Saint Xavier University Chicago Campus


University Philosophy Statement

The University's Philosophy Statement and its Mission Statement are complementary documents. While the Mission Statement focuses on why the University exists, the Philosophy Statement, adopted in 2006, addresses how Saint Xavier seeks to fulfill its educational mission.


Saint Xavier University continues to build upon the ideals of its founders and sponsors, the Sisters of Mercy, who in 1846, inspired by their Catholic faith and the mandate of union and charity, established an academy defined by intellectual rigor in the tradition of the liberal arts, the encouragement of religious faith, and action in solidarity with the economically poor of the world, especially women and children.

Consistent with this tradition, the University offers challenging undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, characterized by a collegial alliance of faculty, students, staff, administration and community members who are committed to providing course work, resources, activities and instructional facilities that support excellence in teaching and learning. While chiefly concerned with students' intellectual development, the University also supports their moral and spiritual growth, and enhances their capacity for leadership through co-curricular programs.

At the heart of the academic mission is the University's commitment to a strong general education program that introduces students to college life and learning, broadens their knowledge in the arts and sciences, helps them integrate learning and community concerns, and prepares them for success in their major fields of study and life after graduation. In all programs of study, the University encourages the examination of fundamental questions of human concern, respectful dialogue in the context of diverse points of view and experience, as well as the search for truth and justice.

In an atmosphere of intellectual rigor made possible by academic freedom, University faculty develop and teach courses in their areas of advanced study, extend research in their disciplines, produce scholarly and creative work, and serve the University and community. Faculty are also responsible for academic policies and the design and content of the University curriculum. In teaching, scholarship and service, faculty represent one of the most visible examples of the intellectual life of the University.

Students at Saint Xavier encounter a wide range of course work, co-curricular activities, community experiences and support services designed to enhance their learning at all levels and to help them develop more fully as confident, contributing citizen leaders of an ever-increasingly complex and global community. The University seeks students of diverse talents, experiences, knowledge, interests and cultures who are willing and prepared to learn and to seek excellence in themselves and others.

Vital to the success of teaching and learning are the dedicated members of variously skilled academic support services and the administrative leadership charged with fostering strategic planning, institutional assessment, and effective stewardship and deployment of University resources.

The enduring fellowship of alumni, emeriti faculty, Sister of Mercy sponsors, trustees, and other friends and contributors in the community at large demonstrates their continuing faith in the central mission of Saint Xavier through various acts of giving, prayer and support.

Infusing this community of shared concern are the distinctive qualities and values of Saint Xavier University, including the belief that faith and reason can interact in mutually fruitful ways. Therefore, the University membership encourages a full search for truth, including religious truth, while respecting freedom of personal expression. It also promotes a vigorous and compassionate dialogue among the various faith traditions, and between them and the academic disciplines. At its foundation, teaching and learning at Saint Xavier are premised upon and committed to the fundamental dignity and unique worth of each human person.

Accepted by the Faculty Senate -- March 28, 2006
Approved by the Board of Trustees -- May 10, 2006
Approved by the Corporate Member, Sisters of Mercy -- May 25, 2006


"The ideals of its founders and sponsors"

The statement highlights four ideals impressed on Saint Xavier's character by the Sisters of Mercy -- intellectual rigor, the liberal arts and sciences, the Catholic faith, and action in solidarity with the poor. These ideals continue to shape the University community, its academic programs and its co-curricular offerings. They demand a holistic approach to the mission of higher education and a commitment to help students define success in terms of an integrated personal and professional life that is meaningful, relational and productive. Such a commitment honors the liberal arts and sciences, supports a broad general education program, fosters respectful discourse and promotes a sense of responsibility for the common good.

"An enduring fellowship"

Successive paragraphs of the Philosophy Statement highlight the distinctive roles and vital contributions of all those who are engaged in the University's educational mission. Faculty scholarship and teaching, student engagement in the learning process, staff support of both students and faculty, administrative responsibility for the institution's welfare -- all are needed to enable Saint Xavier University to fulfill its purpose for being. Likewise, those who interact with the University community from a variety of other perspectives are important contributors to its mission.

"Distinctive qualities and values"

The statement concludes with an affirmation of the salutary effects of the interaction between faith and reason jointly engaged in a full search for truth, including religious truth. In this search, the University community strives to respect personal freedom and dialogue. This search and ethos, the bases for teaching and learning at Saint Xavier, derive from and contribute to human dignity and community.