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ROMEOVILLE, Ill.— The presidents of Lewis University and St. Augustine College today announced a plan to merge both institutions, with both Boards of Trustees unanimously approving the decision.
The schools will now submit an application to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to make St. Augustine College a part of Lewis University. The joining of both schools is centered around a shared mission to expand access and opportunity for students who are often underrepresented and underserved in traditional higher education.
“Our two institutions are well-matched in mission and values,” said Dr. David Livingston, Lewis University president. “We fill a unique niche within higher education, serving students from all walks of life with affordable programs that deliver a liberal arts core and an emphasis on career and workforce preparation. Through this merger, we will build upon the legacy and tradition of St. Augustine College, offering an expanded range of bilingual education programs, services and outreach to the growing Hispanic population in Chicago. No student today should face limited educational opportunity because of language. Especially not when the Hispanic community is the fastest growing population in Chicago.”
With this unified future, St. Augustine aligns with the Lasallian global network, one of the largest Catholic education networks in the world and one of the largest Catholic higher education networks in the United States.
The merger builds on the legacies of both institutions – each established to meet the needs of underserved communities – providing education as a life-changing pathway to expanded opportunity. In a unified university, more degree programs than ever before will be at the forefront of an expanded bilingual educational experience. Students are expected to be able to attend courses in bilingual format at urban or suburban locations.
“We are excited for this once-in-lifetime opportunity. La única,” said Dr. Reyes Gonzalez, St. Augustine College president. “Together, we will realize the dreams held by our founders; dreams of providing education to all, regardless of social class. Our combined strength will allow us to support more students with a life-changing educational experience that equips them for success in the marketplace. We will create a wider bridge to economic prosperity, one that is as expansive as the enterprising spirit of our students. This is the educational experience that will make us a leader for our entire region.”
The merger is subject to the approval of the Higher Learning Commission, Illinois Board of Higher Education and the U.S. Department of Education. Both schools will continue operating as independent institutions with no disruption to students or missions until the merger is complete.
About Lewis University:Lewis University is an innovative Catholic university offering market-relevant undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,500 students. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis University is nationally recognized for preparing intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, and globally connected graduates who impact the world for the better. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.
About St. Augustine College:For over four decades, St. Augustine College has served underrepresented communities by preparing them for careers in Early Childhood Education, Respiratory Therapy, Social Work and much more. With more than 8,000 graduates, St. Augustine has provided equitable changes for a global society through academic excellence. To learn more about the work being done at St. Augustine, visit us at www.staugustine.edu.