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Christian Brothers University

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Christian Brothers University is a private Catholic university run by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools in Memphis, Tennessee. It was founded in 1871 by the De La Salle Brothers. It is the oldest collegiate degree-granting institution in the city.

Christian Brothers University was founded on November 19, 1871, by members of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a Roman Catholic religious order founded by St. John Baptist de la Salle, the patron saint of teachers. At foundation the educational institution was named Christian Brothers College which was changed to Christian Brothers University when the school became a university in June 1990.

Founding

Brother Maurelian was appointed the first president. His three terms as president totalled 31 years.

Oldest degree-granting institution in Memphis:

Christian Brothers awarded the first post-secondary degree in the city in 1875. LeMoyne College (one of the two constituent parts of present-day LeMoyne-Owen College) has a founding year of 1871, but it was an elementary and secondary school at the time. The city’s largest university, The University of Memphis, was not founded until 1912. Although Rhodes College was founded 1848, it did not move from Clarksville, Tennessee to Memphis until 1925.

Lasallian tradition:

Christian Brothers University traces its origins to priest and educational innovator, St. John Baptist de la Salle. De la Salle began a system of Christian schools in which teachers assist parents in the educational, ethical, and religious formation of their children. To continue his spiritual and pedagogical vision, de la Salle founded the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, known today as the De La Salle Christian Brothers.

The university currently has a lay interim president following the fatal car accident of former president Brother Vincent Malham in 2008.

Higher education

The Master of Arts in Executive Leadership was added in 2005.

When another Catholic college in Memphis (the all-female Siena College) closed, Christian Brothers University became coeducational in 1970. Currently, women comprise approximately 55% of the student body. Christian Brothers College officially became Christian Brothers University in June 1990.

Academics

Schools

The university has four schools:

  • Gadomski School of Engineering
  • Rosa Deal School of Arts
  • School of Business
  • School of Sciences

Study abroad

As a member of the Lasallian Consortium, i.e. the seven Lasallian universities in the United States, CBU offers study abroad semesters in Australia, Brazil, China, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, and Spain. Additionally, CBU offers study abroad courses during spring and fall vacations. Upcoming courses include travel in England, France, Italy, Mexico, and Uganda. Medical missions to Haiti are available but have been postponed for the present. Study abroad is optional for students but is required for completion of the global studies minor.

Demographics

CBU has one of the most diverse student bodies in the South. 51% of students are White-American (non-Hispanic), 33% are African-American (non-Hispanic), 5% are Asian-American or Pacific Islander-American, 2% are Hispanic-American, and 2% are international students. 6% of students have an unknown ethnicity. Students hail from more than 28 states and 28 countries.

Although CBU is a Catholic university, only 23% of students are Catholic. Religious observances are not required, and 32 different faiths are represented in the student body.

Notably, 99% of Christian Brothers University undergraduates receive financial aid, broken down as institutional grants (98%), state/local grants (68%), federal grants (29%), and student loans (58%).

There are 110 full-time faculty members. All of them hold at least master’s degrees, and 89% hold doctorates or terminal degrees. No courses are taught by teaching assistants. The student to faculty ratio is 12 to 1. School of Sciences graduating classes from 2002 to 2006 boasted a 91% acceptance rate for medical school, and an 87% acceptance for pharmacy school.

Facilities:

Campus

Christian Brothers University is located on a 75-acre (300,000 m2) wooded campus in the heart of Midtown, Memphis, four miles (6 km) east of Downtown.

The first building on campus, Kenrick Hall, constructed in 1939 as the original Christian Brothers High School, was demolished in 2015 to make room for the Rosa Deal School of Arts, set to open in January 2017.

The university’s architecture follows the Georgian style popular at the time of the campus’ relocation to East Parkway. Arch-covered walkways traverse the main campus, allowing students and faculty to get to most buildings shielded from the weather. The campus is enclosed by an iron fence with brick accents with entrances on East Parkway South, Central Avenue, and Avery Avenue.

Outside organizations housed on campus

  • Barret School of Banking

Notable alumni

  • Harry B. Anderson – United States District Judge for the Western District of Tennessee
  • Charles Bartliff – soccer player and Olympian
  • Zach Curlin – college basketball coach at University of Memphis
  • Robert B. Hawley – U.S. Representative for Texas’s 10th congressional district and accomplished businessman
  • Thomas Aquinas Higgins – Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
  • Bill Justis – rock and roll pioneer
  • Youssef Naciri- Moroccan professional soccer player (most recently with Harrisburg City Islanders)
  • David Parker- member of the Mississippi State Senate
  • Malcolm R. Patterson, Governor of Tennessee (1907–1911)
  • Chip Saltsman – Republican political strategist and Presidential campaign manager
  • Kevin H. Sharp – former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
  • Ray Crone – Former Major League Baseball Pitcher who played for the Milwaukee Braves and New York Giants

Notable faculty (current and former):

  • Arun Manilal Gandhi, scholar and peace activist
  • Jeffrey Gros, Catholic theologian and ecumenist

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