biology and psychology major, what makes Bellarmine special, and he has a ready answer: “It’s the people, it’s the connections, the community.”
He’s not alone.
Talk to anyone about Bellarmine and within moments, they’ll mention relationships. Bellarmine’s smaller campus, welcoming culture and infinite engagement opportunities foster friendships that last a lifetime.
“My favorite thing about Bellarmine, what I’m going to look back on, are the people. The people made the difference for everything,” said Patrick Lewis, a senior communications major.
There are more than 90 student-created and led groups on campus and most students belong to at least one of them.
Bellarmine’s learning communities and
specialty programs also help students get connected and make friends, receive support from faculty and staff, and get involved at Bellarmine and beyond. The Office of Identity and Inclusion, and numerous other student groups, engage the Bellarmine community in identity exploration and social justice.
“Whether you are looking for a community focused on an area of study or your beliefs you can find your place here,” said Helen-Grace Ryan, vice president of Student Affairs.
The university also maintains a 12-1 student ratio, which means classroom connections are also easily made with other students and professors.
“Our professors truly care about your success,” Ryan said. “They know when students are struggling or need answers, and they make themselves available. Whether it’s sticking around after class to work through a problem
or being available after hours, you will get the support you need.”
At Bellarmine, advisors are also key mentors. They help students make the choices that matter most: who they want to be and how to achieve it. Academic advisors in the Student Success Center help students integrate their interests and values along with
academic and professional goals into their college journey. This team is closely aligned with advisors in the Career Development Center, who offer career exploration and preparation services. This advising structure envelops students in a network
Katy McWhorter, a respiratory therapy major, said her advisor is her “favorite person.” She helped her identify her passion – respiratory therapy – while also serving as a professor and a constant advocate.
“She continually scheduled outside time to go over things,” she said. “Any time I was struggling she had this big bowl of chocolate she’d bring in and she’d be like ‘everything’s okay, here’s chocolate.’”
Students often say when they graduate, it’s these relationships they’ll remember most.
“That’s how the community is here,” McWhorter said. “They all remember you, they’ll remember your name. I see professors that I had Freshman year that still will wave to me and know my name, which is crazy because at bigger
colleges you’re just a number, but at Bellarmine you have a name.”