About Franciscan University of Steubenville
Your knowledge — illuminated by faith — comes alive and leads you confidently into the world when you study at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Here, your exceptional education is grounded in a passionately Catholic faith tradition that takes you beyond yourself and into the community where you can evangelize and transform the culture.
Grow in wisdom, faith, maturity, strength, purpose, and dedication at Franciscan. How you live your life — where you go, what you do, who you are — builds on the life of Christ within you and what you embrace while you're here. With the solid foundation of faith and reason you create at Franciscan University, you are the message the world is waiting for!
In just over 60 years, Franciscan University of Steubenville has emerged as a leader in academically challenging and passionately Catholic education. By integrating faith and reason in the pursuit of truth and right living, the University has grown from a small facility serving local veterans of World War II to a beautiful hillside campus and an educational institution recognized nationally and internationally for its programs, faculty, and graduates.
Franciscan University was born on December 10, 1946, a product of the optimism in the country that accompanied victory in World War II. Indeed, most members of the first class were veterans of the war and were making use of the GI Bill to pay for their education. The school in which the 258 students (including seven women) enrolled was known officially as the College of Steubenville, and its origins were distinctly humble.
Bishop John King Mussio, recently installed in 1945 as the first bishop of Steubenville, decided that the time was right for a Catholic college in that region of Ohio. Asking the Jesuits for their help, the bishop was told that the diocese would have to pay $1 million up front to bankroll the enterprise. Unable to meet such an expensive request, the bishop turned instead to the Franciscans.
Building on Faith
The Third Order Regulars, the TORs, had already achieved surprising success with St. Francis College in Loretto, Pennsylvania, and the friars not only accepted the challenge of starting a college in Steubenville, they offered to provide their own financing. With $348,000 in borrowed funds, Father Dan Egan, TOR, arrived in Steubenville and set to work on the daunting task of starting a college from scratch. Assisted by Father Regis Stafford, TOR, Egan began by purchasing the Knights of Pythias Building on Washington Street to serve as the grandly named Main Campus, along with several buildings that became the North Campus.