The mission of Emmanuel includes its identity as a Catholic college, which means universal in breadth and inclusive of all. The College celebrates its connection to the religious and educational mission of a Catholic Church committed to human rights, social justice and world peace within the context of the Catholic intellectual tradition. 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.
As part of its Catholic identity, the College encourages students and faculty of all religious backgrounds to learn and to teach in a respectful, civil environment shaped by intellectual inquiry and integrity and informed by strong ethical values.