mission and history


The mission of Siena Heights University, a Catholic University founded and sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, is to assist people to become more competent, purposeful, and ethical through a teaching and learning environment which respects the dignity of all.


The name Siena honors St. Catherine of Siena, a 14th century Italian Dominican who dedicated her life to a quest for truth and social responsibility. Similarly, the mission of the College – to help students become more competent, purposeful and ethical – grows out of the philosophy Siena.

Throughout its history, Siena Heights has built a proud tradition of innovative response to challenging social needs. Originally a college for women who intended to become teachers, Siena broadened its offerings over the years and by the 1950s was recognized as one of the nation's 10 best liberal arts colleges for women.

In 1969, Siena Heights became coeducational and expanded its curriculum to include programs in business and human services. In the 1970s, Siena Heights took a pioneering role in providing opportunities for adult students by offering evening and weekend classes and opening degree completion centers in Southfield, Mich., and in Toledo, Ohio.

On July 1, 1998, Siena Heights College was renamed Siena Heights University.


  • 1919: Founded as St. Joseph's College for women
  • 1939: Renamed Siena Heights College, honoring St. Catherine of Siena, Italy
  • 1969: Became coeducational
  • 1975: Initiated first degree-completion program for working adults in Southfield
  • 1998: Renamed Siena Heights University