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Fontbonne University

Mission statement

Students mill about in front of a historic university building.

Fontbonne University, a Catholic institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, provides transformative education committed to the common good, inspiring students to become global citizens who think critically and act ethically to create a more just world.

A brief history

Fontbonne University takes its name from Mother St. John Fontbonne, who, in 1808 after the French Revolution, refounded the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJ). Some 28 years after the refounding, six Sisters of St. Joseph came to the United States in 1836 and established American roots at Carondelet, a small community in south St. Louis, Missouri. Five years later, in 1841, they opened St. Joseph’s Academy for girls.

The Sisters would eventually establish a college to provide access to higher education for women — a need in the early decades of the 20th century. Fontbonne College’s first classes were held in 1923, at Carondelet in South St. Louis, and then two years later, the school moved to its current Clayton campus.

It is on the tradition of service and based on the values of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, that Fontbonne University was founded. A devotion to the tradition continues to move Fontbonne forward into the future.

A diverse co-ed group of students wearing university apparel.
Fontbonne University students


Nancy Blattner, PhD


Brian Matz, PhD

CSJ Endowed Chair of Catholic Thought

SJEM Mission Representative

Karen Gedera

Chair, Fontbonne University Board of Trustees