Our Story

2003 - Founding

While visiting Franciscan University of Steubenville on November 2nd, 2000, Dr. Derry Connolly experienced something profound: A campus full of young Catholic students on-fire for the Lord. Inspired by the love and dynamic orthodoxy of the student body, while sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the Portiuncula chapel later that evening, Derry felt the Lord place on his heart the request to build a university like Franciscan, in San Diego. However, he initially felt resistant to the idea, expressing, “A university is too big and too expensive. And I don't know how to do it!”

In the summer of 2003, shortly after teaching a class on the start-up process for entrepreneurial high-tech companies to students at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), Derry was impressed by the drive the UCSD students had to go out and change the world by building successful technology based businesses. Recognizing the need for a university that paired this passion for innovation and creativity with the same love for Christ he witnessed in Franciscan’s students, Derry knew that JPCatholic could be a place to truly impact culture for Christ and started the process that would lead to a class of 30 freshmen arriving at the school in 2006.

Learn more about the founding team

2013 - Move to Permanent Campus

In 2013, due to a rapidly growing student body, JPCatholic relocated from its start-up campus in Scripps Ranch to a permanent campus in Escondido. Now, with 40,700 square feet in use and with an additional 42,000 sf available for renovation, our campus is continuing to expand as we develop new buildings to accommodate the needs of our students with more classrooms, sound-stages, and a permanent chapel.

2015 - Accreditation

The accreditation process aids institutions in developing and sustaining effective educational programs and assures the educational community, the general public, and other organizations that an accredited institution has met high standards of quality and effectiveness.

JPCatholic began the journey towards accreditation in 2007 by receiving eligibility from WSCUC. We achieved candidacy in 2011, and initial accreditation in 2015.

Learn more about JPCatholic's accreditation process

JPCatholic Today

Today, JPCatholic has a vibrant community of nearly 300 students, a permanent and expanding campus, and accreditation through WSCUC. We continue to see consistent and sustainable growth and, as our student body continues to grow, we have big plans for the future.

Learn more about our strategic goals for the future

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