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Saint Xavier University (pronounced ZAY-vier) was founded in Chicago by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, holding the distinctions of being Chicago's first Catholic university as well as the first Mercy institution of higher learning in the world. Initially serving as a higher education institution for women and the poor, today the four-year, private Catholic institution serves a diverse population of persons who seek a Mercy education that prepares them to become successful, productive and compassionate members of society.

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SXU Nursing Student




Saint Xavier University, a Catholic institution inspired by the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy, educates persons to search for truth, to think critically, to communicate effectively and to serve wisely and compassionately in support of human dignity and the common good.


Quick Facts

  • affordability graphic 
    Most Affordable

    Catholic University in Illinois

    Net Cost of Attendance
    Federal Website:

  • TOP
    Best for Diversity

    Crain's Chicago Business,
    May 2016

    Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs

    U.S. News & World Report, 2022

  • 100%
    Employed Full-Time or Enrolled

    One-hundred percent of our nursing grads are employed full-time or enrolled in graduate school.

Laurie M. Joyner, Ph.D., President

Laurie M. Joyner, Ph.D., President

Leadership and Vision

Saint Xavier University embraces a shared leadership vision of faculty, staff and student empowerment. Shaped by the Office of the President and guided by the Board of Trustees, leadership is a collaborative effort.

The faculty, staff and students also have opportunities to make their voices known in campus matters. Alumni are invited to share their views through the Alumni Board.

2021: Celebrating 175 years of Service Excellence

Saint Xavier University is proud to have recently celebrated 175 years of providing a Mercy education to the underserved in Chicago! Founded in 1846 by the Sisters of Mercy, Saint Xavier is Chicago’s first Catholic university, the first Mercy institution of higher learning in the world and one of the oldest operational educational institutions to remain in the metropolitan area.

175th Anniversary Recap

175th Anniversary logo with SXU Arch


History and Tradition

Saint Xavier's heritage is rich in history and tradition that is grounded in Mercy spirit, with decades of achievements, accolades, mission-oriented service and community-centered stories.