I.1  What is the institution’s historical context and unique characteristics?

Bellarmine College was opened on October 3, 1950, under the sponsorship of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville and with the special assistance of the Conventual Franciscan Fathers. The Bellarmine campus of today stands on property that was a part of a royal land grant from King George III to James McCorkle for his service in the French and Indian War. When classes began in October, 1950, the new school, located at 2000 Norris Place, became one of the first in the Commonwealth of Kentucky open to all races, yet was open only to men.  The first forty-two graduating seniors, "The Pioneer Class," received their diplomas in 1954. In 1968, Bellarmine merged with Ursuline College, a Catholic college for women established by the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville in 1938. It was at the time of merger that the traditional student body became coeducational (the evening division was coeducational already), and Bellarmine became independent with a self-perpetuating governing board. Teacher education became an integral part of this new, coeducational college. In 1967, one year before his death, Thomas Merton, a writer and Trappist Monk at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, established the Merton Legacy Trust, naming Bellarmine College as the repository of his manuscripts, letters, journals, tapes, drawings, photographs, and memorabilia. Two years later, in October 1969, the College established the Thomas Merton Center, with the Collection as its focal point. The Center serves as a regional, national, and international resource for scholarship and inquiry on Merton and his works. In 2000, the Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the institution from Bellarmine College to Bellarmine University to reflect its true status as a Masters I university, having added its first graduate program, the Master of Business Administration, in 1975. Bellarmine University now is made up of the Bellarmine College of Arts & Sciences, the Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing& Health Sciences, the W. Fielding Rubel School of Business, the Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education, the School of Communication, and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, and offers both masters and doctoral level programs.

I.2  What is the institution’s mission?

Bellarmine University is an independent Catholic university serving the region, nation and world by educating talented, diverse students of all faiths and many 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 not dominated by particular political or other single perspective and thus to thoughtful, informed consideration of serious ideas, values, and issues, time-honored and contemporary, across a broad range of compelling regional, national and international matters. By these means, Bellarmine University 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 (Approved 2007).