The roots of Alvernia University were planted in 1926 when the Bernardine Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis established an orphanage in the building now known as Francis Hall; eventually the orphanage became an elementary school. Beginning as a college for the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters in 1958, the institution became a four-year liberal arts school. Alvernia received its charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1960.
Alvernia soon opened its doors to female students from the laity while the first male students were enrolled in 1971. Since that time, the University has grown in both educational opportunities and enrollment.
Alvernia’s student population has grown from 23 freshmen and eight sophomores in 1958 to a current enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, men and women. Alvernia grants degrees as Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Social Work, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.