The purpose of Franciscan University is to further the higher education of men and women through programs of liberal, professional, and pre-professional studies leading to the conferral of the baccalaureate and master degrees in the arts and sciences.
It is the further purpose of the University, publicly identified as aCatholic and a Franciscan institution, to promote the moral, spiritual, and religious values of its students. The University is guided by the example and teaching of St. Francis of Assisi. To accomplish this mission, the University embraces the following general policies:
These five general policies are the basis for many specific policies, including:
Finally, the University commits itself to this mission believing that it is promoting a normal, mature, Franciscan, Catholic, Christian way of life for its students. It believes that its norms for both academic and co-curricular development are rooted in long and proven tradition and areas relevant today as they were in times past. The University commits itself to ongoing prayer so that it may be humble before the face of God and receptive to those graces and blessings it needs to serve this mission.
Though Franciscan University of Steubenville now enjoys a strong international reputation, its beginnings were as unassuming as its patron saint. Francis of Assisi’s simple life, self-sacrifice, and service to others have inspired many believers throughout the centuries – especially the founders, faculty, and staff of the University, who are guided by his example and teaching.
In 1946, soon after the end of World War II, Steubenville’s first bishop, John King Mussio, invited the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular to establish a college to serve the needs of local students, especially veterans of World War II. After looking over available facilities, the friars purchased the Knights of Pythias Building in downtown Steubenville in June 1946. With no guarantees except that of moral support, the friars invested $350,000 in what would prove to be a great educational venture.
As the College of Steubenville’s enrollment grew, other buildings were purchased 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. In 1960, the North Central Association granted formal accreditation to the College.
From the first, the College produced men and women of faith whose moral, spiritual, and intellectual formation enabled them to provide exemplary leadership in their careers, communities, and churches, and as parents, priests, or religious.
Six presidents have shaped the University into an internationally recognized, Christ-centered institution: Father Daniel W. Egan, TOR, Father Kevin Keelan, TOR, Father Columba S. Devlin, TOR, Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, Father Terence Henry, TOR, and now Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, who plans to further enhance its reputation for academic excellence and passionate Catholicism.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, the College nearly failed. Reeling from the social and cultural upheavals that rocked schools nationwide, the College found itself facing a serious identity crisis and declining enrollment. Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, who became president in 1974, helped restore the institution to the Catholic, Franciscan vision of its founders.
The College achieved university status in 1980, changing its name to Franciscan University of Steubenville in 1986. During its 68 years of existence, the University has grown to a 249-acre campus with 25 buildings and a study abroad program site in Gaming, Austria. In 2008, the University purchased Assisi Heights, an apartment complex adjacent to campus, which, in addition to a community building, includes 41 apartment buildings with 93 student apartments. It also houses the Christian Outreach Center, the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, the Franciscan Sisters, TOR, Santa Chiara Mission House, and the Franciscan Friars, TOR, Vocations House. Franciscan University now educates over 2,400 students each year who come from 50 states and 13 countries and nearly 300 students in distance education and online courses. The University also reaches over 50,000 other Catholics through its 27 adult, young adult and youth conferences.
Though a relatively young institution, Franciscan University has achieved national recognition from a variety of sources, including The Templeton Guide for Colleges That Encourage Character Development, National Review’s Guide to America’s Top Liberal Arts Schools, The Templeton Foundation’s Honor Rolls for Education in a Free Society, Barron’s Best Buys in College Education, U.S. News & World Report’s list of America’s Best Colleges, The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, and Kiplinger Personal Finance Magazine's list of "Best Values" in private education, and the Forbes list of America's Top Colleges.
Franciscan University’s growth from just 258 students in 1946 to over 2,700 students today is evidence of the faith of its Franciscan friars, the leadership of its presidents, and the determination of its trustees, advisors, faculty, and staff.
Franciscan University, in fulfilling its mission of furthering the higher education of men and women through programs of liberal, professional and pre-professional studies, awards degrees at three levels: associate, bachelors and masters. In addition, undergraduate (bachelors) majors may choose from over 30 optional minors.
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