Vision Statement

Preamble: “Our great challenge is to create a culture of encounter which encourages individuals and groups to share the richness of their traditions and experience; to break down walls and to build bridges.” – Pope Francis

In practice, this may look, feel, or sound like the following:

  • Promoting a culture of encounter that fosters charitable listening and appreciative engagement that actively seeks the beautiful, the admirable, and the life-giving in various religious and nonreligious traditions, worldviews, and ways of living alongside our own;
  • Supporting curricular and co-curricular encounters that are essential to global religious and cultural literacy, respect, and the examination of the role of religion in society in research, teaching, and practice;
  • Advocating for an academic calendar that, while shaped by the Gregorian calendar, seeks to acknowledge multiple traditions’ major holidays to encourage awareness but also the equal right of all community members to observe traditions without adverse impact to their standing and status, academically and otherwise;
  • Sustaining an Interfaith Council that represents a diverse cross-section of equal numbers of students, staff, and faculty – the members of which are committed to religious and cultural literacy, self-education, and learning together – that serves as an advisor, facilitator, and partner to other institutional stakeholders in realizing this vision;
  • Advancing St. Thomas’ Strategic Plan to be a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community of study, dialogue, and practice that promotes, demonstrates, administers, and assesses collaborative processes to fulfill this vision statement.

Approved Fall 2021