Benedictine College
MottoForward. Always Forward.[1]
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1971 by the merger of Mount St. Scholastica College (1923) and St. Benedict's College (1858)
Religious affiliation
Catholic (Benedictines)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$35.5 million[2]
PresidentStephen D. Minnis
DeanKimberly C. Shankman
Students2,126 (2021–2022)[3]
Location, ,

39°34′26″N 95°06′53″W / 39.5739°N 95.1147°W / 39.5739; -95.1147
ColorsBlack. white and red[4]
Sporting affiliations

Benedictine College is a private Benedictine liberal arts college in Atchison, Kansas, United States. It was established in 1971 by the merger of St. Benedict's College (founded 1858) for men and Mount St. Scholastica College (founded 1923) for women. It is located on bluffs overlooking the Missouri River, northwest of Kansas City, Missouri.

Benedictine is one of a number of U.S. Benedictine colleges and is sponsored by St. Benedict's Abbey and Mount St. Scholastica Monastery. The abbey has a current population of 53 monks, while the Mount monastery numbers 147 community members.


Benedictine College celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2008.[5] The present-day college was formed in 1971 by the merger of St. Benedict's College, a men's college, and Mount St. Scholastica College, a women's college.

View from the abbey

At the request of John Baptist Miège, Vicar Apostolic of Leavenworth, two Benedictine monks arrived in Atchison from Doniphan and opened St. Benedict's College, a boarding school, in 1858. It was named for Benedict of Nursia, founder of modern western monasticism. The mainly classical school curriculum was intended to prepare students for the priesthood. The monks, who had recently arrived in the Kansas Territory, then moved their community to Atchison and founded the present-day St. Benedict's Abbey. It expanded to include commerce subjects to cater to the needs of the local population, which was primarily pioneers and settlers. Over the years the college continued to expand and by 1927 it was an accredited four-year liberal arts college.

In 1863, the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, whose namesake is Benedict of Nursia's twin sister Scholastica, arrived in Atchison and founded St. Scholastica's Academy (now Maur Hill – Mount Academy) for local young women. In 1924, Mount St. Scholastica's Junior College was opened so these young women could continue their tertiary education. It became a senior college in 1932 and was authorized to confer bachelor degrees.

In 1970, Alcuin Hemmen, president of St. Benedict's College, announced that St. Benedict's would become a co-educational college. Mary Noel Walter, president of Mount St. Scholastica College, had been proposing a merger of the two colleges for over a year. Following Alcuin's announcement, Walter organized discussion of a merger.[6] It was agreed upon, and the universities merged on July 1, 1971, to form the current Benedictine College. The separate colleges' corporations remain in existence for scholarships and land ownership purposes[7] and allowed the newly formed college a free 50-year lease of the separate colleges' facilities on their campuses. Benedictine College terminated the lease of the facilities from Mount St. Scholastica College on October 1, 1989, amidst financial hardship.[8] It continues to lease property from St. Benedict's College.



The most popular majors at Benedictine are Business, Education, and Theology. Commerce, teaching, and the faith are historically significant interests of both the college and the Benedictine order.[9]

The School of Business offers bachelor's degrees and an MBA degree. Similarly, the Education Department offers undergraduate licensure programs and a Master of Arts.[10]

The college's theology department grew out of St. Benedict's Abbey School of Theology and is the result of a 2007 shift from a Religious Studies program to a Catholic Theology program. All Theology professors are to have signed the canon-law mandatum[11] as implemented by the U.S. bishops,[12] and to take the oath of fidelity.[13] The National Catholic Register's Catholic Identity College Guide[14] notes that the president has made a public profession of faith and taken the oath of fidelity; the majority of the board of trustees are Catholic and the school's mandatum requirement is public. According to the Cardinal Newman Society's "The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College" guide,[15] the theology department shares the college's institutional commitment to the magisterium of the Catholic Church.

In 2010, Benedictine College added an Engineering Department in which students earn ABET-accredited degrees.[16] The following year, the college added a nursing program dedicated to Mother Teresa of Calcutta who once visited Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison.[17] The college's architecture major, stressing classical styles, debuted in 2016.[18]

The college's Discovery Program gives students the opportunity to create and present original projects in any discipline. In 2010, Discovery Day included 80 presentations featuring the works of 145 students, 40 faculty/staff members, and 18 academic departments; "more than 1800 students have participated in Benedictine’s Discovery Day events since its inception in 1996. In that time, most faculty members and academic departments have taken an active role in sponsoring student projects."[19]

Performing arts

The college offers programs in the performing arts, including theatre, dance, and music. The college features two performance spaces: the Mabee Theatre seats approximately 130 and the O'Malley-McAllister Auditorium seats around 545 people. The Abbey Church and St. Scholastica chapel at Mount St. Scholastica Monastery are also utilized for organ recitals, orchestra, and choral performances.

The college's music department traces its roots to Mount St. Scholastica Academy, now Maur Hill - Mount Academy, when in 1863 the Benedictine sisters were said to have first purchased a house and then a piano. The music department of the college was one of the first cooperative departments between the former two colleges, having been formed in 1964.

Faith life

Mass is offered to students three times daily in several places, including St. Benedict's Abbey in its Abbey Church, St. Benedict's Church (a parish connected to one of the campus dorms, Elizabeth Hall), and Guadalupe chapel (located in the Abbey Crypt under the main church). The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), a Catholic collegiate leadership apostolate, was founded at Benedictine College by Curtis Martin. Other active religious groups on campus include Communion and Liberation, Pax Christi, Ravens Respect Life, Partners in Prayer (in conjunction with Mount St. Scholastica), Great Adventure Bible Timeline, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Households and Varsity Catholic.[20]

The college hosts pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land as well as local pilgrimage sites.[20]

Campus worship opportunities[21] including Life of Prayer, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, traditional Catholic processions and Guadalupe Day. Many students participate in perpetual adoration at St. Benedict's Parish on the edge of campus. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy is recited weekly. A daily rosary was added at the campus grotto to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Marian apparitions at Fatima.[22] The president leads the rosary weekly in the chapel.[20]

Students are invited to pray the Divine Office with the monks in St. Benedict's Abbey or the sisters of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery. Lectio Divina is also offered at the Mount.[20]

There are several places of prayer on or adjacent to campus: St. Martin's Chapel, St. Benedict's Abbey Church, Outdoor Stations of the Cross, Guadalupe Chapel, and St. Joseph Chapel in the Abbey. Retreats, conferences, and performances that college ministry offers to students includes "Jam for the Lamb,” and BC Koinonia.[20]

The school built Mary's Grotto, located in the center of campus, and Archbishop Joseph Naumann dedicated it in 2009.[23] It is one of three outdoor devotional spaces dedicated to Mary located on the campus. The grotto is the site of the May Crowning "send-off" of student vocations to the priesthood and religious life.[24] The college is located within the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, though it is not operated by the Archdiocese.

In 2014, the school renamed its student union the St. John Paul II Student Center on the day of Canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.[25]


Academic buildings

The main buildings of Benedictine College are in many cases named for important persons in Benedictine College history.[26]

Father Eugene Dehner, professor of biology
Building name Function of building
Amino Center Classrooms, Weight room, and Football Locker Room and coaches offices
Bishop Fink Hall Departments of Art, Music, and Architecture
Daglen Observatory Astronomy program observatory
Dining Hall Dining service (Aladdin)
College Library Library
Cray–Seaberg Hall Department of Mass Communications, classrooms, offices and Benedetto's Pizza on two floors, with Residence Hall above.
Ferrell Academic Center Education Department, School of Business, and Departments of Theology and Philosophy
Haverty Center Athletic Department, Old Gym and Raven Roost
Murphy Recreation Center Weight room, multipurpose room, 50-yard turf field, track, basketball courts
Mother Teresa Center for Nursing and Health Education Nursing Department and Athletic Health Care
Snowden House President's house
St. Benedict Hall Administration and faculty offices; Mabee Theatre
St. Benedict's Abbey Church Church services, places for study
St. John Paul II Student Center Recreation Center and O'Malley–McAllister Auditorium, O'Malley Gymnasium, Sister Mary Noel Walter Atrium
Westerman Hall Science and Engineering Building

Residence halls

Building name Function of building
Courtney S. Turner Hall Freshmen male dorm that houses 140 students; St. Augustine's Lounge
Cray–Seaberg Hall Residence Hall on 3rd Floor that houses 42 women
Elizabeth Hall Houses 142 women (generally juniors)
Legacy Apartments A collection of four halls (Legacy Hall, Kremmeter Hall, Wolf Hall and Lemke Hall) that houses 288 upperclassmen
McDonald Hall "Suite style" female dorm that houses 160 sophomore women; Schroll Center
Newman Hall Male dorm that houses 140 freshman and sophomores
Row Houses Two houses (Harman & Schirmer) that can fit up to 27 occupants, which are usually upperclassmen (can vary from all-male to all-female)
St. Joseph Hall Housing for 35 male upperclassmen
St. Martin's Memorial Hall Freshman female dorm that houses up to 90 women; St. Martin's Chapel (located on the ground floor)
St. Michael Hall Male dorm
St. Scholastica Hall A freshman female dorm that houses 140 women
Our Lady of Guadalupe Hall Female residence hall that houses 120 women


Main article: Benedictine Ravens

The Benedictine athletic teams are called the Ravens. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) since the 1991–92 academic year.[27] The Ravens previously competed as an NAIA Independent from 1962–63 to 1990–91; in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIC) from 1937–38 to 1961–62; as an Independent from January 1929 (during the 1928–29 school year) to 1936–37; and in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) from 1902–03 to 1927–28.

Benedictine competes in 20 intercollegiate varsity sports. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, lacrosse, soccer, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and wrestling; women's sports include basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and volleyball; and co-ed sports include cheerleading, dance, and spirit squad.

Benedictine's cheerleading and spirit squads have been recognized nationally. They also have an athletics band.


Benedictine College license plate

The mascot "Rocky the Raven" is associated with St. Benedict, as legend has it a raven would bring the sixth-century saint food during his time as a hermit in the mountains near Subiaco, Italy. The legend also has the raven saving St. Benedict from eating poisoned bread.

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "Motto". Archived from the original on 2015-06-10. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  2. ^ "Benedictine College - Profile, Rankings and Data | US News Best Colleges". U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original on 2023-04-06.
  3. ^ "Benedictine College at a Glance". 31 August 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  4. ^ "Benedictine College" (PDF). Retrieved September 6, 2022.
  5. ^ "Sesquicentennial Raven Review Benedictine College". Issuu. 19 May 2009.
  6. ^ Sounds & Silence: The Magic of Music from Price Villa. 1863–2000. Copyright 2003, Mount St. Scholastica.
  7. ^ The 1971 merger of Mount St. Scholastica College and St. Benedict's College to form Benedictine College
  8. ^ The Circuit, October 1989. Copyright Benedictine College.
  9. ^ "Course Catalog - Benedictine College". a-WGB-Basic. 31 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Education Department". Archived from the original on 2013-07-16. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  11. ^ "Guidelines Concerning the Academic Mandatum (Canon 812)".
  12. ^ Implemented by U.S. Bishops Archived December 23, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Benedictine College Embraces Mandatum". Archived from the original on 2011-03-20. Retrieved 2010-05-23.
  14. ^ "Catholic Identity College Guide 2016". National Catholic Register. 10 September 2016.
  15. ^ "Benedictine College". Cardinal Newman Society.
  16. ^ "Small Catholic College, Benedictine, Adds Engineering Program". National Catholic Register. 31 May 2010.
  17. ^ "Doing Something Beautiful for God — in Nursing". National Catholic Register. 8 July 2011.
  18. ^ "Architecture Major Announced". Retrieved 2017-05-19.
  19. ^ "The Discovery Program and Discovery Day - Benedictine College". a-WGB-Basic. 31 August 2018.
  20. ^ a b c d e "BACKGROUNDER - Thriving Faith on the Benedictine Campus - Benedictine College". a-WGB-Basic. 31 August 2018.
  21. ^ "Faith Life: Catholic Campus Ministry - Benedictine College". a-WGB-Basic. 31 August 2018.
  22. ^ "Fatima Centennial Kick Off". Retrieved 2017-05-19.
  23. ^ "Midwestern College Dedicates Marian Shrine". National Catholic Register. 18 September 2009.
  24. ^ "Mary's Grotto - Benedictine College". a-WGB-Basic. 31 August 2018.
  25. ^ Salomon, Kelly (7 April 2014). "Benedictine College to Rename Student Center after 'St. John Paul II'". Cardinal Newman Society. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  26. ^ "Interactive Campus Map - Benedictine College". Flat-HTML. 31 August 2018.
  27. ^ "Heart of America Athletic Conference".