A Catholic university is setting up shop in downtown Mesa.
Benedictine University, a 125-year-old, 7,100-student institution based in the Chicago suburb of Lisle, Ill., announced Wednesday it hopes to begin offering classes by fall 2013, using a vacant city-owned building as its beachhead in the Valley.
The goal is to have a 1,500-student residential campus by the 10th year of operations, said Charles W. Gregory, the university's executive vice president.
Benedictine will be the first stand-alone Catholic university in a state whose earliest European settlers and missionaries belonged to that church. Benedictine was founded in Chicago in 1887 under the name St. Procopius College and moved to Lisle, in DuPage County, in 1901. It became Illinois Benedictine College in 1971 and Bendictine University in 1996.