History & Traditions

From the Beginning

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  •  Founding Friars

    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. 

    Catholic 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.

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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.

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