In 1855, Father Pamphilus da Magliano and three Franciscan friars came to Western New York at the invitation of John Timon, Bishop of Buffalo, and Utica landowner Nicholas Devereux to establish a Catholic college and seminary. They formed the nucleus of the group of friars who created St. Bonaventure’s College. On Oct. 4, 1858, the Feast of St. Francis, the formal dedication of the new school was held on the tract of land donated by Devereux. It was then that the College was named after St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, the Patron of Franciscan Studies and Learning. St. Bonaventure College held its first commencement exercise in June 1860, graduating a class of 15 students. Since then the University has grown to more than 2,700 students.
(From the University website)