The monks of St. Procopius Abbey founded the school now known as Benedictine University in 1887, only two years after the monastic community began. The university has been known by several names:
St. Procopius College
Though called a College from the time of its 1887 foundation by Father Procopius Neuzil in St. Procopius Parish in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, the school only began offering post-secondary courses subsequent to its 1901 move to rural Lisle, about 25 miles west of Chicago. The College remained small and heavily Czech in ethnic origin until the great influx of veterans after the Second World War. Fully-accredited in 1957, the College grew considerably as the area around Lisle changed from rural to suburban in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1968, the College became coeducational.
Illinois Benedictine College
In 1971, the school changed its name to Illinois Benedictine College. Growth continued and various graduate programs were added. The first lay president, Dr. Richard Becker, took office in 1976.
In 1996, the school took the name Benedictine University. Branch campuses have been added in Springfield, IL, and Mesa, AZ, and the overall enrollment has increased to more than ten thousand students.
Through all this growth and development, the monks of St. Procopius Abbey have remained the religious sponsors of Benedictine University. Abbot Austin Murphy serves as the school’s chancellor, and he and other monks are involved in its operations. For more information, see the university’s website: www.ben.edu.