Saint Francis opens 2023-24 academic year with Mass of the Holy Spirit and convocation

August 30, 2023

FORT WAYNE, Ind.—The University of Saint Francis celebrated the start of the academic year today with the Mass of the Holy Spirit—a tradition in Catholic educational institutions across the globe—and a convocation address by Interim President Dr. Lance Richey, along with a complimentary lunch for attendees at North Campus.

The Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, celebrated the Mass and gave the homily with Rev. Brian Isenbarger (BA ’12) and Rev. Thomas Zehr concelebrating, and Deacon Daniel Avila (BA ’80, MA ’16) assisting. Students, faculty, staff, trustees and guests attended.

“As we start the 134th year of the University of Saint Francis, the university is strong and the future is bright,” Dr. Richey said to a near-capacity crowd at the North Campus auditorium. “I want to thank you all for being a part of that future. We’re delighted to have you as part of our family and I pray—and we all pray—that God will bless everyone at USF.”

Dr. Richey announced that Saint Francis welcomed more than 650 new students and more than 1,900 overall students, including those at USF Crown Point and the St. Elizabeth School of Nursing in Lafayette, Indiana.

“God has given us the opportunity to spread the good news of faith and learning that will transform the lives of a large number of students,” Dr. Richey said. “It’s going to be an exciting year.”

Dr. Richey highlighted the new music technology concentration in hip-hop and R&B, the new accredited bachelor’s and associate degrees in respiratory therapy, the new class of Assisi Program for Discipleship and Leadership, the athletic program, the renovations to Doermer Family Center for Health Science Education and the south end zone of Bishop D’Arcy Stadium and the upcoming improvements planned for Trinity Hall.

The annual Mass of the Holy Spirit and convocation welcomes new and returning students and employees, and honored guests, including the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration who have sponsored the university since its founding in 1890. This year, students will pursue degrees in more than 60 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs.

Founded in 1890 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, the University of Saint Francis offers more than 60 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs through the College of Health Sciences and the College of Arts, Sciences and Business. In addition to its traditional programs, Saint Francis designs focused curricula for working adults in Fort Wayne, Crown Point and online. USF Downtown houses the music technology program while offering enhanced internship and networking opportunities for students. The University of Saint Francis, recognized as an NAIA Five-Star Champion of Character institution, has 18 athletic programs boasting two individual and four team NAIA national championships. Approximately 1,900 students from a broad geographic region attend Saint Francis.