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Incoming President At University Of St. Thomas Reaffirms College’s Core

Earlier this year, administrators at the University of St. Thomas began to review its philosophy department, stoking fears among the campus and alumni community that it could be eliminated.

In recent years, the University of St. Thomas has expanded its professional programs, including restarting its nursing program and opening a new center for science and health professions.

In recent years, the University of St. Thomas has expanded its professional programs, including restarting its nursing program and opening a new center for science and health professions.

Earlier this year, administrators at the University of St. Thomas began to review its philosophy department. What’s more, contracts were delayed for some philosophy and English professors. That raised concerns among the UST community that the Catholic liberal arts college was walking away from its core.

But the university’s incoming president, Richard Ludwick, said in an interview that he’s committed to the department.

“Philosophy and theology are core components of the Catholic intellectual tradition at the University of St. Thomas,” Ludwick said. “And until the board or otherwise says so, it will remain so.”

All undergraduates must take three classes in each of the following core subjects: English, philosophy and theology. Ludwick, who recently stepped down as president of the Independent Colleges of Indiana and who officially starts at UST in July, said that he expects those graduation requirements to continue.

“I don’t have any plans to do anything like that other than to encourage the faculty to maintain an ever freshening understanding of what their disciplines are,” he said.

Over the last few years, under the leadership of its longtime president Robert Ivany, UST has expanded programs geared towards professions, like nursing. It also opened a new center for science and health professions this year.

That reflects a broader trend in higher education, where, partly because of financial pressures, colleges are encouraging students to think more about careers and less about the big questions of life.

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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