Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice
The Catholic religious order known as the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) manages an expansive network of colleges and universities with a distinct Catholic identity and mission. The Society of Jesus has, throughout the course of its existence, experienced failure and survival regarding its colleges and universities worldwide. Of particular interest for this study are Jesuit institutions in the American South, regionally known as the New Orleans Province. This study hypothesizes that the identity and mission of Southern Jesuit colleges and universities may have functioned as catalytic concepts that influenced interactions with external social environs and directly impacted the way in which these Catholic institutions survived or failed. Literature regarding institutional survival and societal interactions focuses on resource exchange and has precluded the possible effects of identity and mission as catalytic components to the survival of colleges and universities. The interaction between Jesuit institutions and surrounding Southern environments presents a unique opportunity to examine the affects of institutional identity, mission, and environmental interactions on college/university survival. To discern the affects of institutional identity, mission, and societal relationships on the survival of Jesuit institutions in the South from the 1830s through the 1930s, archival documents serve as the primary data source for this study. Documents have been acquired through several sites, including the Archives of the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus; Loyola University New Orleans; Spring Hill College Special Collections; and the archives of Jesuit High School, New Orleans. By utilizing historical research methodology, case study construction, and case analysis, this study encapsulates the history of multiple Jesuit colleges and universities in the South and allows for a cross-comparison of their existence, development, survival, and/or failure. The findings of this study support the claim posed by the hypotheses that institutional identity and mission did catalytically affect societal town and gown relationships between these Southern Jesuit colleges and universities and thus influenced their ability to survive. As well, through the course of this study, it was discovered that the internal identity, mission, and hierarchic obedience of the Jesuit Fathers played a role in the existence and maintenance of their New Orleans Province institutions.
Document Availability at the Time of Submission
Student has submitted appropriate documentation to restrict access to LSU for 365 days after which the document will be released for worldwide access.
Platt, R. Eric, "Sacrifice and survival: the historiographic role of indentity and mission in Jesuit higher education of the New Orleans Province" (2011). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 4077.