Founded in 1970, the AJCU is a national organization that represents Jesuit higher education among its various constituencies, provides a forum for the exchange of information and experiences in Jesuit higher education, and encourages and facilitates collaborative initiatives among its member institutions. Those initiatives include: fostering Jesuit, Catholic identity and mission, educating for a faith that does justice, supporting national and international collaboration between campuses, sponsoring professional and leadership development programs, and offering online educational opportunities through the distance education network, JesuitNET.
The AJCU is the successor to the Commission on Colleges and Universities of the Jesuit Educational Association (JEA), which since 1936 had served as the umbrella organization for both Jesuit secondary and postsecondary education. Rev. Edward Rooney, SJ served as Executive Director of JEA from 1937-1966. Rev. Paul Reinert, SJ, succeeded Fr. Rooney as JEA president from 1966-1970.
n the 1970 restructuring, AJCU became its own national organization with the following purposes: 1) Continued study of new educational problems in the light of Jesuit policy and practice, 2) Continued effort to improve educational effectiveness of Jesuit colleges and universities, 3) Effective promotion of inter-institutional cooperation, especially among Jesuit institutions, 4) A unified influence in national organizations, programs and developments, 5) Effective assistance in participating in Federal and other national programs supporting research and educational projects, 6) Effective dissemination to member institutions of important information, and 7) To be a forum for exchange of experiences and information.
For the last 40 years, AJCU has supported and served Jesuit education in various ways. From the beginning, the Association has played a leadership role in advocating for public support for private education and was part of the development of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).