Bell tower at St Ignatius Church at sundown

Our Jesuit Roots

USF is a Jesuit university.
This means that we exist to do only one thing:
equip and inspire you to explore, engage, and improve the world.

What does it mean to be
Jesuit educated?

It means to change the world for the better, in ways large and small.

Fr. Joseph speaks to a group of students sitting on steps
Sarah Hillenbrand

Sarah Hillenbrand

Assistant Professor, Psychology & Neuroscience

What is USF's Jesuit Mission?

Right now, we are at a critical juncture in history where students have a tremendous opportunity to redefine the purpose of their education, and the even more tremendous responsibility to create a more socially just world — and the building of a more equitable society has always been at the forefront of USF's mission.”

Sarah Hillenbrand

Assistant Professor, Psychology & Neuroscience

Jesuit Catholic 101

How do you pronounce Jesuit?

There are three ways to say Jesuit: je-zü-ət, je-zhü-ət, and je-zyü-ət.

What are Jesuit values?

Respect everyone. Serve others. Nurture the whole person (mind, body, spirit). Build a more humane and just world. Jesuit priests are scholars and public servants. They turn learning into action. They've been improving the world for more than 400 years. 

Is the student body mostly Catholic?

No. Catholics make up less than half of our undergraduate student body. The rest of the students identify as Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Protestant — or they aren’t affiliated with a religious group.

Am I required to attend Catholic church services?

No. Mass is available but not required. And while we invite you to explore Ignatian spirituality, we also offer programs in which people from all faiths or no religious affiliations can come together.

Is there a theology requirement?

Yes. But you are not required to study Catholicism. In our theology and religious studies requirement — an essential part of our core curriculum — you learn about various religions, explore how religions and spirituality and people intersect, and discover how religion can serve social justice and work for the good of the entire human family and the environment that sustains it.

Meet Our Jesuits

They serve the community, guide education, and influence everything. There are 25 Jesuit priests at USF, including Paul J. Fitzgerald, president of the university. Many Jesuits are graduate students or faculty or staff members, and 20 of them live in Loyola House on campus and minister to the USF community.

Fr. Donal Godfrey