Lewis University, St. Augustine College Plan Merger

The presidents of Lewis University and St. Augustine College announced a plan to merge both institutions, with both boards of trustees unanimously approving the decision, according to an April 25 news release from Lewis University.

Lewis University, Romeoville, is one of 24 ACI members. St. Augustine College, Chicago, is a former ACI member.

The schools will submit an application requesting the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) make St. Augustine College a part of Lewis University. The merger is centered on a shared mission to expand access and opportunity for students who are often underrepresented and underserved in traditional higher education, the release said.

“Our two institutions are well-matched in mission and values,” said Dr. David Livingston, Lewis University president. “We fill a unique niche within higher education, serving students from all walks of life with affordable programs that deliver a liberal arts core and an emphasis on career and workforce preparation. Through this merger, we will build upon the legacy and tradition of St. Augustine College, offering an expanded range of bilingual education programs, services and outreach to the growing Hispanic population in Chicago. No student today should face limited educational opportunity because of language. Especially not when the Hispanic community is the fastest growing population in Chicago.” Livingston is also a member of ACI’s Executive Committee.

The merger builds on the legacies of both institutions – each established to meet the needs of underserved communities – providing education as a life-changing pathway to expanded opportunity. Students are expected to be able to attend courses in bilingual format at urban or suburban locations.

““We are excited for this once-in-lifetime opportunity. La única,” said Dr. Reyes Gonzalez, St. Augustine College president. “Together, we will realize the dreams held by our founders; dreams of providing education to all, regardless of social class. Our combined strength will allow us to support more students with a life-changing educational experience that equips them for success in the marketplace. We will create a wider bridge to economic prosperity, one that is as expansive as the enterprising spirit of our students. This is the educational experience that will make us a leader for our entire region.”

The merger is subject to the approval of the HLC, Illinois Board of Higher Education and the U.S. Department of Education. Both schools will continue operating as independent institutions with no disruption to students or missions until the merger is complete.