History and Heritage


Benedictine University at Springfield has its roots in the founding of Springfield Junior College (later to become Springfield College in Illinois) in 1929 by the Ursuline Sisters. The Ursuline order dates back more than 470 years ago to Brescia, Italy where St. Angela Merici established a new kind of religious life for women who dedicated their lives to God and the service of others outside the monastic walls. This company, placed by St. Angela under the patronage of St. Ursula, spread throughout Europe and eventually the new world. The Ursulines established a strong identity as educators and founded communities and schools throughout North America. Their schools reflected five centuries of Ursuline tradition expressed in a commitment to truth; respect for the uniqueness of each individual; providing programs that reflect the importance of the development of the whole person; recognizing the importance of every person's talents and gifts; fostering a spirit of willing service and generous hospitality; and supporting every person's search for God and chosen faith tradition.

Under their guidance, Springfield College in Illinois, the oldest institution of higher learning in Springfield, became a pioneer in enhancing the ethical, intellectual and personal development of students without reference to race, color, gender or creed.

After serving the Springfield community as a two-year institution for nearly 75 years, Springfield College in Illinois partnered with Benedictine University in 2003 to bring Benedictine programs and services to the Springfield area. Benedictine University, founded in 1887 as St. Procopius College by the Benedictine monks of St. Procopius Abbey, is guided by its Roman Catholic tradition and Benedictine heritage that closely mirror the values of Springfield College's Ursuline founders.

The partnership between Springfield College in Illinois and Benedictine University evolved and expanded, culminating in a decision in 2009 to establish Benedictine University at Springfield as a four-year institution offering a full range of academic programs. Benedictine University at Springfield also provides a wide range of athletic opportunities for its students through membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Today, Benedictine University at Springfield prepares students to excel as lifelong leaders and learners in both their scholarly disciplines and professional fields of study.

Our Catholic Heritage

Benedictine University at Springfield is guided by the Roman Catholic intellectual tradition and the tenants of "Ex Corde Ecclesiae," the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities.

The Roman Catholic intellectual tradition - which extends back to the age of the Fathers of the Church, the monasteries of the Middle Ages and the eventual rise of the universities - emphasizes the worth and dignity of each person; the solidarity of the human race and the social nature of human existence, which is oriented toward God and not limited to this life; the goodness of creation; and the interconnectedness of truth and the compatibility of faith and reason in the search for truth.

In fidelity to that tradition, the University is committed to investigating questions that address the ultimate purpose of life; to the dialogue between religious and secular cultures; and of the promotion of ecumenical, inter-religious and cross-cultural understanding. This type of education is designed to broaden and deepen a person's vision of reality, to help all understand the dignity and uniqueness of each human person and at the same time to place an emphasis upon the demands of freedom and social responsibility. Benedictine University encourages openness to all reality, acceptance of truth wherever it is found and the personal effort to integrate learning as a basis of wisdom for life.

The University also adheres to the guidelines set forth for Catholic Universities in "Ex Corde Ecclesiae." In this declaration, Pope John Paul II indentifies four characteristics that distinguish every Catholic university as Catholic: a Christian inspiration not only of individuals but of the university community; a continuing reflection in light of the Catholic faith upon the growing treasury of human knowledge to which the university seeks to contribute by its own research; fidelity to the Christian message as it come to us through the Church; and an institutional commitment to the service of the people of God and of the human family in their pilgrimage to life eternal, the journey which gives meaning to life.