Duquesne Campus

Re-Imagining Duquesne’s Spiritan Legacy For A New Era

STRATEGIC PLAN 2018-2023

One hundred forty years ago a small band of visionary priests traveled from Europe to Pittsburgh on a mission—to found a small Catholic college to educate the families of recent immigrants working in the steel mills. Holding classes in rented space above a bakery on Wylie Avenue, the six Holy Ghost priests believed that a rigorous values-base education would provide otherwise unobtainable opportunities for their first group of 40 students. Over time, the priests built a world-class institution of higher education that grew in size and stature to become Duquesne University, educating the doctors, judges, financiers, journalists and other professionals who contributed to the rich tapestry of life in the Pittsburgh area and beyond.

We remain in awe of the Founders' commitment and perseverance. In recalling those modest beginnings, we need to consider what those Spiritan Founders would think of the institution to which they gave birth.

Ken Gormley, Duquesne's new president, poses this question: In what ways can Duquesne's strategic priorities reflect the spirit (and the Spirit) that animated founder Fr. Joseph Strub and his colleagues for a new era?

In this document, we set forth five strategic imperatives that align squarely with our heritage yet embrace the challenges of our ever-evolving world. In pursuing these strategic imperatives, Duquesne will advance for an exciting new era its historic mission of providing an education for the mind, the heart and the spirit.

Duquesne will identify bold pathways to offer students the knowledge and skills they will need for productive and fulfilling lives and careers in the 21st century.


Any strategic plan's success derives from how it inspires people to make progress.

In 2017, Duquesne adopted a strategic plan that came to life as a result of significant involvement of the entire campus community: faculty, staff, students, and administrators. That plan stated that the University would "consider the best interests of our students as the polestar of all decision making."

That commitment remains firmly in place. Since adoption of the plan, the University has made progress on each of the five strategic imperatives on which the plan was built.

The plan's title, "Re-Imagining Duquesne's Spiritan Legacy for a New Era," made a bold statement that members of the University community would innovate and challenge one another while building on the founding values that have served the people of Duquesne and our region so well for so long.

The new era would have less to do with reinventing our heritage and more with how we honor it amid the changes and challenges facing higher education and our world.

Now, the new era is upon us. Amidst the challenges facing the nation and the world, and the challenges particular to higher education, Duquesne's progress will ensure that the University does not merely persist but is strengthened in its commitment and its positive impact.

Updates noted here are an overview of broad gains that already have been made. The story told here, though, comprises many others: the gains in departments and offices, student organizations and initiatives, as well as the rich personal relationships and collaborations that continue to flourish across campus, all of which t reflect the spirit of Duquesne and our collective work in this new era.

The strategic plan identifies as its first imperative the intention to identify bold pathways to offer students relevant knowledge and skills. Every element of the University is attuned to finding those pathways, paths both well-worn or newly blazed.

Even as the strategic plan pushes Duquesne's historic commitment to community engagement to achieve greater impact and reach, it does so with the expectation that students-through their academic work, their clubs, their extra-curricular activity, and more-will both drive and learn from that commitment.

As Duquesne invests in interdisciplinary and interprofessional programs, that process respects the variety of people involved as learners, researchers, and members of our campus community.

Duquesne students make our campus family more vibrant through their achievements and their continuous engagement with everyone here-faculty and staff-dedicated to their success.

Five Strategic Imperatives

  1. Re-Imagine the Student Experience for 21st Century Success
  2. Become Flagship for Community Engagement
  3. Transcend Traditional Academic Boundaries
  4. Create a Vibrant Campus Community
  5. Encourage Entrepreneurial Spirit