BenU Promise Made: A Values-Based Education

July 30, 2015

Lisle, Illinois ~The price of tuition. Degree programs. Academic reputation. Student life activities. Residence hall accommodations.

There are many things to consider when deciding on which college to attend.

But there is one overarching factor worth contemplating that is not as immediately tangible as enrolling in a thermodynamics course taught by a professor who is affiliated with one of the largest national laboratories in the Midwest, spending spring break soaking up the sights in Cuba while learning about a different culture, or participating in an internship at a Fortune 500 company.

It is the set of core values – or blueprint for living a good and just life – that Benedictine instills in its graduates. Values that reinforce goals for students to possess the fortitude to work hard and the virtue to give back to the community in meaningful ways whether as doctors in the operating room, lawyers in the courtroom or businessmen in the boardroom.

“This school, because of how it lives the values, attracts a certain type of person,” said Alicia Cordoba Tait, D.M.A., assistant to the president for mission integration and director of the Center for Mission and Identity. “Here, we really live those values and create that bond between the student and professor that allows for another level of communication with students that you can’t get anywhere else. There is just something about Benedictine – something about how you can be more of yourself here.”

The seven values the University espouses are:

• A search for God by oneself and with others.

• A tradition of hospitality.

• An appreciation for living and working in community.

• A concern for the development of each person.

• An emphasis on a life lived in balance.

• A dedication to responsible stewardship of all things.

• A commitment to academic excellence.

Kris Rosemann, who graduated from Benedictine in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and is now an associate investment analyst at Valuentum Securities Inc., said the University’s emphasis on values-based education contributed to his success in many meaningful ways.

“Evidence of a values-based education is everywhere you look at Benedictine,” Rosemann said. “From our core education requirements, which include religion and humanities courses, to our wide variety of clubs that encourage involvement and interdependence throughout our student body.

Most importantly, the values of Benedictine are seen through the way faculty members care for their students. Whether it is a coach, advisor or professor, the people at this University care about the development of students into strong, value-based adults, whose roots at Benedictine will continue to benefit them as they continue to grow as people and professionals.”

Michael Alebich, D.O., said the values continue to impact how he lives his life and in his career as an attending physician at Cook County Hospital.

“Every day, I strive to find pleasure and purpose in the monotony of daily life,” Alebich said. “To some, this may sound negative. However, to me this means turning the mundane into the extraordinary on a daily basis. For some, their job is a means to an end – a way to provide and live. What a Benedictine education taught me is that a career needs to be so much more. I have the ability to positively influence others on a daily basis through my vocation. If I can leave the hospital and return home knowing that I positively affected the lives of my students, residents and patients, then my life has a greater purpose.”

Another way students have put these values into practice include their involvement in philanthropic student clubs, such as BenU UNICEF, which was named the 2014 “Chapter of the Year” by the national organization for “helping to educate, advocate and fundraise for the world’s children.”

The club raised more than $10,500 to support UNICEF’s mission of assisting children lacking basic needs such as water, food, shelter, health care and education.

“We have a lot of students who want to volunteer and give back in the community – whether it’s a day at a soup kitchen, or mission trip to the Philippines or Bolivia,” said Joan Henehan, director of Student Engagement and Leadership Development. “We had more than 150 students volunteer during the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. They like to serve and live out those values.”

“I truly believe that I have grown into a student who embodies the Benedictine values,” said Sree Bodepudi, who graduated in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. “Specifically, I have become a better leader and a global citizen, and I am committed to working for the greater good of my community. In the classroom, I have been challenged by professors to create innovative solutions that solve problems on a larger scale. Outside of the classroom and through my participation with various student organizations, I have gained invaluable skills which I can utilize for the rest of my life. I have gained leadership skills such as public speaking, team work, management and how to adapt to problems that arise at the last minute. I am confident in saying that my time at the University has equipped me to be successful in the future.”

Students and faculty are also encouraged to share their unique cultural, ethnic and religious heritage and customs in an open and friendly environment where all are welcome to inquire, discuss and engage in the search for truth.

They explore and appreciate different cultures through Catholic-Muslim Student Dialogue, where students of both faiths meet biweekly to share lunch, read the Qu’ran and Bible together, and discuss current events; the Intercultural House, a special residence hall where students are randomly assigned and encouraged to interact with a roommate with contrasting life experiences; and several interfaith dinners, cross-cultural events and dozens of study abroad opportunities.

“Going to school at Benedictine gave me a much better appreciation for different cultures,” said Mike Theriault, who earned degrees in Mathematics and Secondary Education in 2013 and is now a mathematics teacher at Batavia High School. “I went to many different social events on campus and I got to know a lot about other cultures. This has helped me a lot in teaching because students come from all different backgrounds and experiences. Benedictine helped me to relate to these students and encourage them to appreciate people or customs different from their own.”

Dana Cairns, who graduated in Benedictine in May with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and is now a pharmacy technician at CVS, also noted how the Benedictine values made an impact on her college experience.

“Benedictine has taught me to consider the beliefs and perspectives of others by providing me a values-based education,” she said.

“This is especially evident when I talk to my friends at other institutions because I feel Benedictine has shaped me as a more well-rounded and considerate individual. Benedictine values are not only discussed in the classroom, but their practice is evident throughout the entire campus, whether it be through friendships, relationships with faculty and staff, or through clubs and activities. Values such as stewardship, community and hospitality are especially integrated into everyday life on campus, which is what makes the University unique.”

As a strong faith-filled community that espouses Catholic and Benedictine values, the University seeks to prepare students for a lifetime of success and service that will help them lead purpose-filled and rewarding lives.

We are committed to giving our students opportunities to grow academically, personally and spiritually.

Together, all are respected and encouraged to work together, because all have something to contribute as part of the larger world community in which we live.To learn more about The Benedictine Promise, visit ben.edu/promise. To learn more about becoming a student at Benedictine, visit the Lisle, Ill., main campus admissions page at ben.edu/admissions or the Mesa, Ariz., campus admissions page at ben.edu/mesa/admissions.

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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 56 undergraduate majors and 16 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.

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