In 1855, Panfilo da Magliano and three friars came to Western New York at the invitation of John Timon, Bishop of Buffalo, and Utica landowner Nicholas Devereux to establish a Catholic college and seminary. They formed the nucleus of the group of friars who created St. Bonaventure's College.
On Oct. 4, 1858, the Feast of St. Francis, the formal dedication of the new school was held on the tract of land donated by Devereux. It was then that the College was named after St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, the Patron of Franciscan Studies and Learning.
St. Bonaventure College held its first commencement exercise in June 1860, graduating a class of 15 students. Since then the University has grown to more than 2,700 students.
The College was provisionally chartered on March 1, 1875, by an Act of the Regents of the State of New York, "For the instruction... in the learned languages and in the liberal and useful arts and sciences." In the 1920s the College developed a full-time graduate program, which has continually expanded since that time.
Early in the 20th century St. Bonaventure also became home to the School of Franciscan Studies and the Franciscan Institute. The permanent Charter of Incorporation of the College was granted by the state in 1883, and in 1950, after nearly a century of operation, St. Bonaventure was named a University by the Board of Regents.
The Custody of the Immaculate Conception was created on April 10, 1861. Following the growth of the Custody and the reorganization of the entities of the Order of Friars Minor, two distinct provinces were established: the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus on Sept. 16, 1901, and the Province of the Immaculate Conception on Dec. 25, 1910.
In 2001, Holy Name Province celebrated its 100th anniversary while Immaculate Conception Province celebrated its 90th anniversary.
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