Mission, Values and History
Grounded in IHM tradition & charism since 1920
Immaculata University, a Catholic academic community, founded and sponsored by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is committed to scholarship, formation of the whole person for leadership and service, and empowerment of all to seek truth, promote justice and engage in dialogue between faith and culture.
The staff, faculty and administration of Immaculata University are intellectual, personal, professional and spiritual educators and growth agents. When we consider that IU is “committed to scholarship, formation of the whole person for leadership and service, and empowerment of all to seek truth, promote justice and engage in dialogue between faith and culture,” we choose holistic methodologies that are rooted in our core values. Immaculata helps students meet the financial demands of a contemporary university education and supports students with access to scholarships and online learning that can advance their academic goals and geographic limitations.
Immaculata incorporates the Catholic Intellectual Tradition into our educational approach through which the search for truth draws its meaning from faith and reason, which is rooted in our belief in God’s providential care for all of creation.
The University embodies a heritage of more than 100 years of leadership and service of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This legacy preserves the treasures of scholarship, while integrating diverse academic disciplines toward preparing tomorrow’s leaders for fulfilling careers in service to humanity.
Immaculata’s mission is supported by five core values: faith, community, knowledge, virtue and service.
- Faith: Immaculata University expresses its Catholic identity by proclaiming the Gospel message and inviting all members of the community to seek truth and meaning.
- Community: With respect for diversity, the University seeks to be inclusive while striving to nurture the spiritual, moral, intellectual and social/physical wellbeing of all its members.
- Knowledge: Immaculata University points to a knowledge that flourishes in virtue flowing from reflection and a genuine search for truth.
- Virtue: The University emphasizes the kind of moral strength that comes from the wisdom earned by reflective study and vigorous application and deepens commitment to ethical integrity.
- Service: The University values service because justice demands action in favor of all members of the human family, especially the most vulnerable.
Immaculata University is a fiscally stable institution as a result of strategic enrollment growth in both the undergraduate and graduate programs and by focusing on the mission to provide distinctive transformational education to students in the IHM tradition.
The Immaculata story begins with Mother Camilla Maloney’s vision of erecting a college on a hill overlooking the Great Valley to prepare women, educated in the arts and sciences, for roles of leadership and service in the new century. That dream was partly fulfilled in 1914 when Villa Maria Academy opened on the site. Just six years later, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania granted a college charter. Today, after more than 100 years of growth, Immaculata welcomes women and men to undergraduate and graduate opportunities that integrate Catholic thought with liberal and professional education.
Scientia floret virtute
The University motto, which reads in Latin, Scientia floret virtute (Knowledge flourishes in virtue), expresses the ideal of a true liberal arts education in the Christian tradition. The dual meaning of the Latin word, virtute, is virtue or power. It is symbolic of the kind of strength that comes from the wisdom earned by reflective study and vigorous application. Whether one takes the word virtue in its ethical sense or in its dimension of force and energy, the intellectual and moral values that students choose to make their own enable them to go “from strength to strength.” Liberally educated, Immaculata graduates have acquired that flexibility and sense of personal worth that will make them prudent risk-takers in a world that belongs to those who dare and those who care.
The seal of the University is modeled on the seal of the founding Congregation, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The disk is blue and white, the colors of the University, with a representation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary pierced with a sword superimposed on a field of light blue–a detail taken from the seal of the congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On the blue field, above the image of the heart, are twelve stars which symbolize the virtues of Mary Immaculate, patroness of the University. On the blue field beneath the image of the heart is the motto of the University, Scientia floret virtue (Knowledge flourishes in virtue). Beneath the motto is a spray of five lilies representing the major areas of study: theology/philosophy, humanities, mathematics, natural and social sciences under which is placed the year of the University charter, 1920.
The outer edge of the disk is white, engraved with the words, Universitas Immaculatae Immaculatae Pennsylvania (Immaculata University, Immaculata, Pennsylvania)
Immaculata University is a Catholic, comprehensive, coeducational institution of higher education, founded by the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
- In 1920, the institution was granted a college charter, making it the first Catholic college for women in the Philadelphia area. The two original dormitory-classroom structures are now part of a complex of 16 principal buildings.
- In 1969, Immaculata introduced an evening program of continuing education for both men and women in response to the needs of the local community. A continuing education office opened in 1974 to provide special services for this population.
- Considered to be the birthplace of modern college women’s basketball, Immaculata is home to the Mighty Macs, who won the first three national women’s college basketball championships in 1972, 1973, and 1974. The championship teams were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014. The team is the subject of the feature film “The Mighty Macs,” which opened nationwide in 2011.
- In 1983, three graduate programs were inaugurated, addressing the need for graduate education in psychology, nutrition education, and educational leadership and administration.
- In 1991, Immaculata’s Graduate Division added a master’s degree in music therapy and doctoral programs in clinical psychology and educational leadership and administration.
- In 2002, Immaculata College received confirmation of university status and became known as Immaculata University.
- In 2003, after in-depth studies, Immaculata University decided to welcome men into its traditional undergraduate college, beginning fall 2005.
- In 2023, The University’s structure now includes the College of Undergraduate Studies along with the College of Graduate Studies and Research and the College of Nursing and Health Professions.
Throughout all the change, growth and challenges, the University has maintained its commitment to an education grounded in the charism of the IHM Sisters and the Catholic intellectual tradition. Today, Immaculata University offers more than 75 graduate and undergraduate programs, and its distinguished faculty serve a population of more than 2,500 students.