Founded under the name Cathedral College in 1925, Gannon University is the oldest of three universities in Erie, Pennsylvania. The name of the colleged changed to Gannon College, in honor of John Mark Gannon, Archbishop of Erie, in 1933.
The college was all male until the mid-1960s when the first women took classes at the school from their all female counterpart, Villa Maria College. Under the leadership of President Joseph Scottino, the college was granted university status in 1979.
As Gannon University, the school has continued to grow. In 1989, Gannon officially merged with Villa Maria College. Villa was absorbed into the University and the nursing school retained the name Villa Maria School of Nursing.
Affiliated with the Diocese of Erie, Gannon University has an alumni base numbering 27,000. Current enrollment is 3,500.