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October 7, 2022
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v2.1 Reference

Jesuit Colleges and Universities in the United States

A History

Jesuit Colleges and Universities in the United States provides a comprehensive history of Jesuit higher education in the United States, weaving together the stories of the fifty-four colleges and universities that the Jesuits have operated (successfully and unsuccessfully) since 1789. It emphasizes the connections among the institutions, exploring how certain Jesuit schools like Georgetown University gave birth to others like Boston College by sharing faculty, financial resources, accreditation, and even presidents throughout their history. The book also explores how the colleges responded to common challenges – including anti-Catholic prejudice in the United States, the push from government authorities to modernize their shared curriculum, and the pull from Roman authorities to remain loyal to Catholic tradition.

The story is comprehensive, covering the colonial era to the present, and takes a fresh look at themes like the rise of the research university in the 1880s and the administrative reforms of the 1960s. It also provides a modern and timely perspective on the role of Jesuit colleges in racial justice, women's education, and other civil rights issues, drawing attention to underappreciated Jesuit contributions in these areas. It draws from both published and archival sources on the history of each institution to construct a single narrative, identifying common themes, challenges, and trends. Through the eyes of Jesuit colleges, it traces the evolution of American higher education and the role of Catholics in the United States over more than two centuries.

About the Author

Michael T. Rizzi is assistant dean and director of student services at the University of Pittsburgh.


"A significant contribution to the history of Catholic higher education in the United States. As Rizzi states, there has never been an overall history of Jesuit institutions, but rather studies of individual colleges and universities. The amount of information in this monograph is overwhelming. By its scope, the information it contains, and its well written and easy to read narrative style, it is certainly a significant contribution to the literature"—Richard Gribble, CSC, author of Navy Priest: A Biography of Captain Jake Laboon, SJ

"Dr. Rizzi's meticulously researched book demonstrates the unparalleled trajectory and enduring relevance of the Jesuit mission in American higher education. His discussion of the distinctive characteristics of Jesuit education provides a thought-provoking historical account of the growth of Jesuit education throughout the United States. Dr. Rizzi artfully describes unique features found within and between the institutions in the Jesuit network by providing the local context in which the colleges and universities were founded. This book offers a rich synthesis of one of the most successful projects in the history of American and Catholic higher education. Dr. Rizzi illuminates the deeply meaningful philosophical and spiritual approach to teaching, learning, research, and service that has not gone out of style in the 500-plus years since St. Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus."—Linda LeMura, Ph.D., President, Le Moyne College

"As U.S. higher education today navigates demographic shifts, the IT revolution, issues of equity and access, evolving funding models, and other forces of change, Dr. Rizzi's sweeping and compelling history of Jesuit higher education stages nearly two and a half centuries of innovation, inclusion, adjustment, and excellence of Jesuit higher learning in a national context. True to its renaissance humanist commitments, and ever-striving to educate the experts and professionals of the day, Rizzi represents both the setbacks and strides of these mission-focused universities, almost always as pioneers of higher education for an expanding US. geography. By positioning the 500-year-history and global force of the Society of Jesus between our coasts and on its campuses, Rizzi not only tells the story of prominent degree-granting institutions of the Jesuits, and eventually their collaborators, but showcases a recurrent desire to form leaders, improve communities, and create a better world."—Daniel Hendrickson, SJ, President, Creighton University

"An important topic, uniquely addressed; a synthesis, broadminded and thorough; an analysis, perspicacious and prodding. These qualities of Michael Rizzi's Jesuit Colleges and Universities in the United States: A History will make it an essential touchstone in on-going research into the development of higher education in its American and Catholic forms, and especially at their intersection. While individuals will find it rewarding to hunt for stories about their schools and to find them told in rich context, it is the overarching synthesis and historical scope of Dr. Rizzi's study — his insight into the Jesuit schools as a network of people and supporting institutions and as the instantiation in so many different times, places, and cultures of an educational vision — that is most breathtaking. Anyone who cares about the future of Catholic higher education will appreciate Dr. Rizzi's presentation of the past and present on which it will stand."—David J. Collins, SJ, Ph.D., Haub Director of Catholic Studies and Chair of the Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, Georgetown University

"In Jesuit Colleges and Universities in the United States, Michael Rizzi has provided a sweeping history of how Jesuits built their higher education network. Rizzi highlights the faith and commitment of so many Jesuits who labored against anti-Catholicism to offer education to Catholic immigrants and other students in need. Yet, Rizzi does not gloss over their pettiness and prejudices, especially their failures in dealing with Native Americans and slavery. The result is truly compelling and well told story of the history of Jesuit higher education."—Jason King, Irene S. Taylor Endowed Chair for Catholic Family Studies, Saint Vincent College

The Catholic University of America Press

9780813236162 : jesuit-colleges-and-universities-in-the-united-states-rizzi
Paperback / softback
October 7, 2022
$34.95 USD

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