The origins of the Institute can be traced back to the 1880s when the Jesuits established a School of Philosophy and a School of Theology at Milltown. The Faculty of Theology at the Milltown had its roots, through an unbroken history, in the Jesuit School of Theology which was founded there in 1889. In 1932 this became a Jesuit Ecclesiastical Faculty. In the meantime, the School of Philosophy moved from Milltown in 1930, became a Jesuit Ecclesiastical Faculty in 1948, and returned to Milltown in 1966.
The Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy was established as an Ecclesiastical Faculty, teaching Theology and Philosophy, by a group of religious institutes in 1968. A Board of Trustees, composed of the Provincial Superiors of these Religious institutes, had primary responsibility for the mission and ethos of the Institute. The Chancellor was the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, and the4 Vice-Chancellor was the provincial of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus.
The Congregation for Catholic Education (CCE) approved the statutes of the Institute in 1974 by virtue of which Milltown Institute had power to grant ecclesiastical degrees, up to and including doctorates, in Philosophy, Theology, Spirituality, Sacred Scripture and Pastoral Studies.
In November 1989 the Institute was granted designated status under the National Council for Educational Awards Act 1979 (and its successor, Higher Education and Training Awards Council, established in 2001). This enabled Milltown to develop and offer civil programmes leading to Bachelor, Masters’ and Doctoral awards. Some of the degrees at Bachelor level were recognised for the purposes of secondary school teaching.
In the early 2000s an alliance was created with the Kimmage Mission Institute of Theology and Cultures, which had been established at Kimmage Manor in 1990. This Institute was run by a consortium of eleven religious and missionary groups who combined their pastoral, teaching and missionary experiences to present theology in lively engagement with intercultural horizons. From September 2003 KMI became located at Milltown Institute under the auspices of the Department of Mission Theology and Cultures. This alliance was made permanent in summer 2006.
Milltown Institute became a Recognized College of NUI in April 2005. It was initially aligned with University College Dublin (UCD) at Belfield, which retained a supervisory role in relation to Milltown Institute within the National University of Ireland (NUI). UCD itself was founded as the Catholic University of Ireland by Paul Cullen and John Henry Newman. In 1881, operating under the Royal Universities Act, the university was renamed University College and became University College Dublin (UCD) under the Irish Universities Act 1908. In more recent years Milltown Institute related directly with the NUI Registry in Merrion Square, Dublin.
Many members of the Board of Trustees collaborated with academic interests to form the concept that informs the Loyola Institute at Trinity College Dublin. In 2011 the Board of Trinity College Dublin established Loyola Institute to facilitate research and teaching in the Catholic theological tradition for the first time in Ireland’s premier University.
The Milltown Institute Logo
The logo is an adaptation of the original logo designed by Edward Weinmann which depicted the cross and the tree of knowledge, with the cross integrated into the trunk and branches of the tree, all emerging as light out of darkness.