With a leading undergraduate Theology program, the Mother Teresa Center for Nursing and Health Education, a new Architecture degree and a full slate of Engineering degrees (chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical), Benedictine College is truly becoming one of the great Catholic colleges in America. Founded in 1858, the school is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.
The school is recommended by the Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, has been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, and is listed as one of the top 20 colleges in America by First Things magazine. Benedictine College is now an All-Steinway School and the Music Department has all new Steinway pianos in its rehearsal rooms, classrooms, and performance venues. Benedictine is recognized across the Internet, with CollegeSimply.com naming the school the “best college in Kansas,” TheBestSchools.org naming it the “best private college in Kansas,” and College Raptor naming Benedictine a “hidden gem,” among many others. According to the Kansas Independent College Association, Benedictine College is now the largest private college in Kansas.
Benedictine College has seen unprecedented success across the board, with enrollment increases over the past 18 years leading to the largest undergraduate population in its history. In response to the growth, 11 new residence halls have been added since 2002, along with a new Dining Hall and Student Success Center. In 2012, the college completed construction of the 56,000 square-foot Ferrell Academic Center, home to the School of Business as well as the Departments of Education, Philosophy and Theology.
In addition, the college completed the Murphy Recreation Center in the fall of 2016. The “Murph” is a 42,000 square foot facility featuring a hanging track and a turfed field along with two full sized basketball courts, two multipurpose rooms for aerobics, Zumba and spinning classes, and a spacious cardio/weight room with 38 workout machines, plus locker rooms, a healthy snack bar, study area and offices.
In 2016, Benedictine started a yearlong celebration of the Century of Science. In 1916, the college offered its first science degrees. From the beginning, the college aimed for the highest possible standards in the sciences, sending monks to the best universities to offer students the best opportunities. Fifty years later, in the mid-1960s, a new state-of-the-art Science Hall put the sciences front and center on campus again. Today, the college is looking to the next century of science with a planned new Science and Engineering building.
The $25 million Benedictine science and engineering building project will be the college’s largest capital project ever. The college worked with one of the nation’s leading science and technology architects to design the best science facilities possible for the needs of the college’s engineering, biology, chemistry and biochemistry, physics and astronomy departments.
Academics are key, and Benedictine College professors and students are doing amazing things. Chemistry students are working to avert a national health crisis by developing improved antibiotics to fight drug-resistant bacteria. Benedictine professors are earning engineering patents, publishing books, and even fighting crime through development of an innovative crime mapping program. Dozens of Benedictine College professors rank in the top 10% of the national IDEA faculty evaluations each year, and the school has added two endowed faculty position in the past year. International education has expanded as well, with a Dublin, Ireland, campus added to the Florence, Italy campus for students to take advantage of in study abroad semesters. Programs are also available over the summer and at more than 50 other international colleges.
The college is committed to the Catholic faith, and Benedictine College consecrated itself to Our Lady in 2013 and recently enthroned the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue in the new Raven Memorial Park in the center of campus. The Catholic Campus Ministry Association named Benedictine College’s program among the top five campus ministries in the country. The college led the national March for Life in Washington, D.C. in 2014 and annually sends the largest group the longest distance to the March. This year nearly 300 students, plus dozens of faculty and staff, attended the March. On top of that, over Benedictine College 400 students attended the Focus SEEK conference in San Antonio in early January, just a few weeks before the March.
Benedictine’s student athletes are among the elite, with both the men’s and women’s programs taking the Heart of America Athletic Conference Commissioner’s Award for the highest grade point average. Benedictine College has also been named a Champions of Character Five Star school by the NAIA. The men’s soccer team, women’s soccer team, men’s basketball team, women’s basketball team, track team and football team all won the conference championships recently and all have gone on to the national playoffs. The college boasts first class facilities for soccer, lacrosse, football, basketball, volleyball, track & field, wrestling, baseball and softball. In January of 2017, head football coach Larry Wilcox, Kansas’ all-time winningest four-year college football coach and second-winningest in the NAIA, was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame.
Benedictine College is an academic community sponsored by Mount St. Scholastica Monastery and St. Benedict’s Abbey. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.