Addressing needs of Muslim students at Catholic colleges topic of convocation

Addressing needs of Muslim students at Catholic colleges topic of convocation
March 4, 2008

Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
(630) 829-6094

The academic, religious and social needs of students attending Catholic colleges and universities have changed over the years, reflecting a student body that has also changed socioeconomically, ethnically and ethically. But the growing influx of Muslim students into the Catholic college melting pot has given rise to an altogether new set of questions. “Engaging Islam in Chicago Area Catholic Universities and Colleges Today” is the theme of the Seventh Annual Convocation of Faculty and Administrators from Chicagoland Catholic Colleges and Universities hosted by Benedictine University at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1 on the Second Floor of the Krasa Center. Panelists will include Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago; J. Peter Sartain, Bishop of Joliet; Warren C. Schultz, associate professor and chair of the Department of History at DePaul University; Aly Drame, professor of History at Dominican University; Rachel Hart, chaplain of the University Ministry office at Loyola University; and Benedictine University senior Amina Waheed, a political science major. The panel will address such questions as: how curricula have changed to reflect a changing student body which includes more religious diversity; how classroom dialogue has changed to reflect this diversity; whether student services address the specific needs of Muslim students; and how do we teach Muslim students about Catholicism and Catholic students about Islam in a responsible way? “A hallmark of Benedictine education is the value of ‘conversatio,’ ” said convocation committee member Alicia Cordoba Tait. “ ‘Conversatio’ means a transformation, an on-going process in every aspect of our lives. We engage in education to attain transformation, By gaining a greater understanding and appreciation of others, we are brought closer to God.” The annual convocation provides an opportunity for Chicago area Catholic colleges and universities to share ideas; to build a community of scholars to address crucial issues; to promote inclusiveness among all students attending the various institutions; and to promote the Catholic character of the participating institutions. Chicago area colleges and universities expected to participate in this year’s convocation are: the University of St. Francis (Joliet), DePaul University, Loyola University, Dominican University (River Forest), Lewis University (Romeoville), Saint Xavier University and Benedictine University.


Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 56 undergraduate majors, 16 graduate and four doctorate programs. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ranked Benedictine University as the seventh fastest-growing campus among private nonprofit master’s universities, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among the top 20 percent of America’s colleges for 2011. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fourth largest in the Chicago area in 2011.