Bellarmine University / About Bellarmine / The University's Mission

The University's Mission

Bellarmine University is an independent Catholic university serving the region, nation and world by educating talented, diverse students of many faiths, ages, nations, and cultures, and with respect for each individual’s intrinsic value and dignity. We educate our students through undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and professional studies, within which students develop the intellectual, moral, ethical and professional competencies for successful living, work, leadership and service to others. We achieve these goals in an educational environment committed to excellence, academic freedom, and authentic conversations that are not dominated by particular political or other narrow perspectives. Here we seek to foster a thoughtful, informed consideration of serious ideas, values and issues – time-honored and contemporary – across a broad range of compelling concerns that are regional, national and international. By these means, Bellarmine seeks to benefit the public interest, to help create the future, and to improve the human condition. Thus we strive to be worthy of our foundational motto: In Veritatis Amore, In the Love of Truth.

An Independent Catholic University in the Spirit of Thomas Merton

Bellarmine is a university Catholic in its roots and ongoing tradition. We are especially inspired by Thomas Merton, the late monk from the Abbey of Gethsemani who had a long, vital relationship with Bellarmine. His philosophy and writings on the search for truth, religious inquiry, the nature of humanity, the value of cross-cultural and inter-faith awareness and diversity, and his advocacy for peace, social justice and sustainability are at the core of our community values and our Catholic identity.

As a community of teachers and learners, in the spirit of our patron St. Robert Bellarmine, we are dedicated to the pursuit and love of truth and understanding of the world around us. Our fundamental commitment to academic inquiry and mastery compels us to aspire and expect excellence in all we do.

Even in an era when many would discount basic truths of the spirit and human person, Bellarmine insists that its students become more fully aware of an inner cosmos of ultimate questions and an external world laden with issues and needs of great social and ethical complexity. We commit ourselves to provide a transforming educational experience at Bellarmine where our students are empowered to realize fully their unique talents and extraordinary individual potential for greatness. As our graduates go forth into the world, they are prepared to create meaningful lives for themselves and make positive contributions to society. This transformational experience is at the very heart of our curriculum and co-curriculum.

The Merton tradition involves a keen sensitivity to the interconnectedness of all life and to human solidarity across ethnic and social divisions. The university has, in fact, held from its beginning that truth has not only a strong intellectual and professional appeal; it has a profound human impact as well. The foundational Bellarmine mission statement of 1950 insisted that “students must be taught to evaluate this society and to exercise their trained human powers to change it whenever necessary.” Accordingly, we must continue to imbue our students with the knowledge and skills to develop solutions and opportunities—creative, serious, substantial and enduring—for a globally sustainable future.

These principles, then, are the hallmarks of a Bellarmine education: Gospel values; Catholic identity; inclusive Merton spirit and sensibility.They are enacted with a commitment to excellence in all that we do; the provision of transformational educational experiences; internationalism; and global sustainability. At Bellarmine, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish and Islamic scholars, as well as those from other faith traditions or no faith tradition, meet in mutual discourse to achieve these goals.