All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Arts & Sciences




Catholic education, Religious Orders, Christian Denominations, Higher Education


Higher education in the United States was founded within the framework of Christian denominations, their beliefs and customs. Wechsler, Goodchild and Eisenmann (2007) and Rudolph (1990), discuss the role of the church and organized religion in conjunction with the state or local government in the vast majority of the history of higher education as we think of it today. This is particularly true prior to the Land Grant movement sparked by the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862. However, the growth of the public university system did not signal the end of the founding of church-related colleges and universities. In fact, more than half (149) of the Catholic colleges and universities that currently hold membership in the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) were founded after the establishment of the Morrill Land Grant Act. The antebellum and post-bellum periods witnessed rapid growth in the number of private colleges and universities (Burtchaell, 1998). Denominational relationships gave the institutions their identity. The majority of those who served as presidents and faculty in early universities were selected from denominational ranks and reflected denominational beliefs. These early Christian founders of institutions of higher education were explorers making their way and creating society in a new land having escaped the persecution and oppression they experienced in Europe. Many of these Christian colleges were closely aligned with denominational administration and governance.

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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