Carlow University

Carlow University
Motto Ad Superna, non Superba
Motto in English
To the Eternal, not the Perishable
Type Private
Established September 24, 1929 by the Sisters of Mercy
Affiliation Roman Catholic (Sisters of Mercy)
President Dr. Suzanne Mellon
Provost Dr. Deanne D'Emilio
Undergraduates 1,357
Postgraduates 856
Location Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Campus Urban
Colors Gold & Purple          
Athletics USCAA
Sports 8 varsity teams
Nickname Celtics
Mascot Shammie
Affiliations Conference for Mercy Higher Education
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Coordinates: 40°26′23″N 79°57′51″W / 40.43972°N 79.96417°W / 40.43972; -79.96417 Carlow University Carlow is a private, co-educational, Catholic university located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Tech, Ed, and Med” district. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow’s graduates, curriculum, and partnerships reflect its strong commitment to social justice; ethical, forward-thinking and responsible leadership; and service to the community that has a meaningful impact.[1][2] Carlow’s eleven athletic teams are known as the Celtics, a reflection of the university’s Irish heritage and roots.[3] In 2014-2015, the student body is 87% women and 13% men.[4]


The Sisters of Mercy arrived in Pittsburgh, Pa. on December 21, 1843. They traveled from Carlow, Ireland to the Oakland area of Pittsburgh, where they purchased 13 acres (5.3 ha) within the Diocese of Pittsburgh. This land became the location of a new motherhouse and Our Lady of Mercy Academy. Some reports state that the site of the current campus was the location of a Civil War fortification named Fort Zug.[5]

In 1929, the Sisters of Mercy opened Mount Mercy College. The first Commencement ceremony for Mount Mercy College was conducted in 1933. The college’s seal and motto was also established that year. Aquinas Hall was built to house the library and administrative offices in 1936. Five years later, Trinity Hall opened as the science center for the college. In 1945, men were admitted to the school under the G.I. Bill. One of these men was the late Pete Flaherty, who went on to become a two-term Mayor of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Commissioner.

In 1948, Antonian Hall opened with office, classroom, and theater space. Thirteen years later, in 1961, Frances Warde Hall dormitory was opened. Prior to this, students lived in houses or halls in the surrounding area. Mount Mercy College’s name was changed to Carlow College in 1969. A year later, Curran Hall was renovated to house the nursing school. In 1975, Carlow’s mission statement was drafted. In 1978, Carlow College went where few institutions of higher education had gone - accelerated classes especially designed for working adults. In 2004, Carlow College officially became Carlow University and a year later appointed its first lay president, Dr. Mary Hines. In 2011, Carlow University was selected for the U.S. President’s Community Service Honor Roll.[6]

In the fall of 2011, Carlow University began offering housing for men in on-campus residence halls. In Fall 2012, Carlow began competition in men's and women's cross country, the first male sport offered at Carlow. [7] Carlow announced on March 17, 2014 (St. Patrick's Day), that it would field a men's basketball team for the 2014-15 season.[8] In September 2015, Carlow announced it would add men’s soccer and men’s and women’s golf teams beginning in Fall 2016.[9]

Schools and Programs

College of Leadership and Social Change

Undergraduate Programs

Graduate Programs

College of Learning and Innovation

Undergraduate Programs

Graduate Programs

College of Health and Wellness

Undergraduate Programs

Graduate Programs


Carlow University consists of three campuses, Oakland, Cranberry, and Greensburg. The main campus, the Oakland campus, is a 13-acre lot and consists of 14 buildings.

Frances Warde Hall

Carlow University Francis Warde Hall main entrance

Carlow's first "dorm", replacing five large, old houses used for residences for boarders. Frances Warde was one of the original Sisters of Mercy. In 1837, she founded the convent and school in Carlow, Ireland. This "hub" of the University is home to student residence halls, in addition to the Campus Information Center, Student Assembly Room, the office, Art classrooms, Health Services, Campus Ministry and Chapel, Campus Police, Early Learning Center, the University Business Office, Human Resources, and the Office of Student Affairs.

Dougherty Hall

Carlow University Dougherty Hall facade and windows

This building is an addition to Frances Warde Hall and was named for Mother Irenaeus Dougherty, co-founder and titular president of Mount Mercy. Most of the building houses students. The popular Franny's Snack Bar, an informal eatery, is located on the 3rd floor.

A.J. Palumbo Hall of Science and Technology

Carlow University A J Palumbo Hall of Science and Technology main entrance

The building is located on site that has been called "the Gateway to Oakland," spanning Craft Avenue, between Fifth and Forbes Avenues. Construction was completed in the summer of 1999. The newest Carlow academic building is home to the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. There are several floors of classrooms and labs. Opened in fall 2007, the Celtic Café serves soups, salads, and sandwiches and features a seating area in the lobby.

Aquinas Hall

Carlow University Aquinas Hall main entrance

Sister Aquinas Ragen, the building's namesake, was Mother General when the plans for Mount Mercy College were first proposed. Home to academic departments including: English, Spanish, Theology, History, Philosophy, and Women's Studies, as well as the Patricia Dobler Writing Center, the Dr. Samuel Hazo Graduate Seminar Room, International Studies, and The Critical Point.

Antonian Hall

Carlow University Antonian Hall main entrance

The building was constructed on solid rock, atop St. Anthony's Park. The theater was named for Rosemary Heyl, a composer, faculty member, and chairwoman of the Music department from 1929-85. Today the building has multiple uses. In addition to the theater, it houses administrative offices, including Financial Aid, Adult Degree Center, Information Technology, University Communications and Community Relations, and Student Accounts. In addition, it holds Academic offices and classrooms reside in the building, including Art (classrooms, studios, and offices), Psychology, Sociology, and Communication.

University Commons

Carlow University student commons building. Newly renovated in 2015. Home to the Campus Library.

Originally called Grace Library and named for Sister Regis Grace, niece of Bishop Regis Canevin, and co-founder and first dean of the University. The building is currently undergoing an extensive renovation and will re-open in August 2015, when it will not only house the library, but also a cafe, the Bookstore, Mail Room, Student Affairs offices, Career Center, Center for Academic Achievement, Center for Digital Learning and Innovation, Center for Mercy Heritage and Service, Kresge Theatre, and the Office of the President.

Curran Hall

Carlow University Curran Hall facade and windows

Mother Rose Curran, a nurse and innovative superintendent of Mercy Hospital, served as Mother General and introduced the cooperative degree program between Mercy Hospital and Carlow University. Nursing classrooms comprise most of the building. Nursing faculty offices are located on the upper floors. A Nursing Skills lab, located on the 4th floor, was constructed in summer 2007.

McAuley Hall

Carlow University McAuley Hall and driveway

Named for Mother Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland. Once housed the offices of the Sisters of Mercy Leadership team and also include residential space for the Sisters of Mercy. It is now used as administrative offices.

Tiernan Hall

Built in honor of Sister Xavier Tiernan, the first American and Pittsburgh Sister of Mercy. Dining room for University students is on the ground level. The Campus School of Carlow University is located on the upper floors.

St. Joseph's Hall

Carlow University St Joseph's hall main entrance

Was originally constructed to house an indoor pool, gym, and reception rooms. Today "St. Joe's" is used for the gymnasium, pool and weight room, and is home to Wellness Center.

Center for Leadership and Management

Carlow University Center for Leadership and Management main entrance

Formerly, the building served as the St. Agnes church rectory. Totally refurbished, the "CLAM" is home to the Departments Accounting, Fraud, and Forensics; Business Administration; and Management.

Sisters of Mercy Convent

Carlow University Convent of Mercy front facade

According to Sister M. Jerome McHale's book, On the Wing, construction for St. Mary's Convent, Mount Mercy began in 1906. The sisters moved in on February 10, 1909. The only other building on the campus at the time was a chateau-style building on "the green" purchased in 1894 from the Ursuline Sisters. It housed Our Lady of Mercy Academy. When the chateau burned down in 1923, classes were held on the first and third floors of St. Mary's Convent until Tiernan Hall could be built. In 1929, Mount Mercy College started using the parlors of the convent as classrooms. Today, the Convent of Mercy, as it is known, is a Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation Historic Landmark and motherhouse for nearly 150 Sisters of Mercy.

Trinity Hall

Carlow University Trinity Hall facade

The "trinity" is a core mystery of the Church, which teaches the unity of God in a communion of three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Campus School of Carlow University occupies the building with Early Childhood, Montessori preschool, Pre-K, and Kindergarten classrooms.

St. Agnes

Carlow University St Agnes 2015

The former St. Agnes Church has been restored with respect to its spiritual, artistic, and cultural heritage. The building was dedicated in 1917, and is the location of a Pennsylvania Historical& Museum Commission marker its "nationally influential church-architect," John T. Comes. Masses are celebrated in the Center on special occasions, such as the opening of a new academic year. The space is also used for presentations and receptions throughout the year. In 2010, the basement was reopened as a new gym for students and athletes.

Carlow University Campus aerial view
Carlow University Student Courtyard 2015


Official athletics logo.

Carlow University teams, nicknamed athletically as the Celtics, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the River States Conference (RSC). The Celtics also compete as a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA); and formerly competed as a member of the American Mideast Conference until its dissolution on the 2011-12 academic year. Men's sports include basketball and cross country; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball.

The mission of the Department of Athletics at Carlow University is to provide every student-athlete with a supportive environment that encourages leadership, integrity, responsibility, sportsmanship, and respect for others by promoting the balance between academic and athletic excellence.

Basketball After a brief hiatus in intercollegiate competition, the Carlow women's basketball program sprung back into action in 1990. The team competes in at least 26 competitions per season as a member of the American Mideast Conference. The Carlow Celtics play their home games in Oakland Catholic High School. In addition, the Celtics have been recognized for academic success and have been ranked the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) for academic success, placing in the NAIA’s top 20 on numerous occasions while also earning individual honors as NAIA Scholar-Athletes. Men's basketball began in Fall 2014.

Golf Carlow University fielded its first men's and women's golf team in the fall of 2016.

Soccer Carlow University women's soccer team started competition in 1999-2000 and made a playoff appearance in 2000-2001. The team competes at Founders Field and at least 18 contests per season as a member of the American Mideast Conference. The 2016 season was the first for men's soccer.[10]

Softball Carlow University women's softball began as an intercollegiate sport at Carlow in 1997. The team entered its first year of American Mideast Conference competition in 2001. Although the team conditions year round, Carlow’s official spring training begins in March when the team typically travels south to locations in Florida or South Carolina. Home games are played at Fairhaven Park or nearby Mazeroski Field. The team competes in at least 17 competitions per season as a member of the American Mideast Conference.

Tennis Intercollegiate women's tennis competition has a long-standing history at Carlow. The program started in the 1980s which makes it Carlow’s second oldest athletic program. The team competes in at least 10 competitions per season as a member of the American Mideast Conference. The tennis team play their home matches on the courts at Washington Landing.

Volleyball Carlow University women's volleyball is the longest standing of Carlow’s athletic programs. The team competes in at least 24 contest dates per season as a member of the American Mideast Conference. The Carlow Celtics volleyball team play their home games in St. Joseph Hall.

Center of Academic Achievement

The Carlow University Center for Academic Achievement (CAA) provides tutoring and academic support to Carlow students. Professionals and peer tutors in math, science, writing, and learning skills work in collaboration with students in both individual and group settings. Faculty-approved peer tutors, who are also expert students, provide assistance and support classroom learning for a wide range of courses and guidance in the process of completing the Prior Learning Portfolio.

Astrid deMarrais founded the Learning Center in the mid-1970s. Working with her were Sr. Mary Cleta Larkin, the receptionist, and Sr Michael Rowland, a former mathematics faculty member, both Sisters of Mercy. Cornelius Kreke, a former faculty member in Chemistry, was a part-time tutor in Chemistry. Astrid worked with faculty and administration in support of student learning, providing tutoring services and to developing the Prior Learning Portfolio, an opportunity for adults to earn credit for life experience.

Notable Alumni and Faculty

Notable Alumni

Michele Fabrizi, President & CEO, MARC USA[11]

Peter Francis Flaherty, 54th Mayor of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania (D), 1970-1977

Celeste Gainey, Author and first woman gaffer to be admitted to the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)[12]

Rita M. McGinley August 24, 1918 – February 15, 2013 Born Aug. 24, 1918, in Braddock, Miss McGinley was the daughter of the late Bernard L., a boxing promoter and businessman, and Katherine I. McGinley, a teacher at a Braddock business school. At Carlow University, following the school's ethos of serving others came naturally to Miss McGinley, "a true treasure" whom many people called Aunt Rita for her caring ways, said Carlow president Mary Hines. After graduating from Carlow, McGinley continued her graduate work at Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her master's degree in education. For many years, McGinley owned a partial stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers.[13]

Barbara Mistick, President of Wilson College

Sister Jane Scully It was not easy for Irish Roman Catholics to get ahead in Pittsburgh during the 1930s but education provided a path. After joining the Religious Sisters of Mercy in 1940, the amiable, freckle-faced woman was a teacher, a librarian, a fund raiser and, finally, at age 47, president of Mount Mercy College. After graduating from Mount Mercy, Sister Scully was awarded a graduate fellowship in the School of Social Service at the University of Pittsburgh. She also earned a degree in library science at Carnegie Library School and a master of arts in library science at the University of Michigan. When she was elected president of Mount Mercy College in 1966, her religious name was M. Camillus Scully and she wore a full habit. She also was the first alumna of the school, now Carlow University, to be named its chief executive officer. Her successful tenure lasted 16 years. In several ways, she was a pioneer. In the 1970s, she became the first woman to serve on Gulf Oil’s board of directors. She also was one of the first women admitted to membership in the Duquesne Club, once a male-only bastion of corporate power.[14][15]

Notable Faculty


  1. "Welcome to Carlow University". Retrieved 2016-06-27.
  2. "Welcome to Carlow University". Retrieved 2016-06-27.
  3. "Welcome to Carlow University". Retrieved 2016-06-27.
  4. Quick Facts
  6. "Welcome to Carlow University". Retrieved 2016-06-27.
  7. "History of Carlow University: A Timeline". Carlow University. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
  8. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  9. Carlow University Adds Men's Soccer, Men's and Women's Golf to Fall 2016 Sports Lineup
  10. "Press Releases". Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  11. Fabrizi, Michele. "Michele Fabrizi: Making impressions with 'no limits'". American City Business Journals. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  12. Gainey, Celeste. "Celeste Gainey". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  13. McGinley, Rita. "". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 22 July 2015. External link in |title= (help)
  14. Scully, Jane. "Pittsburgh Brass All Love the Duquesne". New York Times.
  15. Scully, Jane. "M. Jane Scully, Pittsburgh advocate for women, justice and peace". PG Publishing CO. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
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