Peace and Blessings!


I can’t believe it’s been a year since I became University president—and what a year it’s been. Never could I have imagined all the highs and lows along the way, especially given everything that’s taken place since this past March alone. The student handbook covers a lot of useful information about
campus activities, student services, and codes of conduct. Turns out, though, it doesn’t have a section about how to handle a pandemic.

Yet, I have been so encouraged by how the Holy Spirit has worked through our University community. The overwhelming support, generosity, and joy I’ve witnessed from our students prove just how remarkable you are. You truly live your Catholic faith. Your example is inspiring and humbling, and our students are why, ever since I was a student here myself, Franciscan University has felt like home.


Truth is, even after this latest crisis is far behind us, we will continue to experience times of difficulty. Whether this new academic year is your first, your last, or somewhere in between, there will be moments when the anxiety or uncertainty can seem overwhelming. Sometimes college is hard. Heck, life is hard. But we can be confident and meet the difficulties with courage and grace knowing that God is in control.

It’s fitting that this year we focus on words of St. Paul: “Now the one who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a first installment. So we are always courageous . . . for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:5-7). You’ve already taken a step in faith by responding to God’s call and being here at Franciscan University at this time. Let us continue to invite Jesus Christ to be our guiding light and listen to the promptings of his Holy Spirit.


We are on this journey together and as long as we stay close to God and to each other we are going to do great. It’s going to be an amazing year.


Father Dave Pivonka, TOR


Franciscan University of Steubenville




Dear Students:


This year, Franciscan University reflects on the theme, “Now the one who has prepared us for this very
thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a first installment. So we are always courageous . . . for we
walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:5-7).

Visitors to Franciscan University often say that the spirit of faith here is almost tangible as they observe
and speak with our students, or as they pray in our chapels, or even just as they walk around campus.

It might seem strange to some that faith is such an important part of our life at a university, a place
where reason, logic, measurement, quantification, and empirical data are the methods we study and
utilize in so many of our courses and undertakings. But without faith we are groping about in life, if not
in the dark, at least in really dim light. We simply cannot see ourselves and others and creation as they
really are unless the light of faith is bright and shining.

Father Jacques Philippe reflected in his book Fire and Light that even our problems are not really
problems when confronted by faith—they are occasions of human spiritual growth. We tend to trust in
ourselves and in our own knowledge and perceptions of reality, but this so often leads us to worry and
discouragement. “Our most urgent need is to increase our faith,” he wrote.

Whether we are facing a difficult test, a hurting relationship, uncertainty about the future, or even a
global pandemic, let us take our first step in faith, trusting peacefully in the Lord’s provision for each one
of us.

May the Lord bless you abundantly!

Mr. David Schmiesing
Vice President of Student Life
Franciscan University of Steubenville



Dear Fellow Students,

As your newly elected president and vice-president of student government, we are pleased to welcome you to another academic year at Franciscan University. This year of 2020 has been a sobering reminder to all of us to keep Christ at the center of our lives, and to keep our eyes and hearts fixed on Him no matter what happens. As your representatives in student government, we will always strive to keep Christ at the center of all we do.

We hope you will take advantage of all the resources Franciscan has to offer in household life, clubs, sports, missions, and more. In addition, we encourage you to explore the great city of Steubenville by supporting local businesses and attending events in the town. We might be a bubble on the hill, but that does not mean we cannot spread the love of Christ to the town that hosts us.

Our role in student government is to represent your needs to the administration, and to fund clubs and student activities that benefit the student body. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to either of us or stop by the student government office – we’d love to help you in any way we can.

Thanks and God Bless,

Athanasius Sirilla
Franciscan University Student Government

Clement Harrold
Vice President
Franciscan University Student Government