The Sisters of Mercy were founded in 1831 in Dublin, Ireland by Catherine McAuley, a woman who sought, through her service to the poor, the sick and the uneducated, to reveal the mercy of God in our world. Catherine’s particular concern for women manifested itself in her efforts to help women to recognize their inherent dignity, to become self-directing and self-sustaining. Education was at the heart of this effort as was a desire to meet needs not being addressed by others.
Thus, when the Sisters of Mercy arrived in Pittsburgh in 1843, their first ministries arose from the needs presented by this burgeoning city – education and health care. Saint Mary’s Academy and the Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh (now UPMC Mercy) were established within two years of their arrival.
In the late 1920’s, another need presented itself – the lack of baccalaureate level education for the Catholic women of the city. After consultation with the bishop and the heads of the already existing institutions of higher learning, the Sisters of Mercy founded Mount Mercy College (now Carlow University) on September 24, 1929.
These Mercy traditions of a particular focus on the concerns of women and of response to unmet needs have become hallmarks of the University.
Carlow University is now sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas through the Conference for Mercy Higher Education. (CMHE) This Conference, comprised of 16 Mercy sponsored colleges and universities was created for “the preservation and development of the core Catholic identity and mission of Mercy higher education in accord with the spirit, mission and heritage of the Sisters of Mercy”.
History of Carlow University
•1843—On December 21, the Sisters of Mercy from Carlow, Ireland, arrived in Pittsburgh.
•1894—The Sisters of Mercy purchased a 13-acre site in Oakland as the location of a new motherhouse and Our Lady of Mercy Academy for K-12 students.
•1929—On September 24, the Sisters of Mercy opened Mount Mercy College.
•1933—The first Commencement ceremony for Mount Mercy College was conducted, and the college’s seal and motto—Ad Superna, non Superba (“To the Eternal, not the Perishable”)—was established.
•1936—Aquinas Hall was built to house the library and administrative offices.
•1941—Trinity Hall opened as the science center for the college.
•Following World War II, men were admitted to the school under the G.I. Bill. One of these men was the late Pete Flaherty, former mayor of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Commissioner.
•1948—Antonian Hall opened with office, classroom, and theater space.
•1961—The Frances Warde Hall dormitory was opened. Prior to this, students lived in houses or halls on Darragh Street, Terrace Street, and on Fifth Avenue.
•1968—Grace Library opened. Also in 1968, the college offered the first Black Studies course.
•1969—Mount Mercy College’s name was changed to Carlow College.
•1970—Curran Hall was renovated to house the nursing school.
•1975—Carlow’s mission statement was drafted.
•1978—The Women’s Studies program and a weekend college were established.
•1983—The Carlow Hill College (also known as the Hill Education Center) opened in the Hill House Association. In 1994, it moved to its own office space on Bedford Avenue, and, ten years later in 2004, it moved onto the Carlow campus.
•1989—Carlow began offering an accelerated learning program for working adults.
•1999—The A. J. Palumbo Hall of Science and Technology opened.
•2004— Carlow College officially became Carlow University.
•2005—Carlow appointed its first lay president, Dr. Mary Hines.
•2006—The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics named Carlow a "Champion of Character" school for the fourth consecutive year.
•2007—Carlow received approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to offer its first doctoral program, the PsyD in Counseling Psychology.
•2007—Carlow received approval to offer an MBA program.
•2007—A revision of the Carlow mission statement was approved by the Board of Trustees.
•2008—Carlow’s Adult Degree Center celebrated its 30th anniversary.
•2008—Carlow University announced its new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.
•2008—Carlow University was selected for the U.S. President's Community Service Honor Roll.
•2009—Carlow University became a sponsor of the Yellow Ribbon Program.
•2009—Carlow Laureates awards program was created and its first recipients were honored.
•2009— Margaret McLaughlin, PhD, was appointed provost.
•2009—Carlow University was again selected for the U.S. President's Community Service Honor Roll.
•2009—The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics was named Carlow a "Champion of Character" school.
•2009—Carlow Unviersity began the observance of its 80th Anniversary year.
•2010—The Mercy Center for Service was created.
•2010—The 2nd annual Carlow Laureate Awards were presented.
•2010—A celebration of Carlow University's 80th Anniversary continued.
•2010—The 2010 Women of Spirit® Award recipients were honored.
•2010—The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics named Carlow a "Champion of Character" school.
•2010—Carlow University awarded its first doctoral degrees to 10 Doctorate in Nursing Practice students.
•2011—Carlow University announced its online Master of Science in Fraud and Forensics degree program — one of the few such programs in the world.
•2011—Carlow University was selected for the U.S. President's Community Service Honor Roll.
•2011—The University received the largest alumna/trustee gift in its history to endow the "Michele R. Atkins Endowed Chair for Ethics Across the Curriculum."