The Priory Campus

Directions to Priory Campus tour stop
Address is 7200 Division St.
- Exit main campus front gate and walk toward Harlem Ave.
- The Priory campus is located 8 blocks east of the main university campus and a lovely walk to take!
- If you’d like to take the Dominican University shuttle bus to the Priory, please visit the Welcome Desk to call for the bus. Please allow up to 30 minutes for the shuttle to arrive.

On acreage purchased in October 1925, the St. Thomas Aquinas Priory was built and modeled to look like the castle of the family of St. Thomas Aquinas. It was completed in 1926 on a large tract of land at the northwest corner of Harlem Avenue & Division Street and housed The Dominican House of Studies, a college of philosophy for neophytes of the Catholic Dominican Order. 150 young men from around the country intent on entering the priesthood lived and studied on the campus. Taught by a faculty of twenty, the young men completed three years of study at the college and, upon graduation, would head to Washington D.C., to complete their studies for the priesthood. In 1964, a new wing was opened, but shortly after the addition was completed, attendance began to diminish and financial problems began to trouble the college. In 1970, after forty-three years of service, the college closed.

In the years that followed, the Province of St. Albert the Great (which counts Fenwick High School and St. Vincent Ferrer Parish among its many ministries) operated the Priory and it continued to be home to generations of Dominicans Friars. In early 2012, the Province announced that the Priory would be vacated as part of an assessment of all its Chicago-area properties. The building (and some of the land surrounding it) had been sold to Dominican University over a decade earlier and Dominican Friars had remained on site through a favorable lease agreement with the university.

By June 2012, the remaining Friars had moved into other houses throughout the Chicagoland area and the building underwent modifications and renovations to meet the needs of Dominican University. Today, the 30-acre campus is used by Dominican University to house 87 ELS, undergraduate and graduate students, and is home to the School of Social Work, the Siena Center and the Goedert Center for Early Childhood Education. Guests and alumnae/i are welcome to visit the Priory’s beautiful chapel, the St. Thomas Aquinas Garden or stroll through the peaceful campus.

Did You Know?

Originally intended as the Priory’s dining hall, the chapel was designed by Wilfrid Edwards Anthony of New York. Formerly an associate of architect Bertram Goodhue, who designed the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel, Anthony was a favorite of the Dominican Friars.

A view of the Priory Campus.

The Priory Campus is located at Division and Harlem Streets.

A view of the Priory Chapel.

The Priory Chapel remains a consecrated space, but was once intended to be the dining hall!

An outdoor view of the Priory’s tower.