When Our Lady of Angels College opened its doors in September, 1965,
the total enrollment was 115 women students. Today, that number seems
small, but the feat was enormous since the establishment of the College
was the culmination of decades of planning by the Sisters of St. Francis
The decision to build Our Lady of Angels College was not made quickly or easily. Since 1928, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia had been educating their sisters in the Villanova Extension Center located in their Motherhouse in Glen Riddle (now known as Aston). In order to meet the growing needs of education for both their order and those students whom they taught, the Sisters began to contemplate constructing a college on their grounds. On September 3, 1959, Mother Everilda Flynn, OSF penned a letter to The Catholic University of America to inquire about the possibility of starting a college for the purpose of educating the Sisters. Under the direction of Mother Mary Agnes MacIntyre, OSF, Superior General, Mother Everilda worked to obtain affiliation with The Catholic University. On August 10, 1962, The Catholic University granted affiliation to Our Lady of Angels Institute; the Sisters were one step closer to establishing their college.
In the two years prior to the groundbreaking on May 17, 1964, the Sisters raised the money to build the college. They solicited funds from the parishes in which they taught, held bazaars and yard sales, and even recorded an album of their favorite sacred and secular songs to sell for $5 each. Finally, their dream became a reality and one year after groundbreaking, in September, 1965, Our Lady of Angels College opened its doors with Mother Everilda Flynn as its first president. Who would have thought that the sisters would have envisioned the growth that has made Neumann College the diverse college it is today? It seems the sisters did. Although only 115 students were enrolled, the multi-wing complex of four floors was designed to accommodate 1,500 students!
The College continued to expand to meet the needs of our students. In September 1971, a program for adult women was initiatedthis program is now known as the FastTrack accelerated program and allows adult students to earn their bachelor's degree faster utilizing 6-credit courses in an evening format meeting one night per week. Also in 1971, the administration noticed that women needed safe, professional daycare for their children while they attended classes. A child care center opened on the third floor of the main building quickly evolved into our current Child Development Center (1973) accommodating pre-school aged children.
In 1980, the Board of Trustees approved the name change from Our Lady of Angels to Neumann. The name Neumann College seemed fitting given the significant role Bishop John Neumann had in assisting the order of Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia in their early days. Sister Margarella O'Neill, OSF, the College's third president notes: "Naming the College after a man was also a natural because we began to admit men to the College in all programs that same year."
Over the years, the liberal arts curriculum at Neumann continued to expand with both graduate and undergraduate degrees. In 1983, the first graduate program, Pastoral Care and Counseling, was approved and led the way for five new graduate programs: education, nursing, physical therapy, sport management, and strategic leadership.
As the College continued to grow, so did the need for residence halls on campus. After an intensive feasibility study, the Board of Trustees approved construction of a Living and Learning Center residence on campus. With the donation of 7.1 acres by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, the College was poised for the next phase of its history. When the first residence hall opened in 1997, the building housed 177 students and transformed campus life. There are now three Living and Learning Centers on campus, housing more than 750 students.
From its humble beginnings of 115 students in 1965, the College now boasts more than 3,000 students and has more than 7,700 living alumni. As we grow, we continue to celebrate our Franciscan tradition, rooted in faith, optimism and history.
In late April 2009, the College received approval (the certificate of authority) from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to become Neumann University. The decision to file the application came in October 2007, when the Neumann College Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of pursuing university status. This conclusion came after a year of research and discussion, including a perception study in which every constituency polled agreed that Neumann College should seek to become a university. Groups supporting the transition included College alumni, current students, and faculty. According to President Rosalie Mirenda, “University status is the culmination of Neumann’s transformation. It is a catalyst for enhancing scholarship, research and service to our community. At the same time, Neumann’s commitment to its mission, core values and personal attention to our students remains the same.”
Neumann University, founded and sponsored by the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia, is a Catholic institution of higher education in the Franciscan tradition.
Neumann University educates a diverse community of learners based upon the belief that knowledge is a gift to be shared in the service of others and that learning is a lifelong process.
Neumann University strives to be a teaching university of distinction, providing innovative, transformational education in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. Neumann RISES on the values of Reverence, Integrity, Service, Excellence, and Stewardship and lives the actions these values inspire. Neumann’s curriculum promotes thoughtful and ethical leadership in service and response to a global and technologically complex world.
In anticipation of the opening of Our Lady of Angels College in 1965,
Sister M. Theresa Clare, Sr. St. Joseph and Sr. M. Everilda Flynn,
along with others, worked with Livingston Publishing Company in Narberth,
PA to create the motto and seal of Neumann University which aptly demonstrates
Veritas-Caritas: To Live the Truth in Love
The motto Veritas-Caritas receives its origin from Paul's admonition to the Ephesians: "Rather let us profess the truth in love, and grow to the full maturity of Christ the Head" (Ephesians 4:15). It expresses a dedication to principles formative of mind and heart.
The concept is likewise found in the seal which is highlighted by the Gospel Book surmounted by the Chi-Rho, representative of Christ, the Source of All truth and Truth itself.
The Tau (Greek letter "T"), supporting the Gospel Book was often used by St. Francis of Assisi. For him it was a symbol of the cross and salvation; for us, it becomes a challenge to live a life rooted in Christ.
The Crown, encircling the Tau, symbolizes Mary, Queen and Mother, placed before us as a model of the virtues embodied in the mission of Neumann University.
The Globe is significant of the scope of influence possible to those involved in the educational process at Neumann University, founded in 1965.
The whole is enclosed in the traditional Franciscan symbol, the Knotted Cord, expressive of the vowed dedication of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, the founders of Neumann University.
In early notes, circa 1964-65, we find suggestions for elements to be included in a seal. The inspiration appears to be the phrase from Ephesians 4:15 noted above: "It embodies the total Christian program of life; meets the Scriptural and the Apostolic emphasis of this age." The motto, Veritas, Caritas is noted as "distinctively Franciscan insofar as St. Francis made the Gospel his way of life, and declared to his brothers: 'A man has only as much knowledge as he puts into action.'" Other Franciscan elements: the Tau, was used extensively by St. Francis in his writings; the Cord "while distinctly Franciscan, is also a uniquely universal sign since the Franciscan way of life is the Gospel Life." (This is why the Gospel rests on the Tau). The final Franciscan element, the Crown, recognizes Mary as the "Queen of the Franciscan Order."
The code of conduct is a general statement of behavioral
expectations built on the values espoused by the Neumann University community.
Specific policies follow from the code. Because the Neumann University
Community affirms the uniqueness and dignity of each person, any conduct
that violates the dignity of another person, including threats of
violence, verbal or physical; assault or abuse of any kind; hazing
or harassment, including sexual harassment; lewd, obscene, or indecent
language, behavior, or representations found offensive by others;
or discrimination against another based on race, color, creed, sex,
age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability
is a violation of the Code of Conduct.
Because the Neumann University Community values a scholarly, supportive, and caring environment, any conduct that violates the pursuit of a scholarly, supportive, and caring environment including obstruction or disruption of institutional activities or of the individual pursuit of learning; the damaging, defacing, destruction, of the property of another; the theft of the property of another; or the unauthorized entry into or use of University property is a violation of the Code of Conduct. Because the Neumann University community reflects the spirit and values of Francis by developing a sense of responsibility, any conduct that violates the stated mission and values of the University or local, state, or federal law; the forging or altering of University records; the furnishing of false information to the University; failure to respond to the instructions of University personnel in the pursuit of their duties; or disorderly, irresponsible behavior of any kind is a violation of the Code of Conduct. Neumann University reserves the right to take disciplinary action against anyone who violates the Code of Conduct up to and including the addition of twelve points to the disciplinary record (dismissal) from the University.