The Society of Jesus, a Catholic religious order whose members are referred to as Jesuits, has founded educational institutions since 1548. Jesuit colleges place an emphasis on intellectual discipline and faith, and they prepare students for a lifetime of leadership and service. The United States has a total of 28 Jesuit universities and colleges spread across the lower 48 states.

Jesuit Schools in the West

Six Jesuit universities call the western U.S. home. The University of San Francisco, Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount are both located in California. The state of Washington has Seattle University and Gonzaga. Regis University is located in Denver, Colorado. Of these institutions, Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount deserve special attention. “U.S. News and World Report" ranked Gonzaga as the fourth-best regional university in the western United States and cited its 92 percent freshman retention rate. Loyola Marymount comes in even higher as the third-ranked western regional university. “U.S. News and World Report” also recognized Loyola Marymount for the quality of its undergraduate engineering and business programs.

Central and Southern Schools

The central and southern U.S. has seven Jesuit institutions of higher learning. Spring Hill University in Alabama and Loyola University of New Orleans are firmly rooted in the south. Missouri has St. Louis and Rockhurt Universities. Farther north, Creighton University, Loyola University of Chicago and Marquette University in Milwaukee all rank highly. “U.S. News and World Report” recognized Marquette as one of the top 100 U.S. universities and top 50 for Best Value. Loyola University of Chicago, another of the top 50 best value schools, also received top 20 rankings for its undergraduate programs in entrepreneurship and finance.

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Midwest and Eastern Schools

Seven Jesuit universities are located in the eastern United States, including Xavier University, Wheeling Jesuit, Detroit Mercy, John Carroll University, Saint Josephs, Loyola University Maryland and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Xavier received the “U.S. News and World Report” distinction of fourth-best Midwest regional university, and its business school received top 20 rankings from “Entrepreneur” and “Bloomberg Business Week." Georgetown University has long maintained a reputation as one of the finest universities in the country. Ranked as a Top 20 National University by "U.S. News and World Report," Georgetown’s Law School received top honors for part-time law and clinical training.

Jesuit Schools in the Northeast

The Northeast contains the greatest concentration of Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. The eight institutions that call the Northeast home include Saint Peters University, The University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, Boston College, Canisius College, Fairfield University, College of the Holy Cross, Le Moyne and Fordham University. “U.S. News and World Report” ranked College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, as one of the best 25 liberal arts colleges in the country. Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, received recognition as one of the top 50 national universities, ranking it in the top 20 for education and organic chemistry.

About the Author

Douglas Matus is the travel writer for "West Fort Worth Lifestyle" magazine, and spent four years as the Director of Humanities for a college-prep school in Austin. Since 2005, he has published articles on education, travel and culture in such publications as "Nexus," "People's World" and "USA Today." Matus received an Education Pioneers fellowship in 2010 and an MFA from CalArts in 2011.