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Universities. —The principal Catholic foundations have been treated in special articles; here the general aspects of the subject are presented: I. Origin and organization; II. Academic work and development; III. Renaissance and Reformation; IV. Modern period; V. Catholic action.


Although the name university is sometimes given to the celebrated schools of Athens and Alexandria, it is generally held that the universities first arose in the Middle Ages. For those that were chartered during the thirteenth century, dates and documents can be accurately given; but the beginnings of the earliest are obscure, hence the legends connected with their origin: Oxford was supposed to have been founded by King Alfred, Paris by Charlemagne, and Bologna by Theodosius II (A.D. 433). These myths, though they survived well on into modern times, are now generally rejected, and the historian’s only concern with them is to discover their sources and trace their development. It is known, however, that during the eleventh and twelfth centuries a revival of studies took place, in medicine at Salerno, in law at Bologna, and in theology at Paris. The medical school at Salerno was the oldest and the most famous of its kind in the Middle Ages; but it exerted no influence on the development of the universities. At Paris, the study of dialectics received a fresh impetus from teachers like Roscellin and Abelard, and eventually it displaced the study of the Classics which, especially at Chartres, had constituted an energetic though short-lived humanistic movement. The dialectical method, moreover, was applied to theological questions and, mainly through the work of Peter Lombard, was developed into Scholasticism (q.v.). This meant not only that all sorts of questions were taken up for discussion and examined with the utmost subtlety, but also that a new basis was provided for the exposition of doctrine and that theology itself was cast into the systematic form which it presents in the works of St. Thomas, and above all, in the great “Summa”. At Bologna, the new movement was practical rather than speculative, it affected the teaching, not of philosophy and theology, but of civil and canon law. Previous to the twelfth century, Bologna had been famous as a school of arts, while in regard to legal science it was far surpassed by other cities, e.g. Rome, Pavia, and Ravenna. That it became within a comparatively short time the chief center of the teaching of law, not in Italy alone but in all Europe, was due mainly to Irnerius (q.v.) and to Gratian (q.v.). The former introduced the systematic study of the whole Corpus juris civilis, and differentiated the course in law from that in the Liberal Arts; the latter, in his “Decretum”, applied the scholastic method to canon law, and secured for this science a distinct place apart from theology. In consequence, Bologna, long before it became a university, attracted large numbers of students from all parts of the Empire, and its teachers, as they became more numerous, also attained unrivaled prestige.

The school growing thus vigorously from within was further strengthened by the privileges which the emperor granted. In the “Authentic” Habita issued in 1158, Frederick I took under his protection the scholars who resorted to the schools of Italy for the purpose of study, and decreed that they should travel without hindrance or molestation, and that, in case complaint were lodged against them, they should have the option of defending themselves either before their professors or before the bishop. This grant naturally turned to the profit of Bologna; but it also served as the basis of many privileges subsequently accorded to this and to other schools. That Paris also enjoyed similar protection and immunities from an early date is highly probable, though the first grant of which there is record was made by Philip Augustus in 1200. To these two factors of internal growth and external advantage, a third had to be added before either Paris or Bologna could become a university: it was necessary to secure a corporate organization. Both cities by the middle of the twelfth century possessed the requisite elements in the way of schools, scholars, and teachers. At Paris three schools were especially prominent: Saint Victor‘s, attached to the church of the canons regular; Sainte-Genevieve-du-Mont, conducted first by seculars and later by canons regular; and Notre-Dame, the school of the Cathedral on the “Island”. According to one account these three schools united to form the university; Denifle, however (Die Universitaten, 655 sqq.), maintains that it originated in Notre-Dame only, and that this school therefore was the cradle of the University of Paris. This does not imply that the cathedral school as an institution was elevated to the rank of a university by royal or pontifical charter. The initiative was taken by the professors who, with the licence of the chancellor of Notre-Dame and subject to his authority, taught either at the cathedral or in private dwellings on the “Island”. When these professors, in the last quarter of the twelfth century, united in one teaching body, the University of Paris was founded (For the older view, see University of Paris).

This consortium magistrorum included the professors of theology, law, medicine, and arts (philosophy). As the teachers of the same subject had special interests, they naturally formed smaller groups within the entire body. The name “faculty” originally designated a discipline or branch of knowledge, and was employed in this sense by Honorius III in his letter (February 18, 1219) to the scholars of Paris; later, it came to mean the group of professors engaged in teaching the same subject. The closer organization into faculties was occasioned in the first instance by questions which arose in 1213, regarding the conferring of degrees. Then came the drafting of statutes for each faculty whereby its own internal affairs were regulated and lines of demarcation drawn between its sphere of action and those of the other faculties. This organization must have been completed within the first half, or perhaps first quarter, of the thirteenth century, since Gregory IX in the Bull “Parens scientiarum” (1231) recognizes the existence of separate faculties. The scholars, on their part, just as naturally fell into different groups. They belonged to various nationalities, and those from the same country must have realized the advantage, or even the necessity, of banding together in a city like Paris to which they came as strangers. This was the origin of the “Nations”, which probably were organized early in the thirteenth century, though the first documentary evidence of their existence dates from 1249. The four Nations at Paris were those of the French, the Picards, the Normans, and the English. They were distinctively student associations, formed for purposes of administration and discipline, whereas the faculties were organized to deal with matters relating to the several sciences and the work of teaching. The Nations, therefore, did not constitute the university, nor were they identical with the faculties. The masters in arts were included in the Nations and at the same time belonged to the faculty of arts, because the course in arts was simply a preparation for higher studies in one of the superior faculties, and hence arts formed an “inferior” faculty, whose masters were still classed as scholars. The professors of the superior faculties did not belong to the Nations.

Each Nation elected from among its members a master of arts as procurator (proctor), and the four procurators elected the rector, i.e. the head of the Nations, not, at first, the head of the university. As, however, the faculty of arts was closely bound up with the Nations, the rector gradually became the chief officer of that faculty, and was recognized as such in 1274. His authority extended later to the faculties of law and medicine (1279) and finally (1341) to the faculty of theology; thenceforward the rector is the head of the entire university. On the other hand, the office of rector did not confer very large powers. From the beginning the chief authority had been exercised by the chancellor, as the pope’s representative; and though this authority, by reason of conflicts with the university, had been somewhat reduced during the thirteenth century, the chancellor was still sufficiently powerful to overshadow the rector. Before the university came into existence, the chancellor had conferred the licence to teach, and this function he continued to perform all through the process of organization and after the faculties with their various officials were fully established.

At Bologna, towards the close of the twelfth century, voluntary associations were established by the foreign, i.e. non-Bolognese, students for purposes of mutual support and protection. These students were not boys, but mature men; many of them were beneficed clergymen. In their organization they copied the guilds of travelling tradesmen; each association comprised a number of Nations, enacted its own statutes, and elected a rector who was assisted by a body of consiliarii. These student-guilds were known as universitates, i.e. corporations in the accepted legal sense, not teaching bodies. Originally four in number they were reduced by the middle of the thirteenth century to two: universitas citramontanorum and universitas ultramontanorum. Neither the Bolognese students nor the doctors, being citizens of Bologna, belonged to a “university”. The doctors were employed, under contract, and paid by the scholars, and were subject, in many respects, to the statutes framed by the student-bodies. In spite of this dependence, however, the professors retained control of strictly academic affairs; they were the rectores scho larum, while the heads of the universities were rectores scholarium; in particular, the right of promotion, i.e. conferring degrees, was reserved to the doctors. These also formed associations, the collegia doctorum, which probably existed at or before the time of the founding of the student “universities”. At first the doctors had full charge of examinations and in their own name granted the licence to teach. But in 1219 Honorius III gave the Archdeacon of Bologna exclusive authority to confer the doctorate thus creating an office equivalent to that of the chancellor at Paris. The doctorate itself, as implying the right to member-ship in the collegium, was gradually restricted to the narrower circle of the doctores legentes, i.e. actually teaching. On the other hand, the student control was lessened by the fact that, in order to offset the inducements offered by rival towns, the city of Bologna, towards the end of the thirteenth century, began to pay the professors a regular salary in place of the fees formerly given, in such amount as they saw fit, by the scholars. As a result the appointment of the professors was taken over by the city, and eventually by the reformatores studii, a board established by the local authority. Meantime the two “universities” were being drawn together in one body and this was brought into closer relations with the college of doctors; so that Clement V (March 10, 1310) could speak of a magistrorum et scholarium universitas at Bologna. At the beginning of the sixteenth century there was only one rector.

The growth of Oxford followed, in the main, that of Paris. In the middle of the twelfth century the schools were flourishing: Robert Pullen (q.v.), author of the “Sentences” on which the more famous work of Peter Lombard is largely based, and Vacarius, the eminent Lombard jurist, are mentioned as teachers. The number of students, already considerable, was swelled in 1167 by an exodus from Paris. There were two Nations: the Boreales (Northern) included the English and Scottish students; the Australes (Southern), the Welsh and Irish. In 1274 these coalesced in one Nation, but the two proctors remained distinct. In 1209, owing to difficulties with the town, 3000 scholars dispersed. On their return, the papal legate Nicholas issued (1214) an ordinance enjoining that the town should pay an annual sum for the use of poor scholars and that “in case a clerk should be arrested by the townsmen, he should at once be surrendered on the demand of the Bishop of Lincoln, or the archdeacon of the place or his official or the chancellor, or whomsoever the Bishop of Lincoln shall depute to this office” (Munimenta, I, p. 2). The first statutes were enacted in 1252, and confirmed by Innocent IV in 1254. The chancellor at first was an independent official appointed by the Bishop of Lincoln to act as ecclesiastical judge in scholastic matters. Gradually, however, he was absorbed into the university and became its head.

The development at Paris and Bologna explains the term by which the university was first designated, i.e. studium generale. This did not originally and essentially mean a school of universal learning, nor did it include all the four faculties: theology was often omitted or even excluded by the early charters. It first appears at Bologna in 1360, at Salamanca towards the end of the fourteenth century, at Montpellier in 1421: yet each of these schools was a studium generale in the original sense of the term, i.e. a school which admitted students from all parts, enjoyed special privileges, and conferred a right to teach that was acknowledged everywhere. This jus ubique docendi was implied in the very nature of the studium generale; it was first explicitly conferred by Gregory IX in the Bull for Toulouse, April 27, 1233, which declares that “any master examined there and approved in any faculty shall everywhere have the right to teach with-out further examination”.

A. Name

Universitas, as understood in the Middle Ages, was a legal term; it got its meaning from the Corpus juris civilis, and it denoted an association taken as a whole, i.e. in its corporate capacity. Employed with reference to a school, universitas did not mean a collection of all the sciences, but rather the entire group of persons engaged at a given institution in scientific pursuits i.e. the whole body of teachers and students: universitas magistrorum et scholarium. This is the meaning of the term in official documents relating to Paris and Bologna; thus Alexander IV (December 10, 1255) states expressly that under the name university he understands “all the masters and scholars residing at Paris, to whatever society or congregation they may belong.” Gradually, however, the terms universitas and studium came to be used promiscuously to denote an institution of learning: Universitas Oxoniensis and Studium Oxoniense were both applied to Oxford. There is mention as early as 1279 of delicta in universitate Oxonia: perpetrata (Munimenta, I, 39), and in the next century such phrases occur as (1306) in universitate cursus Legere and (1311) in universitaee Oxonice studere (ibid., 87 sqq.). That the terms had become practically synonymous at the beginning of the fourteenth century appears from a statement of Clement V, July 13, 1312, to the effect that the Archbishop of Dublin, John Lech, had reported that in those parts there was no scolarium universitas vel studium generale. About 1300 also the expression mater universitas was used by the Oxford masters, and these may have taken it from a document of Innocent IV (October 6, 1254) in which the pope speaks of Oxford as foecunda mater. Later the expression alma mater was applied, e.g. to Paris in 1389; Cologne, 1392; Oxford, 1411. Alma was probably suggested by the liturgical use, as e.g. in the hymn beginning “Alma redemptoris mater”.

The earliest universities had no charters; they grew ex consuetudine. Out of these others quickly developed, by migration, or by formal establishment. As the universities in the beginning possessed no buildings like our modern halls and laboratories, it was an easy matter for the students and professors, in case they became dissatisfied in one place, to find accommodations in another. Conflicts with the town often led to such migrations, especially where some rival town offered inducements: hence the secessions from Bologna to Vicenza (1204), to Arezzo (1213), to Padua (1222), the “great dispersion” from Paris (1229), and the migration (1209) from Oxford to Cambridge. But causes of a less tumultuous sort were also operative. The privileges enjoyed by the first universities led other cities to seek similar advantages in order to keep their own scholars at home, and possibly attract outsiders, thereby adding to the local prosperity and prestige. Bologna and Paris served as patterns for the new organizations, and the desired privileges were sought from pope or civil ruler. It became, indeed, usual for the papal charter to include a set formula granting the new university “the same privileges, immunities, and liberties which are enjoyed by the masters and scholars of Paris” (or Bologna); thus Oxford, Cambridge, St. Andrews, and Aberdeen were to a large extent modeled on Paris and Glasgow on Bologna. The Parisian type was also reproduced at the earliest German universities, Prague, Vienna, Erfurt, and Heidelberg; but these soon began to depart from the original. The Nations were of less importance; the rector might be chosen from any faculty; the authority was vested in permanent and endowed professors who predominated in the university council; and the colleges were under the control of the university, which kept the teaching in its own hands.

In Ireland the first step toward establishing a university was taken by John Lech, Archbishop of Dublin. At his instance, Clement V issued, July 11, 1113, a Bull for the erection of a university near Dublin; Lech, however, died a year later, and nothing was accomplished until his successor, Alexander de Bicknor, in 1320 established a university at St. Patrick’s Cathedral with the approval of Pope John XXII. The first chancellor was William Rodiart, Dean of St. Patrick’s, and the first graduates William de Hardite, O.P., Edward of Karwarden, O.P., and Henry Cogry, O.F.M. Lectures were still given in 1358; in that year Edward II issued letters-patent protecting the members of the university on their travels, and in 1364, Lionel, Duke of Clarence, founded a lectureship. The university failed for want of endowment, as did also the one founded by the Irish Parliament at Drogheda in 1465.

B. The Founders: Popes and Civil Rulers

In view of the importance of the universities for culture and progress, it is quite intelligible that there should be considerable discussion and divergence of opinion regarding the authority which should receive credit for their foundation. It has, e.g., been maintained that only the pope could establish a university; contrariwise, it has been held that such an establishment was the exclusive prerogative of the civil rulers, i.e. emperor and king. These, however, are extreme positions, neither of which accords with the facts, while both are based on a study of a limited group of universities and, in large measure, on a failure to appreciate the relations of Church and State in the thirteenth century. From misunderstandings on the latter point erroneous conclusions have been drawn, not only regarding the origins of universities, but also the general attitude of the age towards the papacy and vice versa. Once it is settled, e.g. that, according to the view prevalent in the thirteenth century, only the pope could found a university, it is easy to interpret any similar foundation by a monarch or any initiative taken by a municipality, as evidence of hostility to the Holy See and as a first move towards that “emancipation” which actually came to pass in the sixteenth century. By the same sort of reasoning the inference is drawn that the popes resented the action of the civil power in granting charters, and repressed all attempts at freedom on the part of the universities themselves. To set these conclusions in the proper light, it is sufficient to glance at the various modes of foundation.

Previous to the Reformation 81 universities were established. Of these 13 had no charter; they developed spontaneously ex consuetudine; 33 had only the papal charter; 15 were founded by imperial or royal authority; 20 by both papal and imperial (or royal) charters. Once the oldest universities, especially Paris and Bologna, had grown to fame and influence so that their graduates enjoyed the licentia ubique docendi, it was recognized that a new institution, in order to become a studium generate, required the authorization of the supreme authority, i.e. of the pope as head of the Church or of the emperor as protector of all Christendom. Thus in “Las Siete Partidas” (1256-1263), Alfonso el Sabio declares that a “studium generate must be established by mandate of the pope, the emperor, or the king”; and St. Thomas (Op. contra impugn. relig., c. iii): “ordinare de studio pertinet ad eum qui praeest reipublicae, et praecipue ad authoritatem apostolicae sedis qua universalis ecclesia gubernatur, cui per generale studium providetur”, i.e. in the matter of universities the authority belongs to the chief ruler of the common-wealth and especially to the Apostolic See, the head of the universal Church, “the interest of which is furthered by the university”. These last words contain the essential reason for seeking authorization from the pope: the university was not to be a merely local or national institution; its teaching and its degrees were to be recognized throughout the Christian world. On the other hand in the civil order, the emperor was supreme; hence he conferred on the universities founded by him, without any papal charter, the right to grant degrees in all the faculties, theology and canon law included. The imperial charters were recognized by the popes and, whenever necessary, additional privileges were granted. It cannot then be said that the action of Maximilian I in founding (1502) the University of Wittenberg was an epoch-making event: Charles IV had long before done the same for Siena, Arezzo, and Orange, and the charters with which he founded Pavia and Lucca preceded by twenty years the papal grants.

The kings were not on the same plane as the emperor. They could indeed found a university, appoint the chancellor, and authorize him to confer degrees; but they could not establish a studium generate in the full sense of the term; what they founded was a university respectu regni, i.e. the degrees it granted were valid only within the limits of the kingdom. To secure universal recognition for them, papal action was necessary. This was the situation at Naples, founded (1224) by Frederick II, and especially in the Spanish universities. The kings themselves were aware of their limitations in this respect, and accordingly sought the papal authorization. The popes on their part recognized the royal charters as valid, and added to these the character of universality required for a studium generate. In some cases the papal intervention was necessary and was sought, not simply to confirm what the king had established, but to save or revive the university: such e.g. were the measures taken by Honorius III (1220) for Palencia, by Clement VII (1379) for Perpignan, and by Julius II (1464) for Huesca—all royal foundations which showed no vitality until the pope came to their assistance. The power of bishops and municipalities was, of course, still more restricted. They could take the initiative by calling professors, establishing courses of study, and providing endowments; but sooner or later they were obliged to seek authorization from the pope. This was notably the case in Italy where the free and enterprising cities (Treviso, Pisa, Florence, Siena), stimulated by Bologna’s example, undertook the founding of their own universities. At Siena, it seemed at first that the attempt to get on without either imperial or papal charter would succeed; the studium, inaugurated in 1275, had ample funds and a large body of professors and students which was considerably increased by an emigration from Bologna (1312); yet in 1325 it was on the verge of collapsing, and its existence was not secured until it obtained university privileges from Charles IV in 1357 and papal grants from Gregory XII in 1404. St. Andrews in Scotland was more fortunate. It was founded by Bishop Henry Wardlaw in 1411; but shortly after its opening the bishop in a document addressed February 27, 1412, to the masters and scholars speaks of the “universitas a nobis salva tamen sedis apostolice auctoritate de facto instituta et fundata”. Six months later (August 28, 1412), Benedict XIII (Avignon) issued the charter of foundation, and appointed Wardlaw as chancellor.

There is no ground, then, for the inference that the founding of universities by the civil power and their organization by laymen for lay students was a symptom of antagonism to the Holy See or an attempt at emancipation from the authority of the Church. Such an interpretation of the facts merely projects modern ideas back into a period in which an entirely different spirit prevailed. That spirit was one of cooperation, even of emulation, in a common cause; and neither the spirit nor the cause would have been possible but for the unity of faith and of hierarchical jurisdiction which held the West together in one Church. Had this unity included all Christendom, the East would doubtless have had its share in the university movement; at any rate, it is significant that in Russia and the other countries dominated by the schismatic Greek Church, no university was established during the Middle Ages.

Besides issuing charters the popes contributed in various ways to the development and prosperity of the universities. (I) Clerics who held benefices were dispensed from the obligation of residence, if they absented themselves in order to attend a university. Both lay and clerical students enjoyed certain exemptions, e.g. from taxation, from military service, from the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts, and from citation to courts at a distance from Paris (privilegium fori). To safeguard these privileges was the special duty of the conservator Apostolic, usually a bishop or archbishop appointed by the pope for this purpose.

(2) By the Bull “Parens scientiarum” (1231), the Magna Charta of the university of Paris, Gregory IX authorized the masters, in the event of an outrage committed by any one on a master or a scholar and not redressed within fifteen days, to suspend their lectures. This right of cessation was frequently made use of in conflicts between town and gown.

(3) On various occasions the popes intervened to protect the scholars against the encroachments of the local civil authorities: Honorius III (1220) took the part of the scholars at Bologna when the podesta drew up statutes that interfered with their liberties; Nicholas IV (1288) threatened to disrupt the studium at Padua unless the municipal authorities repealed within fifteen days the ordinances they had framed against the masters and scholars. Even the chancellor of Paris, when he demanded of the masters an oath of obedience to himself, was checked by Innocent III (1212), and his powers were greatly reduced by the action of later popes. It became in fact quite common for the university to lay its grievances before the Holy See, and its appeal was usually successful.

(4) In many instances, especially in Germany, the endowment of the universities was drawn, largely if not entirely, from the revenues of the monasteries and chapters. More than once the pope intervened to secure the payment of their salaries to the professors, e.g. Boniface VIII (1301) and Clement V (1313) at Salamanca; Clement VI (1346) at Valladolid; and Gregory IX (1236) at Toulouse, where Count Raymond had refused to pay the salaries. The popes also set the example of endowing colleges, and these, founded by kings, bishops, priests, nobles, or private citizens, became not only residential halls for students but also the chief financial support of the university.


A. The Academic Year

In the earlier period lectures were given throughout the year, with short recesses at Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost and a longer vacation in summer. At Paris this vacation was limited by order of Gregory IX (1261) to one month, but by the end of the fourteenth century it had been extended for the arts faculty from June 25 to August 25, for theology and canon law from June 28 to September 15 The year really began on October 1, and was divided into two periods; the grand ordinary, from October 1 to Easter; and the little ordinary, from Easter to the end of June. At Bologna the vacation began September 7, and the scholastic year opened again on October 19; this, however, was interrupted for ten days at Christmas, two weeks at Easter, and three weeks at carnival. In Germany, there was considerable difference between the calendars of the various universities and even between those of the faculties at the same university. In general, the year began about the middle of October and closed toward the end of June. But at Cologne, Heidelberg, and Vienna there was a little ordinary from August 25, to October 9 The vacation, however, was not a complete suspension of academic work; the extraordinary lectures, given for the most part by bachelors, were continued, and credit was given to students who attended them. About the middle of the fifteenth century, the division of the year into two semesters, summer and winter, was introduced at Leipzig, and eventually was adopted by the other German universities.

B. Lectures

Both the annual calendar and the daily schedule took into account the distinction between ordinary and extraordinary or cursory lectures. This originated at Bologna where certain books of the civil law (“Digestion Vetus” and “Code”) were ordinary, while others (“Infortiatum”, “Digestum novum”, and the smaller textbooks) were extraordinary. In canon law, the ordinary books were the Decretum and the five books of the Decretals (Gregory IX); the extraordinary were the Clementines and Extravagants. Ordinary lectures were reserved to doctors, and were given in the forenoon; extraordinary lectures, known at Paris as cursory, and given by masters or by bachelors, were assigned to the afternoon during the year; in the vacation they might be given at any time of the day, as the ordinary lectures were then suspended. Cursory meant either that the lecture was followed by the cursores, i.e. candidates for the license, or that it ran rapidly over the subject-matter, whereas the treatment in the ordinary lecture was more thorough.

In all the faculties the work of teaching centered about books, i.e. the texts, compilations, and glosses which were regarded as the chief authorities in each subject. At the beginning of the year (or semester) the books were distributed among the professors, who were obliged to use them in accordance with the regulations established by each faculty regarding the daily schedule, the length of the course, the hall to be used, the academic dress to be worn, and the method to be followed. The lecture was in the strict sense a praelectio (whence the German Vorlesung); the professor had to read the text; in the ordinary lectures, he was not allowed to dictate anything beyond the divisions and conclusions and such corrections of the text as he deemed necessary. The scholars were supposed to have their own copies of the text; if they were too poor to procure the books, the professor might dictate the text to them, not in the regular lecture but at special classes or exercises (repetitions). The plan of the lecture was analytic: careful explanation and definition of terms (ponere et determinare); division of the matter and discussion of the several points followed by a summary of the essential (scindere et summare); presentation of problems suggested by the text (quaestiones), and solution of objections. In lectures on law the reading of the glosses was an important feature, and cases were frequently proposed to illustrate principles. At the ordinary lectures, the scholars were not supposed to ask questions; at the extraordinary, greater freedom was permitted, the scholars being encouraged to express their doubts as to the meaning of the texts and to request further information on obscure matters. More thorough training, however, was given in the resumptions and repetitions which the masters held at stated times for the treatment of special problems. The exercises, conducted in dialectical form, afforded full opportunity for discussion between scholar and master; and they served as examinations by which the progress of the scholar was tested. But the most important of the academic exercises was the disputation. This was of two kinds: d. ordinaria and d. de quodlibet. The ordinary disputation took place every week and lasted from morning till noon, or till evening according to the number of participants. On the day set apart for this purpose the lectures and other exercises were suspended, so that all the masters, bachelors, and scholars might be present at the disputation. One of the masters (disputans) announced, in the form of question or thesis, the subject of the debate; other masters (opponentes) presented arguments against the thesis; answers to the arguments were given by two or three bachelors (respondentes) appointed for the occasion. The number of arguments was regulated by statute or was fixed by the dean of the faculty whose duty it was to preside. Throughout the disputation the syllogistic form was employed. The disputation de quodlibet was held only once a year, but with greater solemnity than the ordinary, and over a wider range of topics. The master elected or appointed for the occasion, and known as the quodlibetarius, had to debate a separate question with each of the other masters who chose to enter the lists. The disputation lasted several days, sometimes a fortnight. The arguments and their solutions were written out and preserved in book form. A specimen may be found in the “Quodlibetales” of St. Thomas. It was mainly out of these lectures, repetitions, and disputations that the works of the medieval doctors grew; so that the various commentaries, summoe, and books of “sentences” afford the best idea of university teaching both as to content and as to method.

C. Courses of Study: Degrees

The distribution of the subjects to be studied and of the books to be read in the course was regulated in view of the degrees, i.e. of the various steps (gradus) by which the student advanced from the stage of a simple scholar to that of a master or doctor. The system of degrees developed out of the necessity of restricting the right to teach, and consequently of fixing the qualifications which the teacher should possess. It did not, any more than the university itself, spring suddenly into existence, nor did it everywhere present the same details. Three degrees, however, were generally recognized; baccalaureate, licentiate, and doctorate or mastership. The requirements for these varied at different periods and in different universities; each faculty, moreover, had its own regulations regarding the length of courses and the subjects of study; in particular, there was a rather broad division between the faculty of arts and the superior faculties of theology, medicine, and law. For the courses of study in arts, see Bachelor of Arts; The Faculty of Arts; Master of Arts., in theology, the texts were the Bible and the “Sentences” of Peter Lombard; in law, the books mentioned above; in medicine, the works of Galen, Avicenna, and other writers prescribed for Montpellier by Clement V in 1309. The medical course included also practical work in anatomy, for which the “Anatomia” of Mondino (1275-1237) of Bologna and a similar text by Henri de Mondeville (1260-1320) of Montpellier, served as guides. The student was further required, before graduation, to accompany the professor on the latter’s visits to the sick for the purpose of clinical study. For degrees in the higher faculties, see Doctor.

D. Students

The most conspicuous feature of the student body as a whole was its cosmopolitan character. This is evidenced by the division into Nations mentioned above. The University of Bologna owed its origin mainly to associations of foreign students, and among these the Germans enjoyed exceptional privileges. At Paris the English nation was prominent, and Irish scholars were found in the continental universities long before they were expelled from the English universities in 1423. What the total number was at any of the older universities is a debated question. According to Odofredus, Bologna, at the close of the twelfth century, had 10,000; Oxford, according to Richard Fitz Ralph (d. 1360), had at one time 30,000 and in his own day 6,000, while Wyclif (d. 1384) placed the “heroic” number at 60,000, in his own day at 3,000; the earlier accounts gave Paris between 20,000 and 40,0000. Recent estimates have reduced these numbers, allowing Paris as a maximum 6000-7000, Bologna about the same, Oxford 1500-3000 (Rashdall, op. cit. infra). For the German universities, the numbers are still smaller; in 1380-1389 Prague had 1027, in the second half of the sixteenth century Vienna had 933, in 1450-1479 Cologne had 852, in 1472 Leipzig had 662; while Greifswald in 1465-1478 had only 103 and Freiburg, in 1460-1500, only 143 (Paulsen). In respect of age the differences were considerable. A boy could begin arts at between twelve or fifteen years of age and graduate at twenty or twenty-one. The students of the superior faculties were, of course, older men. Candidates for the doctorate in theology at Paris must have been over thirty; and it was not uncommon for priests who had already spent some time in the ministry, to matriculate at the university; an abbot, a provost, or even a bishop might become a student without any sacrifice of his dignity.

The frequent use of the word clericus or “clerk” to designate a university student, does not imply that every student was an ecclesiastic. At Bologna the distinction was clearly drawn between the scolaris and the clericus; the statutes concerning the rector provide that he must be a scholar of Bologna and, in addition, “an unmarried cleric, wearing the clerical dress and not belonging to any religious order”. Similar provisions are found at Florence, Perugia, and Padua. Long before the rise of the universities, clerics enjoyed certain privileges and immunities, and these were extended, when the universities had been established, to all the students, lay and clerical alike. The layman would naturally wear the clerical garb not merely as an academic costume but as an evidence that he was entitled to clerical privileges. Even at Paris and Oxford, where the ecclesiastical element dominated, the enjoyment of these privileges was not dependent on the reception of tonsure, i.e. on admission to the clerical state in the canonical sense (Rashdall, II, 646). Celibacy, however, was obligatory on all scholars and masters; as a rule, a master who married lost his position, and though married scholars are sometimes mentioned, e.g. at Oxford, they were disqualified for taking degrees. Still, celibacy was not universally enforced; there were married professors of medicine at Salerno, and at the university of the Roman Curia, which was under the direct super-vision of the pope, the masters of law had their wives and children. One of the famous canonists of Bologna was Joannes Andrea (1270-1348), whose daughter Novella sometimes lectured in his stead. At Paris the obligation of celibacy for masters in medicine was removed by Cardinal Estouteville in 1452, for those in law by the statutes of 1600. The first rector at Greifswald (1456) was married, as was also the rector at Vienna in 1470. In other German universities the requirement of celibacy remained longer in force, owing in part, at least, to the fact that many of the chairs were endowed with the revenues of canonries; but this did not imply that laymen were excluded from university positions.

An important element in the student body and in the entire life of the university was contributed by the religious orders. In Italy they had long been the recognized teachers of theology, and when the faculty of theology was established at Bologna in 1260, they supplied the professors and the majority of the students. The Dominicans settled at Paris in 1217 and at Oxford in 1221; the Franciscans at Paris in 1230 and at Oxford in 1224. At both universities the Carmelites and Augustinians also had their convents. The members of these orders in their community life enjoyed many advantages; a permanent home in which their material needs were provided for, regular hours of study, discipline and religious practice; and for each order the bond of membership was a source of strength and solidarity. It is not then surprising that the regulars took high rank as scholars and teachers. Of the secular clerks some lived in apartments, others with their masters, and others again, the “martinets”, with the townsmen. The students frequently banded together and lived in a rented hall (hospicium) under the management of one of their own number, a bachelor or a master elected by them as principal. For the poorest students colleges were established and endowed with burses by generous founders. Between 1200 and 1500 Paris had sixty colleges; Oxford, eleven; Cambridge, thirteen. The founders were mostly bishops, canons, or other ecclesiastics; but the laity, including the sovereigns, did their share (see University of Oxford : I. Origin and History). At Bologna the most famous was the College of Spain founded by Egidio Albornoz, Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo (d. 1367). The colleges at the German universities were primarily for the benefit of the teachers, though scholars also were received. The college residents at Paris were students in arts or theology; they were known as socii (fellows) and were governed by a master, or by several masters if the students belonged to different faculties. The masters were required to hold repetitions on the subjects treated in the university schools and “faithfully to instruct the scholars in life and in doctrine”. This tutoring gradually became more important than the university lectures, and attracted to the colleges large numbers of students besides the holders of burses or scholarships; by the middle of the fifteenth century almost the whole university resided in the colleges, and the public lecture halls served only for determinations and inceptions. In this way the Sorbonne, originally a hospice for poor clerks, became the center of theological teaching at Paris. The university, however, claimed and exercised the right of visitation and of disciplinary enactments; in 1457 it obliged the martinets to live in or near some college, and forbade the migration of scholars from one master’s house to another; and in 1486 it enacted that teachers in colleges should be appointed by the faculty of arts.

With the founding of the colleges, discipline improved. The earlier university regulations dealt chiefly with academic matters, leaving the students quite free in other respects. According to all accounts this freedom meant licence in various forms—fighting, drinking, and graver offenses against morality. With due allowance for the exaggerations of some writers who charge the scholars with every crime, it is clear from the college statutes that there was much need of reform. It should, however, be remembered that in any age the boisterous and lawless elements are more conspicuous than the serious, conscientious student; and it is doubtless to the credit of the medieval university, as a social factor, that it succeeded in imposing some sort of discipline upon the motley throngs which it undertook to teach. When the reform did come, it fairly rivalled, in minuteness and strictness, the monastic mode of life. But it did not prevent the survival of certain practices, e.g. the initiation or deposition of the bejaunus (yellow-bill), the medieval form of hazing; nor did it establish perfect tranquility in the university.

Agitations of a more serious nature affected the development of the universities. Both Paris (1252-1261) and Oxford (1303-1320) were embroiled in struggles with the mendicant friars (q.v.). Repeated conflicts with the town, notably the “Slaughter” of 1354 at Oxford, turned eventually to the benefit of the university, which, as Rashdall says (II, 407), “thrived on her own misfortunes”. It was the chancellor who profited most and whose jurisdiction was gradually extended until, in 1290, it included “all crimes committed in Oxford where one of the parties was a scholar, except pleas of homicide and may-hem” (Rashdall, II, 401). In 1395, a Bull of Boni-face IX exempted the university from all episcopal and archiepiscopal jurisdiction; but in consequence of the archbishop’s opposition the Bull was revoked by John XXIII in 1411, only to be renewed by Sixtus IV in 1479. The conflict between Nominalism (q.v.) and Realism was in itself a scholastic feud; yet it was closely connected with the “reform” inaugurated by Wyclif; and while Wyclif may be regarded as a champion of intellectual freedom, it is interesting to note among his errors condemned at Constance (1415) and by Martin V (1418), the proposition that “universities with their studies, colleges, graduations, and masterships, were introduced by vain heathenism; they do the Church just as much good as the devil does” (Denzinger-Bannwart, “Enchiridion”, n. 609).

In the calmer appreciation of modern historians the medieval university was a potent factor for enlightenment and social order. It aroused enthusiasm for learning, and enforced discipline. Its training sharpened the intelligence, yet subjected reason to faith. It was the center in which the philosophy and the jurisprudence of antiquity were restored and adapted to new requirements. From it the modern university has inherited the essential elements of corporate teaching, faculty organization, courses of study, and academic degrees; and the inheritance has been transmitted through the manifold upheavals which sub-merged the ancient learning and rent Christendom itself asunder.


The effect of the “new learning” on the German universities was revolutionary. At first the Humanist professors got on fairly well with the rest of the faculty; but when they asserted their superiority as representatives of the only real knowledge, bitter attacks and recriminations ensued. The Humanists ridiculed the barbarous Latin of the university and the wretched translations of Aristotle used in commentaries and lectures. Then they assailed the Scholastic method of teaching with its endless hair-splitting and disputations, and strove to substitute rhetoric for dialectic. Finally they struck at the content itself, declaring that much time was spent in gaining very little knowledge of hardly any value. All these charges were drawn up in publications marked by brilliant style and sharp invective; e.g. the “Epistolae obscurorum virorum”, written against the professors of arts and theology, especially those at Leipzig and Cologne. This violent satire contained much that was false or exaggerated, and therefore calculated rather to add new disturbance than to effect the reform which was really needed. The better days of Scholasticism, in fact, had passed; the universities had no longer such leaders of thought as the thirteenth century had produced; both studies and discipline were on the decline. Humanism triumphed, in the first place, because, as a reaction and a novelty, it appealed to the younger men who were anxious to be free from the dryness of Scholastic exercises and the restrictions imposed by college statutes. Their unruly conduct and their ceaseless brawls with the town-folk afforded the princes and the city authorities a pretext to undertake university reforms; and the reforming was accomplished by placing the Humanists in control. These conflicts and remedial measures, however, were only the surface of a much deeper movement. Before it asserted itself in the universities, Humanism had won over the higher and more influential classes of the people by catering, in the form of literature, to the spirit of luxury which the growth and increasing wealth of the cities had engendered. There was no doubt a charm in the elegant diction of the Humanists; but their attractive force lay in the rehabilitation of those views and ideals of life which the naturalism of the pagan world had expressed in perfect form and which brought men back to themselves and to earth. Aristotle had triumphed in the thirteenth century; he was overcome in the fifteenth by the orators and poets.

The Renaissance, originating in Italy, had thence spread to the northern countries. Its introduction into the universities of Italy and France did not lead to revolt against the Church; the popes were its patrons, and many distinguished Humanists remained loyal to Catholicism. In Germany and England, on the contrary, the Renaissance coalesced with another movement which had far more serious consequences. Luther, though not in sympathy with Humanism, was bent on sweeping away Scholastic theology by returning, as he claimed, to the pure teaching of the Gospel; and he would have made an end of the universities, which he denounced as the devil’s workshops. The violent theological discussions aroused by the reform doctrine had a disastrous effect, not only on Humanism but also on the life of the universities. Some of these closed their doors, and nearly all were in danger of dissolution for want of students. Melanchthon declared that philosophy was the worship of idols and that the only knowledge necessary for a Christian was to be obtained from the Bible. But the reformers soon realized that their cause could not dispense with the higher education; and it was Melanchthon himself who reformed the existing universities and organized the new, i.e. Protestant, foundations, Marburg (1527), Konigsberg (1544), Helmstadt (1574). The endowment was supplied chiefly from the revenues of confiscated monasteries and other church properties; Classic philology and the new theology took the place of Scholasticism; and the universities became state institutions under the control of secular princes.

As a result, the universities lost in great part their international character. In place of the medieval stadium generate, there arose a multitude of institutions each limited to its own territory and devoted to the creed of its founders. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the traditional organization was preserved; but Classical culture was on the wane, and there was little progress in other lines. “At the end of the seventeenth century the German universities had sunk to the lowest level which they ever reached in the public esteem and in their influence upon the intellectual life of the German people… Academic science was no longer in touch with reality and its controlling ideas; it was held fast in an obsolete system of instruction by organization and statutes and toilsome compilation was the sole result of its activity. Added to this was the prevailing coarseness of the entire life. The students had sunk to the lowest depths, and carousals and brawls, carried to the limits of brutality and bestiality, largely filled their days” (Paulsen, “The German Universities”, p. 42).

When Erasmus came to England in 1497, Classical studies imported from Italy were already cultivated at Oxford by men like Colet, Grocyn, Lynacre, and Sir Thomas More. In 1516, Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester, endowed the first lectureship in Greek and founded Corpus Christi College. In 1525, Wolsey founded Cardinal College and engaged eminent teachers to “cultivate the new literature in the service of the old Church” (Huber). But his princely designs were checked by the question of Henry’s divorce from Catharine of Aragon. At Cambridge also the Renaissance movement was furthered by the teaching of Erasmus and the exertions of Bishop Fisher; but at the same time the writings of Luther were being studied by a group of scholars under Tyndale and Latimer, and it was Cranmer, then a fellow of Jesus College, who suggested that the legality of Henry’s marriage should be referred to the universities of Christendom. After some opposition both Oxford and Cambridge gave an opinion favorable to the king; and finally they declared for the separation from Rome which was consummated by the Act of 1534. By the Royal Injunctions of 1535, the teaching of canon law and of the Sentences was abolished; Aristotle, however, was retained, and the study of civil law, Hebrew, mathematics, logic, and medicine was encouraged. The spoliation of the monasteries, which had sheltered many of the poorer scholars, reduced the numbers at the universities. In 1549 a royal visitation eliminated from the statutes every trace of popery, and abolished numerous stipends that had formerly been given for Masses. In a spirit of iconoclasm, altars, images, and statues were torn from the college chapels, and many valuable manuscripts of the libraries were burned. Under Mary’s brief rule the Protestants in turn suffered; Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer perished at the stake at Oxford, and the anti-Catholic statutes were repealed. During Elizabeth‘s reign and Leicester’s chancellorship, every Oxford student above sixteen years of age was obliged at matriculation to subscribe to the Thirty-Nine Articles and the Royal Supremacy, a measure which made the university an exclusively Church of England institution. At Cambridge a royal mandate in 1613 required all candidates for B.D. or for the doctorate in any faculty to subscribe to the Three Articles. In both universities, Puritanism was a disturbing element, and a number of its adherents were obliged to withdraw from Cambridge. In 1570 the Elizabethan statutes were enacted “on account of the again increasing audacity and excessive licence of men”, as the preamble declares. These new regulations circumscribed the powers of the proctors and provided that they should be elected, not as formerly, by the regents, but according to a cycle of colleges. The Elizabethan code remained in force for nearly three centuries. Under Charles I similar provisions were made for Oxford by the Laudian statutes (1636), and the whole administration of the university was entrusted to the vice-chancellor, the proctors, and the heads of colleges. “This statute effectually stereotyped the administrative monopoly of the colleges, and destroyed all trace of the old democratic constitution which had been controlled only by the authority of the medieval Church” (Brodrick). Oxford was governed by this code until 1854.

In Scotland, after the abolition of papal jurisdiction and ratification of Protestant doctrine in 1560, the universities suffered severely. “To St. Andrews, as to the other universities, the Reformation did serious injury. Their constitution and organization were upset by ecclesiastical discord; their income was sadly reduced by the rapacity of the nobles who appropriated the lion’s share of the patrimony of the Church. From a greatly diminished income they had to up-hold the stipends of the parishes which belonged to them. This was necessarily accompanied by a reduction of the salaries of the professors, for which certain grants by successive administrations made small but inadequate amends. The attendance of students was also injuriously affected” (Kerr, p. 108). Though various schemes of reform were proposed, especially by Knox, they proved ineffectual owing to the tumults about religion and the alternations between presbytery and episcopacy. The universities became institutions of the state in 1690 and religious tests were enforced for all teachers and officials. Curricula and organization, however, retained for a long time their medieval features. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, various modifications were introduced in the courses of study; new chairs were founded and the financial condition improved.

At Paris this period witnessed the long struggle between the university and the Jesuits (see Society of Jesus : History; France), the inroads of Gallicanism and Jansenism, and the substitution of royal for papal supremacy. As far back as 1475, Charles VII had placed the university under the jurisdiction of the Parlement; by the end of the sixteenth century the secularization was complete. If Richelieu, by rebuilding the Sorbonne, and Mazarin, by establishing the College des Quatre-Nations, enhanced the outward splendor of the university, they did not endow it with vitality sufficient to check the new philosophical movement which culminated in the work of the Encyclopedists and the Revolution. In 1793 the university was suppressed and with it all the other universities of France. Napoleon I reorganized them as faculties under the one imperial university situated at Paris; and this arrangement continued until, in 1896, the faculties were restored to university rank.


In Germany, the eighteenth century brought decided changes which some authors (Paulsen) regard as the origin of the modern university. From Halle, founded in 1694, Christian Wolff’s rationalistic philosophy spread to all the Protestant universities, and from Gottingen (1737) the new Humanism, especially the study of Greek. Freedom of research became the characteristic feature of the university; the systematic lecture replaced the exposition of texts; the seminar exercises supplanted the disputation; and German was used instead of Latin as the vehicle of instruction. The foundation of the University of Berlin (1800) was another advance in the way of free scientific culture. Philosophy became the leading subject of study. Next in importance was philology, Classical, Romance, and German. The development of the historical method and its application in all lines of research are among the principal achievements of the nineteenth century. In the natural sciences laboratory training was recognized as indispensable, and the study of medicine was put on a new basis by improved methods of investigation. Specialized research with productive scholar-ship, rather than accumulation of knowledge, was held up as the aim of university work. As a result the departments of science multiplied and in each the number of courses rapidly increased. This was the case especially in the faculty of philosophy, which came to include practically everything that did not belong to theology, medicine, or law. The B.A. degree disappeared, the M.A. was merged with the doctorate in philosophy, and this had its chief significance as a requisite for teaching. Great importance was attached to the preparation of teachers for the schools and gymnasia, while in the university itself, the recruiting of professors was provided for by the system of Privatdozents, i.e. instructors who have the privilege of teaching but no official duties or salaries. These instructors often teach at various universities before being promoted to a professorship, and thus acquire a wide experience as well as an acquaintance with conditions in different parts of the empire. The students also are encouraged to pass from one university to another. They no longer live in colleges, nor are they exempt from municipal control and military service. Most of them, however, are members of some Verein or Verbindung which develops the social spirit, though it often encourages duelling, drinking, and other practices hardly conducive to moral or intellectual advance.

In England and Scotland the nineteenth century was marked by numerous and far-reaching changes. A succession of statutes revised the system of examinations and degrees; religious tests were abolished at the English universities in 1871, at the Scottish in 1892; many of the traditional oaths disappeared, and the restrictions imposed by the Elizabethan code were in large part removed. The tendency of legislation (Acts of 1854, 1856, 1877) was in line with the reforms advocated by the Royal Commission in 1852, i.e. “the restoration in its integrity of the ancient super-vision of the university over the studies of its members by the enlargement of its professorial system, by the addition of such supplementary appliances to that system as may obviate the undue encroachments of that of private tuition. the removal of all restrictions upon elections to fellowships and scholar-ships. an adequate contribution from the corporate funds of the several colleges towards rendering the course of public teaching, as carried on by the university itself, more efficient and complete”. This movement toward a revival of the authority of the university has been furthered by Lord Curzon in his “Principles and Methods of University Reform” (1909). The monopoly of higher education so long enjoyed by Oxford and Cambridge was broken by the creation of new universities; Durham was established in 1832, and the University of London founded in 1825 and chartered as an examining and degree-conferring institution in 1838, was reorganized on a broader basis in 1889. The university extension movement, inaugurated at Cambridge in 1867, was taken up by Oxford also. Women were admitted to examinations and degrees at London in 1878, Cambridge in 1881, and Oxford in 1884. The Scottish universities were remodeled in 1858 and in 1889; the system of studies and degrees was reorganized and greater uniformity in government was secured. At Aberdeen and Glasgow, however, the rector is still elected by the matriculated students, who are divided into four nations as in the Middle Ages. Women were admitted as students in 1892.

For the earliest foundations in America see Spanish-American Universities. In the United States the oldest universities grew out of colleges modeled on those of England: Harvard (1636), Yale (1701), Princeton (1726), Washington and Lee (1749), University of Pennsylvania (1751), King’s, i.e. Columbia (1754), Brown (1764). The first step towards university instruction was the addition of graduate studies pursued by resident students (mentioned at Harvard towards the end of the eighteenth century). During the first quarter of the nineteenth century, American students began to study in Germany and they naturally, on returning to their own country, sought to introduce elements from the German universities. It was not, however, until 1861 that the doctorate in philosophy was conferred (Yale); since that time, the universities have developed rapidly but not according to any uniform plan of organization. In all these institutions there is a combination of graduate with undergraduate study, and in many of them departments of pure science exist alongside of professional schools; but it would be impossible to select any one of them as the typical American university. and difficult to group them on any purely educational basis. This diversity is largely owing to the fact that the American institutions, especially the more recent, have been organized to meet actual needs rather than to perpetuate traditions; and since these needs are constantly changing, it is quite intelligible that new forms of university organization should appear and that the older forms should be frequently readjusted. Apart, however, from details, what may be called the university situation presents certain features that are noteworthy.

(I) The oldest universities were established and endowed by private individuals, and they have retained their private character. Even where the States have organized universities of their own, no measures have been taken to prevent private foundations; the latter in fact are as a class more influential than those controlled by the State, and, on the other hand, the private universities are empowered to give degrees through charters granted by the State. This freedom is far more in accordance with the spirit of American institutions and more essential to the national welfare than any hard and fast uniformity under state domination. (2) From the beginning, as the oldest charters explicitly declare, the furthering of morality and religion, not merely in a general way, but in accordance with the belief of some Christian denomination, was an avowed purpose of the founders; and divinity schools are still maintained at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. But the state universities and nearly all the more recently founded private universities exclude theology. There is a decided tendency with powerful financial support to make the university non-sectarian by eliminating all religious tests and removing denominational influence. (3) Besides the state appropriations, vast sums of money are contributed by individuals to the endowment of universities and the establishment of institutes for scientific research. Such liberality is an evidence of the practical interest taken in education, which is considered as the best means of improving moral, social, and economic conditions. Whether the final result will be the application of a money test in deciding what is or is not a university, must depend largely on the standards of scholarship that are adopted and the idea of its functions as a social power that is formed by the institution to which so much wealth is entrusted. (4) The practical character of university training is shown by the attention that is paid to technical instruction in all its forms. The preference for applied science manifested by many students has a serious effect not only on university policies and curricula but also on the work of secondary and elementary schools, in which the relative value of cultural and vocational studies is keenly debated. (5) As the efficiency of the university is in part determined by the quality and extent of the student’s previous education, one of the chief problems demanding solution at present is the relation between the university and the preparatory schools. In the endeavor to secure satisfactory relations between college, high school, and elementary school, the university exerts an influence which becomes more permeating as the educational system is more thoroughly articulated. The entire question of adjustment will probably be settled not so much by discussion or legislation as by the training of teachers, which now holds a prominent place in each of the larger universities. (6) Although women have long formed the majority of teachers in elementary and public schools, they were not admitted to the universities until about, the middle of the nineteenth century. The co-educational movement began in the state universities of the West, received a fresh impetus at the University of Michigan in 1870, and then spread rapidly through the East. In some universities all departments of instruction are now open to women on the same footing with men; in others, women are excluded from the courses in law, medicine, and engineering, and receive separate instruction in affiliated colleges. (7) Within recent years, university extension, correspondence courses, and local examinations have enabled the university to widen out its sphere of activity. It might seem indeed that the centripetal movement which in the Middle Ages brought students from all parts to the stadium generale, were now to be reversed or at least to be reflected in the opposite direction.


The universities of France, Italy, and Spain, though affected to some extent by the Reformation, had remained loyal to the Catholic Faith, and preserved their chairs of ecclesiastical science. Louvain especially, while it developed Humanistic studies to a high degree, resisted the encroachments of Protestantism. The Council of Trent ordained that provision should be made for the study of Scripture, that beneficed clergymen studying at universities should enjoy their traditional privileges, that bishops and other dignitaries should be selected by preference from among university professors and graduates (Secs. V, can. is VII,)(iii; XIV, v; XXII, ii; XXIII, vi; XXIV, viii, xii, xvi, xviii). It also provided for the education of priests by its decrees regarding the establishment of ecclesiastical seminaries. (See Ecclesiastical Seminary.) But the Church did not lose interest in the universities or desist from establishing new ones. In spite of the loss of revenues through the confiscation of church properties, Catholic universities or academies were founded at Dillingen (1549), Würzburg (1575), Paderborn (1613), Salzburg (1623), Osnabruck (1630), Bamberg (1648), Olmutz (1581), Graz (1586), Linz, (1636), Innsbruck (1672), Breslau (1702), Fulda (1732), Munster (1771). To this period also belong the French universities at Douai (1559), Lille (1560), Pont-a-Mousson, later Nancy (1572), and Dijon (1722); the Italian at Macerata (1540), Cagliari (1603), and Camerino (1721); the Spanish at Granada (1526) and Oviedo (1574); Manila in the Philippines (1611), and the South American foundations (see Spanish-American Universities). Most of these new universities were entrusted to the Jesuits, whose colleges in regard to Classical studies rivalled, and, in matters of discipline, surpassed the universities. After the suppression of the Society (1773), the chairs which they had held were either abolished or transferred to secular professors. Among the papal documents bearing on universities should be mentioned: the Constitution, “Imperscrutabilis”, addressed by Clement XII (December 4, 1730) to Philip V of Spain regarding the University of Cervera; the “Quod divina sapientia”, published, August 28, 1824, by Leo XII for the reformation of university studies in the Papal States and some other provinces of Italy; the Brief by which Gregory XVI, December 13, 1833, approved the action of the Belgian bishops in restoring the University of Louvain; and the Apostolic Letter of Pius IX, March 23, 1852, approving the statutes of the University of Dublin, the founding of which had been decided upon by the Irish episcopate at the Council of Thurles in 1850.

During the latter half of the nineteenth century the Spanish and Italian universities were taken over by the State, and the faculties of theology disappeared. In France, under the present system, there is no faculty of theology in any state university; the Catholic faculties at Paris, Bordeaux, Aix, Rouen, and Lyons were abolished in 1882, and the Protestant faculties at Paris and Montaubon became free theological schools in 1905. In 1875, however, the French bishops established independent Catholic universities or institutes at Angers, Lille, Lyons, Paris, and Toulouse. In Germany, though all universities are state institutions, there are Catholic faculties of theology at Bonn, Breslau, Freiburg, Munich, Munster, Strasburg, Tubingen, and Wurzburg. The professors are appointed and paid by the State, but they must be approved by the bishop, who also has the right to superintend the teaching. The Austrian universities, though injured in the eighteenth century by Josephinism and modified in the nineteenth by various reforms, have still retained the teaching of theology in the faculties of Graz, Innsbruck, Cracow, Lemberg, Prague, Ohnutz, Salzburg, and Vienna; and in Hungary at Agram and Budapest. It should be noted, however, that in Germany and Austria the existence of a faculty of Catholic theology does not make the whole university Catholic; the other faculties may include members who profess no creed. This situation naturally gives rise to difficulties for Catholic students, especially in philosophy and history. In countries where a larger freedom is enjoyed, the Holy See has encouraged new foundations. Pius IX gave a charter to Laval, Canada (1876); Leo XIII to Beirut, Syria (1881), and to Ottawa, Canada (1889). The University of Fribourg, Switzerland, established in 1889, was warmly approved by Leo XIII. The project of founding a Catholic university in the United States was suggested at the Second Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1866; its execution was resolved on at the Third Plenary Council in 1884, and the statutes of the Catholic University of America were approved by Leo XIII in the Apostolic Letter of March 7, 1889.

Present Law of the Church.—The principal laws now in force regarding universities are as follows: 1. For the establishment of a complete Catholic university, including the faculties of theology and canon law, the authorization of the pope is necessary; and this alone suffices if the foundation is made with ecclesiastical funds or private endowment. If public funds of the state are also used for the purpose, authorization must likewise be obtained from the civil power. The Church, moreover, recognizes the right of the State, or corporations or individuals under control of the State, to establish purely secular faculties, e.g. of law and medicine (Clement XII, Const. “Imperscrutabilis”, 1730). 2. The Church requires that in universities founded by the civil power for Catholics, the faculties of theology and canon law, once they are canonically established, shall remain subject to the supreme ecclesiastical authority, and moreover, that professors in the other faculties shall be Catholic and that their teaching shall accord with Catholic doctrine and moral principles. 3. As appears from recent papal charters, the university enjoys autonomy e.g. in the appointment of instructors, the regulation of studies, and the conferring of degrees in accordance with the statutes. 4. By the Constitution “Sapienti Consilio”, June 29, 1908, the Congregation of Studies is charged with all questions regarding the establishment of new Catholic universities and important changes in those already founded. 5. Degrees in theology and canon law conferred without examination by the Holy See through the Congregation of Studies, give the recipient the same rights and privileges as the degrees conferred after examination by a Catholic university (Cong. Stud., December 19, 1903; Roviano, “De jure ecclesiae in universitatibus studiorum”, Louvain, 1864; Wernz, “Jus Decretalium”, III, Rome, 1901).



A. University of St. Francis Xavier’s College

The University of St. Francis, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, was founded in 1885, under the name of St. Francis Xavier’s College, by Rt. Rev. Dr. MacKinnon, Bishop of Arichat (now the Diocese of Antigonish). A legislative enactment of 1866 empowered it to confer degrees. A statute of 1882 granted full university powers. The new charter (enacted in 1909) gave it all the powers, rights, and privileges that any university could reasonably demand from the State, including the right to confer all the usual university degrees, and to acquire and hold real and personal property to any value or extent whatsoever. The supreme governing body is a board of twelve governors, of which the Bishop of Antigonish is ex-officio chairman. There are at present (1912) twenty-five professors, lecturers, and tutors. In 1911-12 there were 356 students, the majority of whom came from the eastern provinces of Canada, the New England States, and Newfoundland, and a few from Western Canada, the Pacific States, and Great Britain. Four-year courses lead, respectively, to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Letters. After the sophomore year, excellent opportunities are given to students anxious to devote some of their time to special preparation for scientific pursuits, or for one of the professions. The course in philosophy extends over three years. A short course in law is given, which counts as a year for the degree of LL.B. in the Halifax Law School. The two-year course in engineering admits to the third-year class in any of the leading schools of engineering in Canada or the United States. Some university extension work has been done. Two summer sessions, five weeks each, have been held. Some of the courses were especially designed to meet the needs of teachers in the public schools. Intended for the education of laymen as well as ecclesiastics, St. Francis Xavier’s has given to the State many useful and some brilliant men- . judges, legislators, physicians, engineers, and to the Church a large number of priests and several bishops. Two archbishops and two other bishops are still living. The late Dr. Cameron, Bishop of Antigonish, and Dr. MacNiel, late Archbishop of Vancouver, are among the presidents whose learning, ability, and zeal have, despite many disadvantages, rendered service to the cause of Catholic education in Eastern Canada. The present Bishop of Victoria, Rt. Rev. Dr. Alexander MacDonald, was for nineteen years one of the professors.


B. University of St. Joseph‘s College

…Memramcook, New Brunswick, Canada, founded in 1864 by Rev. Camille Lefebvre, C.S.C. The institution owes its inception partly to the desire of the late Bishop Sweeny, of St. John, N. B., to secure for the youth of his diocese the advantages of a secondary education, partly to the zeal of the Rev. F. X. Lafrance, pastor of Memramcook (1852-64), for the intellectual development of the French Acadian entrusted to his care. The college was incorporated, with degree-conferring powers, by an Act of the New Brunswick Legislature in 1868; and, thirty years later, by an amendment to that act, it received its present title. In addition to the faculties of arts and theology, commercial courses in English and French have always occupied a well-defined place in the curriculum. It is mainly owing to St. Joseph‘s that within the past half-century the French inhabitants of Canada‘s maritime provinces have steadily advanced to a position of acknowledged social, industrial, and professional equality with their fellow-provincialists of other racial descent. Scarcely less notable has been St. Joseph‘s role in furthering the interests, enlarging the prospects, and elevating the ideals of New Brunswick‘s English-speaking Catholics. At present, practically all the priests of the Diocese of St. John, including its bishop, are sons of New Brunswick and graduates of St. Joseph‘s; other graduates hold prominent rank in commerce, law, medicine, the Provincial Legislature, and the Federal Parliament.



A. Catholic University of Ireland

The project of a Catholic University for Ireland was launched at the Synod of Thurles in 1850. To revive true learning was essential for the wellbeing of Irish Catholics; the suggestion of Pius IX and the example of Louvain were inspiring; and, above all, it was necessary to provide a seat of higher education on Catholic lines for lay students who kept away from the condemned Queen’s Colleges, where religion had no official or collegiate recognition and the governing and academic bodies, as regards Cork and Galway, were foreign to the religious convictions of the people they were intended to educate. The Holy See gave approval in 1852; liberal contributions poured in, and property was acquired in Dublin for university purposes. The bishops had secured John Henry Newman as rector for a short term of years. At their meeting in May, 1854, the hierarchy gave solemn effect to the papal letters regarding the erection of the university. On the Feast of Pentecost following Dr. Newman took the oath of office at a function in the metropolitan church, where Archbishop Cullen delivered an address. Statutes, framed for the government of the university, were sanctioned by the Holy See; papal authority was granted to confer degrees; and in November of the same year the work of the university began. The Irish hierarchy, acting through a committee, constituted the supreme governing body. Among its authorities the senate was the body representative of the university; and the rectorial council was the rector’s ordinary adviser. The university had five faculties, viz.—theology, law, medicine, philosophy and letters, science. Newman was careful to secure the services of various distinguished men as professors and lecturers. The first appointments to professional chairs comprised the names of Edmund O’Reilly, S.J., Dr. P. Leahy, Eugene O’Curry, T. W. Allies, and D. F. McCarthy; and gradually a considerable number of students, including some in high rank, from different European countries, began to frequent the halls of the new university. But the institution itself and its students labored under the greatest disadvantages. The university had no char-ter from the State to confer degrees, nor were its lectures recognized elsewhere in Ireland as leading to a’ degree. It had to depend entirely on voluntary contributions for its revenue. In the immediate issue these obstacles were not to be adequately surmounted even by the fame and genius of Newman, the eminence of the professors, the devoted loyalty of Irish students, and the constant efforts of the bishops. But the determination of Irish Catholics produced highly important results. The Government, confronted with their standing protest, after a time deemed it expedient to attempt to deal with their grievance in the matter of university education. The Liberal plan of a Supplemental Charter, incorporating the Catholic University as a college, not as a university, and enabling the students educated in its halls to obtain degrees from an enlarged Queen’s University, failed in 1866; the Conservative scheme of chartering an un-endowed Catholic university was announced, considered, and abruptly withdrawn in 1868; Mr. Gladstone’s proposal of one Irish university, comprising Catholic and other colleges without public endowment as well as Trinity College and two of the Queen’s Colleges with their endowments continued, was defeated in 1873 by an adverse majority of three votes in the House of Commons. But in 1879, on the second reading of a University Bill introduced by the O’Connor Don, the Beaconsfield administration announced that they would themselves introduce a University Bill for Ireland; and the promised Bill became an Act of Parliament in that year. It abolished the Queen’s University, while sparing its colleges, and set up in its place the Royal University of Ireland, an examining body entitled to give degrees to all corners on condition of passing the prescribed examinations, and to award prizes for distinguished answering. Moreover, an arrangement was made to provide a small indirect endowment to help the work of the Catholic University through fellowships to be held by a certain number of its professors.

It was for the purpose of arranging the Catholic colleges of higher education in an associated group, to stand against the endowed Queen’s Colleges in the competition of the Royal University, that the frame-work of the Catholic University was considerably modified in 1882. In that year the teaching institution in St. Stephen’s Green became University College and the Catholic University, of which Maynooth since 1876 had been constituted a college, was made to embrace an association of colleges, each retaining its own independent collegiate organization. The success of the Catholic colleges cleared the way for Mr. Birrell’s University Act in 1909. University College, under the management of the Jesuits from 1883, gave a fine lead in conjunction with the Catholic University School of Medicine. This school, which in 1892 was placed under a governing body of its own, had been founded by the bishops in 1855 in Cecilia St., Dublin, and, un-endowed though it was, had been a success from the start, owing to the advantage it enjoyed, in that its teaching was recognized as qualifying a student to stand the examinations for a licence to practice. It now merges, like University College, in the new University College, Dublin, which is the leading constituent college of the National University established in 1909. This constituent college has utilized the buildings of the Catholic University. The Catholic University church, built by Dr. Newman, has been made available by the bishops for the Catholic members of the National University; but the Catholic University itself still exists, as was affirmed in an important judicial decision by the Master of the Rolls in 1911.

Dr. Newman, who retired in 1858, was succeeded in the rectorial Chair by Dr. Woodlock, Dr. Neville, Dr. Molloy, and Dr. O’Donnell. It is said that £250,000, subscribed mainly in Ireland and America, was collected and expended upon the university. After providing buildings and equipment, that sum would allow little over £8000 a year during the quarter of a century that elapsed before the fellowships of the Royal University were made available. The ideals sustained and the reforms achieved in higher education amply justify the effort. Archbishop Walsh and John Dillon were its students; the “Atlantis” and O’Curry’s Lectures were its products. Even in its last years it had among its professors such men as Aubrey De Vere, Dr. Casey, George Sigerson, Dr. Molloy, James Stewart, and Robert Ornsby.


B. University College, Dublin

…a constituent college of the National University of Ireland. By its charter, granted December 2, 1908, in accordance with the Irish Universities Act of that year, members of the college include every graduate of the Royal University of Ireland who was a matriculated student of “University College, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin, or of the Medical School, Cecilia Street, Dublin”. Thus the history of the existing college is linked with the story of Newman’s foundation in Ireland. From November 12, 1883, when the Irish Jesuits opened University College, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin, in the old Arts School of the Catholic University, to November 1, 1909, when the new college began its work, the history of Irish Catholic and national university education centered mainly in the St. Stephen’s Green institution. The college had two purposes to fulfil; first, to show by its success in the competitive field that Irish Catholics had the material and capacity, given equal opportunity, to establish a university of their own upon the highest academic level; second, to afford a university training to young Irish Catholics, whom conscience prevented from availing of Trinity College, with its Protestant Episcopalian atmosphere, or of the Queen’s Colleges, with their secularist atmosphere. The first president of University College was Rev. William Delany, S.J. With an interval filled by Rev. Robert Carbery, S.J., Father Delany continued in office until the new college was founded. His colleagues of the Society at the beginning were Rev. Thomas Finlay, philosopher and economist, Rev. Denis Murphy, Irish historian, Rev. James J. O’Carroll, Gaelic scholar and linguist, Rev. Gerard Hopkins, Oxford Classicist and poet, and Rev. Robert Curtis, mathematician. Of Newman’s old guard and their first successors there still remained Thomas Arnold, son of the Master of Rugby, Robert Ornsby, the biographer of Hope Scott, James Stewart, a Cambridge rector who had followed Newman, John Casey, the Irish mathematician, Dr. John Egan, afterwards Bishop of Waterford, and Abbe Polin. Among the assistant professors selected by Father Delany were Mr. William J. Starkie, a Cambridge scholar, now Resident Commissioner of National Education, and Mr. (now Sir) Joseph Magrath, the present registrar of the National University. Father Delany began practically without endowment. The only public assistance received was indirect, Beaconsfield’s University Act empowered the senate of the Royal University to appoint Fellows, with a salary of £400 a year out of the university revenues, on condition of their examining for the university and lecturing at certain assigned colleges. Fourteen Fellows, out of twenty-eight, were assigned to University College, the remainder to the Queen’s Colleges, already endowed to the extent of £12,500 a year each. Two of the first Fellows were Jesuit Fathers; some years later the number was increased to five, and with their salaries the equipment and maintenance of the college were undertaken.

At the end of the first academic year a hundred of the distinctions awarded by the Royal University were won by Queen’s College, Belfast; seventy-nine by University College? Dublin, twenty by Queen’s College, Cork, and eight by students of Queen’s College, Galway. This success of the un-endowed college could not be ignored. In the Parliamentary session following (1885) the Irish Party raised the university question under the new aspect it had assumed. The Chief Secretary (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) at once admitted the necessity for government action. For the Government he promised that, if they held office in the next session, he would “make some proposal which might deal in a satisfactory way with this most important matter”. The year 1886, however, brought its change of Government, Gladstone’s first Home Rule Bill, the Liberal Irish Alliance, and its developments; and the university question as a question of practical politics was shelved for a generation.

The University College continued its work with ever-increasing success. Year by year the tabulated results of the examinations of the Royal University showed that the unrecognized Catholic University College was not only doing better work than even the most successful of the well-endowed Queen’s Colleges, but that it was ever increasing its lead until it far out-distanced the three together. The following table shows the relative endowments of the colleges and the first-class distinctions won by each college in the year 1898 compared with those ten years later. Endowments

£ 6,000


£ 11,400

£11,400 In scholarship, in literature, in the public service, past students began to win honor for their college. Even in the department of scientific research, hampered as was the staff by lack of equipment, the work of Preston, M’Clelland, and Conway established the name of the college in the annals of scientific advance. Murphy’s work for Irish history, Hogan’s in the Irish language, and Finlay’s in the field of practical Irish economics were also far-reaching. An aim of Father Delany had been to train a thoroughly competent staff to meet the time when justice should be done and a wider field opened. This, too, was fulfilled; and the men selected for the first appointments to the chartered college by the commissioners entrusted with the work, unfettered though the commissioners were in their discretion, include, in all the chief departments, a large majority of men who had been educated in University College.

In 1904 Mr. Balfour and Mr. Wyndham made acknowledgment of the Catholic claims; two royal commissions had reported in their favor; but the ministers were deterred by Orange influence from its settlement. Mr. Bryce took up the question in courageous fashion during his brief chief secretary-ship. It was left to Mr. Birrell to carry a measure granting facilities for University education under conditions fairly satisfactory to Catholics. The Jesuits facilitated the reform in every way and, though they might have put forward a title to special consideration, they sought no peculiar recognition. Cardinal Logue declared the settlement to be largely due to their labors. The Archbishop of Dublin expressed his admiration for “the fidelity, constancy, and undaunted courage” which they had shown in the enterprise. Many years before, in 1886, when jealous criticism was afoot, Father Delany had already defined their interest to be to establish “a central College, which should be national in its Constitution; should be governed by a body representative of the whole Catholic people, with all its interests; where the main condition of appointments to posts should be excellence of qualification, the best man winning whether priest or layman”. The new constitution of the college approaches that ideal. Mr. Birrell, when introducing his University Bill, bore testimony to “the patriotism” of Father Delany’s attitude. The passing of the University Act coincided with the silver jubilee of the old college; and when the new college came into existence the Jesuits, in order to facilitate its commencement, surrendered to it, with the approval of the Irish bishops, the old buildings of the Catholic University.

The new Irish Universities Act of 1908 is based on the principle of the non-recognition of theological or religious teaching. No part of the public endowment can be applied for the purpose of such teaching. But the university may recognize a theological faculty or a religious chair provided by private endowment. The indifferentist principle was accepted by Irish Catholics because the scheme of government embodied in the charters both for the National University and for its constituent colleges enabled a sympathetic government to be established. The first senate and the first governing bodies were nominated, and the governing body of University College, Dublin, now consists of twenty-seven Catholics and three Protestants. When it ceases to hold office the new governing body will be constituted mainly of persons elected by the college corporation itself, and by the General Council of Irish County Councils, which represents Irish opinion. In the first appointment of deans of residence two Catholic priests were among those appointed. They voluntarily provide religious lectures in addition to discharging the duties of their office. The bishops of Ireland have also in hand (1912) a scheme for the establishment of a lectureship in theology in the college and have selected Rev. Peter Finlay, S.J., for the office. The growth of this side of the college work would complete its activities as a university institution. All the other faculties are adequately provided for, and include arts, philosophy, Celtic studies (including archaeology, history, and philology), science, law, medicine, and engineering. The staff consists of the president (Dr. D. J. Coffey, dean of the old successful medical school), forty-three professors, and eight lecturers. All the professors of philosophy are Catholics. The public endowment of the college is £32,000 a year and the total revenue in 1910-11 was £40,357. Six hundred and ninety-five students were in attendance in that year. The first plan of buildings provides for eight hundred students. One hundred and ten thousand pounds of public grant is available for their erection and equipment, but it will certainly prove inadequate, and must be supplemented from either public or private sources. So far, though the college is open to all, ninety-eight per cent of the students are Catholics.



The University of St. Mark’s at Lima enjoys the reputation of being the oldest in America; it has the distinction of having first begun its course by royal decree. The university in Santo Domingo in the West Indies was the first to be established by a papal Bull. Other similar institutions soon arose all over Spanish America, flourishing during the colonial period, under the joint auspices of Church and State. Then, when the Revolution came, they passed from the direct control of the former to that of the latter, with the exception of the University of Havana, which remained in possession of a religious order until late in the nineteenth century. It was in 1538 that a Bull of Paul III established the pontifical University of St. Thomas in Santo Domingo, at the request of the Dominicans. However, the institution was not definitively established, until Philip II gave it legal existence in 1558, seven years after the foundation of St. Mark’s in Peru. The University of Santo Domingo had faculties of theology, jurisprudence, philosophy, and medicine, and lasted throughout the colonial period. The University of Lima was founded by decree of Charles V in 1551 in the monastery of the Holy Rosary, remaining under the direction of the Dominicans until 1571, when, being confirmed by Pope Pius V, it passed into the hands of seculars. The Dominicans still continued, however, to occupy posts of honor. For centuries the university exercised an influence that spread over all the colonies of Spain in South America, and many eminent men went out from its lecture-rooms. The renowned Pedro Peralta and the French savant, Godin, were among its professors in the eighteenth century, while such men as the poets Ona, Castellanos, and Olmedo, and the first American bibliographer, Leon Pinelo, were among its students. The faculties of the university included theology, jurisprudence, philosophy, medicine, and, for a time, the language of the Incas.

The next in importance of the Peruvian universities was that of Cuzco, founded, in 1598, as the University of San Antonio Abad. In the seventeenth century the University of Guamanga in Peru was established with the same faculties as that of Cuzco. In the meantime, university studies had been inaugurated at Quito with the establishment, in 1586, of the University of San Fulgencio, under the Augustinian fathers, by a Bull of Sixtus V. A second University of Quito, the one which gained the greatest prominence in the colonial period, was that of St. Gregory the Great, founded by the Jesuits in 1620. The early seventeenth century was a period of considerable literary activity and educational work in Spanish America, and several universities were founded. In 1627 the Dominicans succeeded in establishing their royal and pontifical University of Santo Tomas, at Santa Fe de Bogota, while the Jesuits continued their old College of San Luis, founded in 1592, as the Xaverian University. The University of Santo Tomas obtained renown through such eminent jurists as Luis Brochero, and such linguists as the Dominican, Bernardo de Lugo. The celebrated historian of New Granada, Fernandez de Piedrahita, Bishop of Panama, was a doctor of this university.

The Jesuits arrived in Chile in 1593 and at once inaugurated higher studies with chairs of philosophy and theology. However, the honor of founding the first university in Santiago belongs to the Dominicans. It was established in the Monastery of the Holy Rosary, under the title of Santo Tomas in 1619, by a Bull of Paul V, that permitted its existence for ten years. In 1684 its privileges were renewed by Innocent XI for a period to last until Santiago should possess a public university. The faculties included logic, history, mental philosophy, physics, mathematics, canon law, and theology. In the meantime, as early as 1621, the Jesuits had obtained from Pope Gregory XV the Bull “In eminenti” which granted the privilege of conferring degrees for ten years. This privilege was renewed by Urban VIII for another ten years, and finally granted without limitation in 1634. There were thus two pontifical universities in Santiago. Finally, in the first half of the eighteenth century, Santiago beheld the foundation of its Royal University of San Felipe by a decree of Philip IV in 1738, with chairs of theology, canon and civil law, mathematics, cosmography, anatomy, medicine, and Indian language. About the time that the Jesuit and Dominican universities were established at Santiago, Charcas, in Upper Peru, now Bolivia, beheld a university arise in that of St. Francis Xavier, founded in 1623. This became one of the most famous in the New World. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, however, the spirit of this university had grown to be quite anti-clerical. Yet it produced a number of distinguished men, such as Mariano Moreno, Bernardo Monteagudo, Jose Ignacio Gorriti, and Jose Mariano Serrano. In 1622 the Jesuit college at Cordoba del Tucuman, founded a few years earlier in what is now the Argentine Republic, was raised to the rank of a university by a Bull of Gregory XV and a decree of Philip III. After the expulsion of the Jesuits, it passed for a brief period to the Franciscans, until towards the end of the eighteenth century it was taken over by seculars. Two universities were established in the eighteenth century, the one in Venezuela, the other in Cuba. In 1722 the old seminary of Santa Rosa, founded at Caracas by Don Diego de Banos y Sotomayor, was raised to the rank of a royal and pontifical university by a decree of Philip V and a Bull of Innocent XIII, the faculties of civil law and medicine being added to those that already existed. The year before the granting of the faculties to the University of Venezuela, the Dominicans of Havana had obtained from the same pope the privilege of establishing a university which, owing to some misunderstanding with the bishop, did not finally begin in the Dominican monastery until 1728. The title of Royal and Pontifical University was accorded to it in 1734.

Such was the condition of university education in the West Indies and South America up to the Revolution. Most of the old universities continued, but no longer under the direct control of the Church, passing generally, in course of time, to the Department of Public Instruction. St. Mark’s at Lima still exists, and preserves its autonomy, with the old title of pontifical, and with a faculty of theology., though it is said that in its secular departments, its religious influence has passed away. The University of Cuzco occupies today a portion of the former Jesuit college. That of San Cristobal at Guamanga became extinct in 1878. The University of St. Augustine at Arequipa still exists, and Trujillo, where a college was founded in 1621, enjoys today the benefits of a university. The University of Sucre (Charcas) is still regarded as the best in Bolivia, where the Universities, also, of La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Cochabamba exist. The Bolivian universities have faculties of theology, subject to ecclesiastical control. Colombia has today a national university at Bogota, consisting of faculties in separate colleges. There are also universities at Cauca, Antioquia, Narino, and Cartagena. At Quito higher education is imparted in the Central

University of Ecuador, priests, among them Jesuits, being permitted to hold chairs. Venezuela has actually two universities, the Central University and that of Los Andes. The old Jesuit University of Cordoba is today one of the three national universities of Argentina. At Santiago de Chile, the convictorium of St. Francis Xavier has become the Instituto Nacional, that serves as a preparatory school for the National University which is the historical sequel of San Felipe. The University of Havana remained in charge of the Dominicans until 1842, when it was secularized. It still exists, with faculties of letters and science, law, and medicine. At present there are two Catholic universities in South America, the one of Santiago de Chile, founded by Archbishop Casanova in 1888, and the other at Buenos Aires. The former has faculties of law, mathematics, agriculture and industry, and engineering. The Catholic University of Buenos Aires, still in the formative period, has faculties of law and social science. The tendency of South American universities today in general is rather practical than theoretical and classical, much stress being laid upon such studies as engineering and others of a practical nature.



A. Columbia University, Portland, Oregon

…formerly known as Portland University, is located on the east bank of the Willamette River in northern Portland, and is conducted by the Congregation of Holy Cross, whose motherhouse is at Notre Dame, Indiana. In 1898 Portland University, conducted by a local Methodist association, failed and was obliged to close its doors. For three years the buildings were unoccupied. In 1901 the school buildings and property of this institution were acquired by Most Reverend Alexander Christie, D.D., Archbishop of Oregon City. For one year the school, now called Columbia University, was conducted by the diocesan clergy. In 1902 Archbishop Christie appealed for teachers to Rev. J. A. Zahm, then provincial of the Congregation of Holy Cross, who at once sent some of his religious to take charge of the new institute. In 1909 the university was incorporated under the laws of Oregon, and empowered to teach collegiate and university courses and to confer certificates, diplomas, honors, and degrees in the arts, sciences, philology, literature, history, mathematics, and other university branches. To meet the need of a thorough preparatory school in the North-West an academic department was founded at Columbia. The first faculties organized were those of arts and letters and science. Today, besides the college department and preparatory school, Columbia has chairs of philosophy, history and economics, mathematics and languages. There have been three presidents of the university. Rev. E. P. Murphy, of Portland, was chosen as first president; Rev. Michael Quinlan, C.S.C., and Rev. Joseph Gallagher, C.S.C., were his successors. At present (1912) about two hundred students are registered. The faculties are made up of twenty professors including a few laymen. The erection of Christie Hall, recently, has made accommodations for an additional one hundred and fifty students.

—J. C. MCGiNN.

B. De Paul University, Chicago

…is the outgrowth of St. Vincent’s College, which opened in September, 1898. The university was incorporated, December 24, 1907, by ten Vincentian priests and five Catholic laymen. Besides the usual collegiate studies, De Paul offered, at the time of incorporation, courses in mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering, also special work in science. Thirteen priests and six laymen constituted its faculty. The origin of St. Vincent’s College may be traced to the desire of Archbishop Feehan to have a Catholic institution for young men on the “North Side” of Chicago. The Vincentians had been here for twenty years, and the Very Rev. T. J. Smith, C.M., with three of his priests, became incorporated as St. Vin-cent’s College in June, 1898. Among the first professors were: Rev. Thomas Finney, C.M., T. F. Levan, C.M., P. A. Finney, C.M., J. Murray, C.M., M. Le Sage, C.M., P. H. McDonnell, C.M., and D. J. McHugh, C.M. In January, 1899, Rev. P. V. Byrne, C.M., became president. A man of high ideals, he soon desired to enlarge the educational work, and was warmly seconded by Rev. J. A. Nuelle, C.M., prefect of studies. Engineering courses were accordingly begun in September, 1906. No expense was spared in equipping for scientific pursuits the building erected the following year. Pre-medical studies were then undertaken. In July, 1910, the Very Rev. F. X. McCabe, C.M., LL.D., became rector of De Paul University. With the approval of Archbishop Quigley, De Paul entered a new field in 1911, that of enabling women to gain credits and university degrees. The summer school of 1911 was attended by one hundred sisters and lay teachers. Twice this number are now pursuing extension work. The students numbered 550 in 1911. The faculty includes sixteen Vincentian priests, and almost the same number of laymen. In the spring of 1912 the Illinois College of Law became the Law Department of De Paul, and library and classes were removed to the university buildings; 150 students were thus added.


C. Fordham University

…developed out of Saint John’s College, founded by Bishop Hughes upon the old Rose Hill Farm at Fordham, then in Westchester County, and formally opened on St. John the Baptist’s Day, June 24, 1841. This same year the theological seminary of the New York diocese was moved from Lafargeville, Jefferson Co., to Fordham. In April, 1846, an act of incorporation passed by the New York Legislature granted it the power to “confer such literary honors, degrees or diplomas as are usually granted by any university, college or seminary of learning in the United States”. In June, 1846, the Fathers of the Society of Jesus purchased the property from the diocese. The first Jesuit president was the Rev. Augustus Thebaud who, with other members of the early Jesuit faculty, came from St. Mary’s College, Marion County, Kentucky. St. Mary’s was practically transferred to Fordham, and, as it had been incorporated in 1820 with all the powers of a university, the history of the present college must be considered to begin with its foundation in that year. Under such presidents as Fathers Thebaud, Larkin, Tellier, Doucet, and Tissot, S.J., the college rapidly gained in attendance. In the early fifties there were 200 students. There was a falling off at the time of the Civil War, but in the year 1869-70 there were 257. After a phase of less attendance in the late seventies, there were 327 in 1899 and 1890. The number rose to 500 in the early part of the present decade.

Many Fordham students of the early times reached distinction. Among them were: John La Farge the painter; Ignatius Donnelly, the author; John R. G. Hassard; the MacMahon brothers, James, Arthur, and Martin, two of whom died nobly in the Civil War, while the third, though badly injured, survived for distinction on the bench in New York City; Thomas B. Connery for many years editor-in-chief of the “Herald”; Gen. James O’Beirne; Judges Morgan O’Brien, Amend, Hendricks, of the Supreme Court; and many well-known lawyers, Anthony Hirst of Philadelphia, Philip van Dyke, and William B. Moran of Detroit, the latter on the Supreme Bench of Michigan at his death; John A. Mooney of New York, a well-known writer; Ignatius and Thomas McManus, of Mexico, and Michael F. Dooley, of Providence, bankers. Many of Fordham’s brightest students have entered the clergy and reached positions of great influence. Among them are Cardinal Farley, Bishop Hoban, Bishop Rosecrans of Columbus, Monsignori Van Dyke (Detroit), O’Connor (Charleston), Lynch (Utica), Mooney (New York), and many distinguished Jesuits.

On June 21, 1904, with the consent of the regents of the University of the State of New York, the board of trustees of St. John’s College, during the presidency of Father (now Bishop) John Collins, authorized the opening of a school of law and a school of medicine. The law department rapidly increased until, in 1911, there were 230 on its rolls. The university now (1912) numbers 548 students under 124 professors, distributed as follows: law, 224 students, 12 professors; medicine, 164 students, 96 professors; academical department, 160 students, 16 professors. The Fordham University Press, whose historical publications have a wide diffusion, completes the university organization.


D. Loyola University, Chicago

…is the outgrowth of St. Ignatius College, founded by the Jesuits in 1869 for the higher education of the Catholic youth of Chicago, and empowered by the Legislature of Illinois (June 30, 1870) to confer the usual degrees in the various faculties of a university. On November 21, 1909, Loyola University was chartered and St. Ignatius College became the department of arts and sciences. The law department was established in September, 1908, and is now located in the center of Chicago’s business district. The engineering department opened September, 1911, with courses in civil, electrical, chemical, and mechanical engineering. The medical department was founded in 1868 and became a part of the university in June, 1909. The pharmacy school has taken its place among the recognized institutions of the country. The private library of the institution, consisting of 47,000 volumes, is meant primarily for the use of the faculty and the allied schools.


E. Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana

…is (1912) the only Catholic university in what is popularly designated “The Old South”. From a small college of arts and sciences founded by the Jesuit Fathers in 1904 it has grown into an institution with plans under way to organize all the departments of a modern university. The cornerstone of Marquette Hall, the main building of the university group, was laid, November 13, 1910, by Archbishop Blenk, assisted by fourteen members of the American hierarchy. On the same day ground was broken for the Louise C. Thomas Hall by the Apostolic delegate, Monsignor Falconio. The building dedicated to Father Marquette will always bear witness to the generous cooperation of the clergy and laity of the Archdiocese of

New Orleans, who, on the invitation and under the leadership of the Rev. Albert Biever, S.J., president of Loyola College, formed an association on February 17, 1906, known as “The Marquette Association for Higher Education“, which made it its aim to arouse interest in Catholic education while soliciting the financial aid necessary for the up-building of a well-equipped Catholic University. The Louise C. Thomas Hall has its name from the devoted lady who subscribed $50,000 towards its erection. The beauty and nobility of her gift is expressed in the stately architecture, which combines artistic qualities with usefulness: Both structures, connected by a graceful arcade or cloister, are in the Tudor Gothic style and stand on the beautiful site which fronts St. Charles Avenue, where that handsome driveway passes Audubon Park.

—P. A. RYAN.

F. Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

…is an outgrowth of Marquette College, which was opened in 1881, although it had been planned by Right Rev. John Martin Henni as far back as 1850. In 1848, while in Europe, the bishop met the Chevalier J. G. de Boeye, of Antwerp, who gave him $16,000 to help to found an institution under the care of the Jesuits. The foundation was to be made in the bishop’s diocese, in the far North-West, a country first visited by the missionaries Allouez and Marquette. In 1855 Rev. P. J. de Smet, S.J., and Rev. F. X. de Coen, S.J., arrived at Milwaukee, commissioned by the Provincial of Missouri to cooperate with the bishop in his plans for the proposed institution. St. Gall’s parish was placed under the care of the Jesuit Fathers. Two years later, Rev. Stanislaus P. Lalumiere, S.J., commenced the St. Aloysius Academy, which was soon abandoned. It was resuscitated in 1864, under the name of St. Gall’s Academy, under the management of Rev. J. T. Kuhlman, S.J. This school existed until 1872, when it was also abandoned. The project of establishing a college had not been relinquished, and in 1864 a charter was obtained by a special act of the legislature. Marquette College was dedicated, August 15, 1881. The degree of bachelor of arts was conferred for the first time in 1887, and when in 1906 Marquette celebrated its silver jubilee, the college had conferred the degree upon 186 students, Master of Arts on 38, and Bachelor of Science upon one.

In 1907, owing to the munificence of the late Robert A. Johnston, of Milwaukee, who built and donated the structure on Grand Avenue, between Eleventh and Twelfth Streets, Marquette College was enabled to enlarge its usefulness. The charter was amended by the legislature, and the college became a university. That year it affiliated temporarily with the Milwaukee Medical College, which comprised a school of medicine, a school of dentistry, and one of pharmacy. In 1908 the Milwaukee Law School became the Marquette University College of Law. In the same year the College of Applied Sciences and Engineering was opened. In 1910 the Robert A. Johnston College of Economics was organized. It consists of two schools; one of business administration, and another of journalism. In 1911 the Marquette Conservatory of Music was established.

—J. E. Copus.

G. Niagara University

…situated near Niagara Falls, New York, is conducted by the Vincentians. It was founded by Rev. John J. Lynch, C.M., later first Archbishop of Toronto, and was chartered by the Legislature, April 20, 1863, as the Seminary of Our Lady of Angels. The original building was completely destroyed by fire in December, 1864; in April, 1865, one wing of the present building was built, and in 1869, the structure was completed. On August 7, 1883, the Regents of New York State erected the Seminary of Our Lady of Angels into a college by the name of Niagara University. A medical school was established at Buffalo, and during its existence (1883-98), it did much to further the study of medicine, and inaugurated the movement which has resulted in requiring four years’ study for the doctor’s degree in New York State. In 1898 the Niagara medical school was merged into that of the Buffalo University, as was also, in 1891, the Niagara law school. Niagara University has now complete semi-nary, college, and high school departments, embracing courses in philosophy, higher mathematics, science, languages, commerce, and music. The university possesses over 300 acres of ground, a museum, laboratories for scientific work, and a library, containing about 35,000 volumes, begun by Bishop Timon, C.M.


H. St. John’s University

…the legal title of a Catholic boarding-school at Collegeville, Minnesota, conducted by the Benedictine Fathers of St. John’s Abbey, which is situated at the same place. It is the oldest Catholic college in the North-West, having been founded in 1857 by the late Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, then Abbot of St. Vincent’s Abbey at Beatty, Pennsylvania. Early in 1856 Abbot Wimmer sent Demetrius de Marogna, a capitular of St. Vincent’s Abbey, to Minnesota to establish a monastery and an educational institution in what was then the Diocese of St. Paul, whither the Benedictines had been invited by Bishop Cretin, at the instance of the Indian missionary Father Pierz. De Marogna was accompanied by two Benedictine clerics, Cornelius Wittmann and Bruno Riss, and two lay brothers. The institution was originally called St. John’s Seminary, which name was changed to St. John’s University by an Act of the State Legislature, February 17, 1883. In March, 1869, the school was empowered by the State to confer all college and university degrees, and on June 16, 1878, Leo XIII authorized Abbot Alexius Edelbrock, then president of the University, to confer the degree of doctor in philosophy, theology, and canon law. The institution comprises a theological seminary, a school of arts and science, a high-school, a school of commerce and a preparatory school.

Among its presidents deserving of mention are: Rupert Seidenbusch (1867-75), who in 1875 was appointed vicar Apostolic of the newly-created Vicariate of Northern Minnesota, and titular Bishop of Halia (d. June 3, 1895); Alexius Edelbrock (1875-89), who erected the main university building and the beautiful church (d. May 18, 1908, as rector of St. Anselm’s Church, New York City), Bernard Locnikar (1890-94), who made the theological course a model of its kind (d. November 7, 1894). Since 1894, under the presidency of Peter Engel, the university has grown rapidly. The buildings include the main university building, the science hall, the library, the observatory, the gymnasium, and the infirmary. The faculty is composed of 42 professors and instructors, all of whom, except the physical instructor, are Benedictines and members of St. John’s Abbey. The number of students during the year 1911-12 in all departments was 441.


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