During the 1850s, as he took over leadership of the Catholic University of Dublin, John Henry Newman reflected upon the nature of university education, especially at Catholic universities, in a seminal series of lectures that was eventually published as "The Idea of a University." More than a century and a half later, the questions of identity and purpose that motivated Newman retain their full relevance. Today, Catholic universities exist in a milieu quite different from the one in which Newman wrote: a truly global marketplace of ideas; vibrantly diverse student bodies and faculty; an increasingly secular society; aggressive criticisms of the liberal arts core that has traditionally characterized Catholic education; complex new challenges to justice, stability, and peace. These and similar issues demand reflection for those of us living our vocations at Catholic universities.

During the 2017-2018 academic year, the Academy of Catholic Thought and Imagination coordinated a yearlong conversation on "The Idea of the Catholic University in the 21st Century." Along with numerous partners, particularly the Bellarmine Forum of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, ACTI engaged questions that face Catholic higher education and Loyola Marymount University specifically: What makes us distinctive? In what respects should Catholic colleges and universities differ (or not differ) from other institutions, whether large state-sponsored schools or non-Catholic liberal arts colleges? And how should these distinctive characteristics shape the missions, goals, research, curricula, and programs of the Catholic university in the 21st century?

This conversation spanned disciplines and departments in a wide range of programming and events. The archives contain event details as well as photos and videos from our programs. We hope you will find something here to spark your curiosity and engage your experience.


Questions: Visit us in UH 4404, or contact us at acti@lmu.edu or 310-338-7759.

Partners & Co-Sponsors

Bellarmine Forum

The Bellarmine Forum is LMU's annual celebration of the life of the mind, offered by the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts. It consists of interconnected undergraduate courses and events throughout the semester and year. In Fall 2017, ACTI partnered with the Bellarmine Forum to sponsor joint events and programming under the same theme. For information on the 2017 Bellarmine Forum Common Courses and Events, click here. For more information about the Bellarmine Forum in general and to learn more about other years' forums, visit the Bellarmine Forum website.

LMU Common Book

Shūsaku Endō's novel Silence was LMU's 2017 Common Book. The book offers many opportunities for engagement with themes related to the Idea of the Catholic University in the 21st Century, including faith and doubt, the problem of evil and suffering, Jesuit missionary and educational activities, globalization and the clash of cultures, literature and rhetoric, and the natural world. The book was taught in all Bellarmine Forum courses and provided an opportunity for other courses, faculty, students to interface with the Forum.

Institutional Examen

Concurrently with the "Idea of the Catholic University in the 21st Century" series, LMU also participated in a formal Institutional Assessment of our Catholic, Jesuit, Marymount mission and identity. The "Institutional Examen" is part of a project that each of the 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities has committed to undertake at some point during the 2015-2020 time frame. Each participating institution ultimately seeks a reaffirmation by the Jesuit Superior General that the school is authentically Catholic and authentically Jesuit and has identified specific actions to preserve and enhance that identity. As many of the conversations that make up the Institutional Examen process directly related to the Idea of the Catholic University in the 21st Century, ACTI partnered with the Office of Mission and Ministry to co-sponsor events and programs that engage the campus community in reflection upon LMU's character, mission, ideals, and future goals.