Arizona’s Catholic universities form coalition

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Catholic Universities of Arizona_LOGO

Arizona’s four private Catholic institutions of higher education have formed a coalition, Catholic Universities of Arizona, to support each other’s mission and to help students of all faiths complete an education that is meaningful and values-based.

The four schools in the association include Benedictine University in Mesa, The College of St. Scholastica in Mesa and Phoenix, Saint Xavier University in Gilbert, and the University of Mary on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe. A shared website, www.catholicaz.org, can help prospective students sort out the various programs while remaining confident of their common Catholic identity.

“The Catholic Universities of Arizona offer a substantial list of degree programs that have at their center the development of the whole individual,” said Maria Laughner, Arizona regional director for College of St. Scholastica. “Together, we are proving that a private values-based education is not only affordable, it is within reach. The College of St. Scholastica is proud to be a part of such a community-based effort.”

The endeavor is endorsed by and works closely with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix advocating and promoting the benefits of Catholic higher education. The coalition also supports and encourages awareness among the Valley’s elementary and high school providers, building a pipeline of opportunities at the collegiate level and in the future.

“We believe that by combining efforts in the same mission, more students will be reached and stronger, more comprehensive programming can be developed,” added MaryBeth Mueller, superintendent of schools for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. “The point of this coalition is to meet the needs of those seeking an educational experience infused with moral values and service, and this will happen best through a collaborative effort.”

All four colleges emphasize the education of the student’s mind, body and spirit. The colleges each offer specific degrees and programs – many of which encourage students to pursue careers with a purpose: teaching, nursing, criminal justice, health informatics, theology and social work, to name a few.

“The University of Mary is proud to bring the Catholic intellectual tradition to serve the students of ASU and the Diocese of Phoenix,” said Ryan Hanning, Ph.D., assistant vice president for strategic partnerships and assistant professor of Theology at the University of Mary – Tempe. “It is with great joy and in the spirit of collaboration that we welcome the opportunities possible with the Catholic Universities of Arizona.”

In all, more than 25 degrees at the bachelors, masters and doctorate level will be available at Arizona’s Catholic universities.

“Saint Xavier University, a Sister of Mercy institution that continues the heritage of a religious community that came to Phoenix in 1895, invites Catholics of traditional college age and adults to learn about highly accredited degree programs offered in Gilbert and at the main campus in Chicago,” said Richard Venneri, Ph.D., associate provost, Saint Xavier University.

A website landing page highlighting the unique programs offered by the four universities is hosted by the Diocese of Phoenix.

Benedictine University at Mesa has become such an important resource providing higher education opportunities in the East Valley with the support of the Diocese of Phoenix,” said Charlie Gregory, campus executive officer. “Our steady growth since arriving in Arizona in 2012 demonstrates our commitment to helping local students succeed. We look forward to identifying other opportunities to partner with the Diocese and the Catholic Universities of Arizona.”

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