175th Anniversary Celebration of University Drawing to a Close


The University celebrates its 175th anniversary in 2022 and, as the year winds down, the Office of Advancement’s social media project “On This Day in Saint Francis History” will conclude at the end of December.

According to Advancement Archivist Randall Frye, who led this social media initiative, the most common theme during the school’s history is the resilience of the people who have walked its grounds.

“Throughout SFU’s 175-year history, it is evident that special people make their way to Loretto,” said Frye, a 2018 graduate of the school.

Frye shared his Top 10 most memorable events in SFU history. The University historian considered long-term impact and memorability in establishing this list.

No. 1 Friends of Saint Francis Purchase Schwab Estate: On Oct. 3, 1942, the “Friends of Saint Francis” – a group of alumni – purchased the Charles Schwab Estate at auction for $32,500 and donated the property to the school.

No. 2 Fire at Old Main: On Oct. 30, 1942, Old Main – the heart of campus for nearly a century – was destroyed by fire. The interconnected complex of classrooms, dorms, offices, recreation area and a chapel were reduced to a shell. Saint Francis resumed classes weeks later in the Schwab Estate.

No. 3 Mascots: From Mugsie to Frankie: In 1938, Saint Francis’ mascot was the “campus pet,” Mugsie. The dog belonged to the president at the time, the Very Rev. Edward Caraher. Frankie the Friar became the school’s mascot in 1984.

No. 4 Patricia Burley: First Female at SFC: The college became co-ed on Sept. 24, 1945, when Burley enrolled as the first female student. Burley later married an SFC alumnus, giving the couple the distinction of the first alumni marriage.

No. 5 College Recognizes Long-Serving Faculty, Staff: In October 1974, the Service Wall of Fame was established, celebrating faculty and staff for 25 years of service. Nine plaques were the first to be hung.

No. 6 Stokes and Berner Team Up to Put SFC on Map: This ultimate tag-team brought national attention to Loretto. Ray Berner publicized the monumental accomplishments of his friend, Maurice Stokes, generating national interest in the basketball program at the college among the pines.

No. 7 Beach Boys, Mac Miller Perform: The campus has welcomed many celebrities to campus. In 1973, the Beach Boys performed at SFC, and in 2012, Mac Miller was welcomed to campus by SAO.

No. 8 Rules at SFC: At various points, students were not permitted to leave campus without a faculty member, casual dating was banned, and the library enforced a dress code.

No. 9 SGA Assists in Re-Design of Frankie’s: The Frankie’s Campus Club formally re-opened after a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 12, 2019. The multimillion-dollar renovation was completed following a collaboration between SGA members and University officials.

No. 10 From Academy and Seminary to College to University: Saint Francis has educated students wearing many different hats. In 1911, Saint Francis Academy welcomed boys to study on the campus grounds. By 1920, the school had become a college and began granting degrees.