Original Saint Francis College building from 1890

About

From its earliest days as a teacher-training school to its current status as a degree-granting liberal arts institution, the University of Saint Francis has remained true to its core mission while always evolving with the times.

See USF Through the Years…

1890

USF is founded (as Saint Francis Normal School) by the Sisters of Saint Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Lafayette, Indiana.

1923

The school is accredited by the State of Indiana.

1939-1940

A new charter leads to expanded programs, including 4-year bachelor degrees in Education, Nursing, Science, Art, Music, and state licensing for elementary education.

Enrollment opens to laywomen. All households in the region receive a letter from Sister M. Bernarda stating, “Now, to keep our school and get it accredited by the North Central Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges, we need a larger enrollment.”

1944

Home, Sweet Home! The college relocates to Fort Wayne after the Sisters purchase part of the Bass estate and 65 acres for $65,000 ($918,000 in 2018 terms).

The College is formally dedicated on October 1, with Bishop John F. Noll in attendance.

1945

The first Fort Wayne Commencement is held in June. Five lay students and 11 Sisters receive degrees.

1945-47

Because there’s no public transportation to campus, the Sisters establish the first downtown campus in a building on the corner of East Columbia and Lafayette Streets. They offered classes in English, philosophy, music, and education

1949

Trinity Hall opens after construction was delayed five years due to war time complications.

1952

Sister M. Evodine is appointed first President of the residential college.

1957

The first male students register (as part-time); by 1959, the college is co-ed.

1958

Sister Rosanna Peters becomes President, serving 12 years.

1959

The Saturday Evening Post features the College’s post-war construction in its “Face of America” column.

1962

Bonzel and Bonaventure Halls open

The first group of graduate students earn their master degrees.

Programs in Business Administration and Business Education are added.

1964

The college hosts its first Homecoming.

The baseball and basketball teams play their first games.

1966

New programs in the Social Services are added and the college joins the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Mid-Central Conference.

1968

Achatz Hall of Science opens with an observatory, greenhouse, planetarium, and more.

1969

Bosco Hall opens, the first residence hall built for male students.

1970

Sister M. JoEllen Scheetz becomes President, leading the institution for 23 years.

1975

The college changes its mascot from the Troubadours to the Cougars.

1981

The Men’s Golf team wins USF’s first NAIA Championship title.

Saint Joseph School of Nursing joins Saint Francis College.

1990

Happy 100th Birthday!

The Hutzell Athletic Center opens.

1993

Sister M. Elise Kriss, O.S.F., is inaugurated as President.

1996

Sister Elise announces plans for a football program.

Coach Kevin Donley is named inaugural coach the following year.

1997

Professor Sufi Ahmad sculpts the Saint Francis statue.

1998

University Bound! Saint Francis College Becomes the University of Saint Francis.

1999-2011

USF experiences an era of growth as the following facilities open to accommodate a growing student body and expanded programming:

  • 1999: Campus Ministry Center
  • 2000: Doermer Family Center for Health Science Education & the Ian and Mimi Rolland Center
  • 2004: Padua Hall
  • 2005: Classes in Crown Point begin at St. Anthony’s Medical Center
  • 2006: Bonaventure Hall expands to include the Pope John Paul II Center and the Lee and Jim Vann Library
  • 2008: North Campus
  • 2009: Clare Hall
  • 2010: Renovations of Brookside are completed
  • 2011: Crown Point opens its own facility

2012

Plans for a USF Downtown take hold with the purchase of the historic Scottish Rite Center and Chamber of Commerce building in Fort Wayne

2016

The USF Performing Arts Center opens in the Scottish Rite Center, which also houses the Music Technology and Media Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts (META) programs. The Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership opens in the restored Chamber of Commerce building

2018

St. Francis Chapel is built