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St. Francis College

St. Francis College, often referred to as St. Francis or SFC, is a private, coeducational college located in Brooklyn Heights, New York, in the United States. The campus comprises five interconnected buildings, occupying half of a city block in Downtown Brooklyn. It was founded in 1859 by friars of the Order of Servants Franciscans, a Franciscan order, as the St. Francis Academy and was the first private school in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn. St. Francis College began as a parochial all-boys academy in the City of Brooklyn and has transformed into a small liberal arts college that has 19 academic departments which offer 72 majors and minors



180 Remsen St
Brooklyn Heights
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College History


Baltic and Butler Street Campus In 1858 Brother John McMahon, O.S.F. and Bro. Vincent Hayes, O.S.F. arrived from the Roundstone Monastery in Ireland to begin work on establishing an academy dedicated to educating underprivileged youth in the Brooklyn diocese. This was done at the request of the Bishop of Brooklyn, Rev. John Loughlin. In 1859 St. Francis College was founded as the St. Francis Academy, the first Catholic school in Brooklyn. St. Francis Academy started in a building on 300 Baltic Street, with 30 students and 6 Brothers. The first President was founder Brother John McMahon. The Academy expanded and grew to encompass six row houses, with 150 feet (46 m) of frontage and a former Methodist Church on Baltic Street. In 1868, the academy was incorporated and on May 8th, 1884 it was chartered: the trustees of the Academy received permission from the New York State Legislature to �establish a literary college in the City of Brooklyn under the title of St. Francis College, with the same powers to confer diplomas and literary honors possessed by the universities and colleges of New York State.� St. Francis Academy became St. Francis College, and in June 1885 bestowed its first Bachelor of Arts degree. By 1884, St. Francis College encompassed interconnected buildings that were on Baltic and Butler Streets, between Court and Smith Streets. The entrance to the College was on Baltic Street and the entrance to the monastery was on Butler Street. In June 1892, the college conferred it first Bachelor of Science degree. In 1896, St. Francis fielded the first collegiate men�s basketball team in the New York City. Then in 1902 St. Francis receives its charter from the State of New York in May. From this time on, the College�s curriculum offered only a post-secondary course of study. By 1917, the College's enrollment drops to half due to students enlisting in the military as the United States enters World War I. In 1926, the Franciscan Brothers opened a new facility on Butler Street after raising USD$250,000 through a fundraising campaign dubbed the "Great Drive". Less than ten years later, its prep school moved out and eventually became a legally separate institution; St. Francis is now located in Queens and is coeducational. Photograph of St. Francis College graduates, circa 1899 As the U.S. moved closer to its entrance into World War II, 240 students were enrolled at St. Francis. While the student body remained mostly Irish, the changing demographics of working class Brooklyn were reflected by the growing number of Italian-American students. By the spring semester of 1944, when the war was at its peak, the number of students enrolled dropped to 45. Most of those still enrolled were members of the Franciscan order and those exempt from military service (12 SFC students gave their lives to the war effort). After the War and with the passage of the G.I. Bill, which paid tuition for returning soldiers, enrollment at St. Francis increased to 878 students. In 1957, the Regents of the University of the State of New York granted an absolute Charter to the Trustees of the College making it a separate legal entity from the St. Francis Monastery. The new corporate status enabled St. Francis students to qualify for federal financial aid. Shortly after, in 1959, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredited St. Francis College. After these developments the College embarked on an expansion program. Remsen Street Campus SFC's Administration Building In 1963 the College moved to Remsen Street, where it had purchased two office buildings from the Brooklyn Union Gas Company, allowing it to double its enrollment. One of the office buildings went on to become SFC's Administration Building and was constructed in 1914, by Brooklyn architect Frank Freeman. The College expanded its facilities with the construction of the Science and Technology Building in 1968, the Generoso Pope Athletic Complex in 1971, and the Student Services Building which also has housing to accommodate the Franciscan Brothers and provide more space for faculty. In 1969, the college became a co-educational institution and additional property was purchased on both Remsen and Joralemon Streets allowing enrollment exceeded 3,000 students. In spring 2003, St. Francis College completed a new athletic and event facility atop the College�s Generoso Pope Athletic Complex: the Anthony J. Genovesi Center. In fall 2005, the 35,000-square-foot (3,300 m2) Frank & Mary Macchiarola Academic Center opened, which included the new St. Francis College Library, classrooms equipped with wireless internet access, smart boards and multimedia technology, a theater/lecture hall, updated facilities for the Communication Arts department, gathering spaces such as a lounge with Wi-Fi for students, and office space for several academic departments. The Frank & Mary Macchiarola Academic Center was built where the old McGarry Library once stood. The old library was housed in "a little 1857 palazzo a half block from Brooklyn's Borough Hall," and was part of the purchases made from the Brooklyn Union Gas Company in 1960.

College Specialty


Saint Francis University offers higher education in an environment guided by Catholic values and teachings, and inspired by the example of our patron, Saint Francis of Assisi. The oldest Franciscan institution of higher learning in the United States, Saint Francis University is an inclusive learning community that welcomes all people.



The St. Francis College Alumni Association was founded in 1887. All former graduates of St. Francis College become members upon graduation. Some of the college's better known alumni include U.S. Representative Peter T. King, who is also chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Thomas J. Pickard, who was the director of the FBI. Another notable alumni is Richard Sheirer, the Director of the New York City Office of Emergency Management (O.E.M.) during the September 11, 2001 attacks. Sheirer coordinated the rescue and recovery effort at ground zero. Many of St. Francis College's alumni have gone into business and finance. They include Michael A. MacIntyre, a senior vice president at HSBC, Louis G. Pastina, the executive vice president of operations at the NYSE, Sal Iannuzzi who is the chairman, CEO and president of Monster, Inc. and William G. Parrett who was the former CEO of Deloitte. St. Francis College also has a rich history of sports and many of its alumni have been drafted by professional teams, the most notable of which are; John Halama, and James Luisi. After playing Professional Basketball, Luisi went on to become an Emmy Award winning actor. Several alumni have entered academia: Donald A. McQuade was the Vice Chancellor for university relations at the University of California, Berkeley, Mary E. Hines is the President of Carlow University in Pittsburgh, Sean A. Fanelli is the President of Nassau Community College and Joseph M. Hemway is the Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn