St. Bonaventure University is a Catholic institution, located near Olean in western New York. It is dedicated to educational excellence in the Franciscan tradition.
St. Bonaventure University offers 31 undergraduate majors, the most popular of which are elementary education, psychology, journalism, marketing, accounting, finance, and management.
The university is home to the Franciscan Institute, which is the center for research in history and philosophy. It boasts the accomplishments of a remarkable group of men and women, who for 800 years have dedicated themselves to peace, justice, social equality, and the alleviation of suffering of everyone in the human family.
The campus lies on 1,200 acres in the town of Allegany, just west of Olean. The campus houses a nine-hole golf course, an airport, as well as academic and dormitory buildings. The campus buildings, constructed in red brick with Italianate roofs, reflect the architecture of St. Francis' native Italy. The front lawn was cited in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest front lawn in North America.
The history of St. Bonaventure University dates to 1858, when it was founded by the Franciscan Brothers. Pamphilus da Magliano and three friars came to western New York in 1855, at the invitation of John Timon, Bishop of Buffalo, and Utica financier Nicholas Devereux, to establish a Catholic college and seminary. St. Bonaventure's College was the brainchild of that group. The formal dedication of the new school was held in October 1858, on the Feast of St. Francis, on the tract of land donated by Devereux.
The college was named after St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, the Patron of Franciscan Studies and Learning. The college’s first commencement exercise was held in June 1860, graduating a class of 15 students.
St. Bonaventure's College was chartered in March 1875 by an Act of the Regents of the State of New York.
The college developed a full-time graduate program in the 1920s. At the beginning of the 20th century, St. Bonaventure became the home of the School of Franciscan Studies and the Franciscan Institute.
In 1950, St. Bonaventure College was renamed as St. Bonaventure University by the Board of Regents.