What’s in a name change?

Sometimes, everything.

That is the case for Silver Lake College of the Holy Family. On Sept. 14, the private, Catholic, liberal arts college in Manitowoc is officially returning to its original name — Holy Family College

— in the first step towards a future of aggressive growth, rooted as a Franciscan Catholic

College leading with faith, family and academic excellence.

“Highlighting our identity as a Franciscan Catholic College is the runway, if you will, to a thriving future for us,” said Dr. Robert Callahan, who was named as the College’s 11th president in January.

Founded in 1935, the college originally had the mission of educating Franciscan sisters in the charisms of teaching and nursing — which remain two of the college’s best-known disciplines today. Sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and accredited by the Higher

Learning Commission, the National Association of Schools of Music and the Commission on

Collegiate Nursing Education, in its almost 85 years Silver Lake College has evolved into a strong liberal arts college that offers personalized education and small class sizes as well as athletic programs that include men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, cross country and women’s softball.

Its main campus in Manitowoc is home to a little less than 500 students pursuing undergraduate degrees in almost 30 different majors — everything from nursing (their largest undergrad program) to art, business, biology, history, computer science and education. This year, the

College is welcoming its second-largest freshman undergraduate class ever. In addition, there are about 350 graduate students pursuing their Master’s degrees in education, music education and leadership and organizational development.

“We help people prepare for careers that, primarily, serve other people,” said Dr. Callahan.

The institution’s name was changed to Silver Lake College of the Holy Family in 1972. “Back at that time there was concern federal financial aid might be reduced or even pulled completely from religious institutions — they did not want that to happen to the college,” said Dr. Callahan.

In the intervening years, Silver Lake College’s Catholic identity has always been “part of our

DNA,” he said — but the time has come for a bold statement about the place that discipleship of

Jesus Christ holds in the heart of the community.

There is nothing more obvious, more ubiquitous on the campus than the very name of the institution — and the name of the soon-to-be Holy Family College must be one that “tells our story well,” said Dr. Callahan.

“This is what Catholic colleges are supposed to do. We are supposed to make sure every student we serve understands what faith is and why it is so important,” he continued. “We need colleges like ours to be a strong voice that reminds us our job as a faith-based institution is to ensure faith is an integral part of preparing for a purposeful life — a strong voice that calls us all not just to focus on the material outcomes of earning a college degree but a strong voice that reminds us of our responsibility to help others learn about God and Jesus.”

Silver Lake College of the Holy Family

2406 S. Alverno Road, Manitowoc, WI 54220