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The Cabrini Mansion covered in red fall leaves

Cabrini University History

In 1957, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSC), the religious order founded by Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, secured the charter for Cabrini College.

Led by the College’s first president, Sister Ursula Infante, MSC, Cabrini is the first and only institution of higher learning founded by the order.

In the fall of that year, 43 women arrived on campus as the first students of Cabrini College. With the Woodcrest Estate Mansion serving as centerpiece of the campus, the College made plans to expand.

In 1970, the first male students enrolled at Cabrini, and a year later the Evening Division opened, attracting non-traditional students to campus. 

During following decades, enrollment reached 1,000 students for the first time, and Cabrini counted more than 10,000 alumni.

The College helped form the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (now the Colonial States Athletic Conference), and offered majors and programs that reflect 21st Century education, including biotechnology, an online certificate program in web system design, and a master of science in organizational leadership.

Throughout its history, Cabrini has been at the forefront of social justice learning among colleges and universities. Nationally, the College—now University—is among the first in higher education to implement community service into its curriculum, and is the first in Pennsylvania to require community service of all undergraduates.

In 2014, the College welcomed it first male president, Donald B. Taylor, PhD, who announced that Cabrini will recruit more Hispanic and international students, while moving forward with plans to build the Athletic and Recreation Pavilion expansion of the Dixon Center.

And in 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) approved Cabrini’s application to become Cabrini University. 

Cabrini Timeline

1957

  • Cabrini College receives its charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • Founding president, Sister Ursula Infante, MSC, welcomes the first 43 students to campus. 

1960

  • Bishop Furey dedicates Sacred Heart Hall, now Founder’s Hall.
  • First physics laboratory is created.

1961

  • Cabrini holds first commencement; 35 students graduate.
  • Bruckmann Memorial Chapel is completed.

1965

  • Cabrini accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Holy Spirit Library is completed.

1967

  • Counsel Hall, now the Rooymans Activity Center, is completed.
  • Women’s basketball and field hockey are established as the first athletic teams.

1968

  • Sister Gervase Lapadula, MSC, is named second president.
  • First residence hall is built.

 1969

  • Sister Regina Casey, MSC, becomes third president.
  • Woodcrest Hall dedicated on November 13, Mother Cabrini Feast Day.

1970

  • The Board of Trustees amends the College charter to accept male students.

1971

  • The evening division opens.

1972

  • Sister Mary Louise Sullivan, MSC, PhD, named fourth president.

1973

  • Joseph Romano, PhD, receives first faculty award.

1974

  • Joseph Silvestrini ’75 becomes first male president of Student Government Association.
  • First early childhood center, now The Children’s School, is established.

1975

  • Women’s volleyball team and men’s basketball team are formed.

1977

  • The Black Student Union, International Club, and Athletic Association are formed.

1979

  • Men’s soccer team is formed.

1980

  • Maguire, Dixon, and Infante Houses are built, and the Widener Trust funds the building of a campus center.

1981 (25th Anniversary)

  • McManus, Casey, Lanshe, and Sullivan Houses are built.
  • Pew Charitable Trust provides funds for a communications lab in the Widener Campus Center.

1982

  • Sister Eileen Currie, MSC, is named Cabrini’s fifth president.
  • Widener Campus Center opens.

1984

  • Xavier Hall is built. 

1989

  • Renovations to Grace Hall are completed.

1992 

  • Antoinette Iadarola, PhD, becomes the College’s sixth and first lay president.
  • Cabrini helps form the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (PAC).
  • The College’s first strategic plan is developed.

1993

  • The Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education is established. President Iadarola plays a major role in bringing together SEPCHE’s eight member schools to collaboratively address the challenges of higher education.

1997

  • Mother Ursula, MSC, founding president, celebrates her 100th birthday.
  • Cabrini named to the John Templeton Foundation's Honor Roll for Character-Building Colleges.
  • First Strategic Plan complete, second Strategic Plan developed.

1998

  • Dixon Sports Center and Cabrini Apartment Complex are built.

2000

  • The Hamilton Family Foundation Wing opens in Founder’s Hall.
  • Cabrini College student newspaper, The Loquitur, named to the top class of college and university newspapers by the Associated Collegiate Press.

2001

  • East Residence Hall is built.
  • Cabrini athletic teams secure six PAC championships.

2002

  • Wolfington Center is dedicated.
  • President Iadarola celebrates her 10th Anniversary.

2003

  • Cabrini breaks ground for $18.5 million Center for Science, Education, and Technology. 

2006

  • West Residence Hall is built.
  • Cabrini’s first artificial turf field, the Edith Robb Dixon Field, is completed with lighting and seating for 700. 

2007

  • Cabrini celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

2008

  • Marie Angelella George, Ph.D., becomes the College’s seventh president. 

2009

2010

  • The College develops a partnership with Cabrini Ministries in Swaziland, with faculty providing teacher development to benefit the orphaned and vulnerable children that Cabrini Ministries serves.

2012

  • The College’s men’s and women’s lacrosse teams both end the season with a Colonial States Athletic Conference title, and the men’s basketball team appears in the NCAA Division III finals.

2013

  • Deb Takes transitions from Chair of the Board of Trustees to Interim President while Cabrini conducts a national search for the College’s eighth president.
  • Cabrini secures doctoral degree partnerships for programs with Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, and Widener University.
  • The Nerney Leadership Institute at Cabrini College is founded.
  • Cabrini College is one of only 17 colleges and universities nationwide to be recognized as a Fair Trade College, as determined by Fair Trade Colleges and Universities in partnership with Fair Trade USA.

2014

  • Donald B. Taylor, PhD, becomes the College’s eighth president and the first male president. 

2015

  • Cabrini launches doctoral programs in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, as well as a Master of Arts in Religious and Pastoral Studies and a Master of Science in Biological Sciences
  • Cabrini named a Military Friendly® School
  • Men’s baseball and women’s rowing added as intercollegiate athletics teams

2016

  • Cabrini College becomes Cabrini University.

2020 ROADMAP:
Vision. Impact. Growth.

Discover Cabrini University's strategic plan for diversification, sustainable growth, and expanded outreach.