About the University
University Mission Statement
Xavier is a Jesuit Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts tradition. Our mission is to educate each student intellectually, morally, and spiritually. We create learning opportunities through rigorous academic and professional programs integrated with co-curricular engagement. In an inclusive environment of open and free inquiry, we prepare students for a world that is increasingly diverse, complex and interdependent. Driven by our commitment to educating the whole person, promoting the common good, and serving others, the Xavier community challenges and supports all our members as we cultivate lives of reflection, compassion and informed action.
University Vision Statement
Xavier men and women become people of learning and reflection, integrity and achievement, in solidarity for and with others.
Xavier Student Commitment
We are Xavier Musketeers.
We are unique individuals who come together in the spirit of St. Ignatius,
To learn together, to serve together
And we will succeed in changing the world together.
We act with integrity, justice and generosity.
All for one and one for all.
Xavier University was established in 1831 when the first bishop of Cincinnati, Edward Fenwick, raised a two-story building near the cathedral in downtown Cincinnati and opened its doors to educate seminarians and other young men in the Ohio area. This institute of arts and sciences was the first Catholic institution of higher learning in the Northwest Territory. The original name of the college was The Athenaeum, but it was dedicated from the beginning to the patronage of St. Francis Xavier.
At first, the college was administered by the bishop and his diocesan priests, but as it grew, it began to require professional academic leadership. In 1840, John Roothaan, the Jesuit Superior General, responded to the request of Fenwick’s successor, Bishop John Purcell, and appointed three Jesuit priests, two brothers and two scholastics, to assume leadership of the college. Its name was changed to St. Xavier College in honor of the Jesuit educator under whose patronage the college was originally placed.
It was during these first few years as a Jesuit institution that Xavier began to take on the unique character and special role that it fulfills today. For example, a mercantile program was added to the curriculum in 1840 because the Jesuit educators recognized the need to supplement the traditional humanities education with a sound business program. Today, the University is recognized for its development of the Williams College of Business, which together with the other academic colleges - the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Professional Sciences - provide students with a broad-based learning experience.
In 1841, Xavier offered its first night courses, beginning a tradition of serving the unique needs and schedules of professionals in the Cincinnati community, a tradition it proudly continues today.
St. Xavier College moved to its present location in the geographic center of the city in 1919, when its growth and development called for new and larger facilities. To reflect that growth and development, the name was changed to Xavier University in 1930. Since that time, the University has become coeducational (1969) and has implemented a host of new academic programs, faculties, community projects and student services.
A historical development at Xavier was the addition on July 1, 1980, of a second campus and a fourth undergraduate college, Edgecliff College. Founded in 1935 by the Sisters of Mercy as a women’s liberal arts college, Edgecliff brought with it 45 years of dedication and academic excellence. In 1985, the Edgecliff campus was sold, and all programs were moved to the main campus. In 1999, Alumni Hall was renovated and renamed Edgecliff Hall to bring to campus a physical presence of the legacy of Edgecliff College.
The campus grew in the 1980s with donations of property by the U.S. Shoe Corporation in 1982 and the Rainbo Baking Company in 1986 (including an 84,000-square-foot building) that increased Xavier’s total campus acreage to 80 acres.
Other expansions included Xavier Village, a 56-unit student apartment complex constructed on 5.6 acres of property purchased from Peggy Becker Jackson in May 1988, and the Link complex, three acres received through a charitable trust from Joseph Link Jr. on Jan. 2, 1989. These additions brought Xavier’s total area to 89 acres.
On April 21, 1991, James E. Hoff, S.J., was inaugurated as Xavier’s 33rd president. Under Hoff’s leadership, the University experienced a remarkable growth spurt. The addition of the Lindner Family Physics Building (1991) and the closing of a portion of Ledgewood Avenue in 1993 were followed by the creation of the residential and academic malls in the mid-1990’s. The restoration of Hinkle, Schmidt and Edgecliff (formerly Alumni) halls, Bellarmine Chapel, and the construction of the Cintas Center and student recreation park soon followed. Academically, Hoff brought about some substantial changes, including the creation of the academic service-learning semesters, the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, the doctoral program in psychology - Xavier’s first doctoral-level course of study and the second PsyD program in Ohio - and the Weekend Degree Program. He also created the National Alumni Association.
In the fall of 2001, Michael J. Graham, S.J., was inaugurated as Xavier’s 34th president, continuing the pattern of growth and prosperity, with particular focus on academics. A new academic vision statement helped drive Xavier to a significant increase in national recognition for its academics. A third honors program was added. The Conaton Learning Commons was constructed with 21st-century teaching and learning styles in mind. The addition of Smith Hall helped make the Williams College of Business one of the nation’s most dynamic business schools by any measure. And a new four-dorm residence hall and dining complex named Fenwick Place was built to accommodate the growing demand for enrollment in the University. In 2006, Xavier celebrated its 175th anniversary, and Xavier’s growth since its founding reflects its origins as a teaching institution that soundly prepares students for careers, graduate study or both. A Xavier education, particularly at the undergraduate level, is marked by an emphasis on liberal arts learning contained in Xavier’s core curriculum. Equally important in the Xavier tradition is the synthesis of human, cultural and ethical values, concern and respect for all people, and an appreciation of the worth and dignity of the self and others.
A continued emphasis was also placed on Xavier’s Jesuit heritage with the creation of the Center for Mission and Identity, which includes the Conway Institute for Jesuit Education, Ignatian programs and an online Jesuit resource service. The Dorothy Day Center for Faith and Justice and the Center for Interfaith Community Engagement were created to challenge and support students as they deepen their spiritual lives.
In the fall of 2021, Dr. Colleen Hanycz., will be inaugurated as Xavier’s 35th president
Xavier University offers its students the advantages of a quality liberal education, which has always been the center of a Jesuit university. Such an education enables the student to put personal academic goals in the context of the diverse achievements of civilization and the vast potential of the human person. Jesuit and Catholic education presumes that the truth about the world and humankind, discovered through human reason, cannot ultimately conflict with the truth of faith, since the two have a common origin in God. Indeed, the continuing dialogue between religious tradition and developing human wisdom is of primary importance in the search for ultimate truth.
The goal of a Jesuit and Catholic education is integration of the intellectual dimension of learning and the spiritual experience of the student, along with the development of a strong system of personal moral values. Such an education strives for the formation of the student’s mind and heart into a habit of reaching out to the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s global society and, in the process, of reaching out to God.
The institution is committed to making available a rigorous academic learning environment, which educates each student intellectually, morally and spiritually.