Our History

  • Image of Catherine McAuley Sister of Mercy    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

       Indeed, it is the only thing   that ever has." —Margaret Mead, Anthropologist


       It all began with seven brave Sisters of Mercy who boarded a ship in Ireland with a dream.


       The legacy of those seven spirited women who arrived in Pittsburgh in 1843, one of

       academic excellence and compassionate  services to others, has lived on for more than

       one hundred and sixty years.


    To serve the poor, the sick, the uneducated, this band of seven changed the course of countless lives with that simple yet boundless mission.


    The Campus School has a rich history that traces its roots to 1844 when the Sisters of Mercy opened Our Lady of Mercy Academy, the first private academy for girls in Pittsburgh, at St. Mary's Penn Street. In 1875, the academy was located on Chatham Street and in 1894 moved to a French Chateau on the present property at 3333 Fifth Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. After a fire destroyed the chateau in 1923, classes continued without interruption in the convent building the Sisters of Mercy built on the property in 1909.


    In 1928, Tiernan Hall was opened at Our Lady of Mercy Academy that housed the elementary and high school students. Mount Mercy College was founded in 1929. Early records indicate that most classes were held in the convent while the academy shared library space, science labs and other facilities. With the gradual expansion of both the academy and the college on the same campus, the decision was made to move the academy to a new facility in Monroeville, a suburb of Pittsburgh. In September 1963, grades seven through twelve opened at the new site and continued until closing in 1979. The remaining grades, Kindergarten to grade 6 were renamed Mount Mercy Campus School and became a program of the college in 1963. The college name was changed in 1969 to Carlow College. Mount Mercy Campus School then became Carlow College Campus School. When the college achieved university status in 2005, the school officially became The Campus School of Carlow University. Throughout the years, The Campus School has continued in Tiernan Hall. The Montessori program and a traditional Preschool and Kindergarten program are located in Trinity Hall. The Campus School uses additional facilities on the Carlow University campus such as the theaters, gymnasium and swimming pool.


    With deep roots in the traditions of the Sisters of Mercy, the Mercy Spirit is present today just as it was when Our Lady of Mercy Academy was founded. The Campus School's unique partnering of spiritual values and academic excellence fosters in each child a love of life and learning and a sense of responsibility and purpose.