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The city of Steubenville is located 42
miles west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
24 miles north of Wheeling, West Virginia, 150 miles east of Columbus, Ohio,
and 120 miles south of Cleveland, Ohio.
Franciscan University of Steubenville is
located on University Boulevard, near
the junction of US Route 22 and Ohio
Route 7, and 35 minutes from Pittsburgh International Airport.
Steubenville serves as a hub for the economy
of approximately 40 smaller cities and villages located within 25 miles of the city limits.
The year was 1946, and World War II had
just ended. Isolated from the mainstream
of academic life, the city of Steubenville
lacked an institution of higher learning.
At the invitation of Bishop John King
Mussio, the Franciscan friars of the Third
Order Regular agreed to establish a college
in the city. A delegation of friars looked
over available facilities, and in June 1946
purchased the Knights of Pythias Building
at 420 Washington Street. With no guarantees except that of moral support, the
friars invested $350,000 in what would
prove to be a great educational venture.
As enrollment grew, other buildings were
bought or leased, until it became evident
that proper expansion required enough
land for a permanent campus. In 1953,
the friars purchased a 40-acre tract on a
site overlooking the city of Steubenville.
Today Franciscan University encompasses
a 220-acre campus with 24 buildings.
While many graduates pursue careers
around the country, others are involved
in local government, education, medicine, law, business, and industry. Since
Steubenville is the hub of a highly industrialized area, and since the demand for
trained personnel is growing rapidly, it is
not unusual to find students remaining in
the tri-state area after graduation to make
the Ohio Valley their home.
The heritage of Franciscan University
of Steubenville continues to be a source
of pride for graduates, students, faculty
members, and residents of the Steubenville area.
In the year 1182, in the little town of Assisi, near Perugia, Italy, a son was born to
a rich merchant named Pietro Bernardone. His baptismal name was Giovanni,
“John,” but his father renamed him Francesco, “Frenchman,” because Pietro was
fond of France.
As a youth, Francesco eagerly exercised
chivalry and arms, and while taking part
in one of the petty feuds of the day, he
was imprisoned at Perugia for a year.
While in Perugia, Francesco became ill,
and after being released from prison,
he spent much of his time in contemplation. Soon he renounced his former
way of life and went on a pilgrimage to
Rome in 1206. Thereafter, Francis, as he
is known to us, renounced his considerable inheritance, broke with his family, and consecrated himself to poverty
and a religious life. No humiliation, no
self-sacrifice was too great. He refused
any but the simplest clothing—a single
gray tunic of coarse woolen cloth belted
at the waist by a rope—and begged for
alms at the gates of the monasteries. He
served the leper colony at Gubbio for
some time and later worked with his
own hands in rebuilding the churches of
St. Damian and St. Mary of the Angels.
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