When the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia opened the doors of Our Lady of Angels College in September 1965, the total enrollment was 115 female students. Today, as Neumann University (NU), the university educates nearly 3,000 students, engages over 14,900 alumni, and is one of the largest employers in Aston Township, PA.
Since 1965, the College has 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 accelerated degree program, allowing adult students to earn their bachelor’s degree faster by 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 childcare 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 Thomas A. Bruder, Jr. 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 (now Pastoral Clinical Mental Health 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 Business, 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 (DPT). In 2006, approval was granted for the College to offer its second doctoral program, the EdD 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 former 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 (PhD) program in Pastoral Counseling (now Counselor Education and Supervision).
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, and an adjacent apartment complex (Buoni Building) leased for student housing, all together having capacity to house more than 750 students.
In 2004, Neumann University acquired a 46,434-square-foot 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. 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 Bruder Life Center on one side of Convent Road with the Mirenda Center and residence halls 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 residence halls and the Mirenda Center, is a Sister of St. Francis of Philadelphia, representing the sponsoring Congregation.
In 2014, the focus on academic excellence and student learning continued. A two-phased library renovation was completed. The first phase of the project was completed in 2012 with the addition of new learning and study commons areas on the third floor, the creation of a media-enhanced classroom designed to seat 90, 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 was completed in time for the start of the fall 2014 semester, as the University’s fiftieth anniversary celebration began.
In 2016, a new $5 million, 10,000-square-foot addition to the Bruder Life Center was completed. The addition, named the John J. Mullen Communication Center, was built to support students in the Communication and Digital Media (CDM) major and students who join Neumann Media to explore their creative talents. The Mullen Communication Center houses two TV studios with the latest camera, broadcasting, recording and editing technology; Wenger rooms with sound isolation for recording and editing; a student meeting room; a green room; and a multipurpose hall with theatre-in-the-round capability, smart board TVs, giant projection screens, and more.
In spring 2017, Forward with Faith, a special campaign, was begun to honor the legacy of former President Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, and her husband, Tony, for their years of leadership, vision, and commitment to students and the University’s Catholic Franciscan mission. The campaign supported three projects: construction of a Health Sciences Center, and enhancement of the endowment of the Institute for Franciscan Studies, and the Institute for Sport, Spirituality and Character Development (ISSCD).
Dr. Chris Everett Domes assumed the presidency of Neumann University on July 17, 2017. He previously served as president of Silver Lake College of the Holy Family in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. His inauguration was held on October 6, 2017. He succeeded Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, who served as Neumann’s president from 1996 to 2017 before retiring.
A strong proponent of Catholic Franciscan education, Dr. Domes’ record of accomplishment spans 31 years in higher education. He has led initiatives in strategic planning, fundraising, academic program extension, enrollment management, community relations, technology access, and campus growth.
In January 2019, the university opened the Health Sciences Center, a 17,000-square-foot addition to the Rocco Abessinio Building (RAB), and the Data Analytics Lab on the third floor of the RAB. The Health Sciences Center facilitates the education of nurses, physical therapists, athletic trainers, and exercise and nutrition specialists. It includes the 300-seat Bayada Teaching Auditorium, named in honor of Ann and Mark Baiada, founders of Bayada Home Health Care and longtime friends of the university. The Data Analytics Lab features glass classroom walls, a stock market ticker, mounted TVs with stock information, three 75” instructional high-definition screens, rise-display monitors at each desk, and a server lab for hacking simulations.
In July 2019, after spending more than a year gathering input from various constituencies, Dr. Domes launched the 2019-22 Strategic Plan, which includes four pillars: leadership, excellence, visibility, and resources. The plan also integrates the themes of diversity and collaboration into every aspect of campus life.
(Last Update: 5/1/2020)
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.
Identity, Mission, Vision, and Core Values
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.
CORE VALUES - RISES
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.
Always and everywhere, Neumann University strives to:
- Demonstrate a firm commitment to the Catholic Franciscan tradition.
- Nurture a campus community which lives the values of Reverence, Integrity, Service, Excellence and Stewardship.
- Challenge its students to achieve personal, academic, and professional excellence.
Seal and Motto
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 Neumann's ideals.
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."
Code of Conduct
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.