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 more than 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 Organizational 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 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 common 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.
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.