St. Francis College, often referred to as St. Francis of Brooklyn or SFC, is a private, coeducational college located in Brooklyn Heights, New York. It was founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, 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 become a small liberal arts college that has 19 academic departments which offer 72 majors and minors.
St. Francis College is a predominantly undergraduate institution, yet does have graduate programs in accounting, project management and psychology. St. Francis has been ranked nationally and regionally by Forbes magazine, Washington Monthly, Money magazine and U.S. News & World Report as one of the top baccalaureate colleges. St. Francis is set in an urban environment and is considered a commuter college. As of 2015, there were 2,671 undergraduates (10% part-time) and 78 graduates (50% part-time). The student to faculty ratio is 17:1 and 55.9% of classes have 20 or fewer students. The 2,749 students that attend St. Francis College hail from over 80 countries. St. Francis College has been ranked by The New York Times and Forbes as one of the more diverse colleges in the United States.
St. Francis College has 19 athletic teams that compete in Division I of the NCAA and are known as the Terriers. SFC's teams participate in the Northeast Conference, with the exception of the men's and women's water polo teams which compete in the CWPA and the MAAC, respectively.
Baltic and Butler Street Campus
Photograph of St. Francis College graduates, circa 1899
In 1858 Brother John McMahon, O.S.F. and Brother Vincent Hayes, O.S.F. from the Roundstone Monastery in Ireland came to the United States 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, Reverend 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 in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, 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 150ft of frontage and a former Methodist Church on Baltic Street.
In 1868, the academy was incorporated and on May 8, 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 received 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 dropped to half due to students enlisting in the military as the United States entered 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 preparatory school moved out and eventually became a legally separate institution, St. Francis Preparatory School, and is now located in Queens.
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 . 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. In 1961, the college purchased the Herman Behr Mansion in Brooklyn Heights to serve as a residence for the Franciscan Brothers and signaled the move from Cobble Hill to Brooklyn Heights.
Remsen Street Campus
SFC's Administration Building
In 1963 the College decided to move to Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights, 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, it was constructed in 1914, by Brooklyn architect Frank Freeman. In 1965 the College started the expansion of 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 provides 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 basketball court: the Anthony J. Genovesi Center. In fall 2005, the 35000sqft 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 original purchase made from the Brooklyn Union Gas Company in 1960.
SFC Science and Technology Building
St. Francis College is located at 180 Remsen Street, in Brooklyn Heights and occupies half of a city block, within five interconnected buildings: the Administration Building, the Frank and Mary Macchiarola Academic Center, the Generoso Pope Athletic Complex, the Science and Technology Building, and the Student Services Building. The main entrance is through the Science and Technology Building. The campus is close to visitor attractions, such as Brooklyn Borough Hall, Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Historical Society, the New York Transit Museum, Cadman Plaza, Grand Army Plaza, the Brooklyn Public Library, Prospect Park, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Montague Street, a block away, has many restaurants, boutiques and cafes. The streets around the campus are tree-lined and contain brownstone houses.
St. Francis College is set in an urban environment. It does not have a dedicated dormitory for its students, and as such it is a commuter school. However, St. Francis does offer off-site housing through a third party that is near the campus, the residence hall is in the former Hotel St. George at the Clark Street subway station on the . The campus is close to Manhattan. Many New York City Subway services serve Brooklyn Heights, including the at Jay Street – MetroTech and the at Hoyt Street and Borough Hall.
The Administration Building is the oldest structure on the campus and was acquired in the original purchase from Brooklyn Union Gas. Within the Administration Building is McArdle Hall and Gorman Hall, which are located on the ground level of the College, and are used by students to study, socialize, rest or eat. The Administration Building is also the location of the St. Francis College Chapel and Ministry. In the basement of the Administration Building is the St. Francis College bookstore, which is operated by Barnes & Noble.
Science and Technology Building
The Frank and Mary Macchiarola Academic Center
CC BY-SA 3.0
The Science and Technology Building was built during St. Francis College's expansion in 1968. The Science and Technology Building houses Founders Hall, which is the main auditorium for students and community events: the auditorium seats 300 people. The Science and Technology building is also the location of the Biology Departments laboratories and the Chemistry and Physics Departments laboratories. The building was erected with funds from the National Science Foundation, which were procured with the help of Dr. John M. Burke, former Chair of the Chemistry Department. In 2012, the College completed upgrades to its laboratories, which are spread on 2 floors of the Building consisting of 21,000 square feet.
Frank and Mary Macchiarola Academic Center
The Frank and Mary Macchiarola Academic Center is the latest addition to the campus. It is named after the late Dr. Frank Macchiarola and his wife, Mary. Dr. Macchiarola graduated from St. Francis in 1962 and served from 2008 until his death in 2012 as the Chancellor after having been the college's president from 1996 to 2008. The St. Francis College library is located in the Frank and Mary Macchiarola Academic Center, the library occupies the three bottom floors. There is an atrium over the main reading room, which includes the William G. and Diane Foley Parrett Academic Suite. There are also two computer labs, a classroom and several study rooms. St. Francis College is a member of the Academic Libraries of Brooklyn a consortium of eight Brooklyn-based college libraries that participate in an "Open Access" policy since 1975. This means that students, faculty, and staff of any ALB institution are eligible to use and borrow materials of the other member libraries. The Thomas J. & Anita Volpe Lounge is located in the Frank and Mary Macchiarola Academic Center and serves as a hub for the campus. It is situated at the intersection of the College Library, Office of Career Development, Student Activities, Student Government, and Student Publications. The Maroney Forum for Arts, Culture and Education is a 90-seat theater for plays, musical performances, workshops and lectures that is also housed in the Frank and Mary Macchiarola Academic Center.
Generoso Pope Athletic Complex
St. Francis vs LIU in the annual Battle of Brooklyn at The Pope on January 31, 2015.
CC BY-SA 3.0
The Generoso Pope Athletic Complex, also known as "The Pope". is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It is located on Remsen Street, between Court and Clinton Streets, within the College and was completed in 1971. The Pope is named after Generoso Pope, an Italian immigrant who rose to prominence in New York City. It is the core of St. Francis College’s athletic facilities. On the lower level is the Aquatics Center, above it is the Daniel Lynch Gymnasium and on the fourth floor is the Genovesi Center.
The Daniel Lynch Gymnasium is the centerpiece of The Pope and it hosts the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball games. The Gymnasium has a capacity of 1,200 seats. The teams play on Peter Aquilone Court, which was named after Peter Aquilone, the son of former Athletic Director and St. Francis alumnus Edward Aquilone, ’60. The court was dedicated to Peter Aquilone on December 1, 2004, after he died. The Gymnasium is named after alumnus Daniel J. Lynch, who coached the Terriers for 21 years and led them to 3 Regular Season Conference Championship wins and is the All-Time Terrier Coach wins leader.
The Aquatics Center has a competition-sized pool (six-lanes by 25-yards). It is home to the nationally ranked Men’s Water Polo team (three NCAA Final Four appearances), the Women’s Water Polo Team and home meets for the College’s Swimming and Diving Teams. During the off season and away games the pool is open to all students and is also used by the surrounding community.
The Genovesi Center is a recent 9,000 square-foot addition to The Pope and was built on top of the Daniel Lynch Gymnasium in 2003. The Genovesi Center was named for former state Assemblyman Anthony J. Genovesi. The Genovesi Center hosts the Terriers Women’s Volleyball games and is regularly used for intramural games.
The St. Francis College Fitness Center is located underneath The Pope and is open to all St. Francis College students.
St. Francis College confers Associate's Degrees, Bachelor's Degrees and Master's Degree. In addition to these degrees, the College grants certifications for teaching, project management and nursing. Affiliation agreements with the Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn and Queens, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, New York University College of Dentistry, and New York College of Podiatric Medicine enable students to pursue degrees towards becoming Physician Assistants, Radiologists, Physical and Occupational Therapists, and to acquire advanced standing in professional programs in dentistry and podiatry before the completion of the baccalaureate degree. For students that excel academically and participate in extracurricular activities that demonstrate the "Franciscan spirit", St. Francis College established the Duns Scotus Honor Society. It was founded in 1935 by Reverend Dr. James A. Sullivan and is named for John Duns Scotus, a Franciscan scholar.
St. Francis College, in keeping with a liberal arts curriculum, requires students to take classes that range from communications to philosophy to sociology. The core curriculum is about 13 classes for a Baccalaureate degree.
There are 19 academic departments, which offer 72 majors and minors. The Accounting and Business Law department was the first department to confer a master's degree. The department has had success with its graduates, some include: Sal Ianuzzi ‘75, William G. Parrett ‘67, and Robert J. Clark ‘74 . The Biology department mostly graduates students going into Dentistry, Podiatry, Radiology and Medicine. Although some basic research has been conducted in the field of microbiology, involving studying the effects of cranberry and grape juice as antivirals. There is also active research in the field of Ecology and marine microbiology by several of the professors. The Chemistry and Physics department is one of the smaller departments at St. Francis College and most of its graduates go into the Chemical or Pharmaceutical Industries. The focus of the department is mostly in inorganic and physical chemistry. A famous graduate of the department was Donald J. Metz, a long-time nuclear engineer for Brookhaven National Laboratory. The Communication Arts department has placed many graduates in broadcasting companies such as ABC, NBC, CNN and MTV. Other departments include Criminal Justice, Sociology and Social Studies; Economics, History and Political Science; Education and Physical Education; English; Foreign Languages, Fine Arts, and International Cultural Studies; Management and Information Technology; Mathematics; Nursing; Philosophy and Religious Studies; and Psychology.
St. Francis has 4 graduate programs; A five-year combined Bachelor's and master's degree in Accounting and in Psychology, a two-year Accounting Master's program and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management. In 2007, the college has added the combined B.S./M.S. degree in accounting. The first students graduated from the program in 2008, on the college's 150th anniversary. In 2010, the college added the second graduate degree, a 2-year master's degree in Professional Accountancy. In 2012 a combined B.S./M.S. degree in Psychology was added that offers two concentrations, one in Applied Psychology and another in Psychology Research. Also in 2012, the Graduate Certificate in Project Management was launched.
Institutes and Centers
St. Francis College hosts 5 Institutes and Centers; the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Institute for International and Cross-Cultural Psychology, the Women's Studies Center, the Center of Excellence in Project Management, and the Center for Crime & Popular Culture.
Women's Studies Center
The Women's Studies Center opened in 1997. St. Francis College offers a Women’s Studies Minor.
Institute for International and Cross-Cultural Psychology
The Institute for International and Cross-Cultural Psychology was founded in 1998. It has become a center for the advancement of Cross-Cultural Psychology and International Psychology (IICCP) and is led by Dr. Uwe P. Gielen. It is supported by an international advisory board of psychologists from six countries; members of the institute have engaged in a series of research projects, edited books, sponsored conferences, and introduced novel curriculum development. The Institute supported the writing and editing of numerous publications in international psychology including 17 books that have appeared in 5 countries.
Center of Excellence in Project Management
The Center of Excellence in Project Management opened in 2011. Its mission is to provide the platform for conversations and collaborations between businesses and academia to work together to generate a better community and a more substantial role in global projects. The Center held its first annual Practical Research Forum on June 6, 2011, a day-long event of lectures which brought together academic theory and real world project management experiences, was produced with the support of the Project Management Institute. The Center offers a Graduate Certificate in Project Management taught at St. Francis; a four course concentration aimed at enhancing fundamental skills as well as specific areas like risk management, finances and optimizing management teams.
From 2008 to present, St. Francis College has been ranked annually in the Forbes Magazine Best Colleges List. Its rankings have ranged from 268th to 570th out of 650 national institutions of higher learning. Implicit on being in the list is that an institution already ranks in the top 11% as only 650 of more than 6,000 institutions are selected. The College is also ranked regionally in the Northeast and as a Private College (365th) by Forbes.
St. Francis College has also been named by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top Baccalaureate Colleges in the North from 2008 to present. It is considered by U.S. News & World Report as a Tier 1 Baccalaureate College and its ranking has ranged from 9th to 29th. U.S. News & World Report in 2011 also ranked St. Francis as the 5th most diverse baccalaureate college in the north. For 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Francis 9th, in Regional Colleges (North), 8th in Best Value Schools and 4th Best College for Veterans.
From 2014 to present, St. Francis College has been ranked by Money magazine in quality of education, affordability and outcomes for students. The college has been ranked between 269 and 434 out of 1,500 schools nationally.
Volpe Lecture Series
The Thomas J. Volpe Lecture Series began in 1997 and brings to St. Francis College varied guest speakers with a wealth of knowledge in different areas of expertise. The lectures are intended to bring forth pressing issues which can question the preconceptions of students and expand their knowledge. These issues range from cultural to political to economic.
Past speakers include:
The St. Francis College Literary Prize, $50,000, is awarded biannually to honor an author's fourth published book of fiction. The prize is meant to offer encouragement and significant financial support to a mid-career writer. In addition, the award is part of the College’s larger mission to support writers in Brooklyn and beyond. The College brings numerous authors to campus every year through events like the Literary Prize and the Walt Whitman Writers Series. The winner is announced during the Brooklyn Book Festival and Brooklyn Borough Hall is the center of the festivities with dozens of panels and appearances by authors at St. Francis College. The first ever St. Francis College Literary Prize winner was Aleksandar Hemon, in 2009. Other winners include Jonathan Dee, David Vann and Maud Casey.
Clubs and organizations
- Accounting Society
- Active Minds
- African Culture Club
- Arab American Society
- Asian Cultural Club
- Caribbean Student Association
- Chemistry Club
- Christian Club
- Colleges Against Cancer
- College Choir
- Dance Team
- Eastern European Club
- Economics Society
- Education Society
- English Club
- Entrepreneur Club
- French Club
- Finance Club
- Government and Politics Club
- Haitian American Students Association
- History and Political Science Society
- Honors Club
- Italian Historical Society
- Latin American Society
- Leo Club
- LGBTQ Club
- Martial Arts Club
- Math Club
- Model United Nations Club
- Muslim Students Association
- Philosophy Club
- Pre-Medical & Health Professional Club
- Psychology Club
- Students Against Drunk Driving
- Science and Botanical Society
- St. Thomas More Pre-Law Society
Greek Life & Non-Greek Lettered Organizations
- Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, Upsilon-Chi chapter, which annually raises approximately $10,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital during their Seesaw For a Chance event, occurs around October each year
- Alpha Phi Delta fraternity, Beta Sigma chapter
- Zeta Gamma Delta sorority
- Alpha Sigma Zeta sorority, Delta chapter
- Epsilon Sigma Phi sorority, Delta Chapter
- Kappa Theta Nu sorority
- My Brother's Keeper Service Organization, Inc., Lower NYC Branch
- The Chord, a student academic handbook and planner that is published by the Student Government Association every year. The first edition was published in 1939.
- The Voice, is the student newspaper of St. Francis College, published 4 times a year. The newspaper can now be found online at SFC Today. The Voice delves into campus life, local politics, movie reviews, and sports. The first publication was in 1924.
- Montage, a literary publication whose contributions come from the students, alumni, faculty and staff of St. Francis College. The publication consists of poetry, short stories and theatrical writing and is published every semester. The first issue was published in 1977.
- The Terrier, an alumni magazine that bridges past graduates with current students and college affairs. It is a semi-annual publication that is sent out to all alumni.
National Honor Societies
- Alpha Kappa Delta, Xi chapter
- Alpha Kappa Psi, Zeta Iota chapter
- Alpha Psi Omega, Pi Zeta chapter
- Chi Beta Phi, Alpha Xi chapter
- Kappa Delta Pi, Xi Rho chapter
- Kappa Mu Epsilon
- Lambda Pi Eta, Phi Nu chapter
- Omicron Delta Epsilon, Eta chapter
- Phi Alpha Theta, Theta Nu chapter
- Phi Gamma Nu, Beta Psi chapter
- Pi Sigma Alpha
- Psi Chi
- Sigma Beta Delta
- Sigma Delta Pi, Zeta Theta chapter
- Sigma Tau Delta
- Theta Alpha Kappa, Tau chapter
SFC has a 17:1 student-teacher ratio. Another facet of the college, is the absence of teaching assistants; all classes are taught by professors, of whom 89% have terminal degrees in their respective fields. There are 86 full-time professors and 273 part-time professors.
St. Francis competes in the NCAA's Northeast Conference. Their mascot is the Terrier and was officially adopted by the Athletic Association in 1933. Students participate in 19 Division I athletic teams, including men's and women's basketball, men's soccer, women's volleyball and the nationally ranked men's water polo team.
Several teams play at off-campus facilities. These include: the soccer team, which play at Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 5; the outdoor track team, which meets at Icahn Stadium; the indoor track team, which meets at the New Balance Track & Field Center; the golf team, which plays at the Dyker Beach Golf Course and the tennis team, which plays at the USTA National Tennis Center.
The St. Francis College men's basketball team, founded in 1896, is the oldest collegiate program in New York City. In the Terriers' 117-year history, they have won 6 regular season championships and have had 4 postseason NIT bids. The Terrier's had their best season in 1955-56 under Daniel Lynch posting a 21-4 record that ranked them at 13th nationally in the AP polls and reaching the NIT semi-finals. Then during Ron Ganulin's tenure as head coach, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the team recaptured momentum and was one of the better teams in the NEC; from 1998 through 2004, St. Francis posted a 78-36 conference record. At the time Ganulin's assistant was Glenn Braica, who is the current head coach as of 2010. Braica was most recently an assistant under Norm Roberts at St. John's University. Under Braica, the Terriers have returned to being a winning program by posting a 98–91 record in six seasons, winning the 2014-15 NEC Regular Season Championship and participating in 2015 NIT.
The women's basketball program kicked off intercollegiate athletics at St. Francis College in 1973. Since the 1988–89 season the women's basketball team has been a part of the Northeast Conference. As of 2012, John Thurston is the head coach of the St. Francis College Terriers. Thurston has led the Terriers to their first NEC Tournament Championship, NCAA Tournament appearance and WNIT appearance.
The SFC men's soccer team was founded in 1968 and joined the Northeast Conference in 1985. From 1968 to 2016, the Terriers have won 4 NEC Regular Season Championships and 7 NEC Tournament Championships. The Terriers have also participated in eight NCAA tournaments, their best showing came in 1978 when they made it to the Elite Eight. Since joining the NEC, the Terriers have had NCAA Tournament Play-In games on three occasions ('95, '96 and '98) and three NCAA Tournament appearances (2013, 2014 and 2016). In the 2015 season, the Terriers were nationally ranked at 22nd in the country.
The St. Francis College men's water polo team has enjoyed much success and is one of the best teams on the east coast. In consecutive years from 2004–2008, they've won the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships and the CWPA Northern Division Championships. The Terriers have finished between 1st and 4th in the Eastern Championships from 1999–2007. In 2005 they finished first and qualified for the NCAA National Championships and finished 4th at the Final Four. Again in 2010, the Terriers made it to the Final Four, finishing fourth and were ranked 10th in the country. In 2012, the men's water polo team won the Eastern Championship for the third time in the program's history and earned an NCAA Final Four berth. The Terriers also went on to defeat Air Force to win their first national tournament match for a third-place finish. Again in 2013, the Terriers won the Eastern Championship for the fourth time in the program's history and earned an NCAA Final Four berth, finishing 4th.
Different locations at St. Francis College have been used for backdrops to various scenes for film and television. The pool has been used to film scenes for the movie Across the Universe (2007) and the HBO comedy series Flight of the Conchords. The Peter Aquilone Court has been used for filming by the Late Show with David Letterman and The Today Show. The Thomas J. & Anita Volpe Lounge was used by the popular TV show Gossip Girl, to film scenes for season 4 episode 10; Gaslit. Founder's Hall Theater and Maroney Theater have hosted screenings at The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival since 2011.