Catholic identity? Radboud University administrators mostly kept their cool

Wednesday 12 June 2024, 2:30 pm
PhD candidate
J.T.P.G. de Vos drs.
prof. dr. C. Hübenthal, prof. dr. D.A.T. Müller
dr. J.E.A. Ackermans

A discontinued model. This tends to be the image the media paints of the Catholic identity of Radboud University. And yet, the Nijmegen university never broke with its Catholic roots. This raises questions about the role of the university administrators. How did the University's chief administrators think about Catholic identity? And how did they deal with it?
Catholic? Not an issue offers a unique insight into what went on behind the closed doors of the boardrooms of the institution known until 2004 as Catholic University Nijmegen. Drawing on previously unexamined archival material, Jurijn Timon de Vos shows how the University's Catholic identity was influential in consultations with bishops and in professorial appointments. The issue of the University's name is also discussed in detail, including an exploration of the aborted name change to Carolus Magnus University in the year 2000. Eventually, the University changed its name to Radboud University.
This research study shows that between 1950 and 2005, the University's Catholic identity, far from being a discontinued model, was in fact an administrative self-evidence that took on different forms in each period. The historical developments that De Vos uncovers with a great eye for detail shed new light on the University's history. They also invite a more differentiated assessment of the identity history of the 100-year-old Radboud University.

Jurijn Timon de Vos (1995) studied History at Radboud University before completing a two-year Master's degree in Dutch-German Studies / Niederlande-Deutschland-Studien at Radboud University and the Westfälische-Wilhelms-Universität Münster (now Universität Münster). De Vos graduated cum laude in 2018, and went on to complete the 73rd Postgraduate Course in International Relations (Leergang Buitenlandse Betrekkingen) at Clingendael Institute. Between 2019 and 2023, he worked as a PhD candidate at the Department of Textual, Historical and Systematic Studies for Judaism and Christianity (THS) at Radboud University. In 2023, he was appointed policy officer for identity affairs & special projects at Radboud University and national project coordinator of the Laudato Si' Alliance Netherlands.