Saint Francis University


Saint Francis University’s 600-acre campus sits atop a gorgeous mountaintopin Loretto, Pa. (near Pittsburgh). We’re one of the oldest Catholic universities in the country, and the oldest dedicated to Franciscan values.

Our University is an inclusive learning community that welcomes all people. We are each unique, yet we share a common bond: a desire to be a better person tomorrow than we are today.

Fuel your mind

Our university is ranked among the very best according to U.S. News and World Report. Choose from more than 50 academic programs of study that fuel your mind AND feed your soul.

Inspire your spirit

St. Francis of Assisi, through his Catholic Franciscan mission, left us an abundance of clues for living a meaningful life. Through his Faith and Franciscanism, he pointed the way in arts, business, healthcare, and the environment. Saint Francis is a 2015-16 Catholic College of Distinction.

Fast Facts

Founded in 1847, Saint Francis University is the oldest Franciscan institution of higher learning in the United States. Saint Francis University is a Catholic, coeducational liberal arts University sponsored by the Franciscans of the Third Order Regular. The seeds of what has become Saint Francis University were planted by six Franciscan friars from Ireland who founded a boys' academy in the mountain hamlet of Loretto, Pennsylvania. Saint Francis University was soon given the power to grant degrees by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and was one of the first Catholic co-ed colleges in the nation.

  • Location: Loretto, Pennsylvania with satellite offerings in Altoona, Johnstown, State College, and online as well as in Ambialet, France.
  • Enrollment: 2,668 (1,745 undergraduate, 619 graduate)
  • Gender: Female 61.0%, male 39.0% (Undergraduate)
  • First-Year Retention Rate: 86.7%
  • Average Graduation Rate: 70.8% Athlete Graduation Rate
  • Average Class Size: 18
  • Full-time Faculty: 130 (54 tenured faculty)
  • Numbers based on Fall 2015 Enrollment *

Mission Statement

A Mind for Excellence

Saint Francis University offers higher education in an environment guided by Catholic values and teachings, and inspired by the example of our patron, Saint Francis of Assisi. The oldest Franciscan institution of higher learning in the United States, Saint Francis University is an inclusive learning community that welcomes all people.

A Spirit for Peace and Justice

University programs and activities foster such Franciscan values as a humble and generous attitude toward learning, respect for diversity and the uniqueness of individual persons, understanding of ethical issues, and reverence for all life. With a spirit of simplicity and joy, we provide opportunities for the University community to think critically and analytically, communicate effectively, and integrate theory and practice.

A Heart for Service

Saint Francis University offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts tradition, graduate and professional programs of study that emphasize personal and professional ethics, and continuing education opportunities for personal and career enhancement. We seek to inspire in all members of the University community a love of lifelong learning and a commitment to share their gifts and skills generously with others in a rapidly changing world.

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.

This school offers programs in:
  • English


Saint Francis University

Address Evergreen Drive 117
Loretto 15940, United States
Phone +1 814-472-3000