The history and heritage of Quincy University flow from the story of St. Francis and the first friars, St. Clare and her first sisters, and the early Franciscan movement eight centuries ago in Italy. Their call to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ marked their movement as truly universal, endearing them for all time to people of good will. Their respect and love for all of creation and for every living creature, especially the poor and powerless, remain vital eight hundred years later, in harmony with contemporary commitments to safeguarding justice, peace, and the integrity of creation. Their Franciscan vision channels the power of wisdom in service to others. This vision inspired Franciscan friars from Germany arriving as missionaries to Illinois in 1858.
Among the first initiatives of these friars in the Midwest stands the foundation of a college at Quincy in 1860, a daring move for such recent arrivals. The friars, immediately responsive to the need for education in frontier Illinois, served this need by providing liberal arts education in the Catholic, Franciscan tradition. They named the institution that would become the Quincy University of today St. Francis Solanus College after one of the Hispanic missionary heroes of the Franciscan outreach in the Western Hemisphere. Their missionary spirit animates the mission of the University down to the present.
Years of growth and development followed. The State of Illinois chartered the College in 1873. In 1917 the College changed its name to Quincy College and Seminary. The admission of women in 1932 represented another milestone. After World War II, enrollment surged with a corresponding increase in faculty, both friar and lay. The College officially adopted the name Quincy College in 1970. Most recently, an historic change in 1993 resulted in a new status and a new name: Quincy University - a Catholic, independent, liberal arts institution of higher learning that stands in the centuries-old Franciscan, Christian tradition of education.
Recalling the words of one Quincy University friar-educator of yesteryear, Quincy University strives to inspire "an intimate and warm enthusiasm for everything really good and true and beautiful."