Mission

The Collegium Institute is a scholarly foundation devoted to fostering the Catholic intellectual tradition, and the liberal tradition of humane studies more broadly, within the University of Pennsylvania community.

Founded by faculty, alumni, students, and friends of Penn, the Collegium Institute is an independent organization that seeks to enrich academic culture by sharing the intellectual fruits of the Catholic tradition with a mainstream audience, both secular and religious, and by supporting scholarship, teaching, and learning that engages across the disciplines.

The institute’s name, collegium, serves as a reminder that the pursuit of knowledge, which is the principal object of all universities, is a communal enterprise. Its flourishing depends upon its members working together to cultivate certain virtues of mind and character, such as humility, trust, honesty, justice, and the love of truth. By witnessing to these enduring virtues, the Collegium Institute aims to serve contemporary academia and become a vibrant center of learning within it.

 

The Need

Academic enquiry today is increasingly fragmented. Although scholarly output today is impressive, indeed staggering, the extreme specialization of scholarship in all fields continues to widen the distance between them and to disintegrate knowledge as a collective human project. Furthermore, colleges and universities frequently allow epistemological cynicism and narrow models of pre-professional training to compromise their commitment to humane education.

The Catholic intellectual tradition is a reservoir of profound thinking about the synthesis of knowledge. By bringing this tradition into conversation with the secular academy and by encouraging a holistic approach to scholarship that transcends disciplinary boundaries, the Collegium Institute affirms the unifying and truly liberal ends of education — namely, freedom in truth.