What is a University?
A university is a place committed to the pursuit of knowledge, truth, and wisdom in all its forms and in which knowledge is its own reward.
What is a Liberal Arts University?
A liberal arts university is an institution focused on the cultivation of the critical, creative, and curious mind; a liberal arts university teaches people how to think rather than dictate what they ought to think. A liberal arts university seeks to provide a breadth of knowledge and depth of understanding across disciplines and methods and is by its very nature collaborative and interdisciplinary. A liberal arts university cultivates clear thinking and effective communication while instilling a process of on-going questioning and discernment that furthers the ability to problem solve. The liberally educated person knows how to listen and to hear, to read and to understand, to communicate clearly and effectively, and to address real problems from multiple perspectives.
At its best the liberal arts university produces graduates with a love of learning who are teachable and trainable, curious and creative, and from whom new ideas emerge; its graduates become active citizens ready and eager to participate in the life of their community and the wider world.
What is a Catholic University?
St. Mary’s University is a liberal arts university that is rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition. The Catholic Intellectual tradition holds that the search for truth is enriched by one’s sensitivity to the ethical and spiritual dimensions of life while also recognizing that faith itself must be informed by intelligence. The Catholic intellectual tradition resists the temptation to compartmentalize knowledge and experience and is committed to the formation of the whole person—mind, body, and spirit. The Catholic university seeks to create thoughtful and compassionate citizens committed to justice and able to respond with sensitively and creatively to changing social needs and cultural realities.
How does St. Mary’s balance Catholic identity while remaining true to the mission statement of embracing diversity and welcoming all?
To say that St. Mary’s is an open and welcoming community open to all is in fact an extension of our identity as a Catholic University. Being a Catholic university means being conscious of God working in each person’s life, recognizing the dignity of the individual as a unique creation and revelation of the divine. Because all persons are created in the likeness and image of God, all persons are to be treated with dignity and respect. Discrimination on any grounds has no place in a Catholic University. We welcome all persons to St. Mary’s University so that we may enter into conversation with them and learn from their experience and in the process more fully understand ourselves. Such conversation is essential in our increasingly diverse, multicultural society and interconnected world.