An aerial photo of campus.

Proposed Benedictine College Medical School Announced in “USA Today”

As announced in USA Today on June 17, 2024, Benedictine College is in the early stages of exploring the potential for a new medical school on its campus in Atchison, Kansas.

“We are in the early stages of a proposed new school of medicine that will enshrine Catholic moral teaching on the infinite dignity of the human person as created by God,” President Stephen D. Minnis wrote in USA Today.

The proposed Benedictine College School of Osteopathic Medicine would provide an education faithful to the Catholic Church’s bioethical teachings, and train doctors ready to serve those most in need, in Catholic hospitals and in rural areas where health care providers are scarce.

The Benedictine College Board of Directors voted in June to continue efforts to explore the proposed Benedictine College medical school, to which the college has dedicated an initial $4 million investment. The college has completed substantial due diligence on this project, identified fund raising goals, established a project timeline, and has established a committee of the Board of Directors to provide ongoing leadership to this project.

“Benedictine College has never been better known than we are right now, and our future has never been brighter,” said Minnis. “So, we thought the time was right to announce our plans nationally.”

The interest in supporting a medical school comes from the college’s strategic plan, “Transform Culture in America,” which states: “STEM education is a particular emphasis of Benedictine College” and calls for the school “to advance the mission through science and health care.”

The college has been stressing its STEM character for 15 years. The college offers four ABET-accredited engineering disciplines and Benedictine’s School of Nursing has been named the Best in Kansas two years in a row. The college’s newest academic building is a 100,000-square-foot STEM facility.

Benedictine College had a previous agreement with Catholic Healthcare International (CHI) to collaborate on a potential medical school. On June 12, CHI announced the termination of that agreement.

“We are forever grateful to CHI and its president, Jere Palazzolo, for being the inspiration for this project and we wish them success in their efforts,” President Minnis said.

President Minnis said he has been personally inspired to develop the medical school after a discussion with a bishop visiting campus.

“Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, told me that since Jesus Christ was a teacher and healer, he had decided to dedicate his ministry to education and health care. Those words really struck me. Benedictine College’s goal in such an effort will be to follow the example of Jesus by teaching students how to heal with 100% fidelity to Catholic bioethics, and a total commitment to serve those in most need. We are all in.”

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.