Our Mission

Respect | Compassion | Service | Integrity

As a Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts, we are a welcoming community of learners.

As a Catholic university rooted in the liberal arts, we are a welcoming community of learners challenged by Franciscan values and charism, engaged in a continuous pursuit of knowledge, faith, wisdom, and justice, and ever mindful of a tradition that emphasizes reverence for creation, compassion and peacemaking. We strive for academic excellence in all programs, preparing students to contribute to the world through service and leadership.

Our Vision Statement

Transform students into leaders inspired by Franciscan values and tradition to serve and shape our world.

Our Franciscan Values

  • RESPECT: We are a welcoming community of learners.
  • INTEGRITY: We manifest an ethic of care.
  • SERVICE: We are a campus of doers.
  • COMPASSION: We serve those who serve others.

History of the University

The University of St. Francis was established in 1920 by the Congregation of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate for the education of its own members.


  • In 1925, under the title Assisi Junior College, its doors opened to women outside the congregation.
  • In the fall term of 1930, a senior college curriculum was established and a new name, the College of St. Francis was adopted.
  • In 1971, the college became coeducational, and the first off-campus degree programs began in fall of 1972.
  • In 1980, a master’s program in health services administration was offered followed in the early ’90s by several more graduate offerings.
  • In 1997, the College affiliated with Saint Joseph College of Nursing, which had been first, a diploma nursing school founded in 1920, and since 1987, a baccalaureate institution that awarded the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
  • The Board of Trustees of the College of St. Francis voted in May of 1997 to move to university status.
  • On January 1, 1998, the institution became the University of St. Francis.
  • For a more detailed history of the school, including current milestones, visit stfrancis.edu/centennial.