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Mission and Values

 

 Bell

Mission and Values

Saint Xavier University, a Catholic institution inspired by the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy, educates persons to search for truth, to think critically, to communicate effectively and to serve wisely and compassionately in support of human dignity and the common good.

Our Mission Statement

As an institution of higher education, Saint Xavier engages its students, faculty and staff, and those who comprise its immediate and broader communities in the primary activities of teaching, learning, scholarship and service. The University is named after the Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Mother Frances Xavier Warde who, in 1846, brought the Sisters of Mercy from Pittsburgh to Chicago and founded Saint Francis Xavier Female Academy of Chicago, Illinois, the forerunner of Saint Xavier University.

Saint Xavier University reflects and extends the teaching mission of Jesus. It is a ministry of the Roman Catholic Church, a relationship made possible because of its continuing sponsorship by the Sisters of Mercy through the Conference for Mercy Higher Education. Catholic teaching, especially the dialogue between faith and reason and the social justice tradition of the Church, undergirds the University's mission and values.

Grounded in the Gospel stories of a compassionate and hospitable Jesus who loved and served others, the ministry of the Sisters of Mercy to the poor, sick and uneducated began in Dublin and now extends around the world. Their reputation as educators prompted the city's first Catholic bishop to bring the Sisters of Mercy to Chicago, where they founded Saint Xavier in 1846, making it the first Mercy institution of higher education existing in the world today. Imbued with the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy, Saint Xavier University extends a rich tradition of intellectual rigor, compassionate service and hospitality to its students and to the world through the work of higher education.

The University develops and sustains programs and practices that lead (L. ducere: to lead), all persons away from ignorance toward the expression of their fullest human potential. Among the expressions of full human potential are displays of personal and professional excellence, ethical decision-making and concern for the welfare of others.

As an educational ministry of the Church informed by its Mercy heritage and sponsorship, Saint Xavier University encourages and supports all members of its academic community in their search for truth, including religious and theological truths that derive from or point to the existence of a loving God in whose image each person has been created. The journey toward truth is lifelong -- Via, Veritas, Vita1 -- a quest that respects faith, reason and the diverse approaches of various disciplines and methods of observation, reasoning and analysis.

When Saint Xavier became a college in 1915, the sisters designing the course of studies grounded the academic program in the liberal arts and sciences in order to "liberate" or "free" students to live reflectively as they acquired knowledge and searched for truth in their personal and professional lives. Becoming liberated, in this sense, requires the ability to think critically. Thus, Saint Xavier's curriculum, past and present, emphasizes careful observation and inquiry, reflection and contemplation, assessment, creativity, argumentation and integration. By learning to think critically, in all its dimensions, students can be freed from laboring under unfounded assumptions, preconceived notions and stereotypical judgments; they are freed to live informed, productive, good lives.

Saint Xavier University is a community of discourse in which the knowledge and critical thinking of individuals and groups can be both challenged and expanded. Effective communication within a community of discourse requires different skills and approaches, grounded in academic disciplines and characterized by civility and respect for the opinions, experiences and beliefs of others. As an educational community, Saint Xavier also has a responsibility to share its search for truth and its critical thinking with a broader public who are both critics and consumers.

Service is a fundamental message of the Gospel and a hallmark of the life and ministry of Jesus. Thus, as a Catholic institution sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Saint Xavier University educates persons not only for themselves but also for others. To serve wisely involves making good ethical judgments about the disposition of one's and the world's resources, including personal time and talents. To serve compassionately is to extend oneself in merciful action on behalf of others in their need. Service in the spirit of mercy derives from an awareness of the needs of others and a feeling of solidarity with them, informed by intellectual principles found in religious, ethical, and moral teachings and traditions.

A fundamental message of the Scriptures and a basic principle of Catholic social teaching is that human beings have innate dignity because they are made in the image and likeness of God. This personal dignity cannot be mitigated by conditions of race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or physical ability. The common good, a complementary principle of Catholic social teaching, is predicated on the tenet that each person holds a God-given responsibility to promote a just and merciful world that make the benefits of God's goodness accessible to all. Saint Xavier University strives to be intentional about addressing human dignity and the common good in its programs, activities and relationships.

Respect

Respect

 

Respect moves us to understand the gifts and unique contributions of every person in the University community and to value diverse perspectives.

Catholics and immigrants, girls and young women, women whose education had been interrupted by family responsibilities, those who were the first in their families to attend college -- in different eras, these groups lacked opportunity to acquire an education. Respect for personal dignity and individual potential has consistently prompted Saint Xavier to welcome these students and help them succeed.

 Excellence

Excellence commits us to challenge ourselves to utilize our God-given gifts -- intellectual, social, physical, spiritual and ethical.

Saint Xavier's commitment to excellence impels both individuals and the University itself to consistently strive for outcomes that are exemplary rather than simply satisfactory. Such striving for excellence touches all aspects of University life from academic programs to sports, from student services to campus environment, from recruitment to publications, from special occasions to daily business. This value also inspires the University community to recognize its members' significant achievements and contributions to the welfare of others.

 Excellence

 Compassion

 Compassion

Compassion compels us to stand with and embrace others in their suffering that, together, we may experience God's liberating and healing presence.

This value reflects the reality that mercy demands commitment, courage and action, as well as sensitivity, understanding and care. Members of the Saint Xavier community stand with their colleagues in times of personal crisis or grief and express compassion through multiple endeavors that respond to the needs of others within and beyond the University.

 Service

Service calls us to use our gifts, talents and abilities to advance the genuine well-being of our community and those we encounter.

Service to students is a basic tenet of life at Saint Xavier University, as is service by students, staff and faculty -- each lending personal skills and professional expertise to assist others through campus clinics, off-campus internships, service trips and numerous volunteer opportunities that extend the ethos and the value of service well beyond Saint Xavier's campuses.

 Service

 Hospitality

Hospitality 

Hospitality draws us to do our daily work with a spirit of graciousness that welcomes new ideas and people of all backgrounds and beliefs.

At Saint Xavier, the value of hospitality means making space for an unexpected visitor, a surprising idea, a fresh insight, even a disturbing question or challenging opportunity. Welcoming the ideas of another may not result in agreement, but such hospitality does require attentive listening and a readiness to reconsider one's position.

 Integrity

Integrity gives us the ability to realize the greater good in our actions and programs and challenges us to look at our work and ourselves holistically and as one united with others across the globe.

Integrity, whether personal or institutional, implies coherence between words and acts. It calls each member of the Saint Xavier community to live in accord with what the University professes to be as an educational institution with a Catholic and Mercy character. Integrity suggests both a certain wholeness in the University itself and connections between the University and the larger educational, religious and social worlds in which it functions.

 Integrity

 Diversity

 Diversity

Diversity builds a community that fosters a climate that is open and welcoming to diverse people, ideas and perspectives; that promotes a constructive discourse on the nature of diversity; and that engages faculty, staff and students in activities that promote the University's core values.

Saint Xavier's founding sisters were Irish, American, German and French. Its first students included Native Americans and "Yankees," as well as Midwesterners, Protestants, Jews and Catholics. Today's diverse student body has expanded such early diversity, and the University continues its efforts to enrich the diversity of its faculty and staff. Such diversity strengthens Saint Xavier's academic program and educational environment, preparing students to live and work in an international society and global economy.

Learning for Life

Learning for Life, in the liberal arts tradition, encourages us to pursue knowledge and truth throughout our lives in ways that improve our communities and ourselves and that strengthen our understanding of each other.

Saint Xavier's commitment to the liberal arts and sciences, as well as to a variety of professional programs, is a commitment to education as a means of liberating people to live meaningful lives as well as earn a decent living. In accord with the value of learning for life, the University enrolls students of all ages and supports programs and activities that expand the knowledge of members of the broader community, whatever their age or formal education.

 Learning for Life