The Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, is the oldest Catholic religious order in the world and enjoys a well-earned reputation for promoting academic excellence. This is reflected in the number of Jesuit-affiliated institutions of higher education. According to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), there are 28 member institutions across the United States. Some of these universities and colleges routinely appear in U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of the nation’s best colleges.


Founded in 1789 in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University is the nation’s oldest Jesuit university. U.S. News ranked Georgetown at number 23 on its 2009 list of the top national universities. Georgetown continues to reflect the character of its Jesuit founders with its curricular requirement that all students complete two courses in theology and philosophy. It also has a reputation for educating future national leaders. Prominent alumni include former President Clinton and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Boston College

Founded in 1863, Boston College began as a liberal arts college, focused on studies in philosophy, religion, and Greek and Latin classics. Since then, the school has branched into business, education, nursing, law and more. In 2009, U.S. News gave Boston College the number 34 spot on its list of top national universities. The school has a reputation as one of the nation’s most selective institutions of higher education.

Fordham University

Fordham University operates three campuses in New York, including the undergraduate campus in The Bronx. Founded in 1841, Fordham provides a broad education in the arts and sciences, and also operates graduate schools in business, education, law, social service and religious studies.

Marquette University

Marquette University opened in 1881 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The university offers a broad range of undergraduate degrees, including liberal arts, the sciences, engineering, business, nursing and health sciences. Marquette also offers preparatory programs in medicine, dentistry and law.

Loyola University (Chicago)

Loyola University Chicago is the largest Jesuit university in the United States, with an enrollment of nearly 16,000 students. U.S. News consistently ranks Loyola among the nation’s best universities. Loyola houses schools of arts and sciences, education, business, communication, medicine, nursing, social work, law and graduate studies. It has three campuses in the Chicago area, as well as the John Felice Center in Rome.

Other Schools

Other Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States include Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri; University of San Francisco; Canisius College, Buffalo, New York.; College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts; Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska; Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut; Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington; John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio; Le Moyne College, Syracuse, New York.; Loyola University, Baltimore, Maryland; Loyola Marymount, Los Angeles, California; Loyola University, New Orleans, Los Angeles; Regis University, Denver, Colorado; Rockhurst University, Kansas City, Missouri; Saint Joseph University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Saint Peter’s College, Jersey City, New Jersey; Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California; Seattle University, Seattle, Washington; Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama; University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, Michigan; University of Scranton, Scranton, Pennsylvania; Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, West Virginia; and Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio.

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