Grants to Collegium support mission of Catholic education

Collegium, an idea born at Fairfield University nine years ago by Thomas Landy to engage new faculty in conversation about the mission of Catholic higher education, is the recipient of three grants totaling more than $50,000.

The grants awarded to the program include $15,000 from the William M. & Miriam F. Meehan Foundation, Inc., and $29,450 from the Koch Foundation, Inc. for graduate fellows at Collegium's summer institute. The third, $10,000 from John McShain Charities, Inc., will support Collegium's endowment.

With support from the Indiana-based Lilly Endowment, Inc., Collegium began sponsoring annual summer workshops on Catholicism and intellectual life for faculty and graduate students in 1993. The program reaches out to new faculty who are non-Catholic as well as Catholics who may want to reexamine the role their faith plays in their everyday work. Sponsored by Fairfield University, a Jesuit-founded institution, Collegium has attracted 53 other Catholic colleges and universities and has a national advisory board.

Throughout the year, Collegium works to develop networks of Catholic faculty, provide resources for on-campus discussions of religious identity and to connect interested graduate students with colleges interested in hiring faculty who can make a contribution both to the religious and intellectual mission of their colleges.

Thomas Landy was in his first year of teaching at Fairfield when he came up with the idea for Collegium. Having done his undergraduate work at Fairfield, his memory of those college days, he says, "gave me constant cause to consider what it was that had been so great about my college years, and what I could learn from them for my own work as a teacher ... at a very basic level, I was concerned about how, with the declining numbers of Jesuits, we would shape a whole institution that could fulfill the Jesuit mission of the university."

Collegium is the first and only organization of its kind. With the decline in the number of religious on most campuses, Collegium serves a unique role by helping prospective faculty take up leadership roles in furthering the mission and ministry of Catholic higher education.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647,

Posted on November 15, 1999

Vol. 32, No. 106

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