Skip to main content


SFC 170: A Five-Year Strategic Path Forward

St. Francis College is an inclusive and diverse institution of higher education rooted in a commitment to academic excellence, compassionate hospitality, and ethical leadership. Inspired by St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, and founded by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, the College prepares students to serve and thrive in a global community and help shape a just society.

SFC 170 is our five-year strategic path forward from what began 165 years ago.

A Note
From The President

For 165 years, St. Francis College has offered a best-in-class, quality education to individuals of all racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds with a special focus on working-class New Yorkers.

In the early nineteenth century, the Franciscan Brothers in Ireland began establishing schools for underprivileged people. Following that spirit, in 1859, a group of Franciscan Brothers opened St. Francis Academy in Brooklyn, with a mission to educate the large number of immigrants arriving to America and help them assimilate and succeed in New York City. From its origins, St. Francis Academy was committed to providing a comprehensive education to those with limited means. To achieve this goal, St. Francis Academy offered modest and attractive tuition, a rigorous curriculum, and personal academic support, distinct characteristics that endure today. Our school started in a building on Baltic Street in Brooklyn and grew quickly.

In 1884, the trustees of St. Francis Academy received permission from the state legislature to “establish a literary college” under its current name, giving it the power to confer diplomas, honors, and degrees. In June 1885, St. Francis College conferred its first degree.

After several decades of growth in the number of students and programs it offered, the College built a new facility on Butler Street in 1926. This facility was adjacent to the College’s original site in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn.

In 1957, the New York State Board of Regents granted an absolute Charter to the Trustees of the College. Then in 1960, the College embarked on an expansion program and moved to Remsen Street, allowing it to double its enrollment. Shortly thereafter, additional adjacent parcels were added on Remsen and Joralemon Streets in Brooklyn.

In September 2022, SFC moved into its custom-built campus at 179 Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn, with a $60,000,000 custom design and buildout that includes state-of-the-art, high-tech educational amenities. The new campus comprises over 255,000 sq. feet with a dedicated street-level welcome center, tech center, psychology lab, nursing lab, makerspace, television and digital content production studio, radio station, 325-seat auditorium, multipurpose expandable room, dance and mobility center, career center, chapel and multi-faith prayer room, center for excellence and inclusion, library, dining hall, resource rooms, terrace, and roof deck.

In the 165 years since the College’s founding, the location may have changed and the building looks different; however, the mission of St. Francis College remains the same: to provide a quality education that prepares students to serve and thrive in a global community and help shape a just society. In keeping with our tradition, the Brothers continue supporting the fulfillment of our mission.

Today, SFC is a private, independent, co-educational, urban college with over 4,000 students and 20,000+ alumni. Students come primarily from the five boroughs of New York City, although their diverse backgrounds represent nearly 80 countries and 40-plus languages.

SFC 170 is our 5-year strategic path forward from what began 165 years ago. It will serve as our beacon of enlightenment shining on the convergence of academic excellence, student development, community and mission.

Tim Cecere, 20th President of St. Francis College

“Today we Serve...”

Academic Excellence

Our academic programs are student-customized in an environment that connects, coordinates, and electrifies our entire community. The “student-first” approach that sustains this vibrant culture takes shape in our honors program, our centers for excellence, learning and leadership, our opportunity programs, clubs and student organizations, internships and volunteer opportunities, tutoring services, interfaith support, and more. It is our commitment that a liberal arts education is foundational and enhances student success in any major or career path.

SFC 170 Academic Strategies

  • Re-invent student learning and faculty engagement with innovative support structures, while refining assessment tools and related feedback models to identify strengths and opportunities.
  • Promote interdisciplinarity across our academic community to create career-relevant programs and partnerships.
  • Design a curriculum with the humanities underpinning career-focused majors across the academic disciplines.
  • Promote an ethical culture of inclusion, leadership, globalization, and environmental sustainability.
  • Incorporate the learning and experience of our distinguished faculty into a shared vision of academic excellence, student success, and institutional resiliency.
  • Provide the means and support for our faculty to research, teach, mentor, advise and transform the learning experience through innovative pedagogy and integrated technological resources.
  • To build bridges for high-school students to begin the immersive higher education experience in the Franciscan tradition of welcoming, hospitality, and belonging.
  • Construct pathways from SFC undergraduate to graduate programs that guarantee admission and substantially increase desirable career outcomes for our students.

SFC is a majority-minority institution

  • Approximately 99% of SFC’s students receive some form of Financial Aid
  • Approximately 27% identify as Black/African American
  • Approximately 25% of SFC’s students identify as Hispanic
  • More than 50% of SFC’s students are First-Generation College Attendees
  • Approximately 45% of SFC’s students are Pell eligible
  • In 2021, the U.S. Department of Education certified SFC as an HSI - Hispanic Serving Institution
  • US News & World Report #7 Top Performers on Social Mobility
  • The College’s enrollment is positive, and, indeed, the highest enrollment in the College’s history. As of Fall 2023, SFC had approximately 3,552 undergraduate and graduate students. SFC’s first year class enrollment in Fall 2023 was up 28% when compared to Fall 2022 on a like for like basis. As of Spring 2024, SFC has over 4,300 undergraduate and graduate students.

SFC is a majority-minority institution

Approximately 27% of students identify as Black/African American

Approximately 25% of students identify as Hispanic

Approximately 99% of students receive some form of Financial Aid

Student Development

Our students are at the center of all we do. We believe that their diverse life journeys have brought them to our college for a purpose: to participate in an exceptional environment that promotes education, career exploration and opportunity, socialization, and recreation, all on our state-of-the-art NYC campus.

SFC 170 Student Strategies:

  • Create trajectories for student success within a holistic model that connects and aligns all college resources.
  • Create a supportive campus environment that values and respects all students, prioritizing their mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.
  • Empower students to take ownership of their learning and personal growth through high-touch transformational experiences.
  • Foster a diverse and inclusive campus community that values and celebrates faculty, staff, and students of all backgrounds.
  • Promote student understanding of diverse perspectives and student participation in cross-cultural experiences.
  • Cultivate a personalized support system for students focused on first-year experiences, mentoring, advising, retention, and degree completion.
  • Empower students to use digital tools in ways that support their programs of study and career goals.
  • Prepare students for successful careers through industry exploration, internship opportunities, and professional development, equipping them for the dynamic demands of a global and digital economy.

Community and Mission

Our core mission and values have prevailed since 1859 with a timeless message of inclusion, belonging, service, personal sacrifice, ethical leadership, faith, and academic excellence. We bring this to the world and the world brings this to us. Our students represent nearly 80 countries and our alums have delivered our Franciscan message to all reaches of the globe. We are a pillar in our local neighborhood as an open-door meeting place for community groups, a town hall conference center for New York City, and a destination for students longing for opportunity, exploration and education in a welcoming environment

SFC 170 Community Strategies

  • Curate an atmosphere of intellectual curiosity, using new methods that stretch comfort zones, set higher expectations for the quality of work and the impact of our mission, all focused on promoting the common good.
  • Prioritize inclusivity for all our students, regardless of ability, within our fully ADA-compliant college campus.
  • Centralize our campus as a hub of intellectual growth, faculty mentorship, career training, industry partnerships, cultural engagements, outreach initiatives, and student leisure.
  • Prioritize student, faculty, and staff support structures that promote and develop academic, personal, and professional excellence.
  • Support our low-income, first-generation, Hispanic, African American, and other underrepresented students, building trust through culturally responsive advising and academic support.
  • Empower our students to make significant contributions to their home communities, motivated by a lifelong commitment to Franciscan service.
  • Create a culture of global engagement that prepares both our domestic and international students for expansive career opportunities and success.
  • Increase alums’ pride and engagement with our students, faculty, staff, programs and state-of-the-art campus through enhancing external campus relationships in the communities we serve.
New York Skyline

The Road Ahead

St. Francis College is an institution dedicated to developing the complete student, citizen, and friend to those who share the vision of a society where everyone has an opportunity to succeed on a professional, personal and spiritual level. Our students are encouraged to put what they have learned into lifting the lives of all people throughout society. This is accomplished through interactive classroom, club, volunteer, internship and related engagements with rigor and a true sense of purpose. With liberal arts and humanities as a foundational platform for achieving, our students gain a deeper understanding of who they are as well as who they can become. Diversity is a pillar of our strength. Welcoming everyone, embracing and acknowledging the power of sharing our differences, and coming together in celebration shines through in our community as a beacon of hope and justice. Our location in the heart of New York City with its unrivaled heritage is a source of great pride. Our borough of Brooklyn has served for hundreds of years as a destination for those seeking a better life, and this is as true today as it has always been. The impact St. Francis College has had through services is immeasurable. Our legion of accomplished teachers, nurses, doctors, first responders, and host of professionals whose impact on society is our love letter to the world.

The College continues to advance its mission, which includes: transitioning the College to a new, state-of-the-art, custom-built campus; investing in new academic programs, infrastructure, and technology; ensuring the College’s continued mission of providing a first-class, high-quality education to working-class and first-generation New Yorkers, firmly planted in our Franciscan values of community, collaboration, and connection. SFC continues to play a vital role in helping young adults find their places as leaders and impactful members in their fields and community just as the Franciscan Brothers envisioned 165 years ago.

“SFC is well positioned for the future. Our Mission marches on…”

The College’s enrollment is positive, and, indeed, the highest enrollment in the College’s history. As of Fall 2023, SFC had approximately 3,552 undergraduate and graduate students. SFC’s first-year class enrollment in Fall 2023 was up 28% when compared to Fall 2022 on a like-for-like basis. As of Spring 2024, SFC has over 4,300 undergraduate and graduate students.

This site uses cookies

We use cookies to improve user experience and analyze website traffic. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies.