The word Spiritan, which is derived from the Latin word “Spiritus” (Spirit), refers to a Religious Order, Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Congregatio Sancti Spiritus) to which the proprietors belong. The Congregation of the Holy Spirit is an International Religious Order in the Catholic Church founded in France on May 27, 1703. The first Spiritan Missionaries arrived and began their Educational and evangelization work in Nigeria in 1885. Presently it has indigenous membership of over six hundred, working in various areas of youth apostolate through Education ministry nationally and internationally. This Religious Order is specifically dedicated to the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom and Fortitude. The name of the University is inspired by the above chrisms from the Holy Spirit, hence the University aims at imparting holistic knowledge, understanding and wisdom which constitute the hallmark of University education.
The Spiritans are known in Nigeria for the promotion of education in their evangelical work as a gateway to enhance the integral development of local communities. The full story of development in many parts of Nigeria, especially in the South-East (Eastern Nigeria of old) and the middle belt (Benue-Plateau) is never told without reference to the contribution thereto made from the work of the Spiritans in education (both in primary and secondary Education). The school system of the early Spiritan Missionaries contributed a lot to the development of the people of Nigeria. Some leading national figures – politicians, professionals, and industrialists – are products of Missionary schools of the Spiritans. They established numerous primary and secondary schools and some teacher training colleges in different parts of the country.
With the establishment of two higher institutions: Spiritan International School of Theology, Attakwu, Enugu, Enugu State and Spiritan School of Philosophy, Isienu, Nsukka, Enugu State which are affiliated to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and are offering NUC accredited degree programmes, the Holy Ghost Congregation, Province of Nigeria, South East, under the leadership of Very Rev. Fr. Prof. Peter Chukwuemeka Agbonome, CSSp, decided to establish a University. That was how the idea of the University was mooted and eventually founded. The Holy Ghost Congregation, Province of Nigeria, South East then applied for the establishment of the Spiritan University to be sited in Abia State of Nigeria to increase access to University education for the teeming youth in the country. Spiritan University Nneochi was finally approved and licensed as a Private University on December 6, 2017 by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the recommendation of National Universities Commission (NUC). The Provisional License was presented to the Proprietors on December 19, 2017 by Prof. Abubakar A. Rasheed, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC). The University enrolled its first students in the 2018/2019 Academic Year.
Spiritan University is an answer to the national call for private participation in the provision of University education as contained in the Education (National Minimum Standards and Establishment of Institutions) Act No. 9 of 1993. The Proprietors are set to complement Government’s efforts in providing quality University education at affordable rate.