header1

About

Significant Moments in Saint Xavier University History

To recount the history of Saint Xavier University is to traverse decades of stories and characters, turmoil and achievement, dedication and change that range across amazing shifts in society and therefore in educational expectations and practices. Through it all, Saint Xavier was there -- sometimes reacting or resisting, sometimes leading, always asking how to continue its mission of education in the context of an ever-evolving Catholic Church, Sister of Mercy community, and United States culture. Some significant moments, however, can serve as pivot points around which Saint Xavier's more complete history turns.

1831 Mother Catherine McAuley establishes the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland.
1837 Chicago incorporates as a city.
1844 Reverend William Quarter becomes the first Roman Catholic bishop of Chicago.
1846 At the request of Bishop Quarter, five Sisters of Mercy arrive from Pittsburgh to begin the work of Catholic education in Chicago. To honor their leader, Mother Frances Xavier Warde, they give the name of her patron, St. Francis Xavier, to their original academy. Saint Francis Xavier Academy for Females opens at Madison Street and Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago on October 12, 1846.
1847  The Sisters of Mercy seek and receive an expansive state charter for the Academy, making it a corporation empowered to confer degrees, "appoint a president or principal … and all such professors or teachers…as may be necessary … and prescribe and direct the course of studies to be pursued in said institution." This charter establishes Saint Xavier’s claim as the oldest Mercy institution of higher education in the world, as the oldest Catholic educational institution still present in Chicago and as one of the oldest continuously operating educational institutions in the metropolitan area.
  In the fall, the Academy moves to a newly constructed brick facility on Wabash Avenue near Madison Street in the heart of the city.
1865 The Academy expands, adding a five-story building at its Wabash Avenue location.
1871 The Great Chicago Fire sweeps through the city, and though no lives were lost among students or sisters, Saint Xavier is reduced to ruins.
1873 After an interim period in temporary quarters, Saint Xavier Academy takes possession of an entirely new building at 2834 S. Wabash Avenue in the residential section of Chicago favored by the Pullmans, Armours, Marshall Fields and other dignitaries.
1901 Saint Xavier moves into elegant and expanded new facilities at 49th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. Among the features worthy of note -- a telephone!
1912 The Sisters of Mercy apply for and receive a certificate of incorporation "to establish, maintain and conduct one or more colleges and … a university in which may be taught all branches of higher learning." This action marks the sisters' determination to open a Catholic college for women.
1915 Saint Francis Xavier College for Women opens, welcoming five students and offering a classical program anchored in religion, languages, mathematics and history.
1919 Saint Xavier College holds its first commencement for a graduating class of two students.
1934 The College announces a rigorous new general education curriculum modeled on its neighbor, the University of Chicago. Sister Camillus Byrne, one of its chief architects, later noted that "opposition arose … but without vision, there can be no progress."
1935 Saint Xavier and Mercy Hospital (Chicago) launch the first integrated baccalaureate nursing program in Illinois by melding the general education program with hospital-based laboratory courses and clinical practice hours to create an intensive four-year collegiate nursing program.
1937 Saint Xavier College achieves accreditation from the then North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges.
1948 Saint Xavier introduces a summer program in theology for sisters and faces controversy over the propriety of teaching theology to non-clergy. Undaunted, the summer program expands to degree status in 1951 and opens to lay persons in 1957.
1949 Saint Xavier College abandons the quarter system in favor of a semester-based academic calendar.
1953 With grants from Ford Foundation's Fund for the Advancement of Education, Saint Xavier launches "The Saint Xavier Plan for the Liberal Education of the Christian Person," a grammar school through college curriculum centered in the liberal arts and grounded in philosophy and theology.
  Saint Xavier College offers its first graduate program (theology).
1954 Saint Xavier College establishes its Center for Liberal Studies in Education.
1956 Saint Xavier College moves to a new campus at 103rd Street and Central Park Avenue. Coincident with the move, the College and the Academy separate and the Academy becomes McAuley Liberal Arts High School.
1959 Pacelli Hall, Saint Xavier's first free-standing residence hall, opens.
1961 Saint Xavier College confers its first master's degrees -- in theology and in education.
1962 As a "center of excellence," Saint Xavier College is named as the only Catholic women's college and one of 35 private liberal arts colleges in the United States to receive a Ford Foundation Special Program in Education grant. It's an unrestricted matching grant of $1.5 million; to meet the match, SXC raises $3 million before June 30, 1965.
1963 Saint Xavier's School of Nursing initiates its first graduate degree program, a master of science in psychiatric nursing.
1965 Saint Xavier faculty members approve their first set of faculty bylaws subsequently affirmed by the Board of Trustees. A faculty handbook follows in the same year.
1966 Despite initial opposition by then Archbishop John Cody, Saint Xavier hosts the John XXIII Theological Symposium, drawing over 4,000 participants to hear the major theologians of the Second Vatican Council discuss what that Council would mean for the future of the Catholic Church.
  The School of Nursing receives formal recognition as an entity within the College having the rights and responsibilities usually associated with academic designation as a "School."
  Saint Xavier first names lay persons to its Board of Trustees.
  Saint Xavier organizes a Continuing Education Program designed to help adult women reenter the academic world and complete interrupted studies toward a degree.
1968 Using a Science Department telephone and teletype link to the Illinois Institute of Technology, Saint Xavier gains its first access to computers.
1969 After considerable discussion, Saint Xavier becomes coeducational, enrolling its first undergraduate males for January 1969.
1975 Saint Xavier establishes a Campus Ministry program and selects a lay person as the program's first director.
1978 Saint Xavier launches its Weekend College with four baccalaureate programs -- business administration, criminal justice, humanities and nursing.
1983 SXC's Department of Business Administration becomes the Graham School of Management and inaugurates its MBA program.
1984 In partnership with the then Illinois Renewal Institute, Saint Xavier's School of Education begins offering graduate courses at sites across Illinois. Eventually, this partnership evolves into the off campus master's degree programs.
1985 Saint Xavier first extends its campus across 103rd Street, opening the Graham School of Management in a renovated public school building.
1989 The College reorganizes its Education Center (department) as the School of Education.
1990 The College establishes the School of Arts and Sciences.
  The Renaissance Academy, organized under Saint Xavier sponsorship, heightens the
inter-generational character of the campus community.
1992 Saint Xavier College becomes Saint Xavier University.
1995 Andrew Conference Center opens.
1996 Saint Xavier celebrates 150 years of educational service to Chicagoland.
1997 Saint Xavier opens its first South Campus in rented facilities in Tinley Park.
  The University plans and hosts an international conference, Children in the World: Exploring the Rights of the Child, the first conference its kind in the United States.
  Saint Xavier University organizes its Adult College.
  Saint Xavier establishes a Center for Off-Campus and International Program Development.
1999 Saint Xavier University inaugurates an Honors Program that provides an intensive, four-year, interdisciplinary program for qualifying students.
  The University completes construction of the Shannon Convocation and Athletic Center, making it possible to host athletic contests and special events, including graduation, in a facility that seats up to 3,200 persons.
2000 The McDonough Chapel and the Mercy Ministry Center open, realizing a long-deferred dream of a free-standing chapel and associated ministry space.
2001 Saint Xavier University establishes the Center for Religion and Public Discourse to advance thoughtful and respectful discussion and scholarship, relating academic disciplines and contemporary concerns to ethical, spiritual and religious perspectives. he Center inaugurates the Squeaky Weal Lecture Series, attracting such guest speakers as poets W.S. Merwin and Lisel Mueller, journalists Carol Marin and Bill Kurtis, personalities Bill Rancic and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
  McCarthy Hall, a new student residence, opens.
2002 Morris Hall opens, continuing to expand the opportunity for students to live on campus.
2003 Saint Xavier builds a state-of-the-art facility and creates the new Orland Park Campus on a generously donated 35-acre site near Interstate 80 in Orland Park. 
2004 The University receives the extraordinary and unusual gift of Gilhooley's Grande Saloon and several adjacent commercial properties (Driehaus Center) along 103rd Street near the Chicago campus.
  Saint Xavier University establishes the Office for Mission and Heritage
2006 Saint Xavier's Rubloff Hall becomes the first LEED Gold-certified student residence building in Chicagoland and the second such facility in Illinois.
  Saint Xavier celebrates 160 years of educational service in and beyond Chicago.
  SXU's Office for Mission and Heritage sponsors and hosts a national conference, Women in Islam: Comparative Perspectives and Challenges.
  The Office for Mission and Heritage launches its Catholic Colloquium Lecture Series to explore the responsibilities of a Catholic university as a resource for examining contemporary civic and social questions and for developing healthy, active spiritual lives. Speakers in the series include Peter Steinfels, R. Scott Appleby, Sister Mary Aquin O'Neill, R.S.M., Rev. Robert E. Barron, Rev. Otis Moss, III, and Lawrence Cunningham.
2007 An affiliation agreement between Saint Xavier University and the Conference for Mercy Higher Education (CMHE) transfers the University's Mercy sponsorship from the Regional Community of Chicago to CMHE, the newly created sponsorship entity for 16 Mercy-founded colleges and universities in the United States.
  The School of Arts and Sciences becomes the College of Arts and Sciences.
  The University launches its Voices and Visions speaker series with former Secretary of State and Ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright as the inaugural speaker.
  After three years of study and design by an interdisciplinary faculty task force, University faculty members approve a new general education program.
  The School of Nursing is recognized as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing.
2008 Saint Xavier University successfully completes the Mercy Endowment Challenge, raising $1 million to match a $1 million gift from the Sisters of Mercy and thereby earning an additional gift of $500,000 from the Mercy community to fully endow the Office for Mission and Heritage.
  O'Brien Hall opens; it is SXU's second LEED Gold-certified residence building.
  SXU receives a federal Title III grant totaling $1.9 million to help improve academic success and increase the retention and graduation rate of students.
2009 The University expands to two new locations in former neighborhood church buildings – one renovated to house the Art Department and the other, to be known as the Sister Mary Denis O'Grady Center, designed as a one-stop marketing communications, media relations and fundraising center housing the University Relations and University Advancement Departments.
  Saint Xavier announces the naming of the Robert and Mary Rita Murphy Stump Library.
  The 49th Street Gateway Arch replica is installed at the 103rd Street campus, at the entry to the Morris-Schmitt Quad.
2010 Christine M. Wiseman, J.D. becomes the 18th president of Saint Xavier University.
Saint Xavier University is awarded $5 million for capital improvements to the Robert and Mary Rita Murphy Stump Library.
2011 Saint Xavier University wins first-ever Russell Athletic-NAIA National Football Championship. Saint Xavier University celebrates grand re-opening of newly renovated Robert and Mary Rita Murphy Stump Library.
  The University is awarded a $645,000 scholarship grant for disadvantaged students.
The University receives nearly 2.6 million grant from the Illinois capital grant program for capital improvements.
  Saint Xavier University's School of Education receives $226,000 grant to train Chicago Public School teachers.
2013 Saint Xavier University's School of Education receives $226,000 grant to train Chicago Public School teachers.
  Saint Xavier University's School of Nursing is awarded more than $600,000 for nursing
scholarships.
2014 Saint Xavier University's online Graduate Nursing program ranked No.#1 on
U.S. News & World Report.