Founded by the monks of Saint John’s Abbey in 1857, Saint John’s University is a small, Catholic liberal arts college in Collegeville, MN (a town named for, and organized around, the college). Saint John’s is male-only, but the university has a unique partnership with the College of Saint Benedict, a women’s college in nearby St. Joseph, MN. Two two institutions share curriculum, and students have access to the resources of both. One of Minnesota’s oldest institutions, Saint John’s has been ranked as one of the top 100 national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report, and is consistently named a best buy by publications like the Princeton Review.
Academic ProgramsSaint John’s University is a primarily undergraduate college, except for the School of Theology and Seminary, which prepares students for the priesthood and awards Master of Divinity degrees. The undergraduate curriculum combines the rigors and values of Benedictine education – service, social justice, and humane living – with the foundations of critical thought and intellectual exploration inherent in the liberal arts. In the tradition of Catholic education, SJU seeks to educate holistically, bringing together mind, body, and spirit to prepare students for life as professionals and as servant leaders.
SJU and the College of Saint Benedict’s partnership began in the 1950’s, when they began collaborating to offer evening classes for adults, and continues today. Combined, the two colleges are essentially coed – men from Saint John’s and women from Saint Benedict’s attend classes together on both campuses. With a 12:1 student:faculty ratio, SJU provides ample support and mentoring for students, and the results can be seen in an incredibly high 90% freshman retention rate, one of the highest numbers of Fulbright Scholars for an institution of its size, and an impressive rate of Peace Corps volunteers making a difference in the world.
Student LifeStudent life at Saint John’s is dynamic and varied. The university is known for its commitment to sustainability and stewardship of the earth, and much of its 2700 acres is set aside as a natural arboretum. Hiking, skiing, and cross-country skiing courses are threaded throughout the campus, and students take part in many adventure and outdoor events through the Peer Resource Program and Outdoor Leadership Center. Saint John’s is also known for Saint John’s Maple Syrup, produced in the arboretum as a collaboration between the abbey and the university (the abbey also makes Johnnie Bread, a whole grain bread produced since 1856).
In the Benedictine tradition, community service and engagement are crucial, and those are major parts of student life at SJU. Many leadership opportunities are available to students, including the Outdoor Leadership Center and the Intercultural Center. Saint John’s is also known for the Saint John’s Bible, the first full, hand-written, illuminated manuscript Bible commissions in five centuries. It is on display in the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library and attracts tourists from around the world.