Saint Joseph's University

Saint Joseph’s University History and Jesuit Tradition

SJU alums dressed in graduation caps and gownsAs far back as 1741, a Jesuit college in Philadelphia had been proposed and planned by Joseph Greaton, S.J., the first resident pastor of Old St. Joseph’s. The suppression of the Jesuits and dissension within the Philadelphia Catholic community delayed the official founding of Saint Joseph’s College until 1851.

Between 1861 and 1922, Saint Joseph’s experienced steady and strong growth, both in student enrollment and academic offerings. In 1943, an evening college was founded to serve learners with a need for more flexible classes. In the fall of 1970, the College opened its doors to women as full-time students, bringing an end to its tradition as an all-male institution.

The Secretary of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognized Saint Joseph’s as a university on July 24, 1978. The University added a College of Business and Administration to complement the existing College of Arts & Sciences, and added graduate programs including health administration, criminal justice, gerontology, public safety, and computer science.

Throughout the 1980s and 90s, Saint Joseph’s transformed from a commuter school to a residential institution, drawing a majority of its students from outside of Pennsylvania. As the University welcomed larger, more accomplished classes, the number of full-time faculty increased by nearly 80 percent.

Saint Joseph’s is now a comprehensive, internationally recognized university with students from across the country and around the world, both online and on campus. Our national rankings and AACSB accreditation in the Haub School indicate the high quality of our undergraduate, graduate, and executive programs.

A Saint Joseph's education incorporates the Ignatian credo of cura personalis, or care of the entire person. Guided by a faculty committed to both teaching and scholarship, students develop intellectually, spiritually and emotionally through a unique curriculum, lively discussions, and advanced study in a chosen discipline.

The Jesuit Tradition


As a Jesuit university, Saint Joseph's University believes each student realizes his or her fullest potential through challenging study, unique learning opportunities, and a commitment to excellence in all endeavors. The University also reinforces the individual's lifelong engagement with the wider world. Graduates of SJU attain success in their careers with the help of an extensive network of alumni who have become leading figures in business, law, medicine, education, the arts, technology, government, and public service.

A Saint Joseph's education encompasses all aspects of personal growth and development, reflecting the Ignatian credo of cura personalis, or care of the entire person. Guided by a faculty committed to both teaching and scholarship, students develop intellectually through a unique curriculum and advanced study in a chosen discipline.

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