The mission of Emmanuel—and its identity as a Catholic college, university in breadth and inclusive of all— is to provide a dynamic education in the liberal arts and sciences within a learning community shaped by strong ethical values. While much of the world has changed dramatically in the years since the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur first opened the College, Emmanuel's commitment to rigorous academics, compassionate service and the advancement of justice and peace has never wavered, and it remains as powerful and relevant as ever. In the spirit of the Catholic intellectual tradition, we challenge students to confront complex questions with imaginative, deeply personal answers, and to act on their beliefs in ways that benefit others as well as themselves, which reflects the Sisters' charism to live with "hearts as wide as the world."
Emmanuel's philosophical basis is affirmed in John Henry Newman's Idea of a University, which recognizes the need for open, informed debate in the search for truth. These ideas provide the context for how Emmanuel understands its mission, as do more recent discussions on the characteristics of American Catholic colleges. These characteristics include a continued dialogue between faith and reason; a strong sense of community; the centrality of theology and philosophy in the curriculum; a commitment to education for social justice; service to others; and the celebration of Liturgy.