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Sacred Heart University
Motto Where Personal Attention Leads to Personal Achievement
Established 1963
Type Private
Endowment $67.4 million[1]
President Anthony J. Cernera
Undergraduates 4,192
Postgraduates 1,831
Location Fairfield, Connecticut, USA
Campus Suburban 67 acres
Student to faculty ratio 12:1
Sports 31 Varsity Teams [2]
17 women's; 14 men's
Colors Red and White          
Nickname Pioneers
Mascot "Big Red" the Pioneer
Athletics NCAA Division I
Affiliations NEC; CAA; ECAC; AHA; EIVA

Sacred Heart University is a Catholic university located in suburban Fairfield, Connecticut. Sacred Heart was founded in 1963 by Reverend Walter W. Curtis, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT. SHU was the first Catholic university in the United States to be staffed by the laity.[1] Anthony Cernera has been president of Sacred Heart University for over 20 years.

SHU is the second largest Catholic university in New England, behind Boston College[2],and offers more than 40 degree programs to over 6,000 students at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels.

Sacred Heart is included in The Princeton Review's Best 371 Colleges 2010[3], the Best 301 Business Schools 2010[4], as well as U.S. News and World Report's Best Colleges.[5]



Sacred Heart University was founded in 1963 by the Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport. It was established to provide the community with an affordable, quality education at a local Catholic university. The University was to be led and staffed by the laity independent and locally oriented, serving the needs of the diocese and of southwestern Connecticut.

Enrollment has risen from the original class of 173 to over 6.000 full and part-time undergraduate and graduate students, and the faculty has increased from 9 to 212 full-time professors and over 350 adjunct professors.

The University has enhanced the undergraduate student experience in several notable ways. In 1990, it accepted for the first time students who wanted the residential experience. The first dorms, Scholars Commons (previously known as J-Hill), were built 1991. It now has 10 residential buildings with 70% of the full-time undergraduates residing in university housing.

New degree programs and majors in relevant disciplines are regularly added to the curriculum. The University offers Division I athletics with 31 varsity teams. The $17.5 million William H. Pitt Health and Recreation Center is available to all students and to the community at large. Recognizing the importance of technology, Sacred Heart University provides all undergraduate students with a laptop computer. The University campus is a wireless environment.

The University consists of four colleges: College of Arts & Sciences, John F. Welch College of Business, College of Education and Health Professions, and University College. University College is committed to the adult learner, and its evening, weekend and accelerated courses earn praise for their diversity and relevance to changing lifestyles.

On January 25, 2006, Jack Welch gave a large sum of money and his name to Sacred Heart University's College of Business, which is now known as the "John F. Welch College of Business."[6]

On Sunday, September 27, 2009, Sacred Heart University dedicated and opened its new chapel. The worship space, following the teachings of Vatican Council II has been named the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.


The main campus is located in suburban Fairfield, CT, 50 miles north of New York City and 150 miles south of Boston.


Additional campuses

  • Cambridge Campus (Trumbull, CT)
  • Oakview Campus (Trumbull, CT)
  • Stamford Campus (Stamford, CT)
  • Griswold Campus (Griswold, CT)
  • Luxembourg Campus (Luxembourg)
  • Dingle, County Kerry Campus (Ireland)

Student body

  • Enrollment: 4192
  • Female: 60%
  • Out of State: 74%
  • International: 1%
  • African American: 5%
  • Asian: 4%
  • Caucasian: 84%
  • Hispanic: 7%
  • Native American: 0%
  • The top four states in which first-year undergraduate students and their families permanently reside are New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
  • 40% of the Class of 2009 had a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Student life

The Spectrum

The Spectrum is a student-run newspaper printed and distributed to students each Thursday and made available online.

Community service

More than 1,200 students and members of the faculty and staff volunteer in excess of 31,000 hours each year largely within the City of Bridgeport, but also regionally, nationally, and internationally. In Spring 2008, SHU finished third in the nation in the "ONE Campus Challenge", a campaign that seeks to raise public awareness about the issues of global poverty, hunger, and disease. In Fall 2007, SHU's Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter was named one of the Top Five Campus Chapters in the nation, for their work in the bridgeport community, and around the country with alternative spring break service trips.

Study abroad

SHU has the only American-accredited MBA program in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and a residential study-abroad program in the Irish-speaking community of Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland. International experiences are available to SHU students worldwide through study abroad programs located at the American University of Rome, in Italy, the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, Australia, and the University of Granada, in Spain, as well as programs in Bermuda and the Bahamas.

SHU also allows students to participate in CCIS programs, programs affiliated with other schools across the U.S. These programs include, but are not limited to: France, Argentina, Germany, Belgium, and Japan.


The Pioneers compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the Northeast Conference (NEC) Atlantic Hockey, Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) and the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA).

Nearly 800 students participate in the university's 31 athletic teams (17 female teams and 14 male teams) along with more than 500 students who participate in 23 Club Sports.

In March 2009, the Women's Basketball team won the NEC Title and earned their second trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last four years. The team faced the Ohio State Buckeyes in the first round of the tournament on March 21, 2009, and lost 77-63.

Club Sports

Currently there are twenty-six club sports active on campus.

The active clubs are:

  • Baseball
  • Men's Basketball
  • Women's Basketball
  • Men's Bowling
  • Curling
  • Dance Team
  • Field Hockey
  • Figure Skating
  • Gymnastics
  • Golf
  • Men's Ice Hockey
  • Women's Ice Hockey
  • Men's Lacrosse
  • Women's Lacrosse
  • Men's Rugby
  • Women's Rugby
  • Running
  • Men's Soccer
  • Women's Soccer
  • Softball
  • Men's Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Tonsil Hockey
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Women's Volleyball
  • Weightlifting

Greek life

There are eight Greek organizations (4 sororities and 4 fraternities) that are active on campus.


  • “America’s Best Colleges" by U.S.News & World Report, Tier I institution [7]
  • "The Best 371 Colleges" by Princeton Review [8]
  • "Best Physical Therapy Program in Connecticut" [9]
  • "Best Graduate Schools 2009,” ranked its physical therapy program 52nd nationally, placing it as one of the top 5 programs in New England [10]
  • "Best 301 Business Schools" by Princeton Review [11]
  • SHU named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll 2008-09 [12]
  • Habitat for Humanity campus chapter among the top five collegiate chapters in the nation [13]
  • "SHU Ranked #11 in Intel's Most Unwired Campuses" [14]

Notable alumni

Notable members of the Board of Trustees


External links

Coordinates: 41°13′17″N 73°14′31″W / 41.22139°N 73.24194°W / 41.22139; -73.24194


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