In 1551 Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, opened a School of Grammar and Christian Doctrine in Rome without charge that was soon transformed into the Roman College. The first humanistic studies were soon joined by those of Philosophy and Theology. In 1556, the Roman College received permission to grant academic degrees. From its beginning, the college was seen as a crossroad between Church and society, between faith and culture, faith and justice, faith and science.

As heir to the Roman College, the Pontifical Gregorian University continues this tradition and, at the dawn of the third millennium, finds itself at the same crossroad. As constantly emphasized by the Papacies over its 500 year history, it seeks to be at the service of the Church in every part of the world. The Gregorian is an Ecclesiastical, Pontifical and Jesuit University. Rooted in the Ignatian spirit, it aims to form men and women from every culture in such a way that they can find God wherever they will live (in all things). Each, according to his or her vocation, is called to bring the world to God so that God will be known by all people in their own language and tradition.

As a University, it seeks excellence in teaching, personal reflection, and research, offering to its students a harmonic synthesis between human knowledge and the light of faith according to the appropriate method for each academic discipline. Being aware of the interrelationship between science and the continuing evolution of knowledge, it fosters an interdisciplinary approach in its methods of research and the updating of the university community through the new tools of communication for distance learning.

As an Ecclesiastical University, it is composed of diverse Faculties and Institutes established by the Holy See and conferring by this authority canonical academic degrees. It's primary purpose is to form students with particular care for the office of priesthood, to instruct in the sacred sciences, to prepare some for ecclesiastical offices and for apostolic works. Besides theology, canon law, and philosophy, Church History and other human sciences4, in an attempt to always probe more deeply into the mystery of God who reveals himself and his salvation, realized in Christ, in human situations, in history, and in the Church. At the same time, with faithfulness to the Magisterial Church, it faces profound new challenges that come from an ever-changing world pervaded by non-belief and injustice.

As a Pontifical University, it collaborates closely with the Petrine ministry by cultivating unity of faith with respect to the diversity of cultures that distinguishes the Church in its many local settings. In the heritage of its long Christian tradition, it seeks the common roots that allow the true faith to illuminate the plurality of existing situations in today's world as it is moving toward social and economic globalization.

As a Jesuit University, and thus animated by the Ignatian spirit, it is characterized by its availability for service to the Holy See8. Its pedagogy, rooted in the personal and professional relationship between professors and students, insists more on the assimilation of wisdom than on the multiplication of knowledge. It promotes an interdisciplinary approach that gives students an integral formation. It offers a mentoring relationship aimed at the development of his or her personality, at greater inner freedom and at accepting personal responsibility. With creative fidelity, it accepts and communicates the ecclesial values that are hallmarks of the Society of Jesus as imperative in God's plan for humanity: the social sense of a faith that works for peace, truth and justice; dialogue with the world of culture and science; the promotion of Christian unity and interreligious dialogue; the value and dignity of each person and of creation itself.

As a university at the service of the Church around the world it seriously seeks to maintain the universality of its own teaching body. It takes to heart the necessary incarnation of the gospel message. It animates and encourages all members of the university community to be attentive and faithful to the Magisterial Church and to the particular circumstances of local Churches, in order to strive to live together in solidarity as children of One God.