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Abbreviated Mission Statement

As a Jesuit Catholic university committed to academic rigor, inclusive excellence, and care for the whole person, John Carroll inspires individuals of intellect and character to learn, lead, and serve in the community and throughout the world.

Founded in 1886, John Carroll University is a Jesuit Catholic university distinguished by innovative teaching and research, integrated learning across the entire student experience, care for the whole person (cura personalis), and a faith that does justice. In its commitment to academic rigor and inclusive excellence, John Carroll inspires individuals of intellect and character to learn, lead, and serve in the community and throughout the world.

As a University

John Carroll is committed to the advancement of human knowledge, strengthened by the academic freedom and institutional autonomy befitting a university. The University educates students in the liberal arts, sciences, education, and business at the undergraduate and graduate levels. 

The University creates dynamic opportunities for students to develop as total human persons. They will acquire the skills that lead to clear, persuasive expression; develop the intellectual discipline necessary to pursue diverse subjects in depth; integrate knowledge across disciplines; commit to and live by a tested set of values; embrace openness to change and lifelong learning; respect their own culture and that of others; appreciate the interdependence of all humanity; and become citizens who build a more just and humane society. 

As a Catholic University

John Carroll is committed to seek and synthesize all knowledge in its pursuit of truth, including the wisdom of Christian revelation for the good of the Church and the world. The University community is enriched by scholarship representing the pluralistic society in which we live and invites all to participate freely in the intellectual, moral, and spiritual dialogue necessary for this pursuit. Within this dialogue, in which theological and philosophical questions play a crucial role, students have the opportunity to develop, refine, and live a value system based on respect for and critical evaluation of facts; on intellectual, moral, and spiritual principles which enable them to confront new problems; and on the sensitivity and judgment that prepare them to engage in responsible social action.

John Carroll is committed to inclusive excellence and welcomes students, staff, and faculty from all faiths or no faith. In this spirit of inclusivity, the University fosters an environment in which every member of the community is respected and can thrive.

As a Jesuit University

John Carroll is inspired by the life and spirituality of Saint Ignatius Loyola and the early Jesuits.  Embracing the values of the Gospel, his Spiritual Exercises constitute the foundation of Jesuit life and mission at the University. The Jesuit spirit inspires the integration of faith and culture; an invitation to discernment and imaginative reflection; a commitment to walking with the excluded; a call to care for the earth, our common home; and a belief in a hope-filled future. Innovation, experimentation, and training for ethical leadership are essential parts of the Jesuit tradition, which promotes a faith that does justice and envisions education as a quest for God’s greater glory.  In the Ignatian tradition of cura personalis, the University commits to a culture of care for the whole person.

As an Engaged University

John Carroll prides itself on excellence in teaching and learning by talented, dedicated, and student-centered faculty and staff. Research is a vital element of education for faculty and student development. In keeping with its mission, the University especially encourages research for the common good that explores solutions to social inequities, answers human needs, and addresses the questions of faith in the modern world.  As an institution nationally recognized for its community engagement, John Carroll fosters mutually beneficial and reciprocal relationships with a wide range of community partners who engage students, faculty, and staff in addressing the critical needs of the times.  

Grounded in its Jesuit Catholic heritage, John Carroll University will:

  • Build upon its strengths in the liberal arts to advance innovative, rigorous programs for a diverse community of students,  
  • Enhance its reputation as a top-ranked university of choice through distinction in health, business, analytics, and experiential learning,  
  • Provide a culture of care where students experience a deep sense of belonging and thrive as engaged learners who become inspired, discerning leaders in service for and with others.


In keeping with our Jesuit commitment to a faith that does justice, John Carroll University commits to a welcoming climate of inclusion, compassion, and respect through genuine encounters, solidarity, and care for the whole person.

We welcome individuals of all identities and experiences including, but not limited to, age, (dis)ability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, nationality, race, religion or spiritual affiliation, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, veteran status, and other forms of human difference.

We seek to enable all members of the John Carroll community to fully realize their potential in an environment that recognizes both the distinctiveness of each person’s experience and the common humanity that unites us all.

Our pursuit of inclusive excellence embraces the richness of ideas and experiences that each person brings to the University, taking full advantage of everyone’s talents, skills, backgrounds, and perspectives.

We seek to reflect and respect all dimensions of diversity in our leadership; recruitment, retention, and employment practices; our curriculum, co-curriculum, and training programs; and in our climate across all campus activities.

As a Jesuit Catholic University, we respect the dignity of the human person and expect all members of our community to do the same by honoring the values expressed here and by demonstrating a genuine willingness to move from an awareness and tolerance of difference towards empathy, acceptance, and advancement.

The University's core values include a commitment to learning to create:

  • An environment of inquiry that embraces Jesuit Catholic education as a search for truth where faith and reason complement each other in learning. In pursuit of our educational mission, the University welcomes perspectives and participation in our mission from faculty, staff, students, and alumni of all faiths and of no faith.  
  • A rigorous approach to scholarship that instills in our graduates the knowledge, eloquence, sensitivity, and commitment to embrace and live humane values.  
  • A campus committed to the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, and physical development of each student.  
  • An inclusive community where differing points of view and experiences are valued as opportunities for mutual learning.  
  • A culture of service and excellence that permeates every program and office.  
  • A commitment to sharing our gifts in service to each other and the community.  
  • A campus that responds to demographic, economic, and social challenges.  
  • An appreciation that our personal and collective choices can build a more just world

In May 2008, the John Carroll University Board of Directors adopted the University’s Catholicity statement, The Jesuit Catholic Identity of John Carroll University, which describes the University’s Jesuit Catholic character as being a single reality based on the integration of faith and culture – this was Pope John Paul II’s primary message in his statement on Catholic higher education–Ex Corde Ecclesiae. We developed our Catholicity statement through a widely inclusive dialogue over nearly two years with people of all faiths.

1. The Catholic Character. The Catholic character of John Carroll University is centered on its relationship to the Word of God. For the Catholic, the term Word of God signifies that the self-revelation of God within human life climaxes in Jesus as the Christ. It is Christ who manifests that “God is with us, to liberate us from sin and death and to raise us to eternal life” (Vatican II, Constitution on Revelation, #4). Whatever enhances the human ability to recognize in word and deed the dynamics of the reality of mystery as embedded in all human activity is in the widest sense a catholic moment. Therefore, for the believer the Catholic character of John Carroll University dwells within all human knowledge and wisdom, within all human technology and professional skill, and within all artistic creation and human compassion. But there is a particular care for the treasury of wisdom, meaning, beauty, and ethical commitment that is part of the Catholic intellectual and cultural tradition.

Those who are also part of this educational community in its search for wisdom, meaning, and beauty but who stand within other religious and ethical traditions share intimately in this enterprise. In this most inclusive sense, then, John Carroll University is a community of faith; that is, it is an educational community that commits itself to an ecumenical and inter-religious right to ask and to pursue questions that are ethical and religious, questions that lead us to appreciate the mystery that also constitutes human life.

John Carroll is also Catholic in its engagement with the world. Just as Jesus Christ has no meaning if he is isolated from his human culture so, too, believers have no meaning if they are isolated from their human culture. Certainly, the gospel celebrates the grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation with God and one another that characterizes our faith. But the gospel also invites us to be part of the life and development of all human reality, especially in its age-old struggle for truth, justice, and peace. All the John Carroll community shares this mission of engaging the world as searchers of truth, teachers of justice, and mentors for peace.

Finally, John Carroll University is Catholic in its radical commitment to forging a community that is faithful to the asceticism of authentic dialogue with others, faithful in its mutual respect for the inherent dignity of all peoples, and faithful in the practice of a Eucharistic-inspired hospitality that welcomes all God’s people.

In short, John Carroll University desires to create an environment where the tradition and culture of Catholicism profoundly and creatively influence its search for wisdom and understanding and its formation for service. However, as a university community, it welcomes other approaches and expects and honors the right to question as the enduringly best human way to appropriate for oneself both the culture and tradition of Catholicism.

2. The Jesuit Character. The Catholic character of John Carroll University is intimately bound to the Ignatian spiritual heritage and the Jesuit tradition of interpreting that heritage. From its inception, the Society of Jesus has embraced the ministry of the Word as central to its apostolic identity and pastoral mission. That commitment means that Jesuits see themselves as among those who sustain the command of Christ to “go into the entire world and proclaim the good news to all creation” [Mark 16:15]. The ministry of the Word developed early in the Jesuit culture into a diversity of creative enterprises, chief among these being the schools. For the early Jesuits, the schools were not simply places of educational process but communities where all inquiry led to a reverence for the creation of God and a fuller understanding of the God of creation. All knowledge became part of God’s word, an insight into the humanity of Christ, and the foundation for a society of humane learning and professional competence. That dimension of the Jesuit tradition endures today at John Carroll in the rich variety of intellectual disciplines and skills that constitute the environment of the contemporary university.

Fidelity to the word of God inspires service to the world that God so loved that he sent his only Son. The contemporary Jesuit commitment to a faith that expresses itself in scholarly research and teaching and works of justice and solidarity flourishes in a climate of ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue. In the contemporary university, the motivations for this commitment are religiously and philosophically diverse but ought to be no less generous, no less profound, and no less graced than the educational commitment to the service of the early Jesuits. Today commitment to the works of truth, justice, and peace binds the faculty, staff, and student body of John Carroll University to an essential characteristic of its Ignatian heritage and Jesuit tradition.

The Jesuit character of John Carroll University dwells in its community, whose members dedicate themselves both to scholarly work and teaching and service: service within the Carroll community, service to the community beyond Carroll, and service to the future generations of our world. Within the Jesuit tradition, the phrase cura personalis has been used to cover a multitude of relationships between students and the educational and professional personnel within the schools. What the phrase means is the ability to adapt the total educational experience to the talents, needs, and personalities of the students. It is a student-centered commitment. It is a commitment with a tradition that originated in the personal experience of Ignatius Loyola and, more than any other inspiration, linked his personal experience to the founding of the Society of Jesus. Today the vision and value of helping people ought to frame all activity at John Carroll University. This vision and value should manifest itself in a mutual openness among faculty, staff, administrators, and students. To that end, the Ignatian heritage and the Jesuit interpretation of that heritage should create a climate of trust in which every member of the community feels that she or he can pursue her or his dream, ask her or his deepest questions, and fulfill her or his professional and spiritual ambitions. Only in such a climate can service be embraced as both personal fulfillment and a commitment to others.

Conclusion. The Catholic and Jesuit character of John Carroll University is a single reality. It represents a commitment to a Church within the world, serving the human search for truth and value and for justice and solidarity. It also represents a reverence for the transcendent vision that Christ preached and lived as the final best expression of human fulfillment. This Catholic and Jesuit character inspires and guides the intellectual, professional, and ethical labors that make John Carroll a university.

To view the full text of the Catholicity Statement in PDF format, please click here.

To see our Catholicity Brochure in PDF format, please click here.