Manhattan College Theologian Releases Book Forecasting the Future of Catholic Higher Education

Manhattan College theologian John R. Wilcox, professor emeritus of religious studies, recently published a book outlining the challenges Catholic colleges and universities face with diminishing numbers of clergy members on campus.

Revisioning Mission: The Future of Catholic Higher Education focuses on the need to form on-campus “mission communities,” which Wilcox describes as diverse groups of faculty, administrators and staff committed to preserving the culture and heritage laid down by the founding religious congregations of Catholic colleges and universities.

Such communities, explains Wilcox, would “gather regularly for mutual support, prayer, reflection, study, retreats and the development of programs to preserve and expand the mission of the college or university.”

The book details the culture, intellectual life and adult spirituality of the religious congregations that helped to found Catholic institutes of higher learning. It also profiles the spiritual lives of students.

“Amid abundant talk about the mission of Catholic higher education, John Wilcox offers a concrete proposal for action,” remarked Peter Steinfels, co-director of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture, about the book. “Around a mandatory orientation for new hires, he would nurture a lay Mission Community to sustain the vision of the founding congregation. His down-to-earth details and his lessons drawn from the De La Salle Christian Brothers tradition are matched by a deep realism and sensitivity to the diversity of today’s Catholic higher education.”

Jennifer Anne Lindholm, special assistant to the vice provost for undergraduate education at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Suzanne Dale Wilcox, a spiritual director, were special contributors to the book.

Wilcox, a religious studies professor for more than 25 years at Manhattan College, also served as vice president for mission for eight years. He is now engaged in research and writing on Catholic higher education. In addition to Revisioning Mission, Wilcox is co-editor of Best Practices: Enhancing Religious Identity in Catholic Colleges and Universities (2000) and Engineering and Environmental Ethics: A Case Study Approach (1998). He also edited The Internationalization of American Business: Ethical Issues and Cases (1992) and co-authored The Leadership Compass: Values and Ethics in Higher Education (1992). He received his Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary, M.A. from Fordham University and B.A. from Marist College.

For more information on the book, visit