Skip to main content
Campus & Culture

Why We Love Philadelphia: Perspectives from the Saint Joseph's Community

Philadelphia was recently named a top destination in the world to visit in 2021 by Condé Nast Traveler. Hear from the Saint Joseph's community about why they think Philly is also a great place to live, work and go to school.

Ben Franklin parkway and Philadelphia skyline Photo by Brett Tiagwad ’12

Written by: Mary Kate Celini and Nicole Glueckert

Published: March 19, 2021

Total reading time: 5 minutes

In recent months, Philadelphia has continued to rank highly among cities across the country and world as a top destination to visit in 2021. The City of Brotherly Love was also named a top center for innovation and growth in the life sciences.

Philadelphia’s growing popularity should come as no surprise to area residents and Saint Joseph’s Hawks. In recent years, the city has become an increasingly large center for business, tech and science, as well as an ever-growing and vibrant food and cultural scene. But what exactly makes Philadelphia such a great place to live, work and go to school? We decided to ask. Hear from current students, alumni and faculty and staff about what they love about St. Joe’s hometown.

A City for Sports Lovers (And More!)

Our alumni were particularly passionate about their Saint Joseph’s University and Philadelphia experiences. Among their favorite aspects of the city were its diversity, unique professional opportunities and a passion for sports.

Timmy Parks is a member of the Saint Joseph’s Class of 2017 and served as the 37th Hawk Mascot during his time here. Parks currently works at PwC, located in the heart of the city at 20th and Market Streets. While he has always had an affinity for Philadelphia — stemming from childhood memories spent cheering on Philadelphia sports teams — his love for the city has grown stronger because of his time as a Hawk.

“My time at SJU opened my eyes to things Philly had to offer other than the Eagles, 76ers, Flyers and Phillies. During my time at St. Joe’s, my friends and I explored the City of Brotherly Love, venturing everywhere from Center City to South Philly to Manayunk to Fishtown … I even discovered two new favorite cheesesteak joints, D’Alessandro’s and Mama’s.”

Arts and Culture with a Purpose

Another alumna, Scarlett McCahill ’06, M.S.Ed., SHRM-SCP, is a proud supporter of the city’s local businesses and organizations. McCahill currently serves as director of human resources at the Barnes Foundation and is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Political Science at Saint Joseph’s. She has a special appreciation for the arts and culture scene of Philadelphia and the dedication of many businesses in the area to give back to the community.

Here are some of McCahill’s favorite places in Philly with great missions to support:

Location, Location, Location

On the other hand, Brett Tiagwad ‘12 took a windy path after graduating as a Hawk, but enjoyed every minute of his experience. A graduate of the Haub School of Business’ finance program, he now owns a popular drone company called Elevated Angles and is currently back at Saint Joseph’s to pursue his MBA.

According to Tiagwad, his time at Saint Joseph’s was an unforgettable experience.

“St. Joe’s is located in a very unique spot right outside of Philly. The location on City Line Avenue has been developed since I went to school but it’s a beautiful campus and it keeps getting better. The network from St. Joe’s and the businesses that are involved with them are unmatched. Many business owners and executives around the area have gone to St. Joe’s and you can get connected with them. You have an opportunity to live in Manayunk in your junior/senior year, which is a short drive to class but you get to experience the nightlife on Main Street. If you wanted to enjoy the city, it is only a short 15 minutes into the city. [You can also go to] Atlantic City or the beach for a long weekend — only an hour and change away. If I were to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing!”

“One reason why Philadelphia is the best place to go to school is because of the diverse nature of the city. From the people, to the restaurants, to the artwork, you will find a different experience in each part of the city.”

Christina Foggie

Director of Special Projects and Athletics Diversity and Inclusion Designee

The Birthplace of Our Nation

We also decided to ask a few members of faculty and staff at Saint Joseph’s what they enjoy about the “city and suburbs” aspect of campus. One thing is for sure: They all love the City of Brotherly Love for its rich history and culture.

“One reason why Philadelphia is the best place to go to school/university is because of the diverse nature of the city. From the people, to the restaurants, to the artwork, you will find a different experience in each part of the city,” says Christina Foggie, director of special projects and athletics diversity and inclusion designee in SJU’s athletics department.

One of her favorite parts is the array of opportunities that Philadelphia presents: “You can learn about our country’s history down in Old City then experience art and culture in Fairmount at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The diversity of the city of Philadelphia truly provides a unique experience as a student.“

A Great Place to Go to College

And, of course, the students we spoke to said they love the city-suburb lifestyle of Saint Joseph’s.

Shane Patil ’22 said that he chose St. Joe’s because of the part-city, part-suburbs campus experience. He says, “Being located in Philadelphia allows you to fully immerse yourself into a different culture, while maintaining an academic environment.” To Patil, the Philly experience is interwoven with the college experience. “The food, people and various ‘Philly stipends’ are what make it memorable, fun and immersive.”

Survey Says…

Finally, the question was posed to the St. Joe’s online community via the University’s Instagram and Twitter accounts. Responses flooded in and echoed the feedback of our students, alumni, faculty and staff:

  • “Because we are close enough to the city but still far enough to have the suburban feel!”
  • “Diversity!”
  • “So many opportunities in work and in life!”
  • “Philly spirit! Big family energy!”
  • “History and culture. Good food. In the middle of everything.”
  • “Close to everything! City, Suburbs, beach and mountains. Oh, and the cheesesteaks!!!”

Did We Mention Cheesesteaks?

The only more important question is, “Wiz wit or without?” No doubt, cheesesteaks were a popular answer.

  • “The cheesesteaks, obviously”
  • “Philly cheesesteak”
  • “Cheesesteaks”
  • “Cheesesteaks on end”
  • “Philly cheesesteaks”

Learn more about Saint Joseph’s city-suburbs campus, or sign up for a tour today!