Benedictine College Launches Sheridan Center for Classical Studies

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This image is part of the entrance mural to St. Benedict Hall on the campus of Benedictine College in Atchison. It represents liberal arts and classical learning. COURTESY PHOTO

ATCHISON – Benedictine College is proud to announce the creation of the Sheridan Center for Classical Studies. The institute is named after Dr. Thomas F. Sheridan, whose multimillion-dollar gift is one of the largest the college has received in its more than 160-year history.

“The Benedictine College is the heir to the 1,500 year tradition of Benedictine education. This center will build on that legacy and position the college at the forefront of the movement to examine the fundamental truths of culture to influence the future,” said Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis.

The Sheridan Center for Classical Studies will promote and help guide:

• The college’s Great Books program, which was named one of America’s Top 25

• the newly created Department of Classics, which will contain the Classics Major and will be headed by the new Sheridan Professor of Classics, Dr. Edward Mulholland

• The Specialist Program, led by new Sheridan Principal Investigator, Dr. Susan Traffas, and Sheridan Center Director, Dr. Andrew Salzmann

• the classical education stream of the teaching department of Benedictine College

• a new master’s project in classical education

“The Sheridan Center for Classical Studies is important to our Transforming Culture in America plan,” Minnis said. The strategic vision for the college was developed over two years of meetings of community leaders from various fields with the faculty, board of trustees, staff and students of Benedictine College. Four priorities emerged.

“This new center responds to each of the plan’s priorities,” Minnis said. “The Sheridan Center will help us train students in the Catholic intellectual tradition; preparing them to succeed at a high level; further articulate the value of the liberal arts; and to increase the college’s endowment.

The college’s Transforming Culture in America plan was inspired by St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation “The Church in America.” The document calls on American colleges to “educate truly Christian leaders in the various spheres of human endeavor and society, especially in politics, economics, science, art, and philosophical reflection.” With the addition of the Sheridan Center, which emphasizes classical thought, Benedictine College will now offer centers of distinction in each of the concerns identified by St. John Paul II.

“Saint John Paul II said: ‘By [Our Lady of Guadalupe’s] powerful intercession, the gospel will penetrate the hearts of the men and women of America and permeate their cultures, transforming them from within,” Minnis said. “The Sheridan Center will help deliver on that promise.

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