Seton Hill University transforms over time

Seton Hill University’s (SHU) campus has an incredibly rich history. Many of the buildings on campus have corner blocks with the year they were built. Almost all the buildings were built during the 20th century with a few exceptions such as Salvetti gymnasium, McKenna Center, DeChantal Hall, Farrell Hall and the Performing Arts Center.

A brief history of Seton Hill

Today, SHU has over 30 undergraduate programs and 12 graduate programs.

Seton Hill was an all women’s college until 2002 when it became co-educational and a full university.

Where SHU stands was primarily farmland with some existing buildings.

In 1882 the land was purchased by Mother Superior of the Sisters of Charity, Aloysia Lowe. A year later in St. Joseph Academy, a boarding school for girls from first grade to high school. It opened in 1883 and operated until 1947. In that time period Seton Hill College first was established as a junior college in 1914. Seton Hill College was approved by the Pennsylvania College and University Council in 1918.

“Seton Hill College was one of very few institutions that educated women during the first quarter of the 20th century,” said SHU archivist Bill Black.

Fascinating Seton Hill

Seton Hill University once had a lake, ski lift and bowling alley. Nearly a century ago, there was not as much to do off the Hill as there is today so students and faculty found memorable and fun ways to pass the time.

The lake at SHU was used for recreational activities such as canoeing. In the wintertime it was a popular place for ice skating.  It was dammed and remnants of the dam remain.

The Hill was a great place to go skiing in the wintertime. A ski lift operated and there are dozens of black and white pictures on record of students enjoying recreational skiing and tobogganing down the Hill.

A bowling alley in Sullivan was popular although it was slightly different than bowling today since it used a smaller ball.

In addition to these activities there was once a full bridge connecting Canevin and Sullivan.

Pictures of these pastimes at SHU show students enjoying themselves and making the most of the conditions – whether it was weather or accessibility to activities.

Seton Hill Today Seton Hill University’s presence has expanded off the hill and into downtown Greensburg with Performing Arts Center and the Visual Arts Center. Shuttles run throughout the day from main campus to downtown. Seton Hill has 20 NCAA Division II teams.

“In the past decade I have been here I have seen lots of change,” said Black, “St. Anne’s was taken down and McKenna was built, DeChantal and Farrell were built, playing fields were added and LECOM was added – there was also the addition of something never really seen before on campus – male college students.”

Black works in the SHU Archives located in Brownlee. The archivist is the collector and preserver of historic records. There is information on St. Joseph’s Academy, St. Mary’s School for Boys, Seton Hill Junior College, Seton Hill College and Seton Hill University.

Seton Hill University continues to its bold legacy of fostering learning and discovery.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *