St. Bonaventure University
ST. BONAVENTURE UNIVERSITY
A Catholic university in the 750-year-old Franciscan tradition of learning, administered by the Franciscan Friars of the Province of the most Holy Name of Jesus of the Order of Friars Minor. It is located on a 500-acre campus in western New York State.
Historical Background. In 1854, Nicholas Devereux (1791–1855) and Bishop John Timon of Buffalo (1797–1867) traveled to Rome and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX requested Venantius Celano, minister general of the Friars Minor, to establish a Franciscan mission and educational center in the southern tier of the Diocese of Buffalo. The Friars Minor provided priests and brothers for the mission, and Devereux supplied land and financial aid for the school that was to become St. Bonaventure University.
Bishop Timon laid the cornerstone for the college in 1856. Pamphilus de Magliano, O.F.M., was appointed first superior and president of St. Bonaventure College in 1859, overseeing a freshman class of 15 students. The college, which then focused on seminary studies and liberal arts, granted its first B.A. degree in 1876 and was officially charted by the state of New York in 1883. In 1901 the Province of the Immaculate Conception transferred the title and administrative control to the Province of the Holy Name.
Thomas Plassmann, O.F.M., president of the college from 1920 to 1949, greatly expanded the college. When three campus buildings were destroyed by fire, Plassmann oversaw an extensive rebuilding program. Women first entered the college as summer session students in 1922 and as full-time day students in 1942. The first M.A. in education was conferred in 1925 and the first Ph.D. in 1930. Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) came to the campus in 1936. In 1950, Plassmann was succeeded by Juvenal Lalor, O.F.M., the same year that the state of New York granted the college university status, and it officially became St. Bonaventure University.
Since that time, the university has added a substantial number of buildings to the campus, including classrooms, administrative offices, and athletic facilities. Christ the King Seminary was established in 1952 and remained until 1974 when it moved off campus. The Special Collections of the University Archives contains manuscript material by the Trappist monk and sometime instructor at St. Bonaventure University, Thomas merton, the poet Robert Lax, the writer and journalist Jim Bishop, and the broadcast journalist Douglas Edwards.
In 1998 the Clare College core curriculum was instituted at St. Bonaventure, the most radical and comprehensive curricular change since the university came into existence. The core takes an interdisciplinary approach to learning, but one which is firmly grounded in the Franciscan tradition, in general, and the learned tradition of St. Bonaventure, in particular. The core draws support from all divisions within the university and has attracted national attention. In addition to the Master of Arts, the School of Franciscan Studies offers an Advanced Certificate in Franciscan Studies.
Five St. Bonaventure graduates have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize. The university expanded its mission to serve with the opening of the Franciscan Center for Social Concern in 1999. The Warming House, a Bonaventure facility, is the oldest soup kitchen run by students in the United States.
Franciscan Institute. Established in 1940 as a teaching and research unit within St. Bonaventure University, the Franciscan Institute gained a worldwide reputation as a scholarly research center for Franciscan Studies under the leadership of its first director, the eminent German medievalist Philotheus boehner. Boehner initiated the research and preparation of the critical edition (1967–85) of the writings of William of Ockham, a project that involved other prominent medievalists such as Eligius Buytaert, O.F.M., Innocent Dahm, O.F.M., Gaudens Mohan, O.F.M. and Ernest A. Moody. In 1984, the institute initiated the preparation of the critical edition of the works of John Duns Scotus and Adam de Wodeham. The Institute has published over 80 volumes of Franciscana research under the imprint of "Franciscan Institute Publications." The Franciscan Institute library contains more than 16,000 volumes, the largest collection of Franciscana in the western hemisphere.
Bibliography: w. hammon, The First Bonaventure Men (St. Bonaventure, New York, 1958). m. v. angelo, The History of St. Bonaventure University (St. Bonaventure, New York 1964). p. j. spaeth, "St. Bonaventure University," The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History, ed. m. glazier and t. j. shelley (Collegeville, MN 1997) 1236. m. v. t. wallace, And They Were Giants: The St. Bonaventure Football Book (St. Bonaventure, New York 1989); Bonaventure Fact Book 2000–2001 (St. Bonaventure, New York 2001); 4 Year Colleges 2001 (Lawrenceville, NJ 2001).