When the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia opened the doors of Our Lady of Angels in September, 1965, the total enrollment was 115 women students. Today, as Neumann University (NU), the college educates nearly 3,000 co-ed students, engages over 11,600 alumni, and is one of the largest employers in Aston Township, PA.
Since 1965, the College met the needs of its students, even beyond its initial traditional undergraduate programs. In September 1971, a program for adult women was initiated—this program is now known as the CAPS degree accelerated program allowing adult students to earn their bachelor’s degree faster utilizing six-credit courses in an online or evening format meeting one night per week. Also in 1971, the administration responded to the need 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 and quickly evolved into the 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 that then Bishop John Neumann had in assisting the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia in the early days of the Congregation. Also, in 1980 Neumann formally accepted its first male undergraduate students. In 1985 the Life Center housing the Bruder Gymnasium and the Meagher Theatre, became the third building on the Neumann College campus.
Expanding undergraduate degree programs and initiating graduate programs became the goal to ensure academic growth. In 1982, the College was granted approval to award a Master of Science degree in Pastoral Counseling, followed in 1987 by permission to grant an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Studies. Master of Science degree programs have since been developed in the areas of Accounting, Education, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Sport Management, and Strategic Leadership. In 2004, the College was granted approval to offer its first doctoral program, the entry-level clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy (D.P.T.). In 2006, approval was granted for the College to offer its second doctoral program, the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. In late April 2009, the College received approval (the certificate of authority) from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to become Neumann University. 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.” In 2013 Neumann was granted approval to offer a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in Pastoral Counseling.
For Neumann to provide a holistic experience for its undergraduate students and to assist with the growth goals, a residential program was approved by the Board of Trustees. 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, an adjacent apartment complex (Buoni Building) leased for student housing, and a nearby apartment building (The Annex), all together having capacity to house 912 students.
In 2004, Neumann University acquired a 46,434 square feet office building located at the Concord Road entrance of the campus from the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. The newly named the Rocco A. Abessinio Building now houses additional classroom and office space.
Neumann University opened the Mirenda Center for Sport, Spirituality and Character Development on October 17, 2009. Located on its main campus in Aston, Pennsylvania, the Mirenda Center features more than 72,000 square feet of space including an arena, classroom, meeting and event rooms, exhibits, offices, and athletic facilities. This new, state-of-the-art facility was named in honor of Dr. Rosalie M. Mirenda and her husband, Tony, by the Board of Trustees in acknowledgement of the Mirendas’ many years of hard work, dedication, and commitment to the Catholic Franciscan identity and mission of NU.
Seeking to unify an ever-expanding campus, the St. John Neumann Circle was created to connect the original Bachmann Building and the Life Center on one side of Convent Road with the Mirenda Center and Student Living and Learning units on the other side of the road. On April 1, 2010 two commissioned statues were placed in the circle. The most prominent, on a high base and at the Circle’s center, is of St. John Neumann, the namesake of the University. The second, at ground level and facing the students who walk from the Living and Learning Centers and the Mirenda Center, is a representation of a Sister of St. Francis of Philadelphia, the sponsoring Congregation. Beginning with the May 2010 Commencement, all graduates pass through the circle one last time as they join family and friends to receive their degrees.
In 2014, the focus on growth is to deepen academic excellence and serve the research and learning needs of students of all levels and the local community. A two-phased library renovation is underway. The project is funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP). The first phase of the project was completed in 2012 and saw the addition of new learning and study commons areas on the third floor of the Bachmann Main Building as well as the creation of a media-enhanced classroom designed to seat ninety and offices to house the Neumann Institute for Franciscan Studies, endowed in 2000 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. The final phase of the project will be completed in time for the start of the fall 2014 semester, as the University’s fiftieth anniversary celebration begins.
(Last Update: 2/10/2014)
Neumann University is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. The educational mission of the University is shaped by the tradition that inspired the lives of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi. Neumann University seeks to provide an education that balances the liberal arts with the professions in an environment which promotes the development of men and women who will embody the Franciscan values of reverence, integrity, service, excellence, and stewardship. These values are evidenced through relationships that recognize the uniqueness and dignity of others, and through a sense of responsibility and stewardship as a citizen of the local and global community.
Neumann University, founded and sponsored by the Sisters of St. 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 core values of Reverence, Integrity, Service, Excellence, and Stewardship and lives the actions which these values inspire. Neumann’s curriculum promotes thoughtful and ethical leadership in service and response to a global and technologically complex world.
Neumann University, a Catholic university in the Franciscan tradition, promotes the following Core Values as integral to all academic programs, services, partnerships, and co-curricular activities.
- We honor as sacred the worth and dignity of each person.
- We celebrate our relationship as sisters and brothers with one another and all creation.
- We create a compassionate, welcoming, and reconciling community.
- We speak the Truth in Love.
- We act fairly, honestly, and ethically at all times.
- We accept responsibility for the consequences of our actions.
- We serve with humility, compassion, and love.
- We challenge unjust structures and work for social transformation.
- We embrace service as a life-long commitment.
- We perform to the best of our ability the responsibilities entrusted to us.
- We practice cooperation, rather than competition, in the quest for excellence.
- We foster academic achievement through a strong, teaching-learning community.
- We receive gratefully, use carefully, and share generously the resources available to us.
- We care for creation as a sacred Gift from God.
- We promote Catholic Social Teaching by working for peace and justice.
Neumann University has established the following goals which serve as guiding operational principles that affirm the Mission, Vision, and Core Values of the institution.
- Integrate its Catholic Franciscan identity.
- Become a teaching university of distinction.
- Strengthen a spirit and culture of reverence, integrity, service, excellence, and stewardship.
- Cultivate a meaningful and effective mission-directed, market-responsive climate for learning, teaching, and scholarship.
- Steward its resources to ensure ongoing financial vibrancy in support of academic excellence, access, and affordability.
Graduate Program Philosophy
The philosophy for the graduate programs at Neumann University reflects the original Franciscan mission in recognizing the value of intellectual excellence, professional competence, and strong community life. Knowledge, while valuable in itself, is to be used in the service of others. Students build upon existing knowledge in order to develop an extended knowledge base, which includes research skills applicable to a specific area of concentration. Learning is seen as a dynamic process that provides feedback, which includes evaluations; promotes self-directed pursuits; fosters student-teacher interaction; and involves mastery of subject matter. The teaching-learning process is goal oriented, self-directed, dynamic, and perceptive. Learning outcomes expected of all graduate students include the ability to:
- Develop a culminating research/evidenced based scholarly project.
- Initiate and participate in research and critique research.
- Critique, compare, and contrast research and theories relevant to the field.
- Be knowledgeable about current policies in the field.
- Possess advanced skills specific to the field.
- Be prepared to pursue doctoral study.