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Our History


1861: Six Christian Brothers from New York and Montreal arrived in Buffalo in response to Bishop Timon's urgent plea for assistance in educating the Catholic youth of Buffalo. St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute was founded and opened its doors on 1 Delaware Avenue.

1893: The Brothers rented a two-story brick building at 473 Prospect Avenue near Jersey Street - which housed approximately 50 pupils.

1897: The Brothers purchased property at 1238 Main Street near Bryant. Within a short time, because of its central and convenient location, as well as the excellent reputation of the Brothers as teachers, the school began to prosper.

1916: 29 students graduated from St. Joe's. During the period following World War I, numbers increased rapidly. Talk began about a new building farther from the center of the city.

1924: 10 acres of land on Kenmore Avenue in the Town of Tonawanda were purchased. Building was delayed by inadequate transportation to the northern parts of the city, the national depression of 1929, and World War II and its aftermath.

1945: Plans finally began for the construction on Kenmore Avenue.

1949: Ground was broken at the new location on March 1st, and, on October 2nd of that year, the cornerstone was blessed by Bishop John O'Hara.

1950: The first classes were held in the new building, allowing for increases in both the size of the student body and number of faculty members.

1971: Due to increased enrollment, St. Joe's leased classrooms from the Evangelical Covenant Church at Kenmore and Harvest Avenues for use as the "freshman annex."

1985: The chemistry and biology science laboratories renovated and a new physics laboratory added. By this time, it had been decided that 845 Kenmore Avenue was still an excellent location for the school, but it simply could not continue to ideally meet the needs of a student enrollment. A "master plan" was unveiled.

1987: The first phase completed, adding fourteen classrooms, computer laboratory, glass-enclosed library, two-story student commons area, one hundred-seat lecture room, office space for school administrative and academic departments, and reception/ conference areas. The expanded Academic Center enabled all school programs to be conducted on the main campus, eliminating the use of the Freshman Building.

2001: Additional renovation completed, including the addition of a new Fine Arts Wing, auxiliary gymnasium, new cafeteria, graphics lab, bookstore, nurse's office, athletics field house, and additional classroom space.

2004: Renovation of the chapel, more than doubling the space for our community members to worship together.

2008: New 183,961 square foot, all-weather artificial turf complex is completed and named the Robert T. Scott, AFSC Athletic Complex.

2009: The Cullen Center for Excellence in Science is completed, with new science classrooms and laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art work stations, instrumentation, and computer technology.

2011: Renovation of the Field House to allow for team rooms, film study capability, and new locker rooms.

2014: Collegiate-level strength and conditioning equipment is purchased as part of the full renovation of the Fitness Center.

2016: Additional property purchased on Kenmore Avenue, expanding our campus footprint. Renovation of the gymnasium. Reimagined Downing Library, converted into a digital commons. Development of the Innovation Center inside one of the new buildings acquired earlier in the year.   

The St. Joseph's tradition of excellence has endured for over a century and a half, not because of buildings or dollars, but because of people -- faculty, students, alumni, friends -- who have believed, like those first six Brothers who came to Buffalo in 1861, in the value of St. Joe's and have given of themselves to see it prosper.