Saint Francis University

This article is about the university in Pennsylvania. For the college in New York, see St. Francis College. For the university in Indiana, see University of Saint Francis (Indiana). For other uses, see University of Saint Francis.
Saint Francis University
Type Private
Established 1847
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic
Endowment $45,254,000 (2015)[1]
President Rev. Malachi Van Tassell
Academic staff
Undergraduates 1,745[2]
Postgraduates 619[2]
Location Loretto
40°30′15″N 78°38′15″W / 40.50417°N 78.63750°W / 40.50417; -78.63750Coordinates: 40°30′15″N 78°38′15″W / 40.50417°N 78.63750°W / 40.50417; -78.63750
Campus Rural, 600 acres (243 ha)
Colors Red and White          
Nickname Red Flash
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division INEC
     A-10, and EIVA.

Saint Francis University (SFU) is a four-year, coeducational 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.


Located in Loretto, Pennsylvania, Saint Francis University enrolls approximately 1,745 undergraduate students (of whom 39% are male and 61% female) and 619 graduate students.[2] 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.[3] The University maintains an average graduation rate of 70.8%.[2] Saint Francis University has 22 men's and women's sports teams and competes in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The current president of the University is Rev. Malachi Van Tassell, T.O.R., Ph.D.

Mount Assisi Friary, formerly the residence of industrialist Charles M. Schwab, is home to several of the friars who staff the university.

Also on the campus is the main building for the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art which has a number of smaller facilities across the local region. 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.[4]

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]


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.[3] 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 accredited with university status by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and renamed to Saint Francis University.

Saint Francis University campus
The John F. Kennedy Center 
DeGol Field 
North Campus 


Saint Francis University is consistently ranked among the top private universities within the state of Pennsylvania. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Saint Francis University the "51st Best University in the Mid-Atlantic states to gain a Masters Degree" as well as "The 46th Best University in the North (Tier 1)". The most notable master's degree programs are the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and the Masters of Physician Assistant Sciences program which is consistently ranked among the top 3% in the nation. In addition to these rankings, Saint Francis University released statistics that show 98% of university graduates either begin a job or start graduate school within nine months of graduation.

The average student attending Saint Francis University is ranked within the top 20% of his/her graduating class upon freshman orientation.

Saint Francis University also runs a campus at Ambialet, France in the Midi-Pyrénées.[9] Some classes are held at the Jean-François Champollion University Center for Teaching and Research (Centre universitaire de formation et de recherche Jean-François Champollion) which is a French university in the Academy of Toulouse in the city of Albi. 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. As of June 30, 2015. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2015 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2014 to FY 2015" (PDF). 2015 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Saint Francis University Facts and Stats
  3. 1 2 History of Saint Francis University
  4. "". 2012-01-06. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  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. "Semester in France - Pennsylvania | Saint Francis University". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  10. "Marist Names Jeff Bower Head Men's Basketball Coach". Press Release. Marist Athletics. 4/10/2013. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. "Mike Ryba Statistics and History". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  12. "Amateur Athletic Union Basketball". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  13. Scott Layden
  14. "Athlete bio: Brian Sell". USA Track & Field.
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