Mission Statement
of Spring Hill College

Mission Statement


The history of Spring Hill College is deeply rooted in the early French and Catholic culture of the Gulf Coast. Successful French colonization efforts led to the development of trading centers on water routes that attracted increasingly larger populations. Mobile soon became a focal point for commercial activity as well as the seat of the Bishop of Mobile, whose diocese extended throughout Alabama and to the east coast of Florida. Bishop Michael Portier, recognizing the need for Catholic higher education in the Southeast, founded Spring Hill College in 1830. In 1847, Bishop Portier invited the Fathers of the Lyons Province of the Society of Jesus to take possession of the College.

As the oldest college in Alabama, the first Catholic college in the Southeast, and the third oldest Jesuit college in the United States, Spring Hill’s heritage remains vital, its mission constant: to educate students to become responsible leaders in service to others.

It comes to this mission from its Jesuit, Catholic philosophy of learning; it realizes that the internal dynamic of the intellect is to reach toward the fulfillment of Truth, God, while the internal dynamic of faith is not only to accept “through grace” the essential otherness of God, but to reach toward an ever-increasing understanding of its mysteries. Such a conjunction of faith and reason, leading to a knowledge of God and of creation, necessarily results in a desire to see that all men and women share that vision, share in God’s love, and therefore share in the benefits of creation. Thus we are enjoined, through the process of a personalized education, to protect the rights of all and to work for that peace and justice which is the intent of God’s kingdom.


The tradition and identity of Spring Hill have thus been formed from the strength of its Catholic heritage and its Jesuit spirituality and educational philosophy.  Indeed, the College derives its academic character from its insistence on the primary importance of the liberal arts and sciences. It offers a multi-dimensional education, providing students the humanistic foundation for a life of continuous learning.

Through the Core Curriculum, adapted from the values-oriented program of studies of the Jesuit tradition, students explore artistic, historical, scientific, philosophical, and religious approaches to reality. Methods and principles are stressed and an emphasis is placed on the quest for understanding. These studies are designed to assist students in developing breadth and variety of knowledge as well as skills in analysis, synthesis, and judgment. Combined with specialized studies in major areas, which prepare students directly for careers or for graduate school, the liberal arts and sciences provide the context for both integration of knowledge and clarification of values.

Through such knowledge and skills, the College aims at fostering the intellectual growth of men and women who are free from ignorance, narrowness of interest, and bigotry. True to its heritage, the College recognizes its responsibility to transmit Christian values and to challenge students to the highest ideals.  The College also recognizes its responsibility to carry its educational vision to the broader community by developing programs, both graduate and undergraduate, which respond to the needs of the growing number of non-traditional students in its local area and by extending its theological resources to the service of the Catholic Southeast.


Spring Hill draws its inspiration from the religious, humanistic vision of Ignatius Loyola who started his first schools in the middle of the sixteenth century.  He wanted to bring to the Renaissance world of his time the knowledge that the world is charged with the grandeur of God, as the nineteenth-century Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, would write; and he hoped to lead people to a knowledge of that God. In this desire to serve his world and his Church, he recognized that education was a key element. He knew that a disciplined growth in the knowledge and understanding of creation, grounded in faith, is indispensable for the right ordering of society. Both Ignatius and his followers, to achieve their vision, regarded certain characteristics essential to the identity of their educational
institutions; they are expectations demanded of our students, they are qualities that strengthen and perpetuate the education provided by Spring Hill College.

Academic Excellence
Spring Hill College is committed to academic excellence. In an atmosphere of open inquiry, students and teachers together experience the significance of the intellectual life; they learn that it establishes a society’s cultural values and is responsible for the communication of those values to future generations. Thus the academic community pursues and shares knowledge through serious scholarship in a desire to know the truth of creation, appreciate its beauty, and serve it with humility.

To accomplish this, the College employs selective enrollment, and it recruits faculty who have either already demonstrated excellence in teaching or who exhibit a desire to excel; it further encourages the faculty’s continuing academic development. These dedicated faculty carry on the Jesuit tradition of vigorous intellectual discipline and an attention to detail that are the foundation of learning.  And though such learning takes place primarily in the classroom, in the interaction between student and teacher, and in hours of careful study, the wider ranges of campus life are also meant to provide opportunities for intellectual stimulation.  

Learning is the empowerment that makes authority and constructive action possible. Campus life—both curricular and extra-curricular—involves students in active learning experiences that are designed to help them grow creatively, and the  personal size of the student body ensures effective participation by everyone. They are thus encouraged to take positions of responsibility; and they often find themselves judged, formally or informally, on their ability to lead. This nurturing environment fosters initiative and determination, and helps students to become dynamic leaders whose dedication and courage in serving others ennoble their community.

Personal Development
Every aspect of campus life has as its purpose the formation of the balanced person who, through habits of reflection, through enriching relationships with other students and with teachers, develops a mature world-view. These opportunities are not limited to the academic; rather, residence hall life, intercollegiate and intramural athletic competition, liturgies, retreats, and campus social functions all serve to promote individual development within the community. The College offers its students the joy of learning and the excitement of personal discovery.  Students thus become self-disciplined, open to growth, and aware of the responsibilities that true freedom demands.
The College attempts to create a genuine community based on the pursuit, common to students and faculty, of intellectual growth and personal development.  Concern for the individual person—what Jesuits have traditionally called cura personalis—is a fundamental characteristic of the Spring Hill community. This personalized care, possible because of the College’s comfortable size, allows each student to develop individually, but also, and simultaneously, as a member of a community bonded by shared ideals. Members of a community are galvanized by unity of purpose; they appropriate the community’s ideals for themselves and have a stake in their fulfillment; in advancing these ideals, they become leaders.

The College purposely seeks a diverse student body. Given the interdependence of the global environment, diversity is a practical preparation for life, but it is also a stimulation to a well-rounded education. Diversity is richness. Thus the College welcomes students of varying nationalities, geographic regions, ages, and religions, as well as diverse social and economic backgrounds. The one common element the College seeks in all its students is an openness to the values of a personalized, Jesuit, liberal arts education.
The Spring Hill experience, therefore, in all its dimensions, challenges students to excel as informed and responsible leaders in service to others. Recognizing and serving the needs of one another is an important facet of campus life, and students are faced with this responsibility on a daily basis. But that responsibility extends far beyond campus boundaries: the call to serve has been made more urgent than ever in Jesuit institutions by the commitment of the Society of Jesus to promote faith by seeking the justice that the gospel demands. 

This is a call to Christian love—the disposition to love others as God loves us—which the College community believes should be the overriding influence on its every action, its every decision. Students should, through the education Spring Hill offers, be made aware of their special obligations to the world of the disadvantaged and the impoverished. They are urged to share with the College its responsibility to bring political, social, and cultural benefit to the Mobile community and, ultimately, to society at large.

Reflecting the Catholic, Jesuit philosophy of learning, that ultimately faith, reason and justice are inextricably related to one another, the goals of Spring Hill College seek to promote an integrated education of the whole person, while respecting the value of diversity and the fundamental importance of free inquiry.  The educational and institutional goals of the College are 

For its students:

  • To develop students’ intellectual capacities for critical thinking, coherent writing and articulate speaking, by building skills in analysis, synthesis, and judgment and by cultivating the quest for understanding and the desire for truth.
  • To provide a humanistic foundation for a life of continuous learning, through a Core Curriculum which explores artistic, historical, scientific, philosophical, and religious approaches to reality.
  • To develop depth of understanding in an area of specialization which provides a foundation for a productive professional life.
  • To provide challenge and guidance to the process of moral development and personal integration of values by deepening a sense of responsibility and respect for the needs and rights of others, along with a mature self-respect and self-confidence.
  • To promote the growth of social awareness and responsibility, especially through an appreciation and understanding of cultural diversity and the fundamental solidarity of the entire human community, and through cultivation of a reflective sensitivity to human misery and exploitation, which recognizes the continuing need for empowerment of the marginalized in society.
  • To develop students capacities and desires for leadership and service as active participants in the life of church and society.
  • To awaken and deepen a mature sense of faith, a reflective and personal integration of reason, faith, and justice.
  • To develop a sense of the interrelatedness of reality and the ultimate integration of knowledge, rooted in the mystery of God and revealed in the Incarnation of the Word, Jesus Christ.

For the institution:

  • To build a true community of learning by focusing all sectors of the College on the common goal of personalized, holistic, student-centered education.
  • To direct faculty recruitment and faculty development towards promoting quality teaching, active scholarship, and shared mission.
  • To strengthen the distinctive mission of the College by developing and implementing strategies to build shared responsibility for Spring Hill’s Jesuit tradition at all levels of the College community.
  • To engage in systematic planning through a broad-based, ongoing planning and evaluation process in order to facilitate continued growth in institutional effectiveness.
  • To serve as an educational resource for the Catholic faith community of the Southeast.
  • To serve as an educational and cultural resource for the Mobile community and the metropolitan area.

Board of Trustees
Spring Hill College
October 15, 1993