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University Identity Guidelines

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Catholic Identity

Mount Mary University, a Catholic college for women, is committed to educating persons in order to transform the world. Transformation takes place only when the life of the mind is integrated with habits of the heart and right living—with virtus and scientia, as the seal of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, founders of the University, proclaims. Thus, true to its Catholic identity, Mount Mary is a campus where faith (the deepest habit of the heart) and reason (the life of the mind) are intrinsically related.

The undergraduate curriculum is based on four beliefs that emerge from our Catholic character. One of these beliefs states that the community of scholars provides an environment where the two dynamisms toward knowing—faith and reason—meet and draw the whole person toward the search for truth and meaning. Reason, the human drive to know, stretches one toward ultimate meaning. Faith, grounded in the ultimacy of God, urges one toward understanding. The Catholic intellectual tradition, therefore, must be brought into conversation with other significant intellectual and religious traditions in order to thrive in the ongoing search for truth. Inspired by a common dedication to the truth, "the community is animated by a spirit of freedom and charity; it is characterized by mutual respect, sincere dialogue, and protection of the rights of individuals" [John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae]. It is the Holy Spirit who guides authentic dialogue toward ever more comprehensive understanding.

Another belief grounding the curriculum is that the human person is not simply a collection of biological and behavioral responses, but is a being fundamentally oriented toward the transcendent, that is, toward God. Through the person and mission of Jesus Christ, we receive insight into who the human person is and who we are destined to become. At Mount Mary, the core of the core curriculum is a course titled Search for Meaning. It considers philosophical and theological perspectives on the fundamental questions of life and is required of every undergraduate student.

A third belief centers on the integrity and leadership for social justice that the mission of the University proclaims. In their stretching beyond present bounds, human beings of every age have struggled to challenge attitudes of futility, frustration and skepticism. It is essential that educators guide students in the formulation of a strong value system and offer tools for the continual re-evaluation and fine-tuning of values worthy of the transformation of the human person, who in turn, will help to transform society. Catholic social teaching informs the value system of Mount Mary and is threaded throughout the curriculum, through lecture series, and through programs for students and employees.

The final belief addresses the campus environment conducive to the development of the whole person. Human beings have both a sacred and a social dimension. We believe that persons realize their dignity, their rights, and their responsibilities in relation with others, in community. There are opportunities for Mass, prayer services, and retreats throughout the academic year. Community-building exercises and events promote unity within our richly diverse campus community. The four particular values which focus the mission and frame the leadership model, guiding our students toward their full development, are competence, community, compassion, and commitment.

An appreciation for education in the Catholic tradition at Mount Mary University is part of the legacy of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. We are inspired by their vision which states: "Education means enabling persons to reach the fullness of their potential as individuals created in God's image and assisting them to direct their gifts toward building the earth" [Constitution of the School Sisters of Notre Dame]