The Mission and Values of Rockhurst University: Learning, Leadership and Service in the Jesuit Tradition


Rockhurst University is Kansas City’s Catholic, Jesuit university — a diverse community seeking God in all things. At Rockhurst, we work to expand knowledge for the benefit of all people through learning, leadership and service.
Rockhurst draws inspiration for its mission and values from its distinctive religious tradition. As a Catholic, Jesuit university, it is rooted in a world view that encounters God in all creation and through all human activity, especially in the search for truth in every discipline, in the desire to learn, and in the call to live justly together.
We are proud of our Catholic, Jesuit mission at Rockhurst, and we take it seriously. Ours is not merely a collection of words in a written document, but a living mission—a plan of action carried
out in the daily lives of our faculty, staff and students.
In this booklet you will find a series of short articles that will give you a better understanding of Rockhurst. First, we look at the University’s Mission and Values Statement, our official proclamation of who we are and what we promote. We then examine President Fr. Thomas Curran’s thoughts on how Rockhurst articulates the core principles and values of Jesuit education. We then examine Rev. E. Edward Kinerk’s (Rockhurst’s 13th President, 1998-2006) thoughts on how "learning, leadership and service in the Jesuit tradition" summarizes our mission and captures the spirit in which Rockhurst University carries out its work.
To better understand the religious foundation of Jesuit education, we move to an examination of the life of St. Ignatius Loyola (the founder of the Jesuits), his spirituality, and his classic work, The Spiritual Exercises. We next look at a short summary of the character of Jesuit education, followed by an explanation of how Rockhurst maintains its Catholic identity. Finally, by way of conclusion, we look at how all these ideas are the foundation for what makes Rockhurst unique.
My hope is that this booklet will serve as a reminder and challenge for all faculty, staff, and students who are involved in Jesuit education. I also hope that it will provide you a sense of identity and purpose as we build the Rockhurst University of today and tomorrow.
May God’s many blessings be with you!
Rev. John J. Vowells, S.J.
Mission and Values Office
January 2007



OUR MISSION: Rockhurst University is a learning community, centered on excellence in undergraduate liberal education and graduate education. It is Catholic and Jesuit, involved in the life and growth of the city and the region, and committed to the service of the contemporary world.
OUR VALUES: Catholic and Jesuit. Rockhurst is a Jesuit school, whose educational philosophy is rooted in the spirituality of the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola, who believed that God’s Spirit is constantly at work in all of creation and especially in every human being whose gifts and talents mirror the goodness and grandeur of God. Ignatius treated everyone with reverence and respect, and strove to bring forth each person’s best gifts. He had a deep appreciation for the value of education, believing in the ultimate harmony between faith and reason, and he knew that solid intellectual work was one of the best means to develop one’s gifts and to appreciate God’s presence in creation. Rockhurst expresses its Catholic liturgical life, by its ecumenical openness to other religious traditions.
Learning. Rockhurst University has gained national recognition because we have faculty who are committed to developing a deep understanding of how students learn and discovering ways to share that understanding with their peers at Rockhurst and at other educational institutions. It is through excellence in teaching that Rockhurst supports the growth of the very best of what each student has to offer. Rockhurst believes that every one of our students is a unique reflection of God and without the fullest development of that student’s gifts and potential the world will be diminished. Rockhurst seeks to teach its students how to think. Students learn to analyze information and make sense of it, to appreciate new concepts and expand their understanding of the world, and to listen with respect to different viewpoints and make informed ethical judgment about critical issues.
Liberal and Graduate Education. Rockhurst believes in the enduring value of liberal education, an education that emphasizes core studies in disciplines such as literature, rhetoric, history, philosophy, theology, natural and social sciences, mathematics, art, and music in order to develop the very best gifts in each of our students.
A Rockhurst education is education for life, intended to cultivate those dispositions of mind and spirit which keep the love of learning and the awareness of moral responsibility alive in us. At the same time, a Rockhurst education prepares men and women in-depth, through specific majors in the arts, sciences, humanities, and business and with excellent graduate programs in business, education, and allied health sciences.
Service. Rockhurst education is education for citizenship. Thus, Rockhurst devotes its resources to enhancing the quality of life of all citizens, rich and poor alike, of metropolitan Kansas City, of its own neighborhood, and of all the other communities in which its students and alumni live and work. At the same time, students must become citizens of the world, conscious that all of their personal decisions have economic and moral implications for themselves and others. They should look upon all men and women as one human family whom they serve.


Rev. Thomas B. Curran, S.J.

In the Old Testament book of Job, we find these words:
Ah, would that my words were written down! Would that they were inscribed in a record; that with an iron chisel and with lead they were cut in the rock forever (19:23).
On the property of just about every Jesuit school, parish and institution, you will find the inscription A.M.D.G. It’s an abbreviation for Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. It is translated: For the greater glory of God. These words summarize a major component of the writings and spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and patron of Ignatian ministries. In his Spiritual Exercises, he writes that we were created to praise, reverence and serve God our Lord and by this means to save our souls. All other created goods are to be used to assist us in this pursuit.
At Rockhurst University, we have carved three words in the stone tower on the southern part of the campus: Learning, Leadership and Service. These words reflect how we approach higher education in the Ignatian and Jesuit tradition. We believe they capture the essence of the core principles and values of Jesuit education as it was first articulated, in 1599, in the Ratio Studiorum (Plan of Studies) for Jesuit schools. We consider the Ratio as a way of proceeding for an individual to develop his or her gifts for the greater glory of God.
Some of the core values and principles you will find in Jesuit institutions:
Cura personalis – care for the individual in the context of the human community.
• Critical thinking – a level of comfort with the questions as well as with the answers; this includes the promotion of dialogue between faith and culture as well as faith and science.
Magis – the pursuit of more as in the greater glory of God.
• Contemplation in Action - a discernment of spirits in the context of free will that results in responsible action.
• Finding God in all things - the quest for union with God.
• Men and women for others- products of Jesuit schools are to be the “multiplying agents” in the “service of faith and the promotion of justice.”
• Preparation for an active life commitment that encourages a “healthy patriotism.”
• Participation in the apostolic mission of the Church of the building up the Kingdom of God.
• Emphasis upon lay-Jesuit collaboration within the context of a community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, governing boards, benefactors and friends.
At Rockhurst, we believe that education is a lifelong process. This is essential for the ongoing formation of an individual and the end for which an individual was created. Instruction of the intellect never ends. Rather, we hope to create or build upon one’s curiosity so that an unrestricted desire to know is always present. The more we learn, the more we encounter God in God’s creation. We create this environment with an average class size of 17; the student-faculty ratio is 11:1. While 87 percent of our faculty hold terminal degrees in their fields of study, our full-time professors still teach freshman courses. Our student satisfaction surveys repeatedly report how the faculty of Rockhurst readily make themselves available for assistance and consultation. In essence, Rockhurst is a community with a common purpose and mission of life long learning for the greater glory of God.
To demonstrate that we produce leaders, we could easily point to the fact that nearly 10 percent of our alumni are CEOs in their respective organizations. While this is impressive and laudable, we are more intent in seeking to form “men and women for others.” This phrase was coined and used extensively by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus, 1965- 1983. He committed the Society to the “service of faith and the promotion of justice.” For him, it naturally followed that the goal of Jesuit education would consist in the creation of “multiplying agents” known as “men and women for others.” To paraphrase the Ratio, the instruction of the intellect (learning) becomes complete and fortified when the will is trained (leadership) and character is formed (service). When the will is trained, it becomes second nature to aspire to leadership. Education prepares our nature to receive and cooperate with the grace of God in making a better and more just world.
Charity is an attempt to address the effects of poverty and oppression; justice seeks to alleviate the root causes of societal inequities. Here, the formation of character (service) begins on Freshman Orientation Weekend. After the goodbyes are exchanged, our new students are divided into groups for the Finucane Service Project. It introduces our new students to the Jesuit philosophy of service to others. The project is named in memory of Fr. Bill Finucane, S.J., a former director of Campus Ministry at Rockhurst. This project results in 1100 hours of service to the Kansas City community. At the completion of the project, the students return to campus to discuss their work and what can be done to change the structures causing these inequities. Such efforts and reflection continue throughout a Rockhurst University education. While service at Rockhurst is voluntary, more than 85 percent of our students participate in these community efforts resulting in some 25,000 hours annually being contributed to others. Rockhurst also sponsors service projects to South America, Central America and Mexico as part of its global educational efforts and attempts to make God’s good world better. The more we serve the more we grow in imitation of the love of Jesus Christ.
At Rockhurst, we focus upon the instruction of the intellect (learning), the training of the will (leadership), and the formation of character (service). We believe these three words capture the essence of Jesuit education that has been impacting the world for more than 400 years. We are firmly committed to this approach— that’s why we carved those words in stone.


Rev. E. Edward Kinerk, S.J., 13th President of Rockhurst University, 1998-2006
The Jesuit Tradition
Rockhurst is a Jesuit university, part of a 450-year-old tradition. The Jesuits were founded by St. Ignatius Loyola, a Basque knight who lived in the first half of the 16th century. From an original membership of 10, the Jesuits have grown into a body of more than 24,000, working in 113 countries. From the very beginning, Jesuits have been involved in higher education. Today there are 186 Jesuit colleges and universities throughout the world—28 in the United States, including Rockhurst University, founded in Kansas City in 1910.
Jesuit education has always been noted for academic excellence and for an emphasis on education of the whole person. St. Ignatius and his first Jesuit companions stressed the study of the ancient Greek and Roman texts because these classics lauded virtue and helped instill values in their students. They combined these studies with the best in science, mathematics, rhetoric, philosophy and theology because they knew that wisdom lay in understanding the inter-connectedness of knowledge. From their conviction that we are all brothers and sisters, St. Ignatius and the early Jesuits stressed a global perspective. They did all they could to build a society based on justice and care rather than greed and force, and they encouraged their graduates to do the same. Academic excellence, a value-oriented education, interdisciplinary studies, a global perspective and justice remain hallmarks of Jesuit education today.
Central to St. Ignatius’ own life and spirituality was his understanding that God’s Spirit is constantly at work in all of creation and especially in every human being whose unique gifts and talents have the potential to mirror the goodness and grandeur of God Himself. The goal of this activity is nothing less than the union of all humankind with one another and with God. St. Ignatius understood that God’s activity invited, even required, the help of human beings. He labored passionately to do everything he could to help people realize their gifts, develop them fully, and use them to help achieve the vision of a humanity united with itself and with God. From his own experience, St. Ignatius knew that education was one of the most outstanding means for accomplishing this purpose, and his vision and passion stand at the heart of Rockhurst’s existence. Rockhurst seeks nothing less than a union of all people with one another and with God.
In the middle of the campus at Rockhurst University is a bell tower. On the side of the bell tower facing the main entrance can be found an inscription that reads, “Learning, leadership and service in the Jesuit tradition.” These words summarize well the mission of Rockhurst and capture the spirit in which Rockhurst carries out its work.
Learning is obviously important at every educational institution. It is especially so at Rockhurst because we believe that it is principally through learning that students come to recognize their gifts and receive the tools to develop them. We expect our students to acquire information, but above all, we want them to learn how to think. Only in this way will they develop the tools necessary to understand a changing world and continue to develop their gifts. Rockhurst students learn to analyze information and make sense of it. They learn to appreciate new concepts and expand their understanding of the world. They learn to listen with respect to different viewpoints and to make informed ethical judgments about critical issues. Rockhurst University has gained national recognition because we have faculty who are committed to developing a deep understanding of how students learn and to discovering ways to share that understanding with their peers at Rockhurst and at other educational institutions. It is through excellence in teaching that we are able to support the growth of the very best of what each of our students has to offer. We believe that every one of our students is a unique reflection of God, and without the fullest development of that student’s gifts and potential, the world will be diminished.
Leadership is the second word on our inscription. Leadership involves much more than being in charge, although nearly 10 percent of Rockhurst alumni are CEOs of their organizations. We are all meant to be leaders. Leaders take responsibility for themselves and for the community. Preparation for leadership occurs everywhere at Rockhurst, but especially in the classroom. Our class sizes are small so that students will have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills. This occurs through group projects, oral presentations and classroom discussion. Our faculty members are committed to helping students take responsibility for their own learning and to helping them apply that learning in the complex world beyond the boundaries of the campus. We promote initiative at Rockhurst because we believe that students who take initiative will become leaders and will develop themselves and others. Education for leadership has always been part of the Jesuit educational experience, and at Rockhurst University we strive to be faithful to that tradition. We expect our graduates to be men and women who take responsibility for their gifts and talents, and do all they can to build up the gifts and talents of others.
Service is the third word on the inscription. Rockhurst begins and ends the academic experience with service. As soon as new freshmen say goodbye to their families, they come together on the quadrangle where they divide into groups and go to various areas of the city for service projects. This voluntary program is a very important initial symbol of what Rockhurst is about—working with one another and caring for the community in which we live. In May, seniors participate in the Van Ackeren Service Project, working together only hours before graduation. Rockhurst students give over 25,000 hours annually in service to others, much of it in Kansas City, but we also sponsor special service trips to Central America, South America and Mexico. Service at Rockhurst is voluntary, but more than 85 percent of our students take part in service projects during their years of studies. Service to those in need also provides the opportunity to reflect on the broader issues that shape our world. Through service, our students come to ask important questions about the roots of poverty, the causes of racial division and the seeds of violence. Through this reflection, our students gain the capability of not only serving individuals but of helping to create social structures that better represent the union with God and one another, to which we aspire. Service captures the essence of Rockhurst because through service we use the gifts we have developed during our time at Rockhurst and we put them into action to transform the world—making it a better place for us all.
In Partnership with the Community
Beyond the boundaries of our campus, Rockhurst is an important institution in the civic community. We play our role in Kansas City and in the Midwest by being a university that partners with other institutions that interacts positively with its neighbors. It is very important, therefore, that Rockhurst develop its institutional gifts and talents in order to place them at the disposal of the larger community in that we find ourselves. We want to be a leader in service. We manifest this by the way in which we treat our neighbors, by the way in which we ally ourselves with like-minded institutions and by our deliberate choice to stay in the urban heart of Kansas City. Rockhurst University is grounded in the conviction that every individual is made in the image and likeness of God and that we are all called to a union with God and with one another. Rockhurst strives to bring men and women to an awareness of their great dignity and destiny through a quality and caring education, and to model that awareness in our behavior toward others. Through learning we develop our gifts; through leadership we take responsibility for them; and through service we help build our union with God and all humanity.



St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)
Inigo Lopez de Loyola was the youngest son of a nobleman of the mountainous Basque region of northern Spain. When Ignatius was born in 1491, the Middle Ages were just ending and Europe was entering into the Renaissance. So Ignatius was a man on the edge of two worlds. Europe of the late 15th Century was a world of discovery and invention. European explorers sailed west to the Americas and south to Africa, and scholars uncovered the buried civilizations of Greece and Rome. The printing press fed a new hunger for knowledge among a growing middle class. It was the end of chivalry and the rise of a new humanism. It was a time of radical change, social upheaval, and war.
Trained in the courtly manner of the time of King Ferdinand, he dreamed of the glories of knighthood and wore his sword and breastplate with a proud arrogance. In a quixotic attempt in 1521 to defend the Spanish border fortress of Pamplona against the French artillery, Inigo’s right leg was shattered by a cannonball. His French captors, impressed by the Inigo’s courage, carried him on a litter across Spain to his family home at Loyola where he began a long period of convalescence.
During his recovery, he found himself drawn away from the romances of chivalry that had filled his imagination from an early age to more spiritual reading—an illustrated life of Christ and a collection of saints’ lives.
After his recovery, he set out for the Holy Land to realize a dream of “converting the infidel.” On the way he stopped in the little town of Manresa and wound up spending nearly a year there during which he experienced both the depths of despair and great times of enlightenment.
Ordered to leave Palestine after being there little more than a month, Ignatius decided that he needed an education in order to be able to “help souls.” In Barcelona, he went to school with boys a quarter his age to learn the rudiments of Latin grammar, then moved on to several other Spanish university cities. In each he was imprisoned and interrogated by the Inquisition, because he kept speaking to people about “spiritual things,” having neither a theology degree nor priestly ordination.
Finally, turning his back on his homeland, he went to the foremost university of the time, the University of Paris, where he began his education all over again and with diligence, after five years, was finally awarded the degree “Master of Arts.” It was here at Paris that he changed his Basque name to the Latin Ignatius and its Spanish equivalent Ignacio.
While at the University, he had roomed with and become good friends with a fellow Basque named Francis Xavier and a Savoyard named Peter Faber. After graduation, these three, together with several other Paris graduates, undertook a process of communal discernment and decided to bind themselves together in an apostolic community. They would live in evangelical poverty and go on a mission to Jerusalem. They originally called themselves “amigos en el Senor” — friends in the Lord.
In 1540, Paul III approved the Institute of the Society of Jesus. Ignatius was unanimously elected General Superior and spent the last sixteen years of his life in Rome directing the fledgling order. The other companions went all over Europe, to the Far East, and eventually to the New World. And wherever they went they founded schools as a means of helping people to “find God in all things.”
–; George W. Traub, S.J., “Do You Speak Ignatian?”
Ignatian Spirituality
Each of the great religious families in the Church (e.g., Benedictine, Dominican, Franciscan, etc.) has its own distinctive way of responding to the Holy Spirit. Ignatian spirituality was developed over the course of many years by St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (i.e., the Jesuits).
Following the example of St. Ignatius, Jesuit life centers on the imitation of Jesus—focusing on those priorities which constitute Christ’s mind, heart, values, priorities and loves. What are those values, priorities and loves? Ignatius would encourage us to consider what Jesus said and did. At the foundation of Jesus’ life was prayer, a continuous search for how best to live as an authentic human being before a loving God. Jesus preached forgiveness of sins, healed the sick and possessed, and gave hope to the poor, to those socially and economically outcast. Jesus spoke of joy, peace, justice and love; he summoned men and women from all classes of society to continue to follow his way to God and his commitment to helping people become whole and holy. Being a companion with Jesus on his mission gave Ignatius of Loyola’s life a sense of purpose and meaning. It is just such companionship that lies at the heart of Ignatian spirituality.
The Society of Jesus attempts to incorporate these same gospel values into all its works. Jesuits stress the need to take time to reflect and to pray, in order to find out how God wants us to serve in all our ministries. This active commitment to seeking God’s leadership is called discernment. It is at the heart of St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises.
The overriding characteristic we see in Jesus is loving obedience, an open-hearted desire to find and to pursue how God wants other men and women to be forgiven, to be free, to utilize all their talents and opportunities in ways which build up this world as a place where faith, justice, peace and love can flourish. This kind of spirituality is incarnational. It views the world as a place where Christ walked, talked and embraced people. It views the world, therefore, as a place of grace, a place of being able to give life to others.
At the same time, Ignatian spirituality is realistic. The world Christ faced was also a world of cruelty, injustice and the abuse of power and authority. Consequently, Jesuit spirituality affirms our human potential but also is dedicated to the ongoing, day-in-day-out struggle between good and evil. No one apostolic work exhausts how good can be done; therefore, Jesuits do all kinds of work. The Jesuit norm is: to find where God will best be served and where people will best be helped.
– Howard Gray, S.J., “Jesuit Spirituality”
The Spiritual Exercises
The greatest spiritual legacy St. Ignatius left his Society was the Spiritual Exercises, which is essentially a manual for giving a 30-day retreat. The purpose of this retreat is to bring the retreatant to an understanding and awareness of God while dealing honestly with the failing and drawbacks that hinder such prayer.
During his time in Pamplona and Manresa, Ignatius noticed how God led him to pay attention to the diverse “voices” inside of him—to the movements of consolation and desolation in his heart and spirit. Furthermore, he gradually learned to discern the sources of these desires, thoughts and movements of the heart and spirit: which of them came from God and which of them drew him away from God—and, perhaps most importantly, which of them he should act upon.
Throughout this time, Ignatius learned how important it is to look for God in the stuff of his everyday experience; he learned that God was shaping and forming him to be a companion of Jesus. The fruit of these months of prayer and reflection is contained in his Spiritual Exercises.
If there is any genius to the Society of Jesus, it lies in this little treatise on prayer written over 450 years ago. The method of prayer outlined in that book helps each Jesuit to follow Jesus and seek God’s will in any circumstances, from the most mundane day of teaching, administrating or writing, to a particularly trying experience of walking with people experiencing grave suffering or social injustice.



Even though St. Ignatius Loyola and his first companions were graduates of the University of Paris, the original works of the Society of Jesus did not include educational institutions. The goal of the Society was to be highly mobile, ready to move where the need was greatest. Permanent institutions, other than places for the education of Jesuits themselves, were not envisioned.
In 1545, five years after the establishment of the order, a college was founded in Gandía, Spain, for the education of those preparing to join the Society. At the insistence of parents, the college began, in 1546, to admit other boys of the city. The first Jesuit school in the sense of an institution intended primarily for young lay students was founded in Messina, Sicily, two years later.
When it became apparent that education was not only an apt means for human and spiritual development but also an effective instrument for reforming the Church, the number of Jesuit schools began to increase rapidly.
In the Constitutions, Ignatius mandated that Jesuit education should follow the modus Parisiensis, the method of the University of Paris, rather than the rather loose Spanish or Italian models. This meant, first, a stress on the humanities; second, an orderly system to be observed in pursuing successive branches of knowledge; third, repetition of material; and, fourth, the active involvement of the students in their own education through argumentation, discussion and competition. This last led to eloquentia perfecta: an ability to express oneself well in writing and speech.
In the years following the death of Ignatius, not all Jesuits agreed that involvement in education was a proper activity for the Society of Jesus. Nevertheless, Jesuit involvement in education continued to grow at a rapid rate. Of the 40 schools that Ignatius had personally approved, at least 35 were in operation when he died, even though the total membership of the order had not reached 1,000. Within 40 years, the number of Jesuit schools would reach 245. The promised development of a document describing common principles for all these schools became a practical necessity.
The Ratio Studiorum (“Plan of Studies”) was published on January 8, 1599. The Ratio is a handbook, consisting of a series of rules regarding the government of the school, the formation of teachers, the curriculum and methods of teaching. It is not so much an original work as it is a collection of the most effective educational methods of the time.
The process leading to the publication of the Ratio produced a “system” of schools whose strength and influence lay in a common Ignatian vision that evolved into common pedagogical principles. It was the first educational system that the world had ever seen.
The system was, at the beginning, highly flexible, adapting itself to the needs of time and place. It stressed the humanities, the fine arts, and theater. It was world-wide. It was inclusive as well, ranging from elementary school levels through universities.
The first Jesuits in the present United States had been Spaniards who came to Florida in 1566. In the seventeenth century Jesuits had worked in the vast territories of New France. Jesuits were not always welcome, however. Massachusetts Bay Colony had a law that condemned to hanging any Jesuit caught twice in its territory. Even after the American Revolution, Jefferson and Adams considered a prohibition of the Jesuits in the Constitution.
The first Jesuit college in the United States, George Town College, was founded in 1789 by John Carroll, the first bishop of the very small Catholic community in the new country (about one percent of the population).
Twenty-one Jesuit colleges or universities were founded in the United States in the nineteenth century. Their original purpose was to assimilate the large groups of Catholic immigrants pouring into an American society which was often anti-Catholic. Accordingly, there was often an emphasis on the professions — medicine, medicine, law and, later, business. Today, there are 28 Jesuit colleges and universities and two graduate schools of theology in the United States. There are also 46 high schools.
Jesuit education no longer is the exclusive property of Jesuits. Rather, Jesuit education is the property of all the men and women who work in educational institutions which claim the Ignatian heritage.
It was the spirit of Ignatius that enabled the early Jesuit schools of the sixteenth century to evolve. This same Ignatian vision, much broader than the Jesuit order, is characteristic of the Jesuit schools of today and can remain so as they become the Ignatian schools of tomorrow.
–John J. Callahan, S.J. (With acknowledgments to
James W. Sauvé, S.J., and John W. Padberg, S.J.)


Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus

Key ideas contained in two addresses delivered June 7 and 8, 1989, at Georgetown University and Georgetown Prep are summarized and edited here by Rev. John J. Callahan, S.J.
Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., the 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, on the 200th anniversary celebration of Jesuit education in the United States, described the characteristics of a graduate of a Jesuit Institution:
Our purpose in education, then, is to form men and women “for others.” The Society of Jesus has always sought to imbue students with values that transcend the goals of money, fame, and success. We want graduates who will be leaders concerned about society and the world in which they live. We want graduates who desire to eliminate hunger and conflict in the world and who are sensitive to the need for more equitable distribution of the world’s goods. We want graduates who seek to end sexual and social discrimination and who are eager to share their faith with others.
In short, we want our graduates to be leaders-in-service. That has been the goal of Jesuit education since the sixteenth century. It remains so today.
As a Catholic, Jesuit university, Rockhurst is a member of a higher education family that has its own origins, its own insights, its own way of doing things, its own hopes, and its own ways of expressing them and living them. That charism, that characteristic way of thought and action, has its origin in the charism of St. Ignatius Loyola who established the first forty Jesuit schools. In his life, his experience, his spirituality, his insights, and his “way of proceeding” we find the origin of and the spirit behind what we do and who we are.
The Ignatian worldview
is world-affirming: For Ignatius, to know the world better is to know God better. There can be no contradiction between human knowledge and faith. At most, there can only be a failure in understanding. Ignatius’ sense of the goodness and beauty of all things also leads a person to be a responsible steward of creation.
is comprehensive: There is a call to a genuinely humanistic education—literature, history, arts, science, philosophy and theology—in addition to professional studies. In the Ignatian view, to become more fully human is to become more fully divine.
• faces up to sin, personal and social, but points to God’s love as more powerful than human weakness and evil
places emphasis on freedom: Liberated from the constraints of ignorance, prejudice, limited horizons, and distorted values and desires, a person, with God’s help, is free to develop a positive set of values.
stresses the essential need for discernment: A person must know the world, examine attitudes, challenge assumptions, and analyze motives. In this way, one may discern God’s loving desire and select values that become the basis for principled decision-making.
is altruistic: Adopting the mind and heart of Christ, a person is called to compassion, to concern for others, and to the work of justice.
gives ample scope to intellect and affectivity in forming leaders: Ignatius calls for the development of the whole person, head and heart, intellect and feelings. The purpose, however, is not centered on the development of the self alone. Rather, the purpose is to develop leaders who will work to change society.
Themes of Jesuit Higher Education
In his address at Georgetown, Father Kolvenbach went on to describe four characteristic themes of Jesuit education:
1. Jesuit education is VALUE ORIENTED. The education process must rigorously probe crucial human problems and reflect on the value implications of what is studied. This is to be done in every course (e.g., the uses of technology) on a consistent basis so as to develop the habit of reflecting on values and of assessing values and their consequences not only for oneself but for others.
Jesuit education is value-oriented. There is no aspect of education, not even the so-called hard sciences, which is neutral. All teaching imparts values. A value literally means something which has a price, something dear, precious or worthwhile and, therefore, something that one is ready to suffer or sacrifice for, which gives one a reason to live and, if need be, a reason to die.
Values, then, bring to life the dimension of meaning. Values provide motives. They identify a person, give one a face, a name and character. Without values, one floats, like driftwood in swirling waters. Values are central to one’s life and define the quality of that life, marking its breadth and depth.
Values are anchored in the “head.” I see reasons why something is valuable and I am intellectually convinced of its worth.
Values are also anchored in the “heart.” The language of the heart tells me that something is worthwhile. I am able to perceive something as of value. I am also affected by its worthiness.
Values are also anchored in the “hand.” When the mind and the heart are involved, the whole person is involved. Values lead to actual decisions and real actions—and necessarily so.
Each academic discipline, when honest with itself, is well aware that the values transmitted depend on assumptions about the ideal human person and the ideal human society which are used as a starting point.
It is here, especially, that the Jesuit mission of the promotion of justice can become tangible and transparent in our educational works. For this mission must guide and inspire the lawyer and the politician, the manager and the technician, the sociologist and the artist, the scientist and the author, the philosopher and the theologian.
Our institutions make their essential contribution to society by embodying in our educational process a rigorous, probing study of crucial human problems and concerns. It is for this reason that Jesuit colleges and universities must strive for high academic quality. We are speaking of something far removed from the facile and superficial world of slogans and ideology, of purely emotional and self-centered responses, and of instant and simplistic solutions.
We have learned to our regret that mere appropriation of knowledge does not inevitably humanize. One would hope that we have learned that there is no value-free education. But the values embedded in many areas of life today are presented subtly, often by assumption. We need to discover ways that will enable students to form the habit of reflecting on values.
Habits are not formed only by chance occasional happenings. Rather, habits develop only by consistent, planned practice. The goal of forming habits of critical reflection needs to be worked on by teachers in all subjects in ways appropriate to the maturity of students at different levels. This habitual reflection should be applied to the human sciences students learn, the technology being developed, and the whole spectrum of social and political programs suggested by both prophets and politicians.
A value-oriented educational goal like ours—forming men and women for others—will not be realized unless it is infused within our educational programs at every level. The goal is to challenge our students to reflect upon the value implications of what they study, to assess values and their consequences for human beings.
2. Jesuit education is committed to the PROMOTION OF JUSTICE. This includes efforts to make Jesuit education available as much as possible to everyone—the rich, middle class and poor—and to educate from a perspective of justice. Students should be challenged not to make a significant decision (theoretical or practical) without first thinking of how the results would impact those in society with little or no control or influence.
The service of faith through the promotion of justice remains the Society’s major apostolic focus. That is why it is urgent that this mission be operative in our lives and in our institutions. Words have meaning; if a college or university describes itself as “Jesuit” or “in the Jesuit tradition,” the thrust and practice of the institution should correspond to the description.
It should be operative in a variety of ways. The recruitment of students must include special efforts to make a Jesuit education possible for the disadvantaged. But let it be noted, and let there be no misunderstanding: The “option for the poor” is not an exclusive option; it is not a classist option. We are not called upon to educate only the poor and the disadvantaged. The option is far more comprehensive and demanding, for it calls upon us to educate all—rich, middle class and poor—from a perspective of justice.
Ignatius wanted Jesuit schools to be open to all. We educate all social classes so that people from every stratum of society may learn and grow in the special love and concern for the poor. Concern for social problems should never be absent. We should challenge all of our students to use concern for the poor as a criterion, so that they make no significant decision without first thinking of how it would impact the least in society.
3. Jesuit education is INTERDISCIPLINARY. The responses to the crucial questions of our times require not only empirical data and technological knowhow. They require consideration of sociological, psychological, and theological perspectives if the solutions proposed are to demonstrate moral responsibility and sensitivity. Jesuit education attempts to integrate religious, humanitarian, and technological values.
Jesuit education is interdisciplinary. A qualitative integration of inquiry which can lead to an appreciation of more comprehensive truth is the goal. How far this is from the view that portrays the university as merely an administrative umbrella for unconnected fields of research.
It is a pity that an interdisciplinary approach, the only significant way to heal the fracture of knowledge, is still considered a luxury reserved to occasional staff seminars or a few doctoral programs. Of course, an interdisciplinary approach is not without problems: It runs the risk of simply overloading students, of teaching them relativism, of inadmissible violation of the methodology of individual disciplines.
But a love of the whole truth, a love of the integral human situation can help us to overcome even these potential problems. What single academic discipline can pretend to offer comprehensive
solutions to real questions like those concerning genetic research, corporate takeovers, definitions concerning the start and end of human life, homelessness and city planning, poverty, illiteracy, developments in medical and military technology, human rights, the environment and artificial intelligence?
These require empirical data and technological know-how. But they also cry out for consideration in terms of their impact on men and women from a holistic point of view. They demand, in addition, sociological, psychological, and theological perspectives if the solutions proposed are to demonstrate moral responsibility and sensitivity.
Continually developing capacities to control human choices present us with moral questions of the highest order. These questions are not solved in an unidisciplinary manner, for they embrace human, and not simply technical, values. Are we preparing our students to know that just because some technological advance is possible for us, we are not thereby justified in its development and use?
Do we challenge the leaders of tomorrow to reflect critically on the assumptions and consequences of “progress?” Do we challenge them to ponder both the wonderful possibilities and the limits of science? Do we help them to see that often significant civil financial decisions are not merely political manifestos but also moral statements?
This concern for a more holistic inquiry should be true of any college or university. But it ought to be the case that in a Jesuit educational institution teaching and research are not even conceivable without the integration of different forms of knowledge with human values and with theology.
Our universities, of course, must do this precisely as universities, following our heritage and tradition. This heritage and tradition promotes a culture that emphasizes the values of human dignity and the good life in its fullest sense. This heritage is made real today by fostering academic freedom, by demanding excellence of schools and students, and by treating religious experience and questions as central to human culture and life.
Concrete means to achieve such an integrated program might be sought in the substance and methodologies employed in the core curriculum or in significant capstone courses for senior students on social, cultural, and ethical responsibilities—and in that contemplative capacity for God and the world which lies at the very center of human existence.
4. Jesuit education is INTERNATIONAL. Not only is Jesuit education international in scope, located on every populated continent, but also international in viewpoint. This means education for the “global village.” Curricula which include major world cultures, diversity in the cultural background of our students, international exchanges, and incorporation of a global dimension into educational programs are part of the fiber of a Jesuit college or university.
Our mission is global. Our interdependence on this planet is becoming more evident every day in realities across a broad spectrum from economics to ecology. In response to this rapidly shrinking world, we seek education for responsible citizenship in the global village.
Will we really help to form men and women for others in the world community of the twenty-first century if we do not adapt to the changing international culture? This is a corporate responsibility, with all of us participating in some way according to resources and interests, and with a genuine desire to help all others.
In the recent past education has sometimes focused exclusively on self-actualization of the individual. Today it must be the world community that forms the context for growth and learning. Curricula must be broadened to include major world cultures. Especially encouraged is diversity of cultural backgrounds in our student bodies and more international exchanges of both teachers and students.
Efforts at internationalization are signs of the impulse to incorporate a global dimension into our educational programs—not as occasional special events, but as part of the fiber of what it means to be Jesuit colleges or universities. I ask you to intensify these efforts.



Rockhurst is a Jesuit University. As such, it shares in the rich tradition of Catholic universities, the oldest and largest collection of colleges and universities in the western world.

In his famous encyclical on Catholic universities, John Paul II wrote that it is the nature of a university “to engage in the joy of searching for, discovering and communicating truth in every field of knowledge.”1 The goal of a university education is not simply to acquire information, but also to engage both students and faculty in the exciting process of research and the expansion of the boundaries of human knowledge. The Rockhurst maxim, “we do not teach students what to think but how to think,” has real validity. Naturally, universities do teach students facts and therefore what to think, but ultimately the task of a university is to assure that students acquire an intellectual framework that will allow them to address questions and issues that can never be covered in even the most comprehensive classroom.2 Universities play a unique role in every culture and society, for only universities enjoy the freedom to continually ask questions that go beyond what is practical or expedient and train their students to do this in all aspects of life.
Rockhurst’s mission to engage in the search for truth is common to all universities. However, Rockhurst is more than just a university; it is a Catholic university, and its identity as a Catholic university expands its freedom of intellectual inquiry, gives it a basis for understanding reality, and extends its mission beyond the hallowed university ivory tower. Rockhurst’s Catholic identity can be understood under three headings: Rockhurst as a faith-based university; Rockhurst and the Catholic understanding of reality; and Rockhurst’s external expression of faith.
Rockhurst as a Faith-Based Institution
Rockhurst “unite[s] existentially by intellectual effort two orders of reality that too frequently tend to be placed in opposition...the search for truth and the certainty of already knowing the fount of truth.”3 To understand the interplay of these two orders of reality, let us take an example from physics and theology. Like most universities, Rockhurst scientists study the universe. At some point these scientific studies will come up against an end point. How did it begin? Theories abound, but the one we hear most commonly is the “Big Bang.” For many universities the search for the truth about the universe ends here. Not, however, at a Catholic University or indeed, any faith-based university. For even the Big Bang must have a cause, and at a faith-based institution, which “searches for the truth with the certainty of already knowing the fount of truth,” our inquiry goes back to, and includes, the ultimate cause of the universe, which is God. So, at Rockhurst, the scientific search for the truth about the universe in physics must end with the Big Bang, but the search for the truth of the universe continues beyond the Big Bang in philosophy and theology.
Furthermore, these two distinct avenues of research, which must remain faithful to their proper modes of inquiry, are never in conflict. The physicist at Rockhurst understands that the Big Bang can be explained by a cause that transcends his or her discipline. The theologian at Rockhurst understands that he or she can speak about the cause of the Big Bang but that theology cannot explain the intricate physics that the Big Bang initiates.4 Both understand that there is no inherent conflict between their two approaches.
At Rockhurst this expanded freedom of inquiry has concrete ramifications for our learning environment and for what we teach. These ramifications stamp Rockhurst as an institution of faith and they are highlighted in Ex Corde Ecclesiae.5
The first ramification is the integration of all knowledge.6 At Rockhurst we understand that all truth is united in the ultimate truth. In other words, there is a basic unity of all knowledge. Traditionally, universities have expressed this understanding through insistence on a core curriculum that stresses the liberal arts. At Rockhurst we want our undergraduates to search for the truth in a number of disciplines, regardless of a student’s particular major. The study of English and history are important for an accounting major because the formation of our students requires that they have experienced truth in a variety of human aspects. We understand that English, history and accounting are not theology, just as we understand that a physicist’s research into the Big Bang is not revelation. However, we also understand that the study of these disciplines reveals more of the truth about the universe and therefore, ultimately, more about God and our relationship to God. Conversely, the more we know about God the better we can understand the fullness of English, history, and accounting.
The second ramification is the dialogue between faith and reason.7 At Rockhurst, the search for truth, which takes place in various disciplines, cannot ultimately be at odds with the ultimate truth that is revealed to us. In other words, there cannot be a true conflict between faith and reason.8 This does not mean that there will never be tensions or even collisions, such as took place in the now famous Galileo episode. Nor does it mean that either reason or faith must yield pride of place to the other, for our understanding of faith is never perfect, and reason can never fully exhaust the ultimate reality of God. Indeed, faith and reason need each other, because reason without faith can never plumb the depths of truth and faith without reason can easily lapse into superstition.
The third ramification is the place of ethics. At Rockhurst ethics is important because there is ultimately a right and a wrong.9 While Enron and other scandals have made ethics a common word in our everyday vocabulary, ethical studies are not simply telling our students that cheating and fraud are wrong. We expect that our students know the basic differences between right and wrong before they even come to us. Ethics is really the search for truth (in this case, right and wrong actions) in areas that are much cloudier. This is why we teach ethics, so that our students will be grounded in principles that will enable them to make good ethical decisions in areas which are not immediately obvious.
The fourth ramification is the role and importance of philosophy and theology.10 At Rockhurst we search for truth not only in disciplines such as chemistry and English literature, but we also search for the ultimate truth more directly by reflecting systematically on revelation, on the human condition, and on reality in general. Not only are theology and philosophy legitimate academic disciplines at Rockhurst, but every undergraduate must take at least 15 hours in theology and philosophy. It is important to note here that theology is a mode of inquiry through which we seek to understand as much as we can about God. Theology accepts revelation and applies reason to revelation to come to an ever deeper understanding of Who God is and how we can speak about God.11 As such, the proper study of theology is different from catechetical instruction or even religion courses taught in elementary and secondary schools.
The Catholic Understanding of Reality
The essence of Christianity is the belief that God is definitively revealed through the person, the life, and the teaching of Jesus Christ, most profoundly through his death and resurrection. No other great religion highlights the incarnation of God in a unique historical moment. No other Christian religion highlights the incarnation of God in our own lives as does the Roman Catholic Church with its emphasis on sacraments and sacramentality.
Sacraments are privileged ways of experiencing God’s presence through persons, places and things whom and which we can hear, see, touch, smell and taste. The seven sacraments are unique and special moments of encounter with God’s grace, but Catholic religious practice and spirituality expand the sacramental concept to all reality. In other words, our Catholic faith leads us to find God in all of created reality even though we make clear not to confuse God with that same created reality.
Rockhurst’s culture, both in the classroom and beyond, is sacramental. Rockhurst carries out its teaching and inquiry against the background of a reality filled with God’s Spirit. To quote the famous 19th century Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, “The earth is charged with the grandeur of God.”
Since God’s Spirit permeates the world in which we live, Rockhurst’s mode of inquiry and learning is shaped by reverence. First, and most obvious, Rockhurst insists on treating others with dignity and respect. This insistence is not grounded in a desire just to do good customer service, important as this is, but rather in the conviction that every human being is a unique bearer of God’s Spirit. Our teaching and learning take place with the understanding that every student has a unique set of gifts and talents that are given by God and that reveal God. Our job at Rockhurst is to do everything we can to identify and develop those gifts and talents, and to “assist each of our students to achieve wholeness as human persons.”12
Second, along with reverence and respect for others as images of God, Catholic sacramentality fosters a receptivity to ideas and opinions that are new or different from our own. Certainly not all ideas are good, and ultimately we want our students to make considered judgments about what is right or wrong and what is correct or incorrect. However, we do want our students to be open to a universe that bears God’s stamp.13 To do otherwise would be to assume that we already know all truth or that God is not really present in God’s creation.
Finally, Rockhurst’s educational mission (our search for truth) is grounded in a world created by a loving God and redeemed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore, Rockhurst looks with confidence to the discovery of meaning and purpose in the world in which we live and in each individual life. This is in stark contrast to some academic environments in which skepticism rules and there is no possibility of discovering a meaning that transcends each individual’s own idiosyncrasies. Our mission looks to a truth that lifts the human spirit and unites us with other human beings and with God.
The search for truth in the context of knowing the fount of truth and the sacramentality of the world shape the educational mission of Rockhurst and form the academic culture within which Rockhurst students learn and are formed.
Rockhurst’s External Expression of Faith
The final aspect of Rockhurst’s Catholic character is the manner in which we externalize our mission both in our interaction with the broader community and in our explicit celebration of our Roman Catholic faith.
There is only one place in the New Testament where Jesus tells His listeners who will be saved and who will not be saved. The powerful Last Judgment scene in Matthew 2514 separates the human race into sheep and goats according to whether or not we have fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and so on. The treatment of our neighbor is of paramount importance in a Catholic university. The World Synod of Bishops in 1971 declared that “action on behalf of justice and participation in the transformation of the world fully appear to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel.”15 Pope John Paul II referred to this essential aspect of the gospel message throughout his pontificate and explicitly for Catholic universities: “The Christian spirit of service to others for the promotion of social justice is of particular importance for each Catholic university.”16 Furthermore, “Teachers and students [should] become more aware of their responsibility towards those who are suffering physically or spiritually. Following the example of Christ, they will be particularly attentive to the poorest and to those who suffer economic, social, cultural or religious injustice.”17
At Rockhurst, service to others enjoys a unique importance in the daily formation of our students. In addition to daily service in the Kansas City community, Rockhurst students participate in service trips to Mexico and Central America to learn first hand of the poverty in which many live. These trips are funded by Rockhurst benefactors, some of whom accompany the students.
In 2005 Rockhurst ranked first among all Jesuit colleges and universities with more than 90 percent of our undergraduates participating in service programs during their years at Rockhurst.
John Paul II called upon Catholic universities to reflect on issues such as “the dignity of human life, the promotion of justice for all, the quality of personal and family life, the protection of nature, the search for peace and political stability, a more just sharing in the world’s resources, and a new economic and political order that will better serve the human community at a national and international level.”18 Rockhurst students are involved with these issues. Rockhurst students also have the opportunity to reflect on their experience with service as befits a university. This takes place in the classroom in many ways but especially in courses explicitly designed to combine classroom study with active service. It also takes place outside the classroom through the efforts of student life and campus ministry staff, who lead the students through discussion and discernment of our world based on their experiences gleaned through service. In these ways students “seek to discover the roots and causes of the serious problems of our time, paying special attention to their ethical and religious dimensions.”19
Rockhurst cannot teach social justice without also practicing it. The University is resolutely situated in the urban core of Kansas City and works with the surrounding neighborhoods to improve the quality of life for the community. A community outreach center, a literacy clinic, and educational and recreational programs for young people during the summer months put Rockhurst’s Catholic identity into action. Rockhurst also reaches out through scholarships for the most needy and with special attention to the wages of our lowest paid staff.
Finally, Rockhurst nourishes and celebrates its Catholic identity through many activities that are also to be found in Catholic parishes. Through collaboration between Rockhurst’s campus ministry and St. Francis Xavier, the Catholic parish that includes Rockhurst, Rockhurst students are provided with a full range of Catholic activities and sacramental opportunities. In addition to daily masses both in the campus chapel and in the parish, there is a special Sunday evening mass attended by several hundred Rockhurst students with a mix of students from other campuses as well. Working with the parish staff at SFX, Rockhurst students receive the sacraments of confirmation and baptism, and reconciliation is offered twice weekly in addition to the possibility of individual appointments.
With the support of campus ministry there are a number of student, faculty and staff retreats offered each year. Some of these retreats take people off campus for quiet, prayer and reflection; others, such as the “busy persons retreat,” give men and women an experience of prayer and spiritual direction in the midst of busy daily lives. In addition, there are expanding numbers of prayer groups on campus, including the rosary and other devotional practices such as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Finally, campus ministry and the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture offer numerous talks on religious topics open both to the campus and to the broader public.
Rockhurst is a Catholic institution, highly regarded by the Church in Kansas City.20 Because of its Jesuit Catholic identity it enjoys a relationship with the Universal Church expressed in fidelity to the Church’s teaching and contribution as a university to the work of the Church.21 It carries out its university mission with faith in God, whose presence permeates our world, and with commitment to love God and to show that love through loving service to our neighbor. Rockhurst’s mission, therefore, is a complex one and must integrate an unfettered search for truth, including the study of ultimate questions that are closed to secular institutions, with an expression of total concern for all aspects of human life. Any attempt to see Rockhurst in a more limited light cuts at the heart of its Catholic identity and obviates the service it renders to the Church.
1 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, The Apostolic Constitution of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II on Catholic Universities, paragraph 1.
2 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #23: “Students are challenged to pursue an education that combines excellence in humanistic and cultural development with specialized professional training. Most especially, they are challenged to continue the search for truth and for meaning throughout their lives, since ‘the human spirit must be cultivated in such a way that there results a growth in its ability to wonder, to understand, to contemplate, to make personal judgments, and to develop a religious, moral, and social sense.’ [quoting John Henry Cardinal Newman, The Idea of a University, London, Longmans, Green and Company, 1931, pp. 101-102].”
3 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, ECC #1.
4 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #15: “A Catholic University, therefore, is a place of research, where scholars scrutinize reality with the methods proper to each academic discipline, and so contribute to the treasury of human knowledge.”
5 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #15: “In a Catholic University, research necessarily includes (a) the search for an integration of knowledge, (b) a dialogue between faith and reason, (c) an ethical concern, and (d) a theological perspective.”
6 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #16: “Integration of knowledge is a process, one which will always remain incomplete; moreover, the explosion of knowledge in recent decades, together with the rigid compartmentalization of knowledge within individual academic disciplines, makes the task increasingly difficult. But a University, and especially a Catholic University, ‘has to be a living union of individual organisms dedicated to the search for truth … It is necessary to work towards a higher synthesis of knowledge, in which alone lies the possibility of satisfying that thirst for truth which is profoundly inscribed on the heart of the human person’ [John Paul II, Allocution to the International Congress on Catholic Universities, 25 April 1989, n.4: AAS 81 (1989), p. 1219].”
7 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #17: “In promoting this integration of knowledge, a specific part of a Catholic University’s task is to promote dialogue between faith and reason, so that it can be seen more profoundly how faith and reason bear harmonious witness to the unity of all truth. While each academic discipline retains its own integrity and has its own methods, this dialogue demonstrates that ‘methodical research within every branch of learning, when carried out in a truly scientific manner and in accord with moral norms, can never truly conflict with faith. For the things of the earth and the concerns of faith derive from the same God.’ [Vatican Council II, Pastoral constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, n. 36: AAS 58 (1966), p. 1054].”
8 In a talk to a group of scientists in 1983 John Paul II noted that “while reason and faith surely represent two distinct orders of knowledge, each autonomous with regard to its own methods, the two must finally converge in the discovery of a single whole reality which has its origin in God.” [John Paul II, Address at the Meeting on Galileo, 9 May 1983, n. 3: AAS 75 [1983], p. 690].
9 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #18: “Because knowledge is meant to serve the human person, research in a Catholic University is always carried out with a concern for the ethical and moral implications both of its methods and of its discoveries. This concern, while it must be present in all research, is particularly important in the areas of science and technology.” Furthermore, in Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #20: “Given the close connection between research and teaching, the research qualities indicated above will have their influence on all teaching.… In the communication of knowledge, emphasis is then placed on how human reason in its reflection opens to increasingly broader questions, and how the complete answer to them can only come from above through faith. Furthermore, the moral implications that are present in each discipline are examined as an integral part of the teaching of that discipline so that the entire educative process be directed towards the whole development of the person.”
10 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #19: Theology plays a particularly important role in the search for a synthesis of knowledge as well as in the dialogue between faith and reason. It serves all other disciplines in their search for meaning, not only by helping them to investigate how their discoveries will affect individuals and society but also by bringing a perspective and an orientation not contained within their own methodologies. In turn, interaction with these other disciplines and their discoveries enriches theology, offering it a better understanding of the world today, and making theological research more relevant to current needs. Because of its specific importance among the academic disciplines, every Catholic University should have a faculty, or at least a chair, of theology.”
11 Rockhurst offers a rich selection of theology courses: scripture, dogma, moral theology, church history, world religions, and more. Faculty in their research and teaching apply methods proper to their discipline to understand ever more deeply the content and ramifications of revelation and tradition. Rockhurst can and does require that faculty present the Catholic faith accurately, as represented by the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. To do otherwise would violate the canon of intellectual honesty. Through faculty contracts the university signifies its satisfaction with the intellectual integrity of particular faculty members in whatever discipline they represent.
12 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #21.
13 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #17: “For the things of the earth and the concerns of faith derive from the same God.”
14 Matthew 25: 31-46.
15 Justitia in Mundo (Justice in the World), World Synod of Catholic Bishops,1971, see especially paragraph 6.
16 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #34.
17 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #40.
18 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #32.
19 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #32.
20 On May 15, 2004, Bishop Raymond Boland, Bishop of the Diocese Kansas City and St. Joseph, was given an honorary doctorate. Below are his remarks for the occasion. I am grateful for the signal honor you have bestowed upon me this morning. Personally, I am far from convinced that I deserve it, but I accept it as recognition of the clergy and laity whom I have been privileged to represent for almost 12 years as the Bishop of the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. If I have achieved anything even worthy of a footnote it was their hard work, loyalty and support which made it possible. Indeed, in listening to the words of the citation it sounded disturbingly like those of an obituary notice. Unless you have it copyrighted, I may adopt it as one thing less to do being now somebody who has lived a lot longer in the past than he will in the future. Now that my newly anointed successor, Bishop Finn, is in the wings waiting for me to quit the stage, I grasp this public moment to acknowledge that it has been a great joy for me to have Rockhurst University, steeped in the Jesuit tradition initiated by Ignatius Loyola, within this diocese. You have been and continue to be an intellectual pulse-beat for both the Church and the community and a goodly number of your distinguished alumni are my advisors and coworkers. The diocese and this “city of fountains” have been not the only, but certainly among the foremost beneficiaries of your enriching presence. May your search for truth be unrelenting and, as was wished for Abou Ben Adhem, “may your tribe increase!” Allow me to congratulate the graduates. They really earned their degrees! This week USA Today predicted that each graduate in the United States would achieve five seconds of fame when they crossed the podium to receive their parchments. Andy Warhol was far more generous. He maintained you are entitled to 15 minutes over a lifetime. So, remember, after today you only have 14 minutes and 55 seconds left. You may recall that in the movie version of The Graduate, the somewhat bewildered young college student was advised to seek his future from a well-meaning self-appointed mentor who summed it all up in the one word, PLASTICS. (A generation later it would have been DOT.COMs.) Permit me to leave you with one word of unsolicited advice, “ETHICS.” Whether it be Enron or WorldCom, the clergy sex abuse scandals or the sadistic behavior of prison guards in Iraq and elsewhere, we are all tarnished and, in turn targeted, by the sins of the few. In whatever profession you follow, think ETHICS. In making decisions, think ETHICS. In leading others, think ETHICS. Let the integrity of your life be a reflection of God’s goodness and the greatest gift you can give to your children and, incidentally, the greatest tribute you can give to Rockhurst.
21 Ex Corde Ecclesiae, #27: “Every Catholic University, without ceasing to be a University, has a relationship to the Church that is essential to its institutional identity. As such, it participates most directly in the life of the local Church in which it is situated; at the same time, because it is an academic institution and therefore a part of the international community of scholarship and inquiry, each institution participates in and contributes to the life and the mission of the universal Church, assuming consequently a special bond with the Holy See by reason of the service to unity which it is called to render to the whole Church.


Rev. John J. Callahan, S.J.

Rockhurst is a learning community, centered on a strong undergraduate liberal education in the arts and sciences and excellence in graduate professional education in business, management, the health professions and humanities/education. It is Catholic and Jesuit, involved in the life and growth of the city and region, committed to the service of the contemporary world.
Rockhurst is Catholic
• A learning community where men and women foster the search for meaning and the continuing dialogue between faith and culture.
• Christian in inspiration and grounded in an institutional fidelity to the Christian message as transmitted by Catholic teaching.
• Faithful to the centuries old intellectual tradition which asserts the intrinsic value of human reason and maintains that faith and intellect illuminate each other.
• Pledged to academic freedom and freedom of conscience within a framework of moral values, ethical behavior, civility, and respect.
• Respect by the individual for the Catholic identity of the institution and by the institution for the freedom of conscience and religious liberty of the individual.
• Committed to integrating faith with life, to examining the moral and ethical implications present in each discipline, and to viewing religious experience and religious questions as integral to the understanding of human existence and human culture.
Rockhurst is Jesuit
• Based on St. Ignatius Loyola’s insight that God may be known “in all things,” his vision of the fundamental goodness of the world, and his view of human endeavor as a partnership with the creating God.
• Committed to a search for knowledge which demands academic excellence and to a love of the world which leads to the desire to create a better and more just existence.
• Pledged to forming men and women who seek to transform the world by being leaders in the service of others.
• Dedicated to developing the habit of reflecting on values which is crucial for making sound judgments.
• Supportive of religious diversity within the university community as a condition for religious dialogue and for the development of a genuine partnership-in-service to culture and society.
The Rockhurst Experience
• Emphasizes active participation of the student in the educational process, the practical application of theory, critical thinking, ethical decision making, effective communication, and lifelong learning.
• Stresses a humanism of rigorous inquiry, creative imagination, and discerning reflection on the deepest desires of the heart.
• Seeks students, faculty, and staff who appreciate the intellectual challenge of examining different systems, traditions, and beliefs as they consider how best to live, individually and communally, in today’s world.
• Focuses on respect for all creation, regard for peoples and cultures, care for the individual person, justice, and leadership-in-service.
• Challenges all to attain the inner freedom and the courage which are essential to making decisions which change for the better one’s own life and the lives of others.
The Rockhurst Community
• PURPOSEFUL — a place where faculty, staff, and students share academic goals and work together to strengthen teaching and learning on the campus.
• OPEN — a place where freedom of expression of beliefs is uncompromisingly protected and where civility is role modeled and powerfully affirmed.
• JUST — a place where the value and integrity of each person is honored and respected.
• DISCIPLINED — a place where individuals accept their obligations to the group and where well-defined governance procedures guide behavior for the common good.
• CARING — a place where the well being of each member is supported and where service to others is encouraged.
• CELEBRATIVE — a place where the University’s Catholic, Jesuit heritage is remembered, diversity is valued, and where rituals affirming both tradition and change are widely shared. 



Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.
Superior General of the Society of Jesus, 1997