Michael T. RizziJan 28, 2023
Jesuit Colleges and Universities in the United States
Catholic University of America Press 2022
Jesuit Colleges and Universities in the United States: A History (Catholic University of America Press, 2022) 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.
Allison Isidore is a Religious Studies Ph.D. student at the University of Iowa and is the Assistant Director for the American Catholic Historical Association. Her research interest is focused on the twentieth-century American Civil Rights Movement and the Catholic Church’s response to racism and the participation of Catholic clergy, nuns, and laypeople in marches, sit-ins, and kneel-ins during the 1950s and 1960s. She tweets from @AllisonIsidore1.