St. Augustine College to Merge with Lewis University
The presidents of St. Augustine College and Lewis University have announced plans to merge both institutions, with both Boards of Trustees unanimously approving the decision.
St. Augustine College President Dr. Reyes Gonzalez, together along with Lewis University President Dr. David Livingston, recognize the institutions’ alignment of missions and values, and a dedication to providing life-changing education for students of all walks of life, especially those who are often underserved in traditional higher education.
Through this merger, we will build upon the legacy and tradition of St. Augustine College – the first bilingual higher-education institution in the Midwest – 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 opportunities because of language. Especially when the Hispanic community is the fastest-growing population in Chicago.
We are excited about this new chapter. Together, we will realize the dreams held by our founders; dreams of providing education to all, regardless of social class. We will create a wider bridge to economic prosperity for all students and will be a leader for productivity and opportunity in the entire region. Our work today will impact generations to come and help build an equitable and economically thriving Chicagoland.
The merger is subject to the approval of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Illinois Board of Higher Education, U.S. Department of Education and the governing bodies of St. Augustine College and Lewis University. Both schools will continue operating as independent institutions without disrupting students or missions until the merger process is complete. During this time, collaboration and planning for a unified future will begin with signing the
As we move through this process, St. Augustine and Lewis University Leadership will host information sessions for faculty, staff, and students. More information on the merger and the information sessions will be forthcoming.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Document for Lewis University + St. Augustine College Merger
Why are Lewis University and St. Augustine College merging?
Our two institutions each come from a noble history of providing education as a life-changing pathway to expanded opportunity. Our missions are closely aligned.
We are each strong and thriving because we serve students from all walks of life. This is a unique opportunity for our institutions to do even more of what we each do so well, providing affordable degree programs with a liberal arts core and an emphasis on career and workforce preparation.
We are excited about this new chapter. Together, we will realize the dreams held by our founders; dreams of providing education to all, regardless of social class. Together, we will welcome even more bilingual students, adult learners and other non-traditional students – students who have not been well-served by traditional higher ed.
Our combined future is an educational community where all students belong and are celebrated for their unique potential. No student today should face limited educational opportunities because of language. Especially not when the Hispanic community is the fastest-growing population in Chicago.
How will this merger benefit each institution?
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 Hispanic population, which is the fastest growing group in Chicago.
Lewis University will benefit from St. Augustine’s unique bilingual environment and understanding of how to best support bilingual learners for success. As a Hispanic Serving Institution since its founding, St. Augustine College has created an educational community and supporting systems – including multicultural educators and a learning facilitator for each student from enrollment through graduation – that will be a model for our combined success.
St. Augustine students will gain access to an expanded number of program options in the bilingual format built upon the expertise of Lewis University’s history in Aviation, Health Sciences and Technology, and supported with Lewis University’s well-established administration systems.
How soon will the merger be completed?
While the regulatory approval process to complete the full merger could take up to two years, with the the signing of this agreement we immediately began to collaborate and develop plans for the future.
We expect to complete the merger process by the end of 2023 and to begin operating as a single unified Lewis University by Spring 2024. Until then, we will operate as independent institutions with no disruption to students or Missions.
When will the two institutions officially merge under the Lewis University name?
The official change in name will take place when we begin operating as a single institution, which we expect to take place by Spring 2024. The process of transitioning our signage and other physical aspects of changing to St. Augustine at Lewis University may take longer.
Will the newly unified institution be Lasallian?
With this unified future, St. Augustine aligns with the Lasallian global network, one of the largest Catholic education networks in the world and one of the largest Catholic higher education networks in the United States.
Both our institutions were established to meet the needs of our times.
Lewis University, founded during the Depression Era with an emphasis on aviation programs, evolved to meet the needs of young men seeking a practical vocation with social mobility. The expansion of opportunity we will achieve through this merger is fundamental to our Lasallian heritage. As we combine our institutions, we are walking in the footsteps of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, who transformed education by opening schools to students regardless of their social class, profoundly impacting the underserved.
St. Augustine College, founded in 1980, was the first bilingual higher education institution in the Midwest. The heart of our mission is to provide transformative education in a supportive, bilingual environment. We will sustain that mission and expand its reach through this united future.
The strength of these combined legacies is the foundation for our future success.
What new degree programs are planned?
In addition to the academic programs currently offered through St. Augustine College, Lewis University expects to add expertise in Aviation, Health Sciences and Technology for a significantly expanded range of options in the bilingual format. Not only will we be able to serve more students from all walks of life, including more bilingual and adult learners, we will be able to offer many more program options to better meet the needs of the future.
Above all, our expanded program options will align with the skills and credentials employers seek. Our students need to be prepared for success in the marketplace. That is the core principle that will guide our investments and program enhancements.
How will this merger benefit the Chicagoland region?
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 Hispanic and other underserved populations.
In Chicago, the Hispanic community is the fastest growing population. For our region to thrive, we must support the success of the Hispanic community. The jobs of the future will require an educated workforce to support the economy. And yet only about 30 percent of Hispanic adults in Illinois have a college credential. By equipping our students for success in today’s marketplace, we can be important in building an equitable, economically thriving Chicagoland.
Our Mission is bigger than just a degree or a job. We see our educational community as the foundation for the expansion of human potential. That growth through education is what supports the workforce and economic development our region needs.
What happens next?
Our next step is to submit an application to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to make St. Augustine College a part of Lewis University.
We also will begin working closely with guiding members of our faculty and staff leadership teams to ensure a smooth merger process with no disruption to our students.
We will continue to operate as independent institutions while we work to complete the merger planning process, and as we have progress to report, we will share updates with our respective campus communities.
In the meantime, we welcome this opportunity to expand our service to you, our valued community members. Our Mission is realized through each of you.
Our students possess resilience, grit and determination to succeed. This merger matches that spirit with an equal imagination for what our institutions can achieve through a transformational higher education experience that is truly responsive to student needs.
We are grateful to our colleagues, students, friends, and partners for your support as we set out on this path to create a wider bridge of educational opportunities for an increasing number of students.
If you have additional questions or would like to share messages of support, please email