Welcome from the President

Fr. Malachi Van Tassell, T.O.R.

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  • An invitation to "walk with Francis" 


    Fr. Malachi
    Welcome to Saint Francis University!  I invite you to enjoy a “virtual tour” of our beautiful campus.  Here on our website you will learn about our academic programs, student life, opportunities to enrich your faith, co-curricular activities of our campus, and much more.   

    In 1847, six Franciscan friars came to Loretto, Pennsylvania from Ireland to found what was then known as Saint Francis Academy.  From such humble beginnings, Saint Francis University has become the oldest Franciscan institution of higher learning in the United States.  The Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular have been teaching and ministering on campus continuously since our founding.  Our mission is to provide each student with a Catholic and Franciscan education of the highest caliber. 

    The Saint Francis University educational experience leads you to “Reach Higher, Go Far.”  Building on that exhortation, the theme of my Presidential Inaugural year is “onwards toward the highest principles,” inspired by Pope Francis.  My prayer is that your experience at Saint Francis University will allow you to explore new ideas and discover truth, embrace your faith, and, in the words of Pope Francis, “stake your lives on noble ideals.”

    Here at Saint Francis University, our students have a unique opportunity to “walk with Saint Francis of Assisi.”  The spirit of Saint Francis is manifest in friars, faculty, and staff.  Whether you are a prospective student, a member of the university community, or simply learning more about who we are, may your walk with Saint Francis be blessed.

    - Fr. Malachi Van Tassell

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