Sacred Heart University

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For the Puerto Rican university, see Universidad del Sagrado Corazón.
Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University seal.svg
Motto Inspiring Minds, Unleashing Hearts.
Type Private
Established 1963
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic
Endowment $137,027,000 (2014)[1]
President John J. Petillo
Academic staff
802 (full-time and part-time)
Undergraduates 5,428
Postgraduates 3,104
Location Fairfield, Connecticut, U.S.
Campus Suburban 300+ acres
Colors Red and Grey[2]
Athletics NCAA Division INEC, CAA, ECAC, AHA, EIVA
Nickname Pioneers
Mascot "Big Red" the Pioneer
Affiliations ACCU
Sacred Heart University logo.png

Sacred Heart University is a private Roman Catholic university located in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States. Sacred Heart was founded in 1963 by the Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Sacred Heart was the first Catholic university in the United States to be staffed by the laity.[3] Dr. John J. Petillo is the current president.[4]

Sacred Heart is the second largest Catholic university in New England, behind Boston College,[5] and offers more than 70 degree programs to over 8,500 students at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.[6]

Undergraduate students study at Sacred Heart's international campuses in Dingle, Ireland[7][8] and Luxembourg,[9] including freshmen participating in pre-fall and Freshman Fall Abroad programs. On the main campus, state-of-the-art academic facilities include the Frank and Marisa Martire Business & Communications Center[10] and the Center for Healthcare Education.[11]

The University continues to experience dramatic growth in campus facilities[12] and enrollment[13] and has garnered recognition such as The Princeton Review's Best 381 Colleges 2017,[14] the Best 294 Business Schools 2017,[15] as well as U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges in the North[16] and Bloomberg's Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2016.[17]


Sacred Heart University was founded in 1963 by the Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis, Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport. The University was to be led and staffed by the laity independent and locally oriented. Former American ambassador and Diplomat Thomas Patrick Melady served as President of the University from 1976 to 1986.

Enrollment has risen from the original class of 173 to over 8,500 full and part-time undergraduate and graduate students, and the faculty has increased from 9 to 281 full-time professors and over 520 adjunct professors since 1963.

Sacred Heart has enhanced the undergraduate student experience in several notable ways. The first dorms, Scholars Commons (previously known as J-Hill), were built 1991 giving the university the ability to accept students who wanted the residential experience. It now has 10 residential buildings with 50 percent of the full-time undergraduates residing in university housing.[18]

The University offers Division I athletics with 32 varsity teams. The $17.5 million The William H. Pitt Health and Recreation Center is available to all students.

In the 1980s, former United States president George H.W. Bush received an honorary degree from Sacred Heart.[19]

The University established a relationship with Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, and named its College of Business after him.[20]

Recent history[edit]

On September 27, 2009, Sacred Heart University opened its new chapel, the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.[21][22]

In 2012, the University opened a new student commons building dedicated as the Linda E. McMahon Student Commons after McMahon donated $5 million to the University. The new Commons includes dining facilities, lounge space, meeting rooms and several other amenities.[23]

Also in 2012, the University approved construction of a new building for the Jack Welch College of Business and the School of Communication & Media Arts, called the Frank and Marisa Martire Center for Business & Communications. The building was designed by the Watertown, MA firm of Sasaki Associates (who also designed The Chapel of the Holy Spirit and the Linda E. McMahon Student Commons).[24]

In 2013, Sacred Heart opened its new Health and Wellness Center.[25] The two-story, colonial-style, 5,800-square-foot building, situated on Park Avenue across from the main campus, serves as a place for acute health and medical needs and offers students counseling and therapeutic services.

In the summer of 2014, Sacred Heart broke ground for a new learning center, called the Student Success Center. The center provides educational support for students at the university and from the surrounding region.[26] In the summer of 2015, the University started construction of the Center for Healthcare Education.[27]

In 2015, Sacred Heart again broke ground on a new residence hall called Bergoglio Hall,[28] named after Pope Francis, whose birth name is Jorge Bergoglio. The building includes a CrossFit fitness facility and a video game classroom for video game majors and members of the video game club.

In November 2016, Sacred Heart acquired the former GE corporate headquarters located near its main campus.[29]

Academics [edit]

Sacred Heart University believes that inquiry, pursuing knowledge and intelligent reflection – both inside and outside the classroom – create greater opportunities and choices. The University challenges its students to be fearless in their curiosity and courageous in their service to others. Sacred Heart is dedicated to the holistic development of its students through active, engaged learning including research, internships, clinical placements, independent study, service learning, work-study and study abroad programs.[30]

Sacred Heart’s consistently evolving curriculum is an academically rigorous, multidisciplinary centerpiece known as The Common Core: The Human Journey. The innovative qualities of this Core resulted in the University’s invitation to become a member of the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) Core Commitments Leadership Consortium. Comprising just 23 institutions nationally, the Consortium provides leadership in making personal and social responsibility a central part of a high-quality undergraduate education for all students.

The University consists of five colleges: College of Arts & Sciences, which includes the School of Communication & Media Arts and the School of Computing;[31] Jack Welch College of Business; College of Health Professions; College of Nursing and the Isabelle Farrington College of Education.[32]

Sacred Heart University offers more than 70 bachelors, masters and doctorate programs in a variety of topics such as accounting, biology, clinical nurse leader, communication, criminal justice,[33] cybersecurity, digital marking, educational leadership, exercise science,[34] film and TV production,[35] family nurse practitioner, game design [36] and development, healthcare informatics,[37] health science, illustration, journalism, media arts, nursing,[38] occupational therapy, performing arts,[39] speech-language pathology and women’s studies. Sacred Heart also offers qualified undergraduates the opportunity to complete an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree with five to six years depending on the degree program.[40]


The main campus is located in suburban Fairfield, 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City and 150 miles (240 km) south of Boston

Additional campuses[edit]

  • 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 life[edit]

Theatre Arts Program[edit]

The Theatre Arts Program began in 2009 with the premiere of Sacred Heart University's first musical production: Rent.[41] Other productions include Little Shop of Horrors in spring 2011, Spring Awakening in the spring of 2012, Nunsense in spring 2013, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee also in spring 2013, Boeing Boeing, Edges, and The Playboy of the Western World in the fall of 2013, Chicago and You're a Good Man Charlie Brown in spring 2014, Almost Maine" "Dogfight, and I Remember Mama in fall 2014, and Wait Until Dark, The Fantasticks, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in spring 2015. The Theatre Arts Program also features a student-produced, student-written, and student-performed festival called "Theatrefest", spanning through both the fall and spring semesters and is the home of Sacred Heart's own improv team: The Pioneer Players. In 2016, the program began its own rep program, Sacred Heart Rep. It is one of the largest student groups on campus. Sacred Heart recently expanded its Theatre Arts Program by launching its National Playwriting Competition & Intern Program.[41][39][42]

Student government[edit]

The Student Government consists of nearly 75 student leaders from all four class years. All full-time undergraduate students have the opportunity to be elected or appointed to a position. There is a Student Government President, four Class Presidents, a Vice President of Finance, a Vice President of Student Events Team, a Vice President of Judicial Affairs, a Vice President of Senate, a Vice President of Campus Clubs & Organizations, a Vice President of Public Affairs, and an Executive Board Secretary. Each Class Board has a class president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, four senators, a community service chair, a fundraising chair, and an advertising chair. These students act as a direct liaison between the student body and the administration. They actively address student issues and concerns, promote campus and class unity and plan various campus wide events.[43]

The Spectrum[edit]

The Spectrum is a student-run newspaper printed and distributed to students each Wednesday and made available online.[44]

Community service[edit]

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,[45] but also regionally, nationally,[46] and internationally.[47] The work of the Office of Volunteer Programs & Service Learning is at the heart of the overall mission of the University. The programs offered allow students to engage in the local community and in communities around the world. Nearly all of the programs are organized by student leaders who grow their leadership and professional skills as they work with community partners. There are weekly volunteer opportunities to local schools, soup kitchens and food banks, and senior centers. Students interested in a long-term weekly volunteer commitment can participate in a mentoring program, where SHU students work one-on-one with local Bridgeport students. The office also provides immersion programs and experiences.[48][49]

Study abroad[edit]

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.[50]

SHU 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), Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA), and the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA). The NEC is the school's primary conference.

Nearly 800 students participate in the university's 32 athletic teams (18 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. The Sacred Heart Pioneers women's ice hockey program competes as an independent in NCAA Division I women's ice hockey.

The men's golf team won the NEC Title in May 2008, 2009 and 2011.

The SHU Baseball Team has appeared in the NEC Championship game the past 4 seasons (2009–2012) and won the past 2 Northeast Conference Titles. These wins have earned SHU back to back NCAA tournament bids.

On February 21, 2013, the Sacred Heart University Athletics Department hired longtime Major League Baseball player and manager Bobby Valentine to head its athletics department.

The SHU Men's Fencing Team won the Northeast Fencing Conference Championship title five years in a row (2010–2014) and was ranked #9 in 2011.[51]

Men's Varsity Athletic Teams:

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Ice Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling

Women's Varsity Athletic Teams:

  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Cheerleading
  • Cross Country
  • Equestrian
  • Fencing
  • Field Hockey
  • Golf
  • Ice Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Rowing
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball

Club sports[edit]

Currently there are twenty-four club sports active on campus. The active clubs are:

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

Greek life[edit]

Sacred Heart is home to seven national sororities, five national fraternities and one local fraternity. Greek Life is one of the largest and fastest growing organizations on campus. Greek Life at SHU is home to a chapter of Order of Omega, a national Greek academic honor society.


7 National:


4 National:

1 Local:

  • Omega Phi Kappa

Sacred Heart started out with several local Sororities and Fraternities; among them were Nu Epsilon Omega, Beta Delta Phi, Gamma Chi Zeta and Sigma Tau.[52]


  • Princeton Review’s The Best 381 Colleges 2017 edition
  • Princeton Review’s The Best 294 Business Schools 2017 edition
  • U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges in the North 2016
  • Princeton Review’s Top Schools to Study Game Design 2016[53]
  • Bloomberg’s Best Undergraduate Business School 2016

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable members of the Board of Trustees[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2014. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2014 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2013 to FY 2014" (PDF). 2014 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. 
  2. ^ Sacred Heart University Logo Usage Guide (PDF). Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
  3. ^ "Sacred Heart University Connecticut". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "SHU president resigns to pursue other interests". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  5. ^ (, theGKWco. "Sacred Heart University - Colleges of Distinction". Colleges of Distinction. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  6. ^ "Sacred Heart University - SHU - The College Board". Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  7. ^ "US University sets up campus in Dingle -". Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  8. ^ "University hub on the cards for Dingle". 2015-01-06. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  9. ^ "Silver commencement for SHU - Delano - Luxembourg in English". Delano. 2016-12-14. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  10. ^ " News - Picture That Completes Major Art Consulting Project For Sacred Heart University's New Frank and Marisa Martire Business & Communications Center". Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  11. ^ "Sacred Heart University Invests in Healthcare Education". School Construction News. 2015-09-22. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  12. ^ "Colleges show off new facilities - Connecticut Post, 2016-08-28". Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  13. ^ "Sacred Heart University Welcomes Largest Incoming Freshman Class". Fairfield, CT Patch. 2016-08-30. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  14. ^ "The Best 381 Colleges | The Princeton Review". Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  15. ^ "Best Business Schools | The Princeton Review". Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  16. ^ "US News - Regional Universities North Rankings". Retrieved 2017-01-05.  External link in |website= (help)
  17. ^ Levy, Francesca; from, Jonathan Rodkin. "These Are the Best Undergraduate Business Schools of 2016". Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  18. ^ "A gateway to four towns, Park Avenue has experienced transformation". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  19. ^ "Record-Journal - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  20. ^ Gordon, Jane (2006-01-29). "IN BRIEF; Jack Welch Endows Sacred Heart University". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  21. ^ Sasaki. "Sacred Heart University Chapel – Sasaki". Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  22. ^ "Sacred Heart University to Dedicate New Campus Chapel of the Holy Spirit". PRWeb. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  23. ^ Sasaki. "Sacred Heart University McMahon Student Commons – Sasaki". Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  24. ^ Sasaki. "Sacred Heart University Martire Business Communications Center – Sasaki". Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  25. ^ "Zoning variance sought by college to convert mansion into wellness center". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  26. ^ "Fairfield's Sacred Heart University Adds Student Success Center To Campus". Fairfield Daily Voice. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  27. ^ "Sacred Heart breaks ground on new health care facility". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  28. ^ "Centerbrook Architects and Planners > Ribbon Cut on New SHU Residence Hall". Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  29. ^ "University buys GE property for $31.5 million". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 2016-12-19. 
  30. ^ "US University sets up campus in Dingle -". Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  31. ^ " News - SHU establishes new School of Computing". Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  32. ^ " News - Picture That Completes Major Art Consulting Project For Sacred Heart University's New Frank and Marisa Martire Business & Communications Center". Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  33. ^ "Lawlor, Marron, Aranzullo promoted by Darien Police Department | Darien Times". Darien Times. 2017-03-17. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  34. ^ "Exercise Science Students At Fairfield's SHU Get First-Hand Experience". Fairfield Daily Voice. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  35. ^ "Sacred Heart University's film school emphasizes storytelling". Connecticut Post. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  36. ^ "Top Game Design Press Release | Public Relations | The Princeton Review | The Princeton Review". Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  37. ^ "College Choice Releases Its 2016 Rankings for the Best Online Masters in Health Informatics Degree Programs". Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  38. ^ "March: Nursing Program Ranks Fourth in the State | Sacred Heart University Connecticut". Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  39. ^ a b "Sacred Heart Theatre Arts Program Punches Above Its Weight Class". Trumbull-Monroe Daily Voice. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  40. ^ "Sacred Heart University Welcomes Largest Incoming Freshman Class". Fairfield, CT Patch. 2016-08-30. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  41. ^ a b Desk, BWW News. "Sacred Heart University Expands Theatre Arts Program By Launching National High School Playwriting Competition". Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  42. ^ "Preview of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' by Sacred Heart University Theatre Arts Program". Fairfield, CT Patch. 2017-03-12. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  43. ^ "Student Government - Sacred Heart University Connecticut". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  44. ^ "Spectrum | Sacred Heart University Connecticut". Retrieved 2016-12-19. 
  45. ^ "Teens Exploring Faith At Sacred Heart Volunteer In Bridgeport". Bridgeport Daily Voice. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  46. ^ 981-3334, Carmen Forman | |. "College students visit Roanoke for service-oriented spring break". Roanoke Times. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  47. ^ Oliver, CB Cotton/Lindsay. "Connecticut college students spend spring break building a home in New Bern". Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  48. ^ "Volunteer Programs & Service Learning | Sacred Heart University Connecticut". Retrieved 2016-12-19. 
  49. ^ "Fairfielders get Kennedy Center Awards". Minuteman News Center. Retrieved 2017-03-21. 
  50. ^ "Study Abroad". Sacred Heart University. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  51. ^ "Sacred Heart". Sacred Heart. Retrieved 2016-12-19. 
  52. ^ "Greek Life | Sacred Heart University Connecticut". Retrieved 2016-12-19. 
  53. ^ "March: Game Design Program Among the Best According to Princeton Review | Sacred Heart University Connecticut". Retrieved 2016-12-19. 
  54. ^ "Famous Connecticut Grads: Lydia Hearst-Shaw", Hartford Courant
  55. ^ a b c "Administration and Board of Trustees". Sacred Heart University. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 

External links[edit]