Cardinal Stritch University Timeline


Cardinal Stritch University has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1937. Along this historical timeline you can discover how the University came to be known Cardinal Stritch University, and what made Samuel Cardinal Stritch such an inspiration to all those around him.


The College is chartered by the state of Wisconsin as St. Clare College, a teaching institution for its founders, the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi. The College is located on Milwaukee’s south side.


The Sisters opened a reading clinic to assist children in overcoming reading difficulties. This program, known today as The Literacy Center, is among the oldest in the country and remains a cornerstone of the University's legacy.  


St. Clare College is renamed Cardinal Stritch College in honor of the former Archbishop of Milwaukee, Samuel Cardinal Stritch, who first encouraged the Sisters to start a college. All academic programs are opened to lay women.


The North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools grants accreditation for the first time. This accreditation continues to the present day through the Higher Learning Commission.


A graduate division is established, offering majors in special education and reading. Courses in this division are open to men.


The campus on the city's south side is closed and opens at the present location in Fox Point/Glendale with five buildings: Bonaventure Hall (administration); Duns Scotus Hall (academics); Roger Bacon Hall (science); Serra Hall (dining room and kitchen); and Clare Hall (residence).


The College becomes entirely coeducational.


An innovative nursing program is introduced, offering both associate and bachelor’s degrees.


Programs in Management for Adults, the forerunner to the College of Business and Management, are implemented to meet the needs of working adults seeking degrees. Their success led to expansion into Minnesota in 1987.


The Professional Inservice Bureau is created and offers an off-campus delivery system for working educators who want to pursue graduate studies.


The O.W. Carpenter Campus Center and the A.S. Kliebhan Hall (Great Hall) are completed and dedicated. The Library, Fieldhouse, Student Union, Bookstore and Schroeder Auditorium are included in this expansion.


The Master Plan for Stritch is unveiled; its priority was to promote the Franciscan charism. A task force identified and described the four Franciscan values upon which Stritch still operates.


University status is approved by the Board of Trustees, and Cardinal Stritch College becomes Cardinal Stritch University. The Joan Steele Stein Center for Communication Studies/Fine Arts is opened. Nursing introduces its first master’s degree program.


The Doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service is established.


The Franciscan Pilgrimage program begins for faculty, staff and administration. Initially, two people from each group are sent for a 10-day leadership pilgrimage in Assisi and Rome.


Stritch establishes The Leadership Center, which prepares and sustains leaders who are catalysts for transformation of their organizations and communities.


A $14 million expansion of the University’s main administration building, Bonaventure Hall, was completed. Stritch also began offering its first entirely online degree programs.


Stritch establishes The Saint Clare Center for Catholic Life, which provides education and formation for lay Catholics who seek to grow in faith and service. It is the only center of its kind in the country.


Heritage Park, honoring the Sisters who have served at Stritch, is dedicated.


City Center opens in Building #14 of the Pabst Brewery Redevelopment in downtown Milwaukee. The former College of Education and Leadership building on campus is remodeled to create Assisi Hall, a residence for 100 students.


St. Francis of Assisi Chapel, located on the second floor of Bonaventure Hall, is dedicated on October 4, 2011.


The University celebrates its 75th anniversary and introduces the new "rose window" logo. Inspired by a window found at the Basilica of St. Clare in Assisi, Italy, it was chosen to honor the University's rich past and the legacy of the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi.


The men's basketball team wins the NAIA Division II National Championship.


The new Performing Arts department is introduced.

The Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing and Health Sciences introduces a Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy program, becoming the first respiratory therapy bachelor's degree program in Wisconsin. 


A mural and timeline chronicling the first 75 years of Cardinal Stritch University is installed in Bonaventure Hall.

The College of Education and Leadership offers a Ph.D. in Special Education.


Stritch announces it will serve as the lead sponsor and program development partner of Project Pitch It, a television program featuring Wisconsin entrepreneurs, which airs on a statewide network.


Kathleen A. Rinehart, J.D., is named the ninth president in University history.

The Institute for Conflict Studies opens and offers classes in dispute resolution.


A $2.5 million gift from Ted and Mary, ’07, Kellner to support Stritch students, academic programs and activities is announced.