History & Traditions

From the Beginning

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  • Scotus Hall Historical

    A Brief History of Saint Francis University

    In 1847, nearly fifteen years before the start of the Civil War, Pittsburgh Bishop Michael O'Connor invited six Franciscan friars from Ireland to establish a school and gave them the land for this purpose. It was located in a forest near Loretto, Pennsylvania, where the friars labored to clear the land and then construct the foundations of what would one day become Saint Francis University.

    Soon after its humble beginnings, Saint Francis University was recognized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and given the authority to grant educational degrees. Historically, the University ranks as one of the first Catholic Universities in the nation, the first Franciscan college in the country, and one of the first Catholic Universities to become co-educational in the United States.

    The University's building program continued into the decade of the 1990s, bringing the campus to its present 23-structure expanse. The attractive 600-acre campus features nine residence halls, a student union, classroom and administrative buildings, an athletics center, dining hall, library and chapel. Christian Hall, a modern residence hall for 150 upperclass students, was completed in 1998.

    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, making the setting ideal not only for focused learning, but tranquil living as well. Diverse cultural opportunities are available for students and area residents alike through the University's fine arts program and the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art.

    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.

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    A Tip of the Cap

    We bid a fond farewell to all of our graduates and are excited for our newest alumni to go forth to teach, lead, care for, and serve all those in need within our global community


    Frankie the Friar

    SFU's #1 cheerleader

    Frankie the Friar is the official mascot of the Saint Francis University Red Flash. The University's original friar mascot debuted in 1983 and has been a mainstay at SFU athletics events ever since. The current rendition of Frankie first appeared during the 2009-10 athletics season.


    Historical Photos

    Take a look back

    These historical pictures were taken around the Saint Francis University campus. These images were stored in the Pasquerilla Library archive.

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