Saint Joseph's first female president, Cheryl A. McConnell, at Inauguration podium

The Year in Review 2022-2023

SJU President Cheryl A. McConnell with Board Chair James M. Norris

Historic Inauguration

Faculty, students, staff, alumni, friends, religious and civic leaders and members of the greater higher education community gathered on Hawk Hill in September to celebrate the inauguration of Cheryl A. McConnell, PhD, as the 29th — and first female — president in the University’s 172-year history.


Advancing Saint Joseph's 10-Year Master Plan

Several major projects were underway this summer as Saint Joseph’s continued executing a decade-long campus master plan.

Saint Joseph’s made significant progress on several major campus master plan projects at the close of the 2022-2023 academic year. Announced in 2019, the University’s campus master plan is aimed at enhancing the student experience — from upgrading facilities in support of academic excellence to creating community greenspaces to gather, relax and unwind.

The recent upgrades are just the start of what students can expect from Saint Joseph's campus long term — a modern, connected campus that is both a suburban oasis and a link to the city of Philadelphia.

“We've made great strides since launching the campus master plan four years ago. The pedestrian underpass is nearing completion and we'll soon be breaking ground on the first-year residence hall,” says Kevin Mueller ’22 (MBA), director of construction and planning at Saint Joseph’s. “It's easy to step on campus and see first-hand how transformative this work will be for the Saint Joseph's community.”

Saint Joseph's Post Crossing, named in honor of distinguished alumnus John R. Post ’60 for his longtime support of the University.

The Hawk Hill fitness and recreation center. The lobby space will transform the fitness and recreation center into a campus hub for building friendships, meeting new people and creating a sense of belonging.

The Kettle, Saint Joseph's newly remodeled dining hall, features new and expanded seating area, modern amenities and aesthetics. An architect and design team worked with students on program offerings and seating design.

The Maguire Athletic Center will include an 11,000-square-foot, indoor-turf training facility, which will benefit all sports, impacting more than 482 student-athletes.

Sister Thea Bowman Hall, a new first-year residence, will welcome more than 500 students in the fall of 2025.

To accommodate foundational scientific learning, Saint Joseph’s fully renovated two laboratories in the Hawk Hill Science Center in the summer of 2023.

1 of 6

Current Projects:

1. The University announced the pledge of a major financial gift from distinguished alumnus John R. Post ’60. A new pedestrian underpass, connecting the Lower Merion and West Philadelphia sides of the Hawk Hill campus, will be named Post Crossing upon its completion. The 21-foot-wide, ADA-accessible pathway is expected to be completed during the 2024 spring semester.

2. Renovations to the O’Pake Recreation Center, set to be completed for the start of the 2024 fall semester, will provide students with a reimagined fitness and recreation space and state-of-the-art equipment. Renovation of the 72,000-square-foot facility will include a 1,830-square-foot cardio mezzanine overlooking a large multipurpose court, two brand-new multiuse rooms, HVAC upgrades and more.

3. Campion Dining Hall and Food Court, rebranded as The Kettle, underwent a complete remodel, including an expanded seating area with modern amenities and aesthetics. Students returned to a variety of dining options for the 2023 fall semester, including more than four new brands and rotating concepts.

4. Renovations to the Maguire Athletic Center are underway, enhancing student-athlete performance and well-being while inspiring a new era of athletic excellence. 

5. First-year students will soon reside in Sister Thea Bowman Hall, a new first-year residence at the heart of the campus. The location takes advantage of a serene green space in front of the University’s Maguire Wolfington Welcome Center, creating a communal quad for residents and other community members to enjoy. This project is anticipated to open in fall 2025. 

6. In August, Saint Joseph’s students returned to two newly renovated Hawk Hill Science Center laboratories to accommodate foundational scientific learning and additional first-year students.

In the near future, Saint Joseph’s will begin additional projects to enrich the student experience, including an enhanced Science Center, and a dedicated facility for the renowned Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support.

It’s easy to step on campus and see firsthand how transformative this work will be for the Saint Joseph’s community.”

- Kevin Mueller ’22 (MBA) 

Director of Construction and Planning


Expanding Academic Portfolio Empowers Future Leaders

Business student at Saint Joseph's presenting graphs and data

New programs align with market demands and Jesuit mission.

In pursuit of its enduring commitment to Jesuit ideals and lifelong learning, Saint Joseph's is expanding its academic offerings to equip students for a rapidly changing world.


A Healthier Future

group of female nursing students walking outside in front of PCHS building

In January 2023, Saint Joseph’s entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Less than a year after closing its merger with University of the Sciences, Saint Joseph’s entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences (PA College), adding to its already robust portfolio of healthcare programs. 

The merger will expand Saint Joseph’s geographic reach beyond Philadelphia and broaden its academic portfolio with more than 20 nursing and allied health programs ranging from certificates through the graduate level.

“Programs like those offered at PA College are not only sought after by students, but they also have an exponential value in the communities where those students then go on to live, work and lead,” says Saint Joseph’s President Cheryl A. McConnell, PhD.

Starting fall of 2024 on the Hawk Hill campus, undergraduate students will have the opportunity to major in Saint Joseph’s first-ever Bachelor of Science in nursing in the new School of Nursing and Allied Health. Students will benefit from a nursing school that has been a regional leader for over a century with licensure exam passage rates among the best in the nation and state. The program will also feature experienced faculty leading well-established coursework, simulation-based learning and hands-on clinical experiences in Philadelphia — including guaranteed clinical placements. Fifty clinical placements have been secured with PennMedicine, with other sites to be announced soon.

Additional programs will include associate’s degrees in cardiac sonography, radiography and surgical technology, master’s degrees in nursing, a certificate in medical laboratory science and many more. 

PA College’s rich history includes a long-standing connection to its founder, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health (LG Health), where more than 800 employees are current PA College students and thousands more boast alumni status. LG Health and Saint Joseph’s are committed to future students and patients through a joint healthcare-education pipeline, which will continue to provide a pathway to rewarding, financially secure careers for Lancaster-area residents. They will maintain strong affiliation agreements allowing for tuition benefits and clinical placements. 

When the merger is finalized in January 2024, nearly 2,000 PA College students will become part of the Saint Joseph’s community. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education Executive Committee for Commission Action approved the merger in September 2023.

Art Belongs to Everyone

Photo of the Maguire Museum with black and white portraits surrounding

The Frances M. Maguire Art Museum opened in May 2023 with the mission of being a community beacon for accessible arts education. Its work with area school districts, as well as its first-year exhibition calendar, are proof it is living up to that mission.

The highly anticipated opening of the Frances M. Maguire Art Museum at Saint Joseph’s University took place on May 6, 2023, attracting those near and far — government representatives, art and architecture enthusiasts, neighbors, families and, of course, the proud members of Saint Joseph’s campus community. 

Experts and media outlets sang the praises of the museum’s renovation, led by Philadelphia design firm DIGSAU, with Architectural Record noting that the building’s “architecture, refurbished and reinvented, quietly provides a sensitive setting for the works on view. The container does not overwhelm the contents, but it makes a strong point about the advantage of having an architecture of distinction that can be appreciated as a framework, and even on its own.”

Since its opening, the museum has announced a full calendar of community events and rotating exhibitions that bring focus to Philadelphia’s Black artists and poets and feature SJU’s own first first-year photography students and Latin American abstract art. The museum also hosted musical performances and a historical show on the work of Paul Cret, the original museum architect. 

Programming that investigates, discusses and asks us to draw connections to our own lives teaches us how [the story of the human connection] is relevant and important.”

- Veronica Farr, MEd

Curator of Education and Community Engagement

Aside from its exhibition space, the Maguire Museum has acted as an extension of the classroom for a variety of student groups. Saint Joseph’s students have found connections to their coursework at the museum, while K-12 school groups and camps have found STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) enrichments through the museum’s partnership with the Philadelphia and Lower Merion School Districts. This partnership has granted the museum authority to teach under the districts’ Affirming Arts Education program, which provides social-emotional and experiential learning opportunities for school-aged children.

“Art tells the story of the human condition,” notes Veronica Farr, MEd, education outreach coordinator at the Maguire Museum. “Programming that investigates, discusses and asks us to draw connections to our own lives teaches us how this story is relevant and important. As a University institution, the Maguire Museum allows us to do just that.”

 Inclusive College Experiences for Students with Disabilities

Female student on laptop in the library

PACE, a program that supports students with intellectual disabilities, was approved as a Comprehensive Transition Program by the Department of Education in its inaugural year.

Saint Joseph’s Pathways to Authentic College Experiences (PACE), a four-year certificate program that provides an authentic and inclusive experience for students with intellectual disabilities, has continued to expand since launching last year as a first-of-its-kind program at a Jesuit institution.

In its inaugural year, PACE was approved as a Comprehensive Transition Program by the Department of Education, allowing enrolled students to apply for federal student aid. Additionally, the program was recognized as a D.R.E.A.M. Partnership school, placing SJU among a network of Pennsylvania colleges that provide postsecondary opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities.

“I am so proud that SJU is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and that the University can be a model to Jesuit schools across the country,” says Kaitlyn Martin ’16 (MEd), PACE program director. Cheryl Pauley, PhD, associate professor and chair of the Department of Special Education, explains that before Congress enacted the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975, students with disabilities could be excluded from public education.

“Even though students with disabilities have received access to a K-12 education since 1975, sometimes they are still segregated from their peers without disabilities,” says Pauley. “Seeing the students thrive and grow at Saint Joseph’s like every other student grows when they go off to college makes the effort worthwhile.”

This school year, multiple students in the PACE program are participating in work-based learning opportunities, including working in the Drexel Library, the University mailroom and its adjoining print shop. Newly hired peer coaches are also providing enrichment in academics, social engagement and employment skills.


Two Saint Joseph's students laughing outside of the Francis A. Drexel Library

Offering an Ideal Transition for Cabrini University Students

Saint Joseph's welcomed 120 students from the university following the announcement of its pending closure.

This summer, Saint Joseph’s began providing Cabrini University students with a seamless path to admission after the university announced it would be closing its doors in spring 2024. 

“Statistics about student persistence when universities close are alarming,” says Saint Joseph’s president Cheryl A. McConnell, PhD. “We know that nearly half of impacted students won’t continue their studies. We don’t want to see that happen. For St. Joe’s, this effort is mission-critical and what we are called to do as a Jesuit institution of higher education.”

Students attending the Roman Catholic university were quickly accommodated with guaranteed admission to Saint Joseph’s, tuition match, credit transfers and access to an ever-growing portfolio of degree programs. 

“I couldn’t be happier to be part of this amazing community,” says McKenzie Racobaldo ’26, a business administration major who transferred from Cabrini. “I was initially drawn to St. Joe's outstanding reputation, especially as a business major. I am eager for the academic challenges that await me here.”