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Office for Mission and Rector

We educate for change, but our mission remains constant.

The University of Dayton was founded in 1850 and is guided by the Society of Mary, also known as the Marianists, a Roman Catholic religious order dedicated to education.

We at the University constantly seek truth and knowledge in our mission to improve the world. We strive to make the University a place where all are welcome, respected and supported. As a Marianist University, we are called to live and work together in community. We've built and nurtured the campus community. We invite and teach our students to do the same, and we ask each community member to learn, lead and serve.

That's the very essence of our faith and our academic pursuits. We believe that people who develop compassionate hearts and critical minds can transform the world.

At the center of the University's leadership, to enhance our Catholic and Marianist character, is the Office for Mission and Rector. Its role is simple: to form people and communities committed to our Catholic and Marianist tradition of education.


Our Marianist vision and mission help students develop critical minds and compassionate hearts.

Marianist religious are people of faith. Our mission is to lead others through community to faith in Jesus Christ. We model our discipleship after Mary. We believe that living, praying and supporting one another in community enriches our faith and strengthens our ability to meet the challenges of the world.

At the University of Dayton, students understand that they are called on to use their education and faith to transform the world. Our identity is a call to action guided by knowledge and faith.

Our faith has created an open community whose members believe in the power of asking the big questions. Have a question of your own you'd like to ask us? We'd love to hear from you.

Email the Office of the Rector >>
Father James Fitz, S.M.
Vice President for Mission and Rector

The brochure on the Common Themes in the Mission and Identity of the University of Dayton is now online!

We are excited to share the new brochure on the Common Themes in the Mission and Identity of the University of Dayton.

Please view the electronic version of the brochure on our website. For hard copies of this resource, please contact our office via email or by calling 9-2899.

There is also a more developed version of the Common Themes document.

Common Themes Brochure

The mission of the Society of Mary

Our mission as Marianist religious is to lead others through community to faith in Jesus Christ. Using Mary as our model, we fulfill this mission within the Catholic church through a variety of ministries. Blessed William Joseph Chaminade was open to a variety of ministries to fulfill the mission, and believed education is a privilege. Our commitment to service anywhere in the world allows us to be open to any need within the Catholic church.

The Society of Mary originated within lay communities of faith. An essential part of our Marianist charism is our collaboration with lay communities in a common mission for the church.

We Build Communities of Faith

Our style of Marianist ministry involves the realization that faith is best communicated through personal relationships and is nurtured through lived experiences of community and service. The quality and depth of our own common life together has always been seen by Marianists as the primary grounding and support for all our ministry. The "way" we do ministry is as important as "what" we do in ministry. 

The hallmarks of Marianist ministry are:

       • a concern for promoting and developing faith communities among those we serve and among those with whom we serve

       • a belief that faith formation is a lifelong process of growth and development "from the cradle to the grave"

       • the hope that faith and community formation will energize all aspects of each person's personal commitment to learn, lead and serve.

Traditionally, Marianists have understood education in schools to be a profound opportunity for building communities of faith. Educational institutions are a profound means of transformation of the person, the community and our world.

A Hallmark of Our Faith —
We Reach Out to the Poor and Marginalized.

In recent years, the Catholic church has called religious to hear and respond in new ways to societal needs. Marianists have responded by bringing our gifts of community formation to other arenas beyond schools: the parish, family ministry, neighborhoods and the arts, among others. Most importantly, a deeper sensitivity to the poor, marginalized and disenfranchised has marked our decisions about where we choose to minister.

Our founder, William Joseph Chaminade, was fond of the Latin expression, "Nova Bella Elegit Dominus," which means "The Lord has chosen new wars." Despite the militaristic language of Blessed Chaminade's 19th century, he expresses in this phrase the openness to communal discernment, courageous adaptation and decisive response, all of which characterize our Marianist mission of service to God's people. We educate for adaptation and change.

We Believe We Learn Best in Community.

At the University of Dayton, we believe in preparing students to adapt in a changing world and to use their knowledge and faith to create change that makes a difference. Our educational philosophy addresses the needs of the "whole person" — mind, body and spirit.  

Video: Marianists Build a Top-Tier Catholic University >>


Office for Mission and Rector

St. Mary's Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1638
Office of the Rector