Saint Francis University – the First Catholic University in Hong Kong


Saint Francis University – the First Catholic University in Hong Kong

Saint Francis University (SFU) 聖方濟各大學 has its origins in Caritas Francis Hsu College (CFHC), which was founded in 1985.  

In August 2001, CFHC attained the status of an approved post-secondary college (under the Post-Secondary Colleges Ordinance, Cap. 320) and launched different associate degree programmes. In May 2011, the College was granted a degree-conferring status and its name was changed to Caritas Institute of Higher Education (CIHE).

CIHE was a not-for-profit, self-financing degree awarding institution dedicated to nurturing responsible and respectable graduates who are academically and professionally competent and who can contribute to the social and moral well-being of the community.  In 2017, the CIHE campus in Tiu Keng Leng, which is adjacent to its sister institution Caritas Bianchi College of Careers (CBCC), officially came into operation. In response to the rapid development of society, the Institute designed and delivered a variety of programmes ranging from diploma to master’s levels in various disciplines.

The Institute worked vigorously towards establishing a self-financed Catholic University in Hong Kong. On 9 January 2024, formal approval was given by the Executive Council of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) for the Institute to be upgraded and renamed Saint Francis University, making it the first catholic institute of tertiary education and the fourth private university in the city.  The University comprises five Schools (Business and Hospitality Management, Computing and Information Sciences, Health Sciences, Humanities and Languages, and Social Sciences), offering 4 sub-degree and 13 bachelor’s degree and 2 master’s degree programmes. It has an enrolment of more than 3,400 full-time and 800 part-time students.


Saint Francis University is named after St Francis of Assisi, the Italian founder of the Franciscan order of friars, who died in 1226. It is committed to providing holistic education and to encouraging young people to move forward unceasingly, in line with its motto of Ad Destinatum Prosequor (自強不息).

Saint Francis University Library – A Place to Explore and to Learn

The Saint Francis University Library is composed of the Library and the Learning Commons. The Library, which was primarily an amalgamation of the Caritas Institute of Higher Education (CIHE) Library and Caritas Bianchi College of Caritas (CBCC) Library, was established in 2009. In September 2017, the Learning Commons was set up as an extension of the Library. The combined floor area of the two premises is over 3,200 square metres.

The Library and the Learning Commons, with a seating capacity of around 660, provide quiet and large open spaces for leisure reading and self-study purposes. There are a Language Learning Resources Centre, 6 group discussion rooms, an e-learning laboratory and a Young’s Corner. The Library complex is equipped with more than 100 networked computers, smart whiteboards, self-check stations and multifunction photocopiers / printers. The Young’s Corner 養蕊堂 was created and named in memory of the Most Reverend Michael Yeung Ming-cheung of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong. It featured a glass wall which was inscribed with motivational utterances made by Bishop Yeung. The Young’s Corner offers a comfortable and pleasant environment with flexible seat combinations that cater for different study styles. This area is a highly popular gathering place for students.

The Library collections extend over a broad spectrum of academic fields, featuring materials in a wide range of formats and thereby providing essential support for all academic programmes offered in the University. As of February 2024, there are altogether around 88,783 print books, 46,478 print journal issues and 7,415 items of multimedia materials. The Library also provides access to more than 1,747,242 volumes of e-books, over 103,534 e-journal titles and 280 e-databases.  The aggregate holdings add up to more than 2,054,473 items.

The Library has always striven to improve the quality and enlarge the scope of services by sharing resources with other higher education institutions. In 2014-16, the Library joined the “Quality Enhancement Support Scheme (QESS): e-Library Project” in partnership with Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK) (now known as Hong Kong Metropolitan University [HKMU]), Hong Kong Shue Yan University (HKSYU), Tung Wah College (TWC) and Chu Hai College of Higher Education (CHCHE) (now known as Hong Kong Chu Hai College [HKCHC]). The ultimate goal of the project was two-fold: to enrich the digital content and achieve better cost effectiveness through jointly purchasing and sharing access of e-books; and to develop an online Collection Sharing and Information Discovery System (CSIDS) to facilitate resources sharing, searching and discovering.

In 2016, the Integrated Library System (ILS) featuring the ALEPH, Primo and CSIDS platforms was set up, mainly to enhance user experience. More than 30,000 e-books were added. To meet the growing and changing needs of the University community in the long run and to support information discovery and to boost operational efficiency, the “ALEPH” system was elevated to the cloud-based “ALMA” library management service in June 2022. As a means to boost student engagement and to optimize the use of available resources, the Leganto course reserve management system was implemented in September 2023. With this new system in place, students can easily locate the required course readings. In February 2024, the Rapido Interlibrary loans (ILL) system was rolled out as part of the initiative to promote resources sharing with local and overseas university libraries. In the future, the Library will continue its efforts to deepen collaboration with other institutional libraries in the exchanges of experience, expertise and resources.

The Library has sought to provide users with scholarly resources and services that cater to their learning, teaching and research needs. Different types of workshops have been and will be organized to support students’ e-learning activities, such as the search for scholarly resources via the Library Discovery Search platform, the use of specific e-databases to locate information and the skills for academic referencing. User surveys are also conducted on a regular basis to collect users’ views on the library collections, services and facilities for the purpose of finding ways to make improvements in different key areas.

In the years ahead, the Library will work in tandem with the Research Office to enhance the research information management system in order to showcase the research outputs and to better support the research activities of the University. We are now working on the construction of a special archive for Saint Francis University, with the planned tasks to be carried out in stages. Our main objective is to systematically preserve valuable materials that can shed light on the historical development of SFU and on the contributions of our predecessors to the establishment of the first Catholic university in Hong Kong.

Contact Information:
Saint Francis University Library
2 Chui Ling Lane, Tseung Kwan O, New Territories
Tel.: (852) 3653-6620
Email: [email protected]