Founding – 1946
The College of Steubenville opened on December 10 in downtown Steubenville with 258 students led by president, Father Dan Egan, TOR.
First Founder’s Dinner – 1949
First Founders’ Day Dinner held. First Board of Advisors established.
First Graduation – 1950
First graduation celebrated with the commencement address given by Ernest T. Weir, chairman of the board of National Steel. Alma Mater dedicated in honor of the first graduating class.
First Commencement Address – 1950
Father Dan Egan, TOR, speaking on the occasion of the first Commencement Exercises of the College of Steubenville in 1950.
Appointing of Acting President – 1955
Father Regis Stafford, TOR, appointed acting president so Father Egan could devote himself to planning the new hilltop campus.
Bishop Mussio Honored – 1956
Bishop John King Mussio, who first conceived of the idea for the College, received an honorary doctor of law degree and delivered the commencement address.
Women’s Club Founded – 1957
Women’s Club founded.
Basketball Team Honored – 1958
Baron Basketball Team, coached by Hank Kuzma, achieved a 24-1 record and recognition as the Number One Small College Basketball Team in the U.S.
Fr. Keelan Elected – 1959
Father Egan died in a fire, and his passing was mourned by all of Steubenville. Father Kevin R. Keelan, TOR, succeeded him as president
Formal Accreditation – 1960
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools granted the College formal accreditation.
New Campus – 1961
New hilltop campus opened with Egan-Stafford, Starvaggi, Antonian, Marian, and St. Francis Halls.
Fr. Devlin Elected – 1962
Father Columba J. Devlin, TOR, appointed third president of the College.
Trinity Hall Built – 1963
Trinity Hall student residence completed.
St. Thomas More Hall Built – 1964
St. Thomas More residence hall completed.
More Graduates – 1965
Graduating class topped 100 students for the first time.
Board of Trustees Created – 1966
Board of Trustees established to provide additional leadership to the College.
CTK Dedication- 1969
Father Kevin Keelan, TOR, returned for his second term as president. Christ the King Chapel dedicated.
J.C. Williams Center Built – 1970
J.C. Williams Center opened. Enrollment reached an historic high at 1,333.
Pro-Life Club Created – 1973
Student Pro-Life Club formed following Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion
Fr. Mike Elected – 1974
Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, appointed fourth president. Master’s in education offered in conjunction with University of Dayton.
Charismatic Priests Conference – 1975
Charismatic Priests Conference held on campus, the first of many Catholic conferences for adults to follow. Innovative student faith households launched.
Mother Teresa Honored – 1976
BA in theology added. Mother Teresa accepted the Poverello Medal during commencement.
First Youth Conference – 1976
First Catholic Youth Conference held on campus.
Volunteer Program Created – 1977
Student Volunteer Program of Service to the community initiated.
First Convocation Address – 1978
First College-wide convocation held with an address by Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, on the school’s identity and direction.
Renaming – 1980
The College of Steubenville became the University of Steubenville through the addition of MBA, MA Theology, and MS Education Programs. The Strong in the ’80s Capital Campaign surpassed its goal of $1 million.
SWOP Created – 1982
Student Work Opportunity Program initiated. Stony Hollow Boulevard renamed University Boulevard.
New Initiatives – 1983
The University’s entire short-term debt paid off by a benefactor. Vaccaro Field completed through donations from local citizens. Franciscan University Press inaugurated.
New Ministries and Construction – 1984
The University received a 10-year accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Franciscan Way rerouted; plaza constructed. Catholic FIRE Ministry launched to preach Faith, Intercession, Repentance, and Evangelization.
Strengthening Religious Identity – 1985
The Board of Trustees voted to change the name of the University to Franciscan University of Steubenville; it was made official by the state of Ohio in April 1986. Pre-Theologate Program for men discerning the priesthood began.
JPII’s Honorary Degree – 1986
Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, presented Pope John Paul II with an honorary degree and spiritual bouquet from Franciscan University students, faculty, and staff. Father Scanlan published his popular autobiography, Let the Fire Fall.
Building Bigger – 1987
The John Paul II Library and St. Mary of the Angels Chapel, a replica of the Portiuncula in Assisi, completed. The Tomb of the Unborn Child erected. 700 alumni came home for the University’s 40th Anniversary.
Assisting Residents – 1988
The Ohio Valley Skating Rink renovated into the St. Joseph Center. Accounting students offered free IRS tax filing assistance to Ohio Valley residents through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for the first time.
Oath of Fidelity – 1989
President Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, and the entire full-time theology faculty and all Franciscan friars made the Profession of Faith and took the Oath of Fidelity. University named to the John Templeton Foundation Honor Roll for Character Building Colleges and Universities for the first time. Father Scanlan jailed with Steubenville Bishop Albert Ottenweller for a peaceful pro-life demonstration at a Youngstown, Ohio, abortion clinic.
Record Enrollment – 1990
Record enrollment set with 1,768 students from 49 states and 37 countries. First time listed in Barron’s 300: Best Buys in College Education.
Austria Program Begins – 1991
Listed among America’s top liberal arts schools by National Review. The Austrian Study Abroad Program began at the Kartause Maria Thronus Iesu in Gaming. The Steel Cross and bronze Stations of the Cross erected.
Fieldhouse Built – 1992
Father Matthew Finnegan Fieldhouse completed. The Language and Catechetical Institute (LCI) began in Gaming to train catechists for Eastern and Central Europe.
Top Catholic Universities – 1993
The average SAT score of incoming freshmen topped 1,000. Mission of Franciscan University published. Listed among the top liberal arts schools by National Catholic Register.
Expanding Ministries – 1995
Urban Mission Ministries became an associate to more closely collaborate in serving the local poor. An Economic Impact Study indicated that Franciscan accounted for over 5,500 local jobs and more than $100 million in local spending. Christ the King Chapel addition completed. Distance Education began offering graduate and undergraduate courses on audio cassette. First off-campus youth conference held in Louisiana.
50th Anniversary – 1996
Celebrated 50th anniversary with over 1,000 alumni and supporters. Helped establish the International Theological Institute (ITI) in Gaming, Austria. Dedicated Our Lady of Praise Grotto.
Honor Roll – 1997
Named to the John Templeton Foundation Honor Rolls for Education in a Free Society, as one of the top 13 universities in the nation. New residence halls dedicated to St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Clare of Assisi.
Top Midwestern University – 1998
First time ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges “top tier” of Midwestern universities.
25th Conference Season – 1999
25th annual conference season offered nine adult conferences and three on-campus youth conferences as well as eight regional youth conferences. Twi-Lite Motel purchased for use as student housing. Listed in the Templeton Foundation’s Colleges That Encourage Character Development.
Fr. Mike Retires – 2000
Building on Faith Capital Campaign concluded at $18.75 million, by far the largest amount raised to date. Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, stepped down after 26 years as president of Franciscan University and was named the school’s first chancellor. Father Terence Henry, TOR, took the helm as the fifth president of Franciscan University. SS. Cosmas and Damian Science Hall dedicated.
Fides et Ratio Grant – 2001
Received $600,000 Fides et Ratio Grant award to further integrate mission with admissions process, curriculum, and faculty development in light of John Paul II’s Fides et Ratio.
Rome Program Begins – 2002
Handcrafted chalice and paten—from the Fides et Ratio Grant Evaluation Committee—first used at spring semester opening Mass. Rome Program inaugurated for MA theology students.
Reaching the Community – 2003
Launched the Commuter Grant Program, which gave a 50-percent tuition discount to aid local students. John Paul II Library underwent major renovation. Franciscan affiliate purchased the Holiday Inn, part of which became St. Anthony of Padua residence hall. First Dinner With 12 Strangers with local families hosting 450 new students in their homes at the end of Orientation Weekend.
Mass for JPII – 2005
Classes cancelled so students and faculty could attend a campus Mass offered by Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of Steubenville to pray for the repose of John Paul II’s soul.
Renovations – 2006
Franciscan marked 60th year. J.C. Williams Center expanded. $25 million Campaign for Franciscan University launched to increase scholarships, renovate Egan Hall, and build a new friary. Vatican Pontifical Council for Culture asked faculty for a preparatory paper on the Franciscan perspective of beauty for a dicastery meeting.
Newman Society Guide – 2007
Barons re-entered intercollegiate sports as provisional members of the NCAA Division III. SS. Louis and Elizabeth Residence Hall opened. Purchased adjacent Belleview Golf Course and Green Strip properties. New Institute of Bioethics started to defend Catholic teachings on life issues. Named one of 21 “faithfully Catholic universities” recognized in the inaugural edition of Cardinal Newman Society’s Guide to Choosing a Catholic College.
Doubling in Size – 2008
Dr. Patrick Lee appointed to the John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Chair in Bioethics, the first fully endowed chair in the University’s history. Parkview Circle purchased and renovated into apartment-style student housing and renamed Assisi Heights. Barons admitted to the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference. Total campus acreage reached 239, doubling in size in 10 years.
Living the Mission – 2009
Friars moved into the new Holy Spirit Friary. University celebrated Father Scanlan’s 50th anniversary as a professed Franciscan. Vatican Apostolic Penitentiary designated Portiuncula Chapel as a place where the faithful can receive a plenary indulgence. Franciscan named a “top 10 conservative college” by Young America’s Foundation. Pontifical Council for Culture held From Sea to Shining Sea: Faith and Culture in North America Conference at Franciscan.
Surpassing Goals – 2010
New limestone, brick, stone, and steel entrance constructed on University Boulevard. Franciscan joined the social media world with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube accounts. 35th year of conferences celebrated with over 40,000 adults and youth at conferences in the U.S. and Canada. Capital Campaign raised $31 million, surpassing $25 million goal.
First Fully Online Degree – 2011
Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, 79, retired after 11 years as chancellor and moved to the TOR Motherhouse in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Baron mascot redesigned. First Franciscan student received Fulbright grant. Center for Leadership launched to better prepare students to serve in every occupation proper to the Christian laity. Became full member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, eligible to participate in NCAA championships. Franciscan named for first time to Kiplinger’s 100 Best Values in Private Universities. Launched the Online MSEd, first fully online degree program.
Pro-Life University – 2012
Faculty approved new liberal arts core curriculum based on the Western intellectual tradition, Franciscan educational heritage, and Catholic mission of the University. Franciscan University filed a federal lawsuit against Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to have the HHS mandate declared unconstitutional and the government enjoined from requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization. Dr. Scott Hahn appointed to the endowed Father Michael Scanlan Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization. Century Club renamed Baron Club and continued raising money for athletic endeavors.
Fr. Sean Elected – 2013
Franciscan’s federal HHS Mandate lawsuit dismissed by the Southern District of Ohio on the grounds of “ripeness.” Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, announced as sixth president of Franciscan University. Father Terence Henry, TOR, named chancellor to assist with donor and alumni relations. Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life founded.
Forbes Top College – 2014
Celebrated Ex corde Ecclesiae’s 25th anniversary with the Fidelity and Freedom Series. Named for the first time by Forbes to America’s Top Colleges, the top 10 percent of America’s 4,726 degree-granting institutions.
Breaking New Ground – 2015
Groundbreaking for Franciscan Square construction on University Boulevard. Theology professor Dr. Scott Hahn and sociology professor Dr. Anne Hendershott and others interviewed on Franciscan as a “pocket of inspiration” for the FOX News documentary “Losing Faith in America?” Bishop Jeffrey Monforton of Steubenville opened the Holy Door in Christ the King Chapel, ushering in the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
First Student-Run Conference – 2016
First Hilltop Communities Block Party held for Steubenville hilltop neighborhoods. Dr. Patrick Lee, director of the Center for Bioethics, testified at the U.S. Capitol on the ethical implications of using fetal tissue in biomedical research. First student-run conference, “Woman: Gift in Culture and Church,” defended the vocation of women in light of Church teaching.
Fr. Mike Passes – 2017
Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, 85, died on January 7, and his viewing, wake service, and memorial Mass were held at Franciscan with a Mass of Christian Burial in Loretto. Inaugural GRACE (Gallery of Research, Artistry, and Community Engagement) showcased student and faculty academic work. National conference marked 25th anniversary of the Catholic Catechism as a key tool for sharing the faith.
Academically Excellent – 2018
Academic departments reorganized into schools of Theology, Professional Programs, Natural and Applied Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Online Programs. Former hotel renovated into St. Junípero Serra Residence Hall. Egan Plaza transformed with five mini-plazas for study and socializing. Actor Jim Caviezel and EWTN host Raymond Arroyo discussed the Paul, Apostle of Christ film live from Finnegan Fieldhouse. Dr. Mark Miravalle recognized for his prolific scholarship with the St. John Paul II Chair of Mariology.
Fr. Dave Elected – 2019
Father Sean O. Sheridan, TOR, resigned as president. Father Dave Pivonka, TOR, appointed seventh president of Franciscan University. Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda, CSsR, the Chaldean archbishop of Erbil, Iraq, and Father Pivonka signed a Memorandum of Understanding committed to cultural and educational exchanges.
Fr. Dave Inaugural Speech – 2019
In his inauguration address as the seventh president of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Father Dave Pivonka, TOR, focuses on Jesus as teacher—challenging and pulling people out of their darkness and ignorance, bringing them, as disciples, into his marvelous light.
Step in Faith – 2020
COVID-19 pandemic caused classes to move online following spring break. Franciscan dealt with pandemic fears and economic impact by taking a Step in Faith: offering free tuition to all new students for fall 2020. Summer conferences went virtual with Night of Hope. Barons began play in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. Father Dave Pivonka, TOR, released Metanoia, a 10-part documentary series. Father Pivonka and Dr. Bob Rice started “They That Hope” podcast.
On the Election – 2020
No one can totally control what we will awake to the morning after the election. But we can control how we respond to the election results and what we do on Wednesday morning and every morning thereafter, says Franciscan University of Steubenville president Father Dave Pivonka, TOR.
Rebuild My Church – 2021
Rebuild My Church Strategic Plan approved by trustees. George D. Rice Music Center dedicated. Fall enrollment topped 3,400 (on-campus and online graduate and undergraduate students, full time and part time). Leadership Institute and Center for Criminal Justice, Law, and Ethics launched to better form Catholic leaders. Public kick-off of $75 million Rebuild My Church Capital Campaign. Celebration of 75th Anniversary Jubilee of Franciscan University began December 10, 2021.