Lisle, Illinois ~ The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix (Ariz.) has officially invited Benedictine University to open a branch campus in the diocese.
The diocese's invitation is the latest step in a process that will allow Benedictine to open a branch campus in downtown Mesa.
Benedictine University President William J. Carroll, Ph.D., Abbot Austin G. Murphy, O.S.B., of St. Procopius Abbey, and other faculty and administrators presented to the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Phoenix earlier this month.
"The priests expressed their gratitude for this initiative and recommended that an invitation be officially extended to Benedictine University to open a campus here in our diocese," said the Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix. "I welcome their counsel and am supportive of moving forward with this project."
Last week, the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education voted unanimously to approve Benedictine University's application and to grant Benedictine a license to offer educational programs in Mesa. In April, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved the University's application for Authority to Conduct Affairs in Arizona.
Benedictine plans to begin business operations this fall at 51 E. Main Street and offer classes in August 2013 at 225 E. Main Street, both located in downtown Mesa. Initial degree offerings will include a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Bachelor of Arts in Theology, Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and Organizational Behavior, in addition to a minor in Religious Studies.
University officials believe this invitation is a major step toward servicing a demand for a Catholic college in Maricopa County, which has an estimated 530,000 Catholics but no Catholic colleges. It also fits perfectly into the University's mission to offer a faith-based, values-centered liberal arts education.
"We thought there was an underserved population for Catholic higher education (in Arizona)," Carroll said. "When this opportunity came along, we knew it was the time to think seriously about it and pursue it."
In March, the University celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding by Benedictine monks. Benedictine is known for outstanding programs in science, business, health, education and the liberal arts.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 15 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2002-2012 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fourth consecutive year in 2014. Benedictine University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the sixth largest in the Chicago area in 2014.