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Ancilla’s History

Ancilla Domini College, in Donaldson, Indiana, sponsored by the Congregation of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ, is a two-year, liberal arts college. It was established in 1937 and accredited by the Indiana State Board of Education. Prior to that year Ancilla functioned as an extension of DePaul University of Chicago under a charter granted to the Poor Handmaids in 1925.

Originally Ancilla provided higher education only for prospective members of the  Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. With the expansion of the college in 1966, the College broadened its liberal arts curriculum and admitted students from the surrounding geographical area, awarding an associate degree to members of the public for the first time in 1967.

Since 1973 Ancilla has maintained accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the United States.

Timeline

  • 1925: Ancilla was established as an extension of DePaul University of Chicago under a charter granted to the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in 1925. Originally Ancilla provided higher education for prospective members of the Congregation of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.
  • In 1937 Ancilla became accredited by the Indiana State Board of Education.
  • In 1966 Ancilla incorporated as a separate entity from the religious congregation which founded it. A board of trustees consisting of Sisters and leaders from the surrounding communities is now charged with maintaining its academic mission while addressing education needs of the local community.
  • In 1966, because of needed expansion of college facilities, the College broadened its liberal arts curriculum and admitted students from the surrounding geographical area, awarding an associate degree for the first time in 1967. Since 1966 Ancilla has augmented its liberal arts program with various career preparation offerings.
  • Since 1973 Ancilla has maintained accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission.
  • In 1989 a Student Success Center was established to meet individual academic needs of traditional and non-traditional students.
  • In November 2001 ground was broken to address science and technology needs. The new wing completed in January 2003 is comprised of computer and science labs, classrooms, and offices. Renovation of the original science laboratory in 2004 produced a state-of-the-art nursing lab.
  • Since 1998 Ancilla athletic teams have participated in the National Junior College Athletic Association and, since 2000, the Michigan Community College Athletic Association.
  • In 2006 Ancilla reorganized several services into an Advising Center to serve all new students and all students with academic needs.
  • Today’s 1,200-acre campus is shared by Ancilla College and the American Headquarters of the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ. The Sister’s facilities include a retreat and conference center, a ministry directed toward the needs of the environment, an artistic community, a beef and grain farm, and a nursing home.
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The seal of Ancilla College was designed by Sister Consilia Danyi, P.H.J.C., of the art department of the College in 1965 under the administration of President, Sister Joel Lampen, P.H.J.C. The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ take their name, Ancilla Domini Sisters, from the passage of scripture Luke 1:38 in which Jesus’ mother, Mary, expressed to the angel Gabriel her service to God in the words, “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord.”

In Latin her words translate to “Ancilla Domini” meaning “Handmaid of the Lord.”  The official name of the College is Ancilla Domini College. The seal of Ancilla College first appeared on the By-Laws of the Board of Trustees of Ancilla Domini College and the Articles of Incorporation on August 23, 1965.

Ancilla’s Catholic Identity

The ideals and principles that have characterized Poor Handmaid of Jesus Christ education over the years are fundamental to Ancilla College’s mission and culture. Drawing from PHJC tradition, Ancilla fosters an environment where students can develop their unique gifts and insights through reflection, service and intellectual inquiry. Students are challenged to engage in the communities and become men and women in the service of others, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members. These values are at the core of Ancilla’s identity, binding the Ancilla Family across diverse backgrounds, faiths, cultures and traditions. – Vice President of Mission Integration Sr. Jolise May, PHJC

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*From: Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) 2015-16 Guidebook