Saint Joseph's College (Indiana)

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Saint Joseph's College
Saint Joseph's College, Indiana logo.png
MottoReligio Moralitas Scientia
Motto in English
Reverence, Morality, Knowledge
TypePrivate, liberal arts college
AffiliationRoman Catholic Church (Missionaries of the Precious Blood)
PresidentFr. Barry Fischer
Academic staff
Location, ,
40°55′11″N 87°09′21″W / 40.919611°N 87.155955°W / 40.919611; -87.155955Coordinates: 40°55′11″N 87°09′21″W / 40.919611°N 87.155955°W / 40.919611; -87.155955
Campus180 acres (72.8 ha) rural
ColorsPurple and Cardinal
Athletics18 NCAA Division II teams
WebsiteOfficial Website

Saint Joseph's College (SJC; colloquially, Saint Joe) was a coeducational, private, Catholic liberal arts college located in Rensselaer, Indiana, United States which closed in 2017. At the time of its closure approximately 1,100 students were enrolled.

St. Joseph's was ranked as a "Best Midwestern College" by The Princeton Review[1] and U.S. News. On Feb. 3, 2017, the school announced it had temporarily suspended operations at the end of the 2016–17 academic year.[2]


The Chapel is one of the oldest buildings on campus, and is where regular religious events are held.

The College was founded in 1889 by Father Joseph A. Stephan, a missionary from Germany as a secondary school to educate Native Americans. In 1962, President Eisenhower dedicated the Halleck Center (named after Republican representative Charles Halleck).[3]

From 1944 to 1974, the Chicago Bears held their training camp at Saint Joseph's College.[4] The 1971 film Brian's Song—about Brian Piccolo, a Chicago Bears running back who died from carcinoma in the 1970s—was filmed on campus.[5] And a charity game for Joy Piccolo, the Bears vs college all-stars, was played on July 23, 1971. During training camp one year, Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus was reportedly seen out on a tractor in the cornfield adjacent to the campus. The College football all-star game was played at the College's football stadium, Alumni Stadium, for many years.

The main academic building burned to the ground on February 3, 1973.[6] At the time, many thought the fire would close the school, but the school recovered.

After much discussion, on February 3, 2017 the school announced its closure at the end of the 2016-2017 academic year,[2] as the school needed $100 million to continue operating:[2] $27 million in debt, $35 million in infrastructure improvements, and $38 million to "re-engineer" the college.[7] Outgoing president Robert Pastoor noted hopes of reopening, although his resignation was to take effect in May 2017.[8]

Aerial view of the campus.


The campus has several distinctive features. The Romanesque-style Chapel and the reflecting pond in front of the Chapel are the most recognized features of campus. Drexel Hall was one of the first buildings on campus, and is distinctive for its unique atrium. Drexel has been renovated and restored to its historical appearance. The campus also includes a private recreational lake which is an old stone quarry.

Organization and administration[edit]

The school was accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE),[9] the National League for Nursing (NLN), the Board of Commissioners of the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education (IACBE),[10] the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association (HLC),[11] and the State of Indiana Professional Standards Board for the Training of Elementary Teachers.

The Core building, one of the academic buildings on campus.

Academic profile[edit]

Saint Joseph's College was known for its Core Program under which students learned the basics of history, political science, natural science, literature and philosophy in integrated "core classes". This departs from the cafeteria-style approach to general education used by most colleges and universities in which students take discrete lower division classes in these subjects.

Saint Joseph's College had a student-faculty ratio of 14:1.[12] 69% of full-time faculty at Saint Joseph's had their doctorates or terminal degree. SJC offers 75 major, minor, and pre-professional programs, along with the nationally acclaimed Core Curriculum, which provides a solid liberal arts education and a distinct career advantage.

Historically, 97% of graduating seniors were employed or in graduate school within a year of graduation.

Student life[edit]

Like most other Indiana colleges, SJC held an annual "Little 500" race. Unlike the bed or bicycle races held elsewhere, Saint Joseph's College staged a go-kart race in the same manner as Purdue University's Grand Prix, albeit on a much smaller scale. The event was popular and brought alumni back to the school every year.[13]


Official athletics logo.

Saint Joseph's College competed in NCAA Division II athletics and was a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC). The school mascot was the Puma. It is the only post-secondary institution in the United States with the Puma as its mascot, although several have mountain lions, which is a different name for the same species.

In 1956, the Saint Joseph's football team won a share of the NAIA Football National Championship, playing Montana State to a 0–0 tie in the Aluminum Bowl at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas.[14] The Pumas won six Indiana Collegiate Conference titles; 1955 co-champions, 1956, 1957, 1971, 1976 co-champions and 1977 co-champions. The football team has been dominant in their conference in recent years, winning the Great Lakes Football Conference championship in 2005, 2006, and 2009.

The school's baseball team was runner-up to the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship in 1996.[15] The same year, the women's soccer team was the runner-up in the NCAA Division II Women's Soccer Championship. The school's women's tennis team jas captured six GLVC conference titles since 1985 and completed three undefeated seasons.

In 2010, the men's basketball team led by head coach Richard Davis put together a string of three wins in the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament to reach the Elite Eight for the second time in school history.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Saint Joseph's College (IN) Admissions, Average Test Scores & Tuition". The Princeton Review. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  2. ^ a b c Chronis, Kasey (2017-02-09). "Saint Joseph's College to close its doors amid financial crisis". 16 WNDU. Retrieved 2017-02-10.
  3. ^ "SJC to celebrate Halleck Center's 50th". Rensselaer Republican. 2012-09-09. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  4. ^ "Happy Birthday George Halas". Chicago Bears. January 31, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
  5. ^ "Brian's Song (1971 TV Movie) Filming Locations". Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  6. ^ "February 5, 1973 - Newsmakers | Chicago Tribune Archive". 1973-02-05. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  7. ^ McGowan, Dan (2017-02-10). "Pastoor: 'Re-Engineered' St. Joe Could be Model". Indiana Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-02-10.
  8. ^ Kruczek, Alexandra; Moberger, Alexis (2017-02-09). "Saint Joseph's College president will call it quits in May". Retrieved 2017-02-10.
  9. ^ "Accredited Institutions by State". Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  10. ^ "International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education : Directory of Accredited Programs by Institution" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-06-29. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  11. ^ "Higher Learning Commission". Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  12. ^ "St. Joseph's College (Indiana) | Best College | US News". Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  13. ^ "50 years later, 'Little 500' keeps buzzing along (April 29, 2012)". Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  14. ^ "Aluminum Bowl". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  15. ^ "Baseball DII". Retrieved July 10, 2015.
  16. ^ "Gil Hodges Managerial Record -". Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  17. ^ "Executive Team". McDonald's. 2014-09-30. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  18. ^ "The Sherwin-Williams Company Appoints John Morikis as President and Chief Operating Officer". 2006-10-19. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  19. ^ J. Patrick Lewis interviewed by Sylvia Vardell. "J. Patrick Lewis". The Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 2015-07-10.

External links[edit]