Saint Francis University

Saint Francis University (SFU) is a private Catholic liberal arts university in Loretto, Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1847 and conducted under the tradition of the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular. The university is situated on 600 acres (243 ha) in the forests and farmland of Loretto.

Saint Francis University
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic
Endowment$50 million (2018)[1]
PresidentRev. Malachi Van Tassell
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

40°30′15″N 78°38′15″W
CampusRural, 600 acres (243 ha)
ColorsRed and White          
NicknameRed Flash
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division INEC
     A-10, and EIVA.


Saint Francis College was established in 1847 by six Franciscan teaching Brothers from Mountbellew, Ireland, who had been given land in Loretto by Michael O'Connor, the first Bishop of Pittsburgh, to establish a school.[4] The university was one of the first Catholic universities in the United States and the first Franciscan college in the nation. Although it originally only admitted males, it became one of the first Catholic Universities to become co-educational. Loretto is the site of the first English-language Roman Catholic settlement established west of the Allegheny Front, in what is now the United States, by Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin in 1799.

In 2001 Saint Francis College was approved to change to become a university by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and renamed to Saint Francis University.


Saint Francis University enrolls approximately 1,658 undergraduate students (of whom 1,392 are traditional students and 266 are continuing education students) and 527 graduate students.[3] The university offers 25 undergraduate majors and 7 graduate fields of study (including Physical Therapy, in which the university awards a doctorate) to its students.[4] The university maintains an average graduation rate of 70.3%.[2]


The main building for the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, which also has a number of smaller facilities across the local region, is located on campus. Also on the campus are The DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness,[5] the Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation (CSOR),[6] Center for Watershed Research & Service,[7] and The Institute for Contemporary Franciscan Life.[8]

Immergrün Golf Course is a semi-private, nine-hole, regulation-length 3,234-yard, par-36 course on rye grass located on the campus of Saint Francis University at 105 Saint Elizabeth Street. Immergrün has not been altered since Donald Ross built it for the steel magnate Charles M. Schwab in 1917.[9]

Saint Francis University also runs a campus at Ambialet France in the Midi-Pyrénées.[10] All classes are in English.


Athletically, Saint Francis competes in the NCAA's Northeast Conference. Their nickname is the Red Flash. The University has a total of 22 varsity sports teams, with nine men's teams and 13 women's programs all competing in NCAA Division I. Men's sports include basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis, and track & field competing in the Northeast Conference and volleyball, which competes in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA); while women's sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field and volleyball which compete in the Northeast Conference and field hockey which competes in the Atlantic 10 Conference (A-10). Saint Francis University will be adding Women's Water Polo in 2016-2017 school year as its 23 varsity sport at the Division 1 level. In addition to this, there are also two club sport teams, ice hockey and baseball.

Notable alumni


  1. Palochko, Jacqueline (1 February 2019). "Which Pennsylvania college has the largest endowment?". The Morning Call. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  2. "Flash Facts, Rankings, and More - Saint Francis University".
  3. As 2019-20."2019-20 SFU student body fast facts". Retrieved 2019-12-02.
  4. History of Saint Francis University Archived 2007-07-12 at the Wayback Machine
  5. Archived August 15, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  6. "CSOR - SFU launches Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation". Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  7. "Center for Watershed Research & Service - Pennsylvania | Saint Francis University". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  8. "Institute for Contemporary Franciscan Life - Pennsylvania | Saint Francis University". 2015-06-30. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  9. "". 2012-01-06. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  10. "Semester in France - Pennsylvania | Saint Francis University". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  11. "Marist Names Jeff Bower Head Men's Basketball Coach". Press Release. Marist Athletics. 4/10/2013. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. "Mike Ryba Statistics and History". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  13. "Amateur Athletic Union Basketball". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  14. " Scott Layden".
  15. "Athlete bio: Brian Sell". USA Track & Field.
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