By Daniel J. Elsener | April 09, 2018
Marian University has a long, effective tradition of making education programs available to students of all economic backgrounds. Catholic Social Teaching directs us to advance our mission with the preferential option for the poor uppermost in our efforts, consistent with scripture: “The least among you…is the one who is greatest” (Luke 9:48). Since their inception, our foundresses—the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana—have focused their efforts on serving low income, minority, and immigrant populations, and this new endeavor would contribute to this tradition in an innovative and timely manner.
While Marian’s vision has evolved to educating talented students who will lead in the sciences, education, business, healthcare, and the Church, our foundational values and mission call us to consider where our advancements may not be effectively addressing society’s most pressing needs. Simply stated, the leadership development and academic programming that is attracting top students to Marian University’s many exceptional programs is not the solution for serving underprepared students. Marian’s program is not currently designed to focus on serving students on the margins of academic—and in many cases—economic success, which calls us to rise to the challenge and provide a bold response to this situation.
As Marian continues to attract talented and well-prepared students, who are achieving great success in the university setting, there is a growing number of underprepared students in society who need a new model to succeed; Marian University could move forward without concern for this underprepared population of students, but such an indifferent response lacks fidelity to our deeply held values, mission, and tradition.
A unique two-year college connected to Marian has great potential to meet the needs of underprepared students and stay aligned with our mission and the continued positive development of Marian University. Our geographic location puts us at the center of a large number of students, who are underprepared, challenged, and new arrivals to the United States. We have the talent, leadership, passion, history, values, and potential funding in the city to be successful in serving these students.
Marian has a reputation for conceiving and bringing to fruition big initiatives with great acuity and success. The Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MU-COM) and Klipsch Educators College are recent examples of Marian’s courage to venture. This is the same courage and calling that brought the college to Indianapolis during the Depression when the Sisters—with very limited resources—purchased Allison Mansion and began serving the Indianapolis community. We are a community that consistently and unflinchingly meets the needs of the times, and we are excited about this next two-year college initiative!.