In 1999, discussions between UIC, the university's Catholic Chaplaincy, the Archdiocese of Chicago, and the Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation resulted in a gift from the Foundation to the university for the endowment of a chair in Catholic Studies. UIC agreed to fund a second appointment in Catholic Studies; both these positions were filled by August 2001, and this marked the beginning of UIC's offerings in Catholic Studies.
Paul J. Griffiths held the first Schmitt Foundation Chair until January 2008; Peter D'Agostino was hired to a junior position in Catholic Studies and History in 2001, was tenured in 2004, and tragically died in 2005. He is much missed. Kevin M. Schultz was hired as an assistant professor in Catholic Studies and History in 2007. The current holder of the Schmitt Foundation Chair is Ralph Keen, who was hired in Fall 2010.