Skip navigation

History and Traditions

  • From humble beginnings 

    It all started with six friars from Ireland. 

     In 1847, nearly fifteen years before the start of the Civil War, Brother Giles Carroll answered the call to leave Ireland to help his fellow countrymen who had fled a great famine at home. Along with five of his brothers, he cleared land in the forests of Loretto, Pennsylvania, to build a school that would one day become Saint Francis University. 

    six friars square graphicCatholic Heritage

    Historically, the 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 the first Catholic universities to become co-educational in the United States.

    SFU Today

    Today, the vibrant university campus sits on 600 scenic acres providing ideal setting not only for focused learning in harmony with nature. The magnificent former Charles M. Schwab Estate and Gardens (now Mount Assisi Friary), Lake Saint Francis and Immergrun Golf Club further complement the Saint Francis Campus.

    In terms of  academics, the university curriculum is delivered through four Schools (Arts & Letters, Business, Health Sciences, Sciences) Saint Francis University is governed by a Board of Trustees comprised of community leaders and Franciscan friars. Daily operation of the institution is under the direction of the President, who is supported by highly competent faculty, administrators, and other staff.