Carlow In Spring

Have a transformational experience


Carlow University, rooted in its Catholic identity and embodying the heritage and values of the Sisters of Mercy, offers transformational educational opportunities for a diverse community of learners and empowers them to excel in their chosen work as compassionate, responsible leaders in the creation of a just and merciful world.


Carlow University will be a preeminent, innovative, Catholic university, renowned for providing transformational learning experiences in which students realize their full potential and become career-ready ethical leaders committed to a just and merciful world.



The identifying value of Carlow University is Mercy, encompassing all that we are and do as a University. Inspired by our God of Mercy, this value urges us to open our hearts to our students, our colleagues, and our world. In the tradition of action and contemplation, we seek practical ways of addressing need and we engage in reflection in order to understand and integrate our experiences. Education offers us the tools to address unjust structures and dehumanizing situations. Each discipline provides a lens through which we can envision our place in our own personal transformation and that of the global community. The values of Service, Discovery, Hospitality, and the Sacredness of Creation further expand our understanding of the power of Mercy to change our world.


In Hospitality we welcome the wholeness of each person, creating a space in our campus community for all individuals with their varied beliefs, cultures, orientations and abilities. Openness to the gifts and perspectives of all creates a community rich in diversity and committed to inclusion.


The value of Service calls us beyond ourselves to prioritize the needs of others over our own self-interest. Our efforts to identify and respond to the needs we see around us lead us to interact with persons and institutions in ways which are transformational. Our spirit of compassion leads us to practical action on behalf of those in need.


Through Discovery we open ourselves to the totality of our human experience, to the educational enterprise, to our relationship with the Divine, and to the wonders of the world in which we find ourselves. Discovery energizes our intellectual curiosity and desire for learning. It leads us ever deeper in the engagement with our chosen discipline and engenders a spirit of awe at the complexity and variety of creation.


This value leads us to a respect for each person and for all of creation. In gratitude for the beauty and variety of our world and its inhabitants, we commit to a culture of sustainability and to the preservation of a world where all are reverenced and all may thrive.

Philosophy Statement

The philosophy of Carlow University is guided by a commitment to the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, a belief in the transformative power of the liberal arts, and a dedication to undergraduate and graduate education that instills social responsibility and a desire to work for the good of all humankind. These ideals are touchstones of a Carlow education, informing the institution's mission and values so that students can realize their full potential and become ethical leaders in their personal and professional lives who are committed to a just and merciful world.

Rooted in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Carlow University recognizes the dignity of all human persons and the value of all creation, and understands that genuine wisdom and knowledge yield imperatives for justice. As a result, the institution seeks to graduate individuals who become engaged citizens of the world, capable of establishing transformative relationships of compassion and empathy. The love of learning and the desire for God are understood to manifest themselves in the relationship between reason and faith. Catholic Intellectual Tradition posits that truth is not divided, that truth in science is not at odds with truth in religion, thus at Carlow truth is explored through a "both/and" (analogical) rather than an "either/or" (dialectical) approach. Understanding that no one academic discipline contains all truth, Carlow University promotes an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach to research and scholarship, believing that creative, imaginative attentiveness to the world requires acknowledging the complexity required to interpret it.

This attentiveness to the world is also evident in the University's belief in the transformative power of the liberal arts. Derived from the Latin word liber for "free," the liberal arts have been the foundation of higher education for centuries because they free individuals to think clearly and creatively about themselves and the world in which they live. Carlow is committed to the liberal arts as part of its undertaking to educate the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. Fundamentally, the liberal arts focus on what it means to be human in all its complexity. Rather than approaching human experience from a finite perspective or insisting on rigid viewpoints that inhibit knowledge or limit thinking, the liberal arts encourage intellectual exploration and often pose problems that have no easy solutions. When students engage with the essential issues explored in the liberal arts, their lives are transformed, and they leave the institution ready to help transform society through their ability to comprehend and address the complex challenges of the world.

A commitment to transforming the world flows from the values of the founders of Carlow University. When the Sisters of Mercy launched Mount Mercy College in 1929, they were pioneers for women's higher education by combining scholarship in the liberal arts with career development in the professions, thus providing young women in the Pittsburgh area equal educational opportunities with men. The Sisters of Mercy were inspired by their founder Catherine McAuley's efforts to reform societal attitudes toward women by recognizing their inherent dignity and by helping women become self-directing and self-sustaining. As Carlow began to admit male veterans after World War II, it was clear that an educational approach that values women is beneficial to male and female students because it champions the inherent worth of all voices and creates a pedagogical and scholarly environment that includes those who have been historically excluded. The Mercy approach to teaching and scholarship creates a campus culture where men and women experience empathy and mutual respect, while valuing inclusion, flexibility, and collaboration.

In practice, the University's philosophy leads to undergraduate and graduate pedagogy and curricula that are rooted in social justice and require Carlow students and graduates to challenge or affirm existing or prevailing values in the workplace and the world. Through coursework, research, internships, and residencies, Carlow students embody the integrative Mercy approach to rigorous scholarship, creative thinking, and problem solving. Through the innovative liberal arts core experience, undergraduate students develop creative and critical reasoning skills essential to any professional, vocational, or personal situation. The original vision of the founders uniquely positions Carlow University today to offer an educational experience in which its graduates seek integrity in their lives and have the skills and conviction to create a more just and merciful world.