History & Traditions
Saint Francis University is one of the first 20 Catholic universities and the first Franciscan college to be founded in the United States. It is also one of the first Catholic universities to become co-educational in the United States.
The College (University) gratefully acknowledges the vision, sacrifice, and zeal of our Franciscan founders and of the friars who have served the campus community loyally over the years. We strive to emulate the Franciscan values evident in their ministry.
-Stewards of the Vision, Dr. John Woznak
Brother Giles Carroll, along with five of his friar brothers from the Archdiocese of Tuam in Ireland, requested permission from the bishop of the Pittsburgh diocese to bring their dream, rooted in sharing the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi, to fruition in the Americas.
In 1847, nearly fifteen years before the Civil War, they began clearing land in the forests of Loretto, Pennsylvania, to build a school that would one day become Saint Francis University.
Saint Francis College: 1880s
Saint Francis College: 1947
Saint Francis University: 2022