About Us

Learn about Trocaire College's rich history and milestone accomplishments

Trocaire College is a private, career-oriented Catholic college that strives to empower students toward personal enrichment, dignity and self-worth through education. Trocaire offers three bachelor’s degrees, 12 associate degrees and eight certificate programs in healthcare, business, hospitality and technology, as well as workforce development certification and training. Recognizing the individual needs of a diverse student body, Trocaire College provides life learning and development within a community-based environment, preparing students for service in the universal community.

Trocaire College History

Trocaire College was founded in 1958 in the City of Buffalo by the Sisters of Mercy as Sancta Maria College, offering higher educational opportunities to women of the order. The College gained distinction early on in the field of nursing and Health Science education. In 1967, the college’s name was officially changed to Trocaire, Gaelic for mercy, to honor the heritage of the founding sisters. Trocaire granted admission to lay female students in 1965 and male students in 1972.

First Graduates 1 -2

The college has evolved extensively over the past 50 years as it has arrived at its current structure. It confers a number of Associate and Bachelor degrees with an emphasis on the health care professions. In 2008 the college expanded its offerings with the opening of a state-of-the-art facility, The Russell J. Salvatore School of Hospitality and Business in Williamsville, NY, and later in 2012, with a Massage Therapy Program.

Marian Hall -2 Students Circa 1988

The Trocaire College of today is a vibrant, multi-dimensional coeducational Catholic college which continues to operate in the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy. Trocaire is an active member of the Conference for Mercy Higher Education (CMHE).

Trocaire College changes the trajectory of the lives of its students, helping students of promise recognize their own talents and maintain their own motivation while providing them the means by which to grow intellectually and emotionally. Graduates of Trocaire are sought by Buffalo employers across the service industries for their exceptional character, skill and dedication. Alumni of Trocaire College can be counted upon to work collaboratively to excel in their professions.

Institutional Milestones

June 27, 1958: Trocaire (then Sancta Maria) gets five-year provisional charter from NYS Board of Regents to open shop and begin offering courses of study. The college was housed in the east wing of the Mercy Motherhouse and only sisters – religious women – were eligible for enrollment. Graduates of approved secondary schools would complete the year-long program to achieve 106 credit hours to receive the associate’s degree in applied science. At the time, Sancta Maria College had a faculty of 24 sisters and four priests to teach the 108 enrolled sisters.

Officers of the college included:

  • Mother Mary Vincentia
  • Dean: Sr. Mary Paracleta
  • Treasurer: Sr. Mary dePazzi
  • Registrar: Sr. Mary John Aloysius

1965: Lay women allowed admission

Jan. 3, 1967: Official announcement made that name changed to Trocaire, Gaelic for mercy, from Sancta Maria.

Jan. 20, 1972: Trocaire is granted an Absolute Charter from The New York State Education Department

1972: Laymen allowed admission

January 2008: Transit location opens

February 2012: Seneca Street location opens

November 2012: Dr. Bassam Deeb inaugurated as sixth president of Trocaire

Mission Statement

Trocaire College, a private career-oriented Catholic college in the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy, strives to empower students toward personal enrichment, dignity, and self-worth through education in a variety of professions and in the liberal arts. Recognizing the individual needs of a diverse student body, Trocaire College provides life learning and development within a community-based environment. Trocaire College prepares students for service in the universal community.

Vision Statement

Trocaire is the college where lives are transformed. Our students will be graduates of choice in career-oriented professions.

Our Mercy Heritage | Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy

All Sisters of Mercy worldwide, and the institutions they established, trace their roots to their founder, Catherine McAuley, an Irish-Catholic laywoman. Catherine recognized the many needs of people who were economically poor in early nineteenth century Ireland and concluded that she and women like her could make a difference in their lives. Spending a sizable inheritance, she opened the first House of Mercy on Lower Baggot Street in Dublin, Ireland on September 24, 1827, a place to shelter and educate women and girls.

Catherine’s original intention was to assemble a lay corps of Catholic social workers for the task. However, impressed by her good works and the importance of sustaining this vital work among the poor, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin suggested that Catherine establish a religious order. Three years later on December 12, 1831, Catherine and two companions became the first Sisters of Mercy.

In the 10 years between the founding of the order and her death in 1841, she established 14 independent convents in Ireland and England dedicated to serving the most vulnerable of society – largely, women and children. In fact, all Sisters of Mercy take a vow to serve the poor as part of their commitment to the religious life. Today, the Sisters of Mercy maintain a strong presence throughout the world and are deeply involved in education, health care, pastoral ministry and social services.

Sisters of Mercy milestones

Sept. 28, 1778: Catherine McAuley was born on this day

Sept. 24, 1827: Catherine McAuley opened the first House of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland. It was a place to shelter and educate women and girls. Now known as Mercy Day.

Dec. 12, 1831: Sisters of Mercy religious order was established on this day

The Sisters of Mercy in America

The first Sisters of Mercy arrived in the United States from Ireland in 1843 at the invitation of the Bishop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Their energy in ministering to the sick and economically poor attracted so many new members that by 1854, Sisters of Mercy were establishing schools, hospitals, social services and pastoral ministries at hundreds of sites throughout the U.S.

The Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Responding to a call to serve the needy of our time. Inspired by the life of Jesus and by founder Catherine McAuley, the Sisters of Mercy envision a just world for people who are poor, sick and uneducated. The Sisters of Mercy are women of faith who commit their lives to God and their resources to serve, advocate and pray for those in need around the world.

Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns The Sisters of Mercy were founded out of a deep concern for persons who are poor. Today, that focus is in five “critical concerns” that are addressed through prayer, attention to personal, communal and institutional choices; education; advocacy with legislatures and other government leaders; and corporate engagement.


History of the Religious Sisters of Mercy

Mercy International Centre website

Mercy International Association