USJ History, Mission, & Goals

University of Saint Joseph: A bold beginning

In 1932, the Sisters of Mercy of Connecticut set out to establish the first college for women in the Hartford area. They were determined to develop a curriculum that balanced professional studies with a range of the arts and sciences focused on service to others and infused the Catholic intellectual tradition while welcoming students of all ages, races, religions, and cultures.

In addition to undergraduate programs for full- and part-time students (which became fully coeducational in 2018), the University of Saint Joseph has grown to include the following programs of study: graduate master’s and certificate programs (introduced in 1959) and professional doctoral degrees (2011).

Two renowned laboratory schools—the School for Young Children (1936), a nationally-accredited preschool; and the Gengras Center School (1965), a special education program for elementary, middle, and high school students—also serve to train University of Saint Joseph students.

As the University of Saint Joseph has evolved into a vibrant educational complex, it has never strayed from its original vision: a steadfast commitment to preparing students for insightful leadership and service to others.

Leadership & Traditions Academic Symbols


Our Mission

The University of Saint Joseph, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in the Catholic tradition, provides a rigorous liberal arts and professional education for a diverse student population in an inclusive environment that encourages strong ethical values, personal integrity, and a sense of responsibility to the needs of society.


Core Values

  • Catholic Identity
    The University of Saint Joseph is grounded in its heritage as a Catholic institution, expressing the Catholic tradition in an ecumenical and critical manner.
  • Development of the Whole Person
    The University of Saint Joseph encourages, inspires, and challenges all students to fully develop their intellectual, spiritual, social, emotional, physical, and leadership potential.
  • Compassionate Service
    The University of Saint Joseph promotes, supports and facilitates caring service as an integral part of all teaching and learning experiences.
  • Academic Excellence
    The University of Saint Joseph provides a value-centered education that prepares students as global citizens, lifelong learners, and informed decision makers.
  • Respect/Integrity
    The University of Saint Joseph demonstrates respect and reverence for all people and fidelity in personal witness.
  • Hospitality
    The University of Saint Joseph is a welcoming community where its relationships are based on openness, inclusivity and mutual respect.
  • Multiculturalism/Diversity
    The University of Saint Joseph is committed to fostering the growth of an inclusive community that welcomes differences among community members and benefits from them.

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