College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University

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College of Saint Benedict and
Saint John's University
Type Private liberal arts college
Affiliation Roman Catholic
Provost Richard Ice (Interim)
Academic staff
300 full-time; 52 part-time
Undergraduates 3640
Location Minnesota, USA
Campus Rural
Athletics NCAA Division IIIMIAC
Affiliations Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities
College of Saint Benedict
Motto Sic Luceat Lux Vestra
Motto in English
So let your light shine
Type Women's college
Established 1913
Endowment $55.9 million[1]
President Mary Dana Hinton
Undergraduates 1924[2]
Location St. Joseph, Minnesota
Colors          Red and White[3]
Nickname Blazers
Affiliations WCC
Saint John's University
Latin: Universitas Sancti Joannis Baptistae
Motto Induamur Arma Lucis
Motto in English
Put on the Armor of Light
Type Men's college
Established 1857
Endowment $168.9 million[1]
President Michael Hemesath
Undergraduates 1716[2]
Location Collegeville, Minnesota
Colors          Cardinal and Blue[4]
Nickname Johnnies

The College of Saint Benedict (CSB), for women, and Saint John's University (SJU), for men, are partnered private liberal arts colleges respectively located in St. Joseph and Collegeville, Minnesota, USA, within the Diocese of Saint Cloud. Under CSB/SJU's coordinate relationship, students at the two colleges have a shared curriculum, a single academic calendar, access to the resources of both campuses, and identical degree requirements. 90% of CSB/SJU graduates finish in four years, 95% of CSB/SJU students receive financial aid, and 95% of CSB/SJU alums rate their college experience as good or excellent.[5] The Institute of International Education ranks CSB/SJU among the top baccalaureate institutions in the nation for the number of students who study abroad.[6] The institutions have produced two Rhodes Scholars;[7] six Truman Scholars;[8] and at least two Goldwater Scholars.[9] In 2015, the College of Saint Benedict was designated one of the top bachelor's institutions for producing Fulbright students.[10] CSB/SJU has also been recently recognized as a top producer of Peace Corps volunteers.[11]

CSB/SJU is home to the famous Saint John's Bible.


Saint John's University[edit]

Saint John's University was founded by the monks of Saint John's Abbey. In addition to its undergraduate offerings, SJU also includes Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary (SOT), a graduate school that confers Master of Divinity and Master of Arts degrees. SOT also prepares seminarians for the priesthood.

Minnesota Public Radio began on January 22, 1967, when KSJR signed on from the campus of Saint John's University. The station's Director of Broadcasting was SJU alum William H. Kling.

SJU has produced its own coarse-grained bread, Johnnie Bread, since 1856, and used the proceeds to fund projects such as the Abbey Church.[12]

College of Saint Benedict[edit]

The College of St. Benedict is an exclusively undergraduate four-year institution. The College opened in 1913, with six students enrolled, and grew out of St. Benedict's Academy, which was founded by Saint Benedict’s Monastery in 1889. The Benedictine community incorporated CSB in 1961.[13]

Institutional Partnership[edit]

CSB and SJU are two separate institutions that share a single academic program. Men and women attend classes together on both campuses. About 4,000 students are enrolled in CSB/SJU combined. They attend coed classes taught by a joint faculty of approximately 350 professors, mostly full-time, permanent appointees.



In 2015, ''U.S. News & World Report'' ranked St. John’s University as tied for the 79th best liberal arts college in the United States,[14] and College of St. Benedict as tied for the 90th best liberal arts college in the United States.[15]

The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 named CSB/SJU as a "Best Buy School".[16] Their list includes 44 institutions – 22 private and 22 public – as Best Buys this year. There are no other Minnesota colleges or universities on the 2015 list.

CSB and SJU are two of the nation’s best colleges for students seeking great academics, outstanding career preparation, and generous financial aid, according to The Princeton Review's book, Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Best Value Colleges and What It Takes to Get In – 2015 Edition[17].

Both CSB and SJU were rated highly in Money Magazine’s list of top colleges in the United States for 2015-2016. Among Minnesota colleges, SJU was the second-highest ranked school and CSB was the fourth-highest ranked school.[18]

Phi Beta Kappa[edit]

Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest academic honor society. Theta of Minnesota, the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter, was established in 2009.[19]

Internationalization and Study Abroad[edit]

CSB/SJU has achieved national recognition for its strength in international education, with 19 semester-long study abroad sites on six continents. Additionally, the colleges enroll approximately 250 students from 50 countries, and offer 200 undergraduate courses that have a global focus. In 2012, CSB/SJU received the Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization for excellence in internationalization efforts as evidenced in practices, structures, philosophies, and policies.[11][20]


College of Saint Benedict; Main Building (right), Sacred Heart Chapel (left) and Main Convent (center).

The CSB/SJU music department is expansive considering the size of the school; over half of the students at CSB/SJU participate in some kind of music ensemble. The department of music has many ensembles including four choirs, an orchestra, a wind ensemble, a jazz ensemble, and several small chamber ensembles. Many of these ensembles tour extensively both domestically and abroad. The department also presents an opera every year and recently performed a Stephen Paulus oratorio about the Holocaust entitled "To Be Certain of the Dawn", jointly with choirs and orchestra from Saint Cloud State University in Europe in May 2008. There are also several student run groups, including the a cappella group Johnnie Blend.


Connecting the Campuses[edit]

The campuses are located on 3,500 acres (1,400 ha) of forests, prairies, and lakes. Since CSB and SJU are located about three and a half miles apart, a regular inter-campus bus service connects the campuses.

Saint John's Abbey Arboretum[edit]

The SJU campus is surrounded by Saint John’s Abbey Arboretum, more than 2,500 acres of oak savanna, forest, prairie, wetlands, and lakes. These abbey lands were designated as a natural arboretum in 1997. The Arboretum is crisscrossed with groomed Nordic skiing and hiking trails, including the popular "chapel walk" along Lake Sagatagan to Stella Maris Chapel.[21]

Campus Buildings[edit]

Breuer's Saint John's Abbey Church

Marcel Breuer, renowned Brutalist architect, designed several buildings on the Saint John’s campus in the 1960s, including the Saint John's Abbey Church and bell banner; Alcuin Library; Peter Engel Science Center; the Ecumenical Institute, and Saints Thomas, Bernard, Boniface, and Patrick Residence Halls.[22]

Several College of Saint Benedict/Saint Benedict's Monastery and Saint John's University buildings are listed in a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.[23][24]


As a result of their strong Benedictine tradition and the belief in stewardship, both CSB and SJU place a high value on sustainability.[25] The campuses each have their own sustainability office to foster a strong culture of sustainability among the students and the broader community. The institutions signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in 2007, which formalized their goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2035. Dramatic steps have been taken by CSB/SJU to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In the most recent report, Saint John's reported a 56 percent reduction in emissions since 2008 levels.[26] Both institutions also complete STARS reports on sustainability and are signatories of the Catholic Climate Covenant. CSB/SJU seeks to educate and engage the campus community through hosting events, speakers, energy challenges, and other activities.

Saint John's Abbey Energy Farm. The Saint John's Abbey is well-known for having one of the largest solar fields in the state.[27] The original 3.9 acre facility was built in 2009, and its tracking panels provide the university with about 4% of its annual energy needs and up to 20% of its real-time needs in peak conditions. In 2014, the Solar Farm was expanded to include 616 additional fixed panels.[28][29] These new panels will allow the Solar Farm to produce more than 600 kilowatts of electricity -- enough energy to power up to 30% of the SJU campus in peak conditions, and 6% of its energy annually. This project is especially exciting because it creates an unparalleled research opportunity for students and others to compare the performance differences between the two types of panels.[30]

Fine Arts Programming[edit]

The Benedicta Arts Center of the College of Saint Benedict is a performing arts center on campus. The BAC presents three annual performances by the Minnesota Orchestra and has recently commissioned works by Diavolo and Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

Student Life[edit]

Residential Life[edit]

CSB/SJU encourages the four-year residential experience, which goes beyond actual residential facilitiesto include student activities and opportunities, campus policies, dining, recreation and fitness, and academic collaboration.[31]

SJU Residence Halls (Men's Housing). First-year dorms include Saint Thomas Aquinas Hall (Tommy Hall) and Saint Mary Hall. Many sophomores live in three residence halls: St. Bernard (Bernie), St. Boniface (Bonnie), and St. Patrick (Pat). First-year and sophomore halls consist of two-person dorm rooms. Other housing options available for sophomores include St. Benet Hall, which is attached to the Quadrangle Building (Quad); St. Joseph Hall (Joe Hall); St. Gregory House (Greg); St. Francis House (Frank); the Virgil Michel Apartments; and the first floor of Tommy. There are also on-campus apartment options for juniors and seniors, including Placid House, Maur House, Saint Vincent Court, Metten Court, and Flynntown Apartments.[32]

CSB Residence Halls (Women's Housing). First-year residence halls include Corona, Aurora, and Regina. Sophomores live in three residence halls: Lottie, Brian, and Margretta. Juniors and seniors can live in either the West Apartments (Dominica, Gable, Girgen, Schumacher, Smith, Sohler, and Westkaemper) or the East Apartments (Luetmer, McDonald, Wirth, and Zierden), or in the College Avenue Apartments, which consists of two buildings and houses 33 students in one-person or two-person units with private bedrooms.[33] Opened for housing in the fall of 2012, Centennial Commons is the newest addition to CSB's residential facilities.[34] Students can also choose to live in "living communities" such as the Health and Wellness Community, as well as in other campus houses, such as the Rainbow House or the Anne House.[35]

Student Government[edit]

The Saint John's Senate (SJS) is SJU's elected student government, and the Saint Ben's Senate (SBS) is CSB's elected student government. The Senates, while individually governing in the interest of their own student body, work closely together with students, faculty, staff, and university administrators to enhance all aspects of student life.

Student-Run Media[edit]

All student media is run independent of the CSB/SJU administration.

  • Extending the LINK: Extending the LINK (ETL) is a non-profit student-founded and run documentary organization. Every year ETL identifies one under-reported global social justice issue to highlight in their documentary. In the process of filming, a small group of students from ETL travel to the international location to film in the country, and return to CSB/SJU to share their film.[36] ETL's mission states that, "Through the creation of annual documentaries, ETL fosters discussion on global issues. By applying these documentaries as vehicles for positive social change, ETL inspires and empowers students, faculty, alumni and the greater community to work for improved social justice at home and abroad." [37]
  • The Record: The official SJU newspaper since 1888, The Record also became the official newspaper of CSB in 2000. The newspaper is published weekly during the fall and spring semesters and has been recognized among the best weekly college newspapers in Minnesota and the U.S. All back issues of CSB newspapers are available through Vivarium, the CSB/SJU Digital Image Collection.
  • KJNB: The official CSB/SJU student radio station allows students to host hour-long talk and music-oriented shows. Broadcasts are streamed via, on closed-circuit campus TV Channel 8, and over the speakers at Sexton Dining Hall. When KJNB first started out in 1954, it was located in the basement of Mary Hall. In 2001, the studio moved to its current location in the lower level of Guild Hall. The station has been undergoing renovation since 2013.
  • Channel Eight: Channel Eight is the local CSB/SJU television station. Project Eight launched during the 2011–2012 school year. The channel features student produced television shows and other campus-related activities, such as live broadcasts of Senate meetings.


Dr. Mary Hinton, Ph.D., is the fifteenth president of the College of Saint Benedict. She became president of the college on July 1, 2014.[38] Dr. Hinton graduated from Williams College, received her master's degree in clinical child psychology from the University of Kansas, Lawrence and earned her doctorate in religion and religious education at Fordham University.[39]

Michael Hemesath, Ph.D., former Carleton College economics professor, is the thirteenth president of Saint John's University and the first lay president in the history of the institution. He graduated from Saint John's in 1981, and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.[40]

Benedictine Values[edit]

SJU's Great Hall

In the sixth century, St. Benedict, founder of the Benedictine monastic order, wrote the Rule of Saint Benedict, which contain life values modeled after Jesus. The two campuses encourage their students to lead their lives with the values outlined by St. Benedict in mind. The values include:

  • Awareness of God: To look for God in the ordinary events of each day.
  • Community Living: To become who we are by our relationships with others.
  • Dignity of Work: To appreciate the dignity of work in God's creation.
  • Hospitality: To offer warmth, acceptance, and joy in welcoming others.
  • Justice: To work toward a just order in our immediate environment and in the larger society.
  • Listening: To hear keenly and sensitively the voices of persons and all created beings.
  • Moderation: To be content with living simply and finding balance in work, prayer, and leisure.
  • Peace: To strive for peace on all levels: with self, others, and God.
  • Respect for Persons: To respect each person regardless of class, cultural background, or professional skill.
  • Stability: To cultivate rootedness and a shared sense of mission.
  • Stewardship: To appreciate and to care lovingly for all the goods of this place.

These values provide insight and support to students and alumni in building strong and caring family, civic and church communities, wherever life takes them.[41]

The Saint John's Bible[edit]

The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at SJU is home to The Saint John's Bible and a collection of religious sculpture, paintings, prints, and artifacts.[42]


CSB/SJU are members of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC).[43]

Blazer Athletics (CSB)[edit]

Sports offered are: basketball; cross country; golf; hockey; rugby; soccer; softball; swim and dive; tennis; track and field; and volleyball.

Currently a renovation and expansion of Haehn Campus Center and Murray Hall is underway. The new center includes a fitness center that includes racquetball courts, climbing wall, and an exercise science lab. Future phases include a new field house, hockey arena, and a natatorium.[44] The renovation is being led by JLG Architects and Hastings+Chivetta [45]

  • Basketball: Blazer basketball has won the MIAC championship five times in recent years and has made 15 NCAA Division III tournament appearances. Blazer basketball coach Mike Durbin is MIAC career wins leader and celebrated his 500th win in the 2008–2009 basketball season.[46]
  • Golf: Blazer golf is coached by Daryl Schomer, who started as head coach in the 2011-2012 season.[47] In his first season at CSB as head coach, Schomer led the Blazers to finish third in the MIAC.[48] The Blazers finished in fifth place at the 2012 MIAC Championships. The Blazers shot the seventh best round of the tournament in the final round, led by a 79 from Bridget Cummings who place 11th individually. The MIAC Tournament wrapped up the Blazer’s fall season, a season where they won twice and finished in the top-five four times.
  • Volleyball: Blazer volleyball had made appearances in the NCAA National Tournament 14 times, most recently in 2012, and has won the MIAC Conference Championship seven times, most recently in 2009.[49] The volleyball team has been coached by Nicole Hess since 2009, with assistant coaches Amanda Anderson, Theresa Naumann, and Heather Piper-Olsen.[50] Coach Nicole Hess achieved her 100th win as a coach on November 1, 2011 against Gustavus Adolphus College.[51]
  • Rugby: CSB Rugby is a club sport founded in 1978. In the fall of 2009 the team won the DIII State Championship moving to DII status. In 2011 the team placed 2nd in the DII State Championship and moved on to compete in the Midwest Sweet Sixteen in Champaign, IL. Currently the team is DIII and coached by CSB Rugby Alumn Carolyn Cooper. In the fall of 2014 the team competed in the Sweet Sixteen in Rochester, MN. NSCRO released its top 20 rankings for the fall season with CSB being 13th. The team finished the season 3rd in Minnesota and 4th in the Midwest Region.
  • Tennis: Blazer tennis is coached by Scott Larsen, who is in his 9th season as the head coach.[52] Scott Larsen is assisted by coach Aly Brandell. Within Larsen's first eight years he received the MIAC Coach of the Year Award twice.

Johnnies Athletics (SJU)[edit]

Sports offered are: baseball; basketball; cross country; football; golf; hockey; rugby; soccer; swim and dive; tennis; track and field; and wrestling.

  • Baseball: The Johnnies finished the 2012 season second with a MIAC record of 14-6 and a total of 29 wins. This tied an SJU record for most wins in a season. The team also qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998. This was the third time the Johnnies were able to claim the MIAC Playoff championship.[53] The head coach, Jerry Haugen, has coached the SJU baseball team for 36 seasons with a career record of 665-567-5. He is in the top 25 on the NCAA Division III most winning active coaches win list.[53]
  • Basketball: SJU tied for fifth and played in the playoffs. The SJU basketball team ended the 2012-2013 season with a loss to Augsburg in the quarterfinal round of the MIAC playoffs. Their record for the season was 74-67. Three Johnnies earned All-MIAC recognition. The head coach of this team is Jim Smith, and he has a 755-535 career record. The 2013-2014 season will be his 50th season coaching the Johnnies.[54]
  • Cross country: The cross country team of Saint John's finished fourth of 27 teams at the NCAA Central Regional. They followed behind St. Olaf, Central of Iowa, and Luther of Iowa. The Johnnies were ranked seventh in regular season. The 2012 SJU cross country team earned U.S. Track & Field Cross Country Coaches' Association All-Academic recognition.[55]
  • Football:
  • Golf: The 2012 SJU golf team was ranked third in the final Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches' Division III poll. They were ranked behind Oglethorpe (Ga.) and Methodist (N.C.). The Johnnies moved up a total of 15 spots throughout the year.[56]
  • Hockey: The 2012-2013 SJU hockey season ended in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men's Hockey Tournament in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The Johnnies lost to Wisconsin-Eau Claire 4-2. Wisconsin was ranked fourth and had beaten the Johnnies earlier in the season 5 to 1. SJU's record was 16-8-4 (9-4-3 MIAC).[57]
  • Rugby: Thomas Haigh, an instructor in the St. John's department of mathematics, founded the St. John's Rugby Club in the spring of 1968. A former St. John's Prep School student, he learned the game while an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin. Rugby is a club sport at Saint John's.[58] The Saint John's University rugby team captured the National Small College championship with a 31-16 win over Duke University Sunday, April 28, 2013 at Infinity Park, Glendale, Colo. They repeated this accomplishment again, defeating New England College 37-25 in a comeback win on April 27, 2014 at Infinity Park. A total of 211 teams competed for the National Small College championship, which is based on men's enrollment (schools must have fewer than 4,500 male students to compete in this division).[59][60]
  • Soccer: SJU opened at its new soccer complex in the 2013 season. In 2012, the Johnnies ended the soccer season with a 9-6-4 (6-2-2 MIAC) record and finished fourth.[61]
  • Track and Field: The SJU Track and Field team finished fifth out of eleven teams at the 2013 MIAC Indoor Track & Field Championships. They were only 1.5 points from fourth place. Kevin Horton placed second in the 200-meter dash and was awarded his second All-MIAC performance. He was only 0.05 from the conference title. Brady O'Brien earned his first All-MIAC honor when he finished second in the triple jump. Willie Versen was awarded his first All-MIAC when he won third place in the 3,000 meters.[62]
  • Wrestling: Seniors Mitch Hagen and Chris Stevermer will compete at the NCAA Division III Championships on March 15–16. Mitch Hagen is ranked fourth in the 2013 tournament. Chris Stevermer was third at regionals and is unranked in the tournament. Both competed in the tournament in 2012, but lost against higher ranked opponents. Four other Johnnies will compete in the national tournament. Ryan Arne, Ryan Michaelis, John Scepaniak, and Nick Schuler are all appearing at the national tournament for the first time.[63]

Club Sports[edit]

The Nordic Ski teams at both schools were changed from intercollegiate to club teams in March 2011 due to budget concerns.[64]

The colleges also offers a variety of other club sports including men's and women's lacrosse, rowing, Nordic skiing, ultimate frisbee, water polo, men's and women's rugby, figure skating, Australian rules football and curling.

Notable alumni SJU[edit]

Notable alumnae CSB[edit]

Notable CSB/SJU Faculty & Staff[edit]

  • John Gagliardi, SJU football coach from 1953-2012, has the most wins of any coach in college football history
  • Arthur J. Spring, Professor of Education, inspired a former US Ambassador to attend Columbia University[71]
  • Axel Theimer, Professor of Music, member of Minnesota Music Educators Hall of Fame

See also[edit]


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  71. ^ Back To The Future: An Interview with Raymond F. Burghardt '63, United States Ambassador to Vietnam. July 20, 2008.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°34′52″N 94°23′24″W / 45.581°N 94.390°W / 45.581; -94.390