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Contending with ModernityCatholic Higher Education in the Twentieth Century$
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Philip Gleason

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195098280

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195098280.001.0001

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A New Beginning: Catholic Colleges, 1900-1930

A New Beginning: Catholic Colleges, 1900-1930

Chapter 4 A New Beginning: Catholic Colleges, 1900-1930
Contending with Modernity

Philip Gleason

Oxford University Press

The changes we have been discussing naturally affected individual institutions in different ways. In this chapter we shall look more closely at some examples that illustrate the the general trends and at the same time shed light on other matters not previously discussed or touched on only in passing—for example, the rapid growth of professional and vocationally oriented programs and the equally rapid expansion of Catholic colleges for women. By way of background, we begin with some statistics on the overall growth of Catholic higher education in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Detailed surveys made by the Catholic Educational Association in 1916 and 1926 provide useful base points for analyzing changes in the latter part of the period, but information for the earlier part is much less satisfactory. Indeed, the figures for 1899 in the following table must be regarded as mere approximations. But these are the best figures we have, and Table 1 may be taken as a reliable indicator of the direction and overall scale of change in enrollments. These figures show that although secondary-level students accounted for approximately 60 percent of the enrollment in catholic colleges at the turn of the century, and about half in 1916, they were no longer considered part of the same student population in the mid-twenties. Undergraduate enrollment for 1916 is understated by perhaps as much as 1000 because the survey did not include the Catholic colleges for women that had come on the scene since 1899. Failure to include them stemmed not only from the traditional sexist bias of Catholic “college men,” but also from the fact that women’s colleges were only beginning to make their presence felt.

Keywords:   Athletics, Benedictines, Catholic Encyclopedia, Dentistry, Extension courses, Franciscans, Grey Nuns, High schools, Irish

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