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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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AQUINAS INSTITUTE. In 1950 the DOMINICAN ORDER divided the schools of philosophy and theology at their River Forest, Illinois, school. The Dominicans moved to Dubuque the same year because of its rich Catholic history and founded the Dominican College of St. Rose of Lima on Asbury Road. The facility was dedicated in 1956.

Recognized as a leader in the United States in the world ecumenical movement, Aquinas affiliated with the UNIVERSITY OF DUBUQUE Theological Seminary for Presbyterians and WARTBURG THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY for Lutherans. This action, taken in 1969, was the first of its kind in the nation. Aquinas Institute of Philosophy and Theology (River Forest, IL) and Aquinas Institute of Theology (Dubuque, IA) merged in 1970 to become Aquinas Institute of Theology (Iowa). Financial conditions including insufficient tuition led to faculty reduction in 1972. Annual salaries dipped as low as $4,000 for Dominican teachers. Aquinas was subsidized by the Dominican Province beginning in 1978. By moving to St. Louis in 1981, Aquinas was able to share programs and facilities with St. Louis University operated by the Jesuits.

The school offers a number of graduate degrees, such as a Master of Arts in theology (MA), a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS), as well as some unique programs, including the country's only Roman Catholic doctoral program in preaching and a Master of Arts in Health Care Mission degree. The school has been in a leader in online theological study, currently offering four separate graduate programs in a blended online/intensive format.

Aquinas Institute is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, one of six regional school accreditation organizations recognized by the United States Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation. It is also accredited with the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada Association of Theological Schools, an organization of seminary and other graduate schools of theology.