Saint Francis University is a Roman Catholic liberal arts college founded in 1847 in Loretto, Pennsylvania, USA. The college was set up by a group of six Irish Franciscan monks from Ireland. The monks, teachers from the Franciscan order lead by Brother Giles Carroll, had come to America with the purpose of setting up a new school for Irish emigrants who had fled to America to escape famine and hardship in Ireland. The monks were gifted a plot of land in the forests of Loretto by Bishop of Pittsburgh, Michael O'Connor on which to build a school for the local settlers. The monks set about clearing the woodland and the first students were soon attending classes in the new school. Saint Francis is the first Franciscan college to be founded in the United States and is among the first 20 Catholic universities in the country – it was also one of the first Catholic colleges to become coeducational in the country. The college was granted university status by the state of Pennsylvania in 2001.
Today Saint Francis is a thriving liberal arts university with around 2,500 students studying a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The university offers 25 undergraduate majors and 7 graduate areas of study. The university also awards a doctorate in Physical Therapy. Academic subjects at the university are divided into four schools: the School of Arts and Letters, School of Business, School of Health Sciences and the Graduate School.
The university sits on a 600-acre campus of carefully landscaped lawns and tree lined paths linking together the university’s academic and residential buildings. The campus also boasts its own lake and golf course as well as a range of sports and leisure facilities available for use by students.