Benedictine College

  • Benedictine College

    Atchison, KS

  • Benedictine College

    Atchison, KS

  • Benedictine College

    Atchison, KS

  • Benedictine College

    Atchison, KS

  • Benedictine College

    Atchison, KS




Catholic Faculty


Catholic Students


On-campus students in single-sex dorms


The Abbey tower and cross rise above the trees as you approach Benedictine College, set on the Kansas bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. Although these sure signs of a Catholic community have dominated the landscape for generations, the College has more recently found a renewed strength in its Catholic identity—with very exciting results.

Students describe the Abbey as “The Rock,” referencing the limestone blocks that make up its imposing Church. But there is also a deeper meaning: the Abbey tower sits precisely above the Tabernacle at the center of the 100-acre campus, a reminder that Christ and His Church are the true foundation of the monastic community and the College.

What was originally St. Benedict’s College was founded in 1858—a men’s college before its merger with the all-female Mount St. Scholastica College in 1971. Despite efforts to maintain a strong Catholic identity—for instance, the Abbey leased its land to the College on the condition that all students take nine credit hours of theology—the College became something of a “party school” from the 1970s to the early 1990s. Suffering financially, Benedictine almost closed on more than one occasion.
But Benedictine’s turnaround is a remarkable example of what can happen when a college embraces its Catholic identity with passion. Today Benedictine routinely refers to its four “pillars”: Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts, and residential. As a result, Benedictine has experienced tremendous success.

Stephen Minnis has been the College’s president for the last decade. A former prosecuting attorney and corporate lawyer, Minnis is a Benedictine College alumnus. His wife Amy is a graduate and teaches math and computer science at the College, as well as serving as one of the caretakers for the Marian Grotto.

The board of directors is composed of 43 lay members and College personnel, including four priests, the prior of the Abbey, and three religious sisters.


As a liberal arts college, Benedictine requires every student to complete 58 credits in foundational courses.  These include core courses in English composition, a foreign language, theology, philosophy, wellness for life, physical fitness, and the Benedictine College Experience.  The latter course introduces first-year students to the value and qualities of a Catholic liberal arts education.

In addition, students have a variety of choices from various disciplines to fulfill the Foundations requirements in areas such as faith, aesthetics, philosophical inquiry, and understanding the natural world.  Likewise, Skills and Perspectives courses are required in broad areas such as global perspective, communication, and scientific method.

The College offers more than 40 traditional majors. Business, education, biology, and theology are popular majors, and Benedictine is one of a few Catholic liberal arts colleges to offer architecture, engineering, and astronomy.

Benedictine is careful when hiring theology professors. It wants only “candidates who will seek the mandatum from the local ordinary in accordance with Ex corde Ecclesiae,” according to Dr. Richard White, associate professor and chair of the Theology Department.

Benedictine recently expanded its engineering physics major to a complete engineering program that offers accredited chemical, civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering degrees through a partnership with the University of North Dakota. Also, Benedictine’s nursing program was approved by the Kansas State Board of Nursing in 2010.

The Education Department has been nationally recognized by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.

About 70 percent of students majoring in natural sciences continue in graduate and professional schools, nearly twice the national average.

Benedictine offers a study abroad semester at its Florence campus in Italy for up to 40 students per semester. They reside at Villa Morghen, a former monastery located approximately three miles from the historic center of Florence.  In addition to courses in Italian, Florentine history and culture, and the saints and mystics of Italy, students visit Subiaco, Monte Cassino, Assisi, Perugia, Pisa, and Livorno. The final week of the program is spent in Rome.

The College is also part of an exchange program that allows students to study in Australia, Ireland, or anywhere in a network of 275 colleges and universities in 39 different countries. Students majoring in French or Spanish are required to complete one semester abroad.


The presence of the Benedictine monks on campus is a blessing. Not only are five chaplains available to celebrate Mass and hear Confessions, but several also provide spiritual direction.

Four Ordinary Form Masses are available daily at the various chapels and churches on campus, with five Masses on Sunday. In total, daily Masses are attended by approximately 625 students, more than one-third of the student body. Benedictine College ministry estimated that 80 percent of Benedictine students worship weekly.

“You have your options from a very conservative Mass [at the Abbey] to a more charismatic Mass with praise and worship,” said one student. “There is nothing irreverent and you can find one that fits your spirituality.”

Confession is available 30 minutes prior to each Mass, and Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration is offered at St. Benedict’s Parish Church adjacent to Ferrell Hall. A variety of retreats are regularly made available to students as well.

The St. Gregory the Great vocational discernment group is active on campus, and over the past few years, 60 students have announced their intention to discern the priesthood or religious life.

At least half of Benedictine’s college ministry programs are dedicated to social justice and human rights. One group of students is engaged in prison ministry.  The college’s Institute for Missionary Activity yearly sends 10 percent of the student body to five continents. Past mission trips have gone to Belize, El Salvador, the Philippines, India, Tanzania, and Indian reservations in North Dakota.

Students are also involved in serving the poor through Simple House, an outreach program in Kansas City. Each week, more than 400 students skip a meal and donate the food to the poor. In addition, students have sponsored a Christmas giving tree for foster children, adopted poor families in Kansas City, visited local senior citizens, volunteered at a soup kitchen, and participated in Habitat for Humanity.


Benedictine has 17 residence halls, nine for women and eight for men. Each of the residence halls has a different style and houses students depending upon their class. One hall features lofts, suites, and apartment-style rooms for upper-class women. Another has single rooms for men and has been described as a mini-seminary. There are also two- and four-bedroom apartment-style residences for upper-class men and women.

Each hall is staffed by a residence director and multiple student resident assistants. “All resident directors study the virtues, Ex corde Ecclesiae, the Rule of St. Benedict, the Pope’s Theology of the Body, and the documents on the dignity of the human person and the vocation of women,” said Benedictine Father Brendan Rolling. Residence Life structures fellowship around a “family model” that promotes wholesome community.

The College maintains a strict visitation policy for each of its halls: between 12 p.m. and 12 a.m. on weekdays and between 10 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. on weekends.

Benedictine has a household program, called the School of the Lord’s Service, where students live together and act and pray as a community. This is a joint initiative of the College, the Archdiocese of Kansas City’s Office of Evangelization, and the Minnesota-based St. Paul’s Outreach.

Benedictine College became a tobacco-free campus in 2015. There is no dress code, and moderate drinking is permitted by students of legal age. Whereas the party atmosphere was prevalent in earlier decades, it has diminished in recent years, and to the degree that underage drinking and partying exist, they mostly take place off-campus.

Situated along the Missouri River, Atchison is quintessential small-town Midwest. There is a main street with local businesses located just blocks away from campus and larger retailers located a bit farther near the edge of town. The town boasts of more than 20 sites on the National Register of Historic Places and is the birthplace of famed pilot Amelia Earhart.

In addition to Kansas City, students can easily reach St. Joseph, Missouri, which is about 20 miles across the state border.


Benedictine has more than 35 student groups, clubs, and organizations, including academic clubs, sports clubs, and others. The most popular student organization is Ravens Respect Life, which takes large numbers of students to the annual March for Life. In addition, the University has a Theology of the Body club, a Knights of Columbus group, the BC Nun Run (for women considering a religious vocation), a Swing and Social Dance club, Pipe and Cigar Enthusiasts Club, and many others.

The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) was founded at Benedictine, and the local campus-based team maintains an office on campus. Seventy percent of new students sign up for the 72 FOCUS Bible studies taking place on campus, and nearly a quarter of the student body attends the FOCUS national conference.

Benedictine has seven different student choirs. Among them, the Chamber Singers have traveled to Italy several times, performing in Venice, Rome, and even for the Pope. Other active groups on campus are the Communion and Liberation group that meets weekly, and a Hunger Coalition that serves approximately 400 meals to the Atchison community each week.

The new 42,000 square foot Murphy Recreation Center features a hanging track and a turfed field along with two full sized basketball courts and multipurpose rooms for aerobics and spinning classes, as well as an extensive cardio and weight room.

The College is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and offers 19 varsity athletic programs including women’s basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, Spirit squad (cheer and dance), indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball; and men’s baseball, basketball, cross country, football, soccer, wrestling, and indoor and outdoor track and field. There is also an intramural and club sports program that includes rugby and ice hockey.

The Student Union and the Haverty Center, including the Monte Cassino Inn restaurant and pub, are popular student social hangouts. The Center also features a student lounge area, a coffee shop, and a bookstore. The Student Union includes athletic coach offices, the office of student life, some classrooms, the mailroom, an auditorium, a gymnasium, campus ministry offices, and a deli.

Bottom Line

Cardinal Timothy Dolan and other Catholic leaders have visited Benedictine College and praised the school’s transformative education and fidelity to its Catholic identity. Benedictine’s reputation can be attributed to remarkable students and faculty as well as inspiring leaders. The results are impressive.

Benedictine College has experienced 19 straight years of enrollment growth.  It is located in a small town, where the president still tries to learn all of the incoming students’ names. Because of the wide range of opportunities at Benedictine, nearly any type of student should be able to fit in and have a successful college experience.

Students seeking a solid Catholic college offering a host of majors and a family-like environment—all with the excitement and confidence of newfound success—will find much that is attractive about Benedictine.

Questions & Answers

Each year, the Newman Society asks the colleges recommended in The Newman Guide to answer the following questions. Below you will find the responses that we received directly from Benedictine College.

Is your institution accredited by at least one regional or national education association?


Please identify each accreditor and indicate whether it is approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

Benedictine College is accredited as a degree-granting institution of higher education by the following, all approved by the U.S. Department of Education:
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Chicago, IL
Certain programs have received specialized accreditation:
Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology*
National Association of Schools of Music
Reston, VA
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education*
Washington, DC
Kansas State Board of Nursing**
Topeka, KS
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Washington, DC 20036

*Accredited for the preparation of elementary and secondary teachers, with the Master’s
degree as the highest degree approved.
**Authorized to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Our majors in Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Chemical Engineering take all classes on our Benedictine College campus but receive ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) Accredited Engineering degrees from the University of North Dakota.

ADDITIONALLY The undergraduate chemistry program at Benedictine College has received approval from the American Chemical Society (ACS) after an ACS campus visit. Students who graduate from Benedictine’s Chemistry program can receive an additional certification from the ACS.

Please cite evidence of student or alumni accomplishment, such as graduation rate, graduate school placement, job placement, awards, etc.

Latest Available Graduation Rate: 68.5%

The college’s alumni are recognized around the world for their contributions to society. Since 2000, alumni achievements include:

– 98 pursued vocations to the priesthood or religious life.
– 13 bank presidents, including Tom Hoenig, former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and a current director of the FDIC.
– 7 university presidents, including presidents of Boise State and the University of Dallas.
– 6 National Merit finalists
– 4 bishops, including Bishop John Brungardt of the Diocese of Dodge City, Kansas.
– Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer and other Washington leaders.
– 2 Kansas Secretaries of Commerce, William Thornton and Patrick George.
– 1 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, the late Wangari Maathai

Please identify any notable public recognition of your institution’s academic quality in the last three years, such as rankings, awards, etc.

“One of America’s Best Colleges” – U.S. News & World Report (ranked in Top 15 in our category)

All-Steinway School – Steinway & Sons

“Approved” Homeschool-friendly College – Homeschooling Parent

A College of Distinction – Colleges of Distinction

A Catholic College of Distinction – Colleges of Distinction

One of the Top 25 (#19) Great Books Programs –

The Best College in Kansas –

The Best Private College in Kansas – The Best

The “Hidden Gem” College in Kansas – College Raptor

The Largest Private College in Kansas – Kansas Independent College Association

One of the top nursing schools in the nation – Nursing Schools Almanac

Without neglecting difficult topics and ideas, how does your institution avoid leading students into serious error and spiritual harm through blasphemous, dissident, or heretical material in the bookstore, library, lectures, and course content?

At Benedictine College, professors know that their work is held to the standards of the Catholic faith in three ways: Through a mission review by the faculty hiring and Rank and Tenure Committees,  Board of Directors and Administration in promotion and hiring; through a curriculum committee; and by a student evaluation review in which students are given the opportunity to share any and all concerns with every professor yearly in an anonymous way. All three of these methods are taken seriously, and all three have recently resulted in strong consequences to defend our Catholic mission.

How are the insights of the Catholic faith integrated throughout the curriculum and course content in all subject areas?

The college recently completed a Strategic Planning Process that created a plan for the school going forward. The plan was created in conjunction with regional and national experts, including Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society. The first three initiatives call on the college to make the global Catholic Church the model for our approach to student life and diversity, to make faith formation intentional for all students, to “emphasize ethics in conformity with the teachings of the Catholic Church in all disciplines” and to strengthen the college’s commitment to the Catholic intellectual tradition.

These will not be new activities for Benedictine College. As we have reported to the Archdiocese, the Catholic identity of the institution is expressed throughout the curriculum. Students are required to take three philosophy and three theology courses as part of their graduation requirements. Courses in departments as diverse as English, sociology, political science, economics and mass communication include encyclicals and other Church documents — as well s classes entirely dedicated to Church teaching. Various programs in the college have specific requirements that reflect our Catholic identity. The business school requires students to take Ethics from the Philosophy department and Christian Moral Life from the theology department. Our nursing program requires students to take a Christian bioethics course from the theology department.  The college sends faculty members every summer to the national Fides et Ratio seminar program (which was developed with the input of Benedictine College faculty and administrators) that provides formation in the Catholic intellectual tradition for faculty from all disciplines.  All students and new faculty are given an orientation to the mission and values of the college.  This orientation specifically emphasizes the way in which the academic program is in the service of the formation of students in light of Ex Corde Ecclesiae’s explanation of the “vocation of a student”.

How does the institution’s academic program form students in love and knowledge of God, for sainthood?

We state in a prominently displayed document in ever classroom and staff area that Jesus Christ is the highest value at Benedictine College, and shape all of our decisions based on those values.

How does the institution’s academic program prepare students for the renewal of culture in the light of Christ?

We have recently completed a two-year process involving Board Members, faculty, staff and students to  of how to best renew the culture and have determined that his will require formation of students in the faith, advancing the faith through the placement of our alumni in key places, and extending the faith through whatever means best proclaims our mission to off-campus audiences.

Additional Academic Quality information, clarification or description (optional)

As a liberal arts college, Benedictine College is dedicated to provide a liberal arts education by means of academic programs based on a core of studies in the arts and sciences. Through these programs, the college guides students to refine their capacity for the pursuit and acquisition of truth, to appreciate the major achievements in thought and culture, and to understand the principles that sound theoretical and practical judgment require. In addition, the college provides education for careers through both professional courses of study and major programs in the liberal arts and sciences. As an essential element in its educational mission, Benedictine fosters scholarship, independent research and performance in its students and faculty.

Are more than half of the current members of your faculty practicing Catholics?


Approximately what percentage of your current faculty members are practicing Catholics?


Are members of your faculty officially informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the institution?


How are faculty members informed of this responsibility?

Each has a meeting with the President of the College and the Dean of the College for this express purpose.  This is reinforced (explicitly) at new faculty orientation.

Are members of your teaching faculty required, as a condition of employment, to be faithful to the magisterium of the Catholic Church in all teaching activities? (Yes/No)


Are members of your teaching faculty required, as a condition of employment, to conform to Catholic moral teaching in their public actions and statements both on and off campus?


Do all Catholic faculty members make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity? (Yes/No)


Please identify key undergraduate faculty who are noted experts in their field, have produced important publications, have leadership roles in academic associations, etc. and briefly describe such accomplishments (optional):

Kimberly Shankman, Dean of the College: 2010-2011 Thomas Aquinas Fellow, the The Cardinal Newman Society’s Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education.

Susan Traffas, political science: board, Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.

Joe Wurtz, Dean of Students, Gregorian Fellows director: board, Fellowship of Catholic University Students.

Adam Buhman-Wiggs, psychology: president, Kansas Psychological Association.

Tom Hoopes, journalism, writes for the National Catholic RegisterOur Sunday Visitor, Catholic Vote.

Richard Crane, former HOFFBERGER FAMILY FELLOW PROFESSOR at the United States holocaust Memorial Museum

Larry Sutton, recently patented groundbreaking research in the fight against anti-biotic resistant superbugs that has been awarded a patent.

Darren Muggli, chair of Benedictine Engineering which was awarded a $250,000 Keck Foundation Grant, totaling $1 million in grant awards since 2009.

Recent faculty authors:

Frank Kessler, political science, “Moral Authority of the American Presidents” (chap.)

James Madden, philosophy, Mind, Matter, and Nature: A Thomistic Proposal for the Philosophy of Mind Paperback

Edward Macierowski, philosophy, De Lubac’s Medieval Exegesis (trans.)

Stephen D. Minnis, president, “The Importance of Mission” (chap.)

Matthew J. Ramage, Dark Passages of the Bible: Engaging Scripture with Benedict XVI and St. Thomas Aquinas

John Rziha, The Christian Moral Life: Directions for the Journey to Happiness

Andrew Swafford, Nature and Grace: A New Approach to Thomistic Ressourcement

Mark Zia, The Enduring Faith and Timeless Truths of Fulton Sheen

Additional Faculty information, clarification or description (optional):

Jamie Blosser and Matthew Ramage, theology, met in Washington, D.C., with U.S. bishops as part of the “Intellectual Tasks of the New Evangelization” conference.

Fr. Matthew Habiger, OSB, former theology professor, has served as president of Human Life International, gave lectures on EWTN and now leads NFP Outreach.

Fr. Meinrad Miller, OSB, theology, is a retreat leader for the Missionaries of Charity, Communion and Liberation and various religious congregations.

Ted Sri, theology, is a prolific author.

Does the institution have a department of Catholic theology, distinct from “religious studies” and other disciplines?


Are courses in Catholic theology clearly identified and distinguished from other courses dealing with religion?


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines have a mandatum according to the procedures established by the local bishop or other competent ecclesiastical authority?


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Does your institution require that all theology courses be taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium, and also to the principles and methods proper to Catholic theology?


Please identify the theology courses that are included in the undergraduate core or distribution requirements and the professors who routinely teach those courses:

Introduction to Theology, all theology professors.

Please describe the place of Catholic theology in your institution’s undergraduate curriculum and how it is distinct from other institutions.

In our signature Ferrell Academic Center, meant to showcase the disciplines that the Benedictines used to transform Western Civilization, Theology and Philosophy have the highest place.

Students are required to take Introduction to Theology and two additional courses in theology either in the theology department or from approved courses dealing with theological issues in other departments.

We are the only school in the country that offers a theology methods course in the Education Department for those who want to teach high school.

Additional Theology information, clarification or description (optional):

The theology department at Benedictine College, faithful to the Christian message as it has come to us through the Church, embraces as its mission the imperative to introduce students to Catholic theology as “faith seeking understanding.”

Please identify any course that every undergraduate student must take:

English Composition, Philosophy (or Principles) of Nature, Introduction to Theology, Wellness for Life, The BC Experience, PE Fitness Activity course, Foreign Language.

Please identity the courses that students may choose from in order to satisfy common curriculum distribution requirements:

Introduction/Survey Courses in English literature, history, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, art, music, theater, biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, as well as theology and philosophy courses.

How many credits are required for graduation and what percent are from core / distribution courses?

128 credits   45%

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more courses in which they are taught authentic Catholic doctrine and practice?


If yes, please describe them generally and note how many courses are required?

All of our theology courses, even those that cover world religions or the Protestant tradition, do so within a framework of authentic Catholic doctrine and practice.  In addition to the Introduction to Theology course, all students take two additional courses to satisfy this requirement.

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more interdisciplinary courses relating theology or philosophy with other disciplines?


List the major, minor and special program areas that students may choose for specialization while pursuing an undergraduate degree:

Benedictine College offers more than 50 major, minor, and specialty programs.  In addition to majors in traditional liberal arts fields, Benedictine College offers professional preparation programs in fields such as architecture, business, education, nursing, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering and civil engineering.

Accounting, Architecture, Art, Art Education, Astronomy, Athletic Healthcare and Training, Biochemistry, Biology, Business, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Civil Engineering, Classics, Computer Science, Criminology, Dance, Economics, Education, Electrical Engineering, Elementary & Secondary Education, Engineering Physics, English, English Literature, Entrepreneurship, Evangelization and Catechesis, Finance, Foreign Language, French, History, International Business, International Studies, Journalism, Journalism & Mass Communications, Latin, Liberal Studies, Management, Marketing, Mass Communications, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Music, Music Education, Natural Science, Nursing, Philosophy, Physical Education, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Social Science, Sociology, Spanish, Special Education, Theatre Arts, Theatre Arts Management, Theology

Dentistry, Law, Medical Technology, Medicine, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy

What are the three most popular majors or specialty disciplines for undergraduate students, and about what percentage of undergraduate students specialize in these disciplines?

Business, 20.4%

Education, 16.3%

Theology, 9.2%

Does each undergraduate degree program require Catholic ethical formation related to the student’s major field(s) of study?


Does your institution regularly provide academic events to address theological questions related to specialized disciplines?


If yes, please describe:

We regularly feature important Catholic speakers on questions regarding Catholic identity in public life, such that we have started a speech digest to share their important lectures nationally.

Speakers, student/faculty panels and student faculty research projects often focus on theological aspects of academic specialties.

Does your institution require cooperation among faculty in different disciplines in teaching, research and other academic activities?


If yes, please describe.

Benedictine College’s Discovery Program prepares students for lifelong learning by engaging them in interdisciplinary Discovery Projects. These projects offer students a meaningful context for their liberal arts education by integrating multiple perspectives, translating understanding into performance, and extending learning beyond the classroom.

Our philosophy and theology departments cooperate with each other and with other departments and with the Archdiocese to maintain the strong Catholic identity of our curriculum.

We offer several courses which are team taught, such as Catholic Social Thought (Economics and Theology).

The chairs of philosophy and theology jointly offer a three-semester great books course called “Faith and Reason” explicitly fulfilling the call of Ex Corde to “promote dialogue … so that it can be seen more profoundly how faith and reason bear harmonious witness to the unity of all truth.”

Additional Programs of Study information, clarification or description:

Benedictine College’s Discovery Program prepares students for lifelong learning by engaging them in interdisciplinary Discovery Projects. These projects offer students a meaningful context for their liberal arts education by integrating multiple perspectives, translating understanding into performance, and extending learning beyond the classroom. Discovery Projects, designed for acquiring learning skills through the pursuit of intrinsically valued questions, are distinguished by three learning strategies:

1. Active learning—engaging students experientially in the learning process;

2. Collaborative learning—working with faculty toward common goals; and

3. Creative learning—producing original works and research.

Does the institution have one or more priest chaplains on campus for the Sacraments and spiritual direction? (Yes/No)


On average, how many hours per week is a priest chaplain on campus and available to students?

Benedictine College has four priests that work in College Ministry and work with individuals requesting Spiritual Direction.  St. Benedict Abbey monks not engaged in campus positions also offer Spiritual Direction to students and others who contact them.  In addition, various religious order priests, sisters from a number of women’s communities provide Spiritual Direction.  A Regnum Christi consecrated is on campus monthly and provides Spiritual Direction.  In order to help students understand what Spiritual Direction is, its benefits and how to go about selecting a Spiritual Direction, the College Chaplain offers a presentation/training to interested students each fall when the students return.

Please describe the priests who minister to students and celebrate the Sacraments on campus.

  • Director of College Ministry: Fr. Luke Turner, OSB
  • College Chaplain: Fr. Simon Baker, OSB
  • Associate College Chaplain: Fr. Ryan Richardson, LC
  • Associate College Chaplain: Fr. Steve Mills
  • Various other monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey
  • Two priests who are members of a religious order visit monthly and offer Spiritual Direction and also celebrate Mass
  • Monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey who assist: Father Meinrad Miller, Father Jay Kythe, Father Marion Charboneau, Abbot James Albers, Father Gabriel Landis

Does the local bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) select or approve the appointment of your chaplain?


Does the institution have one or more campus ministers on campus (lay or religious, but not priests) who are available to students for spiritual direction? (Yes/No)


Please describe the campus ministers who are not priests.

Though they are not formally “campus ministers,” in cooperation with the monks of St. Benedict Abbey and other priests, the following religious offer more than 1100 hours annually of spiritual direction to our students:

Sister Susan Barber, OSB

Sr. Marie Caritas – Christ the King Sisters

Sr. Serena Deters – Marian Sisters

Tammy Grady, lay consecrated, Regnum Christi

Br. Leven Harton, OSB – Prior and Monk of St. Benedict’s Abbey

Sr. Mary Immaculata – Christ the King Sisters

Sr. Amy Marie – Marian Sisters

Sister Barbara Smith, OSB

Sister Marcia Ziska, OSB

and various others

Does your institution offer Mass to students at least on Sundays and other days of obligation?


On average, about what percentage of undergraduate students attend Sunday Mass (including the Saturday vigil Mass) during the academic year? 


Does your institution offer daily Mass to students?


On average, about how many undergraduate students attend daily Mass during the academic year?

800 students or approximately 50%

Does your institution offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to students at least weekly?


Are all of the Masses celebrated on campus reverent and in accord with liturgical norms and directives?


Are the altar servers at your institution’s Masses male only or both male and female?

Male only

Please list the schedule of Masses, noting the following for each Mass: the day and time, the Form or Rite of the Mass, and the style of music, if any (chant, traditional, contemporary, etc.):

Mo 8:15 a.m., Ordinary Form, hymn;
Noon, Ordinary Form, spoken antiphons;
5:15 p.m., Ordinary Form, hymn;
9:30 p.m., Ordinary Form, hymn

Tu 8:15 a.m., Ordinary Form, hymn;
Noon, Ordinary Form, spoken antiphons;
5:15 p.m., Ordinary Form, hymn;
9:30 p.m., Ordinary Form, hymn

We 8:15 a.m., Ordinary Form, hymn;
Noon, Ordinary Form, spoken antiphons;
5:15 p.m., Ordinary Form, hymn;
9:30 p.m., Ordinary Form, traditional, poliphany

Th 8:15 a.m., Ordinary Form, hymn;
Noon, Ordinary Form, spoken antiphons;
5:15 p.m., Ordinary Form, hymn;
9:30 p.m., Ordinary Form, praise

Fr 8:15 a.m., Ordinary Form, hymn;
Noon, Ordinary Form, spoken antiphons;
5:15 p.m., Ordinary Form, hymn

Sa 8:15 a.m., Ordinary Form, hymn;
Noon, Ordinary Form, spoken antiphons;
5:15 p.m., Ordinary Form, hymn

Su 8:30 a.m., Ordinary Form, hymn;
10:00 a.m., Ordinary Form, chant, poliphany, hymn, organ;
10:30 a.m., Ordinary Form, chant, poliphany, hymn, organ, piano;
6:30 p.m., Ordinary Form, hymn;
9:00 p.m., Ordinary Form, hymn, praise, piano, guitar

Does your institution offer Confession on campus at least weekly?


List the schedule for Confession by day and time:

Mo 12:30 p.m., 4:00-5:00 p.m., 9:00-9:30 p.m.

Tu 12:30 p.m., 4:00-5:00 p.m., 9:00-9:30 p.m.

We 12:30 p.m., 4:00-5:00 p.m., 9:00-9:30 p.m.

Th 12:30 p.m., 4:00-5:00 p.m., 9:00-9:30 p.m.

Fr 12:30 p.m., 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Sa 10:00-11:00 a.m., 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Su 9:00-10:00 a.m., 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Other: All retreats, at spiritual direction, before All-School Masses, before Baccalaureate Mass and by appointment with chaplains

Does your institution offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at least weekly?


List the schedule for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by day and time:

Perpetual Adoration on campus

Wed-Thurs Memorial Chapel Adoration, 12:00-9:00 p.m.

Wednesday Morning Eucharistic Hour for the College, Abbey Crypt

Saturday Holy Hour for Vocations, Abbey Crypt, 8:00-9:00 p.m.

Additional weekday hours in several campus chapels

Please identify regularly scheduled devotions on campus for students such as the Rosary and prayer groups:

7:00 a.m., Liturgy of the Hours, Residence Halls

3:00 p.m., M-F, Divine Mercy Chaplet, Church

6:00 p.m., Daily Rosary at Grotto

9:00 p.m., M-Th, Rosary, Chapel

11:00 p.m., M-F, Rosary, Men’s and Women’s Halls

7:00 a.m., W, Student Leader Eucharistic Holy Hour

7:30 a.m., W, President’s Rosary

Total Consecration to Mary, Fall Semester

All School Masses, Holy Days of Obligation

70 Bible Studies, Weekly

Lord’s Day, Men’s and Women’s Households

Weekly Prayer Meetings, Households

Novenas: Various Saints

Annual Pilgrimages:  D.C. March for Life, Rome and the Holy Land

Does your institution offer retreat programs available to all Catholic students at least annually?


Please describe any formal programs to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life:

Using the Benedictine College Family Model Student Life Program, all our leadership programing is designed to foster a positive attitude toward priesthood and religious life.  This includes our Residence Life, Ambassador, FOCUS Bible Study, SPO Household, Student Government and Ministry Office programs. We sponsor regular retreats, host priests and religious from dioceses and communities across the country throughout the year, promote spiritual direction, sponsor a fall Ministry Fair and spring Vocations Fair, students organize Nun Runs and Monk Runs, promote involvement in summer catechetical programs like Totus Tuus, and we work with local communities and the Archdiocese.

If your institution has formal vocation programs, about how many students participate in them each year?


Are you aware of any graduates from your institution (not including seminary students, if any) who are ordained to the priesthood or have entered religious life? Please describe.

More than 100 fit this description. Each year an alumni priest celebrates the Opening School Mass. Benedictine College graduates include three vocations directors at major women’s religious orders. Our alumni include 7 21st-century bishops.

Additional Chaplaincy information, clarification or description (optional):

All seven chaplains have taken the Oath of Fidelity and are personally committed to the Church’s dynamic orthodoxy.  They are pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-family and implement the vision of  Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict daily in their celebration of the sacraments, preaching and interaction with students.

College Chaplain: Father Simon Baker, OSB

Associate Chaplain: Father Jay Kythe, OSB

Please describe options for students to reside on and off campus:

Benedictine College is a four-year residential institution.  Guided by our Benedictine charism we acknowledge that student learning in the classroom and formation outside of the classroom will be enhanced through living in community.  Therefore, nearly 80 percent of our entire student body lives on campus in the residence halls.  All of our residence halls are single-sex and residents are grouped primarily by academic class standing.  Throughout their four years living on campus, students have a variety of residence hall configurations to live in.  Our freshmen live in traditional style residence halls in which two residents live in a room and the hall has community lounges aimed at building community and facilitating friendships.  Upperclassmen residence halls vary from suite style rooms with shared common spaces and bathrooms to apartment style residence halls where residents have their own kitchen.  Residence life at Benedictine College ultimately strives to develop the whole person in a safe living and learning environment that fosters growth in virtue as residents develop into men and women of character who respect the dignity of the human person.

Does your institution offer only single-sex residence halls?


Your institution offers single-sex residence halls for (please put an “X” in front of any that apply):

X  All students
Any Student who wishes
No students
All freshmen (only if not “All students”)
Only freshmen

What percentage of students living on campus live in single-sex residence halls?


When are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit common areas of residence halls?

Residents can visit members of the opposite sex in their residence halls at the following days and times: Sunday – Thursday from 12:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.; Friday and Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.

Are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit students’ bedrooms? (Not including irregular (once or twice a semester), “open house” events.)


If yes, when?

Between Noon and Midnight Sun.-Thurs; Friday and Sat from 12 Noon to 1:30 am.

If students of the opposite sex are permitted to visit students’ bedrooms, does your institution have an “open bolt” policy? Please describe.


How does your institution foster sobriety and respond to substance abuse on campus, particularly in campus residences?

Benedictine College strives to cultivate the virtue of sobriety in our student body as well as a moderate drinking culture for our students who can legally consume alcohol.  To accomplish this, we have both proactive and reactive initiatives in place.   Proactively, we provide healthy alcohol-free programs for our students throughout the year in the residence halls.  This is highlighted with our Alcohol Free competition each year.  During the competition each residence hall puts on an alcohol-free event which both serves as a model for how to engage in healthy activities without the use of alcohol and disseminates information about the dangers of abusing alcohol.  Last year our alcohol-free competition reached 1,500 students.  We also have a great relationship with the Drug and Alcohol task force on campus and partner with them to further educate the student body on the dangers of abusing alcohol. When one of our students is found in violation of the alcohol policy they receive the following consequences.  For the first offense they receive a monetary fine and some other correctional educational service, the second they receive another monetary fine and are required to take an alcohol education class, and the third time they receive a monetary fine and take a mandatory alcohol assessment to determine the extent of the problem.  If we have cause to worry that any student may have a problem with alcohol abuse at any time we will immediately schedule an alcohol assessment with our counseling center.

How does your institution foster a student living environment that promotes and supports chastity, particularly in campus residences?

We have many initiatives in residence life that promote a healthy view of the human person and appropriate human relationships.  First and foremost providing single-sex residence halls across campus naturally supports and promotes chastity on campus.  Our 50 resident assistants on campus receive instruction in Theology of the Body as a part of their RA training.  The incoming freshman class is required to attend chastity talks as a part of their orientation weekend that promote both physical and emotional chastity.

The policies in the residence halls promote chastity through educational initiatives and assigned community service when visitation hours are violated.  We also distinguish a period of night in which the violation of visitation hours is considered “cohabitation.”  In these cases we will assign more in-depth education initiatives or have the students involved meet with one of our counselors.  Students in this situation will also lose the right to visitation for a specified period of time.

Does your institution have formal programs to foster Catholic prayer life and spirituality in campus residences?


If yes, please describe:

The cultivation of a Catholic prayer life and spirituality is one of our main focuses in our program efforts in the residence halls.  We start each year with the monks coming into the residence halls for a night of room blessings for every room in each residence hall.  Numerous halls on-campus have daily or weekly recitations of the Rosary and the Divine Office in their main lounges.  We incorporate and celebrate the liturgical season with the Church into the life of the residence halls.  We invite the monks to come and speak to the residents about the Benedictine charism and spirituality in the residence halls.  Residence halls plan programs to celebrate the patron saint feast days for each residence hall as well as the feast days for Mary.

Additional Residence Life information, clarification or description (optional):

Every year, the campus adopts spiritual themes to set the tone for campus life and ministry. Past themes have included “Do Something Beautiful for God,” “Hope Does Not Disappoint,” “Ignite Your Spirit,” and “Forward. Always Forward,” which was inspired by Archabbot Boniface Wimmer’s words, “Forward. Always forward. … Man’s adversity is God’s opportunity.” Our 2013-2014 theme was “Be The Light,” in honor of two important events. First, it honors the Benedictine religious sisters who came to Atchison in 1863 (150 years ago) and were met by the townspeople with lanterns. Second, the campus consecration to Mary recalled a lantern in a window that saved our founder Fr. Henry Lemke in what he called a “miracle of the Mother of God.”

Since 2001, we have hosted The Leadership Seminar, which incorporates our 10 Benedictine Values. The students who attend the Leadership Seminar will then serve as cultural agents who educate new students about the mission and values of the college. These seminars reach at least 250 students each year, resulting in a total of 1,000 students living on-campus who have received this training every year.

Benedictine College’s goal is to promote chastity such that students seek a life of purity in their dorm rooms and outside them, during the school year and afterwards. This approach to chastity includes a mix of freedom and appropriate rules on the one hand and lots of points of contact regarding chastity on the other. The program is designed and run by committed Catholics from the director level down to its extensive peer-to-peer component. We consider it to be as effective as any other in the nation.

Please identify and briefly describe officially recognized student clubs and activities at your institution that…

foster spiritual development:

Communion & Liberation, Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), Knights of Columbus, Legion of Mary, Mystery Makers, Nun Run, Ravens Respect Life, and Saint Paul’s Outreach.

engage in corporal works of mercy:

Hunger Coalition.  All clubs and organizations are required to coordinate and/or participate in one service project during the academic year.

address sexual issues (including birth control, abortion, homosexuality):

Ravens Respect Life, NFP Outreach (Abbey).

address issues of social concern:

Hunger Coalition, Knights of Columbus and Ravens Respect Life.

address particular academic interests:

Alpha Mu Gamma, Art Club, Chemistry/Biochemistry Club, Economics Society, Engineering Club, English Club, French Club, Italian Club, Math & Computer Science Club, Nurses Association of Students, Psychology Club, Society of Physics Students, Sociology Club, and Spanish Club.

address particular cultural interests:

Black Students Association, Celtic Music Club, and Organization of Latino American Students.

provide opportunities for athletic pursuits:

Black Monks Rugby (men’s rugby team), Monk Force (men’s ultimate frisbee team), and Saint’s Rugby (women’s rugby).

If applicable, in which athletic Division and Conference does your institution compete? (Please specify NCAA, NAIA, etc. as well as Division Level.)   

NAIA, Heart of America conference 

What athletic teams are offered for men and women?  

These 19 are housed in the Benedictine College Athletics Department: 

Men’s sports: Basketball, Baseball, Cross, Country, Football, Soccer, Track & Field, Wrestling, Lacrosse. 

Women’s Sports: Basketball, Cross, Country, Soccer, Softball, Track & Field, Volleyball, Lacrosse. 

Coed: Dance, Cheer, Marching Band. 

How do you help develop the mind, body, and soul of student-athletes? 

The stated goal of the Benedictine College Athletic Department is to “win within the mission.” That has meant success in the classroom and on the field for our teams: 

  • 13 Conference titles and seven tournament titles in five years. 
  • 806 All-Conference student-athletes in five years. 
  • 63 NAIA All-Americans in five years. 
  • 152 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athletes in five years. 

We also want to care for students’ faith life. 

The FOCUS-affiliated Varsity Catholic offers 19 bible studies for 15 different sports teams.  More than 150 athletes participate.  Varsity Catholic hosts a weekly Eucharistic Adoration Holy Hour for athletes and helps lead opening prayers before athletic events. At Sunday Masses on campus, athletic teams participate through various responsibilities and are publicly recognized for their involvement. Varsity Catholic promotes chastity, sobriety and excellence with student-athletes involved in their program that fosters the integration of academics, athletics and spiritual pursuits. 

please list all student clubs not listed in the above categories:

American Sign Language Club, Film Club, Pileus (Coin Collecting Club), Raven Venturing Crew, Raven Roleplaying Gamers, Republicans, Student International Business Council, Students in Free Enterprise, and Swing & Social Dance Club.

Does your institution require all student clubs and activities, including those listed above, to operate in accord with Catholic teaching?


How does your institution address student clubs and activities that may conflict with Catholic teaching?

The College does not permit student clubs or activities that conflict with Catholic teaching.

Does your institution require student services like health care, counseling and guidance to conform to Catholic ethical and moral teaching and directives?


Additional Student Activities information, clarification or description (optional):

For more than 1,000 years, Scriptural literacy has been a pillar of Benedictine spirituality; since 2006, we have motivated an increasing number of students to participate in regular Bible study. In 2010 alone, 197 freshmen signed up for FOCUS Bible studies on their first day on campus.

The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) has designated Benedictine College a “flagship school” and identified the local chapter as a national standard. Ten percent of all active FOCUS missionaries are Benedictine alumni and the quality of our program is so strong that FOCUS sends all their campus ministry leaders to Benedictine prior to sending them out into the field.

Has your institution’s diocesan bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) officially recognized the institution as Catholic?


Do your institution’s governing documents include or reference the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?


Do your institution’s governing documents or institutional policies require conformity to the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex corde Ecclesiae?


What is your institution’s mission statement:

Benedictine College is an academic community sponsored by the monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey and the sisters of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery. Heir to the 1,500 years of Benedictine dedication to learning, Benedictine College in its own time is ordered to the goal of wisdom lived out in responsible awareness of oneself, God and nature, family and society. Its mission as a Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts, residential college is the education of men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.

As a Catholic college, Benedictine College is committed to those beliefs and natural principles that form the framework of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and it is committed further to those specific matters of faith of the Roman Catholic tradition, as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ and handed down in the teachings of the Church. The college embraces students and faculty from all faiths who accept its goals, seeking in its members a personal commitment to the ideals and principles of a spiritual life and the expression of these in worship and action. Benedictine College promotes the growing involvement of religious and laity in the Church’s ministries.

Does your institution have a written policy regarding speakers and honorees that at a minimum meets the standards established by the United States bishops in “Catholics in Political Life?”


If yes, please give the policy:

“Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms that would suggest support for their actions.”

Additional Institutional Identity information, clarification or description (optional):

Benedictine College honors Catholic identity through:

Humanae Vitae Award, for making the Catholic Church’s teaching on life, bioethics or human sexuality better known and appreciated.

John Paul II Distinguished Speaker award, for outstanding contribution to the new evangelization.

Do Something Beautiful for God award, for service.

Offeramus Medal for women alumni. Recent recipients include Biblical scholar Sister Irene Nowell, OSB, and pro-life activist Sherry Mefford Lange.

Kansas Monk for male alumni.

The Cross of the Order of St. Benedict honors those who have lived the Benedictine values. A recent recipient: Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna.

Describe the makeup of your institution’s undergraduate student body with regard to sex, religion, home state/country and type of high school (public, private, homeschool):
Total number of undergraduates: 1,921

Male: 46%  Female: 54%

Catholic: 86%  Other Christian: 6%
Jewish: Muslim: Other:  None reported: 7%

Number of states represented: 49 + District of Columbia
Top three states: Kansas (25%), Missouri (16%), Colorado (9%)
Students from top three states: 50%

Catholic HS: 41% Homeschool: 12%
Private HS: 5% Public HS:  43%

Most up-to-date information provided by the College.

Editor’s Note: Campus safety and security information for most colleges is available via the U.S. Department of Education website here.

Are prospective and current members of your institution’s governing board(s) informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of your institution?


Are more than half of the current members of your institution’s governing board(s) practicing Catholics?


Do Catholic members of your institution’s governing board(s) make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Is your institution’s president a practicing Catholic?


Does your institution’s president make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity?


Additional Leadership information, clarification or description (optional):

By-laws require Monks and Sisters on our board. We open and close board, administration and faculty meetings in prayer; board schedules include Mass.

Priests and Sisters serve as six board members, five chaplains, faculty members, and associate dean of the college.

We created a cabinet-level Director for Mission and Ministry position for Fr. Brendan Rolling, OSB, who has written for Our Sunday Visitor.

President Minnis is a sought-after commentator on faith issues. Speaking engagements include: The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., Legatus society meetings, Catholic lawyer groups, and Catholic radio.

Charles Gartenmayer, Athletic Director, was featured on Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) for his role in Varsity Catholic.

A Message from the President

Dear Parents and Prospective Students,

Thank you for your interest in Benedictine College. We take our academics seriously — reaching the top 15 in U.S. News & World Report — while refusing to compromise our Catholic identity.

Consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, we are the Flagship College of the New Evangelization and the birthplace of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). We offer perpetual adoration on campus and send more students from further away for the Washington, D.C., March for Life than any other college or university.

Our transformative plan, “Benedictine 2020: A Vision for Greatness” was designed to make Benedictine College one of America’s great Catholic colleges.

To “Educate America’s Future Leaders” Benedictine 2020 has:

-Added Great Books, Gregorian Fellowship Leadership Program, the Honors Program and 15 annual Presidential and Deans’ Scholarships.

-Added programs in Architecture and Chemical, Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering.

-Replaced all pianos on campus to earn the designation “All-Steinway School.”

-Added Full-tuition National Merit Scholarships and 30 endowed scholarships.

-Built the Student Success Center for undergraduate tutoring, graduate school placement and career services.

To “Build for Greatness” Benedictine 2020 has:

-Added the new Murphy Recreation Center, six new residence halls, three new academic buildings, and two new chapels.

-Begun work on a state of the art Science & Engineering building to be completed soon.

-Built new softball and baseball facilities, and upgrades to football and soccer.

-Enthroned the Sacred Heart of Jesus on campus with an 8-foot-tall statue in the center of campus, and added major statues of St. Teresa of Calcutta, St. Benedict, St. Scholastica and Our Lady of Grace.

To “Develop a World Class Faculty” Benedictine 2020 has:

-Added new endowed faculty positions and programs.

-New majors include Nursing, four Engineering disciplines, and Evangelization & Catechesis.

-Faculty salaries rose by 40% to compete in the marketplace.

-Two faculty members received patents.

Our students are becoming engineers, educators, lawyers, doctors and nurses — leaders in their communities, in the Church and in the world. Visit our campus and learn more about our mission of community, faith and scholarship.

It’s a great time to be a Raven!

Yours in Christ,

Stephen D. Minnis

Visit Campus

Get in touch with Benedictine College to schedule your campus visit:

800-467-5340 ext. 7476

1020 North Second Street
Atchison, KS 66002

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