The University of Saint Joseph’s commitment to our students is that they will earn a degree with value and values. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2020, we demonstrated once again how our prudent management of resources created value for the entire USJ community. And we aren’t the only ones reporting on the value we offer. For 2020, the University was rated #2 in Connecticut among National Universities in Best Value by U.S. News & World Report.

Of course, this year’s news was focused on the ways the world changed in the face of the global coronavirus pandemic. USJ’s steadfast commitment to our Core Values kept us anchored to our goals, our faith, and to each other. When the campus shut down at the end of March, we—like so many others—utilized technology to maintain the connections between students, faculty and staff, and alumni. Offices remained virtually open, and classes continued on schedule including for seniors who were poised to graduate in May and were celebrated during our online Commencement 2020.

The University community also rallied to support our students in many ways. To bolster traditional institutional scholarship support, USJ alumni, Trustees, friends, and employees generously contributed nearly $40,000 to Catherine’s Fund to assist students with emergency financial needs. This is in addition to the ~$15.2M in traditional scholarships that were distributed to 778 students during the 2019-20 academic year. As the spring and summer brought calls for social justice, we stood with the Sisters of Mercy “…in recognizing and dismantling institutional racism in order to become an anti-racist multicultural community.” The Common Read book, Just Mercy, was selected to provide a lens for exploring inequities in the United States, and as the basis for a wide range of programs and activities in the fall semester that address issues of equity and social justice.

With the active support of donors, USJ was able to complete the most successful fundraising campaign in its history. We exceeded our $38 million goal by raising a total of $43.7 million. Donors supported four “pillars” of the Campaign: Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders, which invested in scholarships and facilities to expand opportunities for students; Supporting Faculty Who Inspire, which addressed instructional technology and faculty development; Meeting Special Needs, the primary focus of which—the Center for Applied Research and Education or CARE—was built to expand the offerings of the Gengras Center; and Fund for the Future, which utilized planned gifts to strengthen USJ’s financial position into the future. In addition to our donors’ generosity, we understand and appreciate that our students and their families are also making an investment in higher education at USJ; it is imperative that we provide them with a fair and meaningful return.

In addition, we completed many major construction projects in the past year designed to enhance the student experience. Renovations to McGovern Hall brought redesigned spaces for the Student Lounge, Student Government Offices, Student Center Information Desk, and School Store, while a modernized gourmet dining hall and the adjacent Jay’s Nest Market offer students exciting new dining options. In January, we broke ground on an expansion of the O’Connell Athletic Center, which is scheduled to be completed in spring 2021—it will more than double the size of the Center, providing additional space for Blue Jays fans to cheer on their favorite teams, as well as new Student Health Services offices, a strength and conditioning room, and more. The new Elizabeth Ferry Speer Tennis Complex includes six courts that will allow our tennis teams to compete in NCAA Division III tournaments. Additionally, we added lights and fencing to the turf field, a significant benefit to our soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey teams. Your generosity and dedication allowed USJ to continue to grow in 2020, and to look forward to 2021 with optimism. Please continue to stay up-to-date with USJ news by visiting us online, and thank you for your investment in our future.

Rhona C. Free, Ph.D.


Mission Statement

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.

University Finances

In 2019 we Managed the University's Finances
to Ensure Long-term Sustainability






For nearly 90 years, University of Saint Joseph has strived to unlock the greatness within our students and channel their intelligence, ability, and compassion to serve the needs of society. From the very beginning, the generosity of individuals and groups has made this work possible.

Today, the tradition continues through the Vision & Values Campaign. We endeavored to provide dedicated faculty with tools to magnify their expertise, to make St. Joe’s more financially accessible, to serve students with special needs in a vibrant space customized for them, and to ensure the long-term strength of USJ.

Guided by these four institutional priorities, we have achieved tremendous success because generous people and organizations chose to make a difference through philanthropy.

Every gift to this campaign is the reflection of a donor’s belief that USJ students can and will do great things. Many gifts honor parents, siblings, friends, and professors who provided encouragement or inspiration. Imagine the great things that today’s graduates and those who follow will accomplish.

I am awed by those who give so generously and so freely to strengthen and amplify the USJ mission. I am indebted to the volunteers and staff who have contributed their time and their talents. Together, we have sailed past our goal with a final tally of $43.7M. To all of you who helped us reach this new standard for giving at USJ, I offer my heartfelt thanks. Because of you, our Vision & Values will carry us into a brighter future and the greatness will continue.

Maggie Pinney ’95
Vice President for Institutional Advancement




Click here for a full list of Donors


Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders


Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders affirms our commitment to provide 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 society’s needs.


More than $22.1M has been invested in scholarships, student programs, and embracing new opportunities.

Increased scholarship funds ensure that more students have access to the full USJ experience.

Elevated student programing and hands-on experiences will create the leaders of tomorrow.

Campus expansions and renovations create a vibrant campus culture and provide valuable learning opportunities. 

By reinvigorating the USJ Fund we continue to fuel innovation and growth.

Goal: $16M
Raised: $22.1M


Supporting Faculty Who Inspire


Through the Teaching and Learning Center, we give every faculty member the resources and support they need to excel in the classroom. USJ continues to invest in the facilities, lectures, fellowships, and grants necessary to sustain exceptional teaching. By doing this, we attract and retain great educators and continue our tradition of teaching excellence.


Almost $10M has been invested in the Teaching and Learning Center, professional development, research grants, educational technology, and equipment.

We are igniting the passion for teaching through meaningful professional development, reimagining faculty research, and investing in discovery opportunities.

We’ve upgraded research equipment, expanded facilities, and improved technology.

Goal: $8M
Raised: $9.8M


Meeting Special Needs


To expand our capacity to serve students with special needs and train the finest teachers in an evidence-based approach that embraces all social, academic, therapeutic, and vocational components. The Center for Applied Research and Education adds space to allow for all students to reach their potential through communication, self-determination, independent living skills and community access. These are all integral parts of the experience that have been added to the Gengras Center, which provides a specialized curriculum for elementary, middle, high school, and transition-aged students with developmental disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum.

What We’ve Accomplished

In 2015, we opened the Center for Applied Research and Education, a 22,000-square-foot state of the art addition that includes a gym, music and art rooms, vocational center, and classrooms specifically designed for students on the autism spectrum.

A specially designed apartment to teach independent living skills to high school and transitional students is a welcomed addition CARE.

We made renovations to the Gengras Center, including a new basketball court and picnic area that ensure greater access to outdoor activities and recreation for all students.

The technology in the Gengras Center and CARE has been upgraded to meet the needs of every student. 

We have purchased two 10-passenger/2-wheelchair vans for improved student travel to community-based activities for vocational and living skills training.

Goal: $6M
Raised: $6.1M


Fund for the Future


We want to ensure the University’s continued strength through long-term financial stability, lessened tuition dependence, and the ability to respond to exciting growth opportunities.

Every generation of USJ leaders, faculty, staff, students, and supporters has invested in our mission and values to preserve them for those who come next. A strong endowment is our permanent base of institutional strength.

What We’ve Accomplished

Sixty additional individuals have documented planned gifts to support scholarships, faculty development, institutional priorities, and the Gengras Center.

New bequests of $5.7 M will support faculty and students through endowed funds.

Fund for the Future will assure that USJ is agile and responsive to new opportunities, supports innovative new programs, and advances our mission in a changing world.

While much progress has been made, we will continue our efforts to reach our $8M goal by inviting donors to include USJ in their estate plans. To learn more, visit or call the Office of Institutional Advancement at 860.231.5397.

Goal: $8M
Raised: $5.7M (the work continues)


The Future for USJ has Never Looked Brighter

Our vision is clear, and our values are steadfast. We thank the more than 6,000 individuals and organizations who have supported this Campaign to make USJ the very best version of itself.

As we conclude this historic Campaign—the most successful in USJ history—we are poised to continue the vital work begun by the Founding Sisters in 1932. With your continued wisdom and generosity, we look forward to the challenges and successes ahead.  

Watch this year’s Vision & Values Gala Celebration video below.