Manhattanville College

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Manhattanville College
Motto In Exultatione Metens
Established 1841
Type Private coeducational
Academic staff
Undergraduates 1,700
Postgraduates 1,000
Location Purchase (Harrison), NY
Campus Suburban; 100 acres (0.40 km2)
Athletics 21 NCAA Division III sports teams
Colors Crimson and White          
Mascot Valiant
The architectural and administrative centerpiece of the Manhattanville campus, Reid Hall (1864), is named after Whitelaw Reid, owner of the New York Tribune.

Manhattanville College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college offering undergraduate and graduate degrees, located in Purchase, New York. Founded in 1841 at 412 Houston Street in Manhattan, it was known initially as Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart. Manhattanville's mission is to "educate students to become ethically and socially responsible leaders for the global community".[1] The school moved to its current location in Purchase, New York in 1952.

Approximately 1,700 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students attend Manhattanville. Manhattanville students come from 76 countries and 48 states.".[2]

The architectural and administrative centerpiece of the Manhattanville campus, Reid Hall (1864) is named after Whitelaw Reid, owner of the New York Tribune. On either side of Reid Hall stand academic buildings on one side and on the other residence halls around a central quad designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of Central Park. The Manhattanville community regards the central quad and buildings as representing the academic vision of the college’s commitment to integrated learning and centered strengths. Other historic buildings include Lady Chapel, the President’s Cottage known as the Barbara Debs House, the old Stables, and Water Tower.


The Academy of the Sacred Heart (1841-1917)

Manhattanville traces its origins to an Academy of the Sacred Heart founded nearly 175 years ago on the Lower East Side of New York City. In August 1841 the Society of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ), a Catholic religious order dedicated to the education of young women, established an academy at 412 Houston Street.[3] In September 1844 the boarding school moved to Ravenswood in Astoria, Queens. However, within two years the location proved too remote.[4] In 1847 the growing Academy relocated to the former estate of Jacob Lorillard in the village of Manhattanville on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. At the time the town was still eight miles north of New York City.[5] By the Civil War the Manhattanville Academy counted 280 pupils. The Academy was always diverse with a substantial proportion of the student body from Latin America and Europe.[6] In 1880 the Academy began offering a two-year post-high school program for its students, foreshadowing a future in higher education.

The College of the Sacred Heart (1917-1937)

In the early Twentieth Century higher education opportunities for women increased as many academies transitioned to colleges.[7] On March 1, 1917 the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Manhattanville received a Provisional Charter from the Regents of the State of New York to offer undergraduate degrees as The College of the Sacred Heart. The first degrees were given in 1918. The Absolute Charter was signed May 29, 1919. As the college grew, the city of New York also expanded northward, transforming the surrounding area from a rural village to a diverse neighborhood of Manhattan bordered by Harlem and Morningside Heights. In 1935, The College of the Sacred Heart was accredited by the prestigious Association of American Universities.[8] The name was officially changed to Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in 1937.[9]

Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart (1937-1966)

In the 1930s the Manhattanville student body consisted of approximately 200 students. Though small, the college made headlines across the country for taking a strong position promoting racial equality decades before the Civil Rights Movement. In May 1933 students created the "Manhattanville Resolutions" a document that pledged an active student commitment to racial justice.[10] This commitment was tested when the first African-American student was admitted to the college in 1938. Alumni response to an integrated student body was mixed.[11] While the vast majority of letters praised Manhattanville for its courageous action, President Grace Dammann, RSCJ, viewed the negative responses as an opportunity to open hearts and minds. At the annual Class Day reunion on May 31, 1938, President Dammann delivered a passionate speech entitled "Principles Versus Prejudices." She stated that education is the key to rising above prejudices.

"The more we know of man’s doing and thinking throughout time and throughout the world’s extent, the more we understand that beauty and goodness and truth are not the monopoly of any age nor of any group nor of any race.[12]"

The speech went on to be published in several national publications and established Manhattanville as a leader in higher education and human rights.[13] When President Dammann passed away suddenly in 1945, The New York Times obituary summarized her life’s work with the headline, "Mother Dammann, College President: Head of Manhattanville Since 1930 Dies--Champion of Racial Equality."[14] Manhattanville would continue its work in social action first through the National Federation of Catholic College Students and to this day with the Duchesne Center for Religion and Social Justice and the Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action.

As was the case for many colleges following World War II, neighboring City College struggled to accommodate the growing college student population. In 1946 the mayor of New York City formed a special commission to investigate the resource needs of the city’s public education. Their recommendations would have particularly extensive ramifications for the future of Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart. In February 1949 The New York Times reported City College was campaigning to acquire the Manhattanville campus to expand their facilities.[15] The same month City College distributed a pamphlet entitled "No Other Place to Go: A City College Plea for Purchase of the Manhattanville Property." The Board of Estimate agreed and deeded the campus to City College via eminent domain.[16] In September 1949, the Manhattanville Board of Trustees purchased the Reid Estate in Westchester County. The next two years saw condemnation proceedings work through the State Supreme Court System. Manhattanville was eventually given $8,808,620 for the campus and buildings.[17] A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the new campus in Purchase, New York on May 3, 1951. The campus was completed in October 1952.[18]

Manhattanville College (1966–present)

With additional facilities and space to grow, the student population increased from 400 students in 1950 to 700 students by 1960. Over the course of the next decade the student population doubled once again, reaching 1,400 students by 1970. Manhattanville was a microhistory of the societal transformation in the Catholic Church, higher education, and American society as a whole during the 1960s. In 1966 the Board of Trustees voted to amend the college charter and remove the words "of the Sacred Heart" from the college name. This marked an important moment in the secularization of the college. Between 1966 and 1970 the Manhattanville administration oversaw the gradual removal of Catholic symbols and traditions from the campus. Although the college had been operated by an independent Board of Trustees since its founding, it was strongly identified with the Roman Catholic Church, and these changes were difficult for the community. In 1969 the College Charter was expanded to include the education of both women and men. The first coeducational freshman class entered in August 1971. In 1973 the student academic experience evolved due to an important campus study funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Interviews with the Manhattanville community led to the development of the Portfolio System, a personalized and guided self-assessment charting the development of each student. Today the ATLAS program continues this tradition. In 1965 the college introduced its first graduate program, a Masters of Arts in Teaching. The fifty years since have seen a remarkable growth of graduate programs. Since 1993, the School of Graduate and Professional Studies, now the School of Business, has developed masters and certificate programs in a variety of professional and business fields. In 2012 Manhattanville’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Degree Program was formally approved. The first doctoral program was introduced in 2010 with the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the School of Education.[19]


Convent Avenue Campus (1847-1952)

Manhattanville derives its name from its location between 1847 and 1952. The school, at the time still an Academy, purchased the Jacob Lorillard Estate in 1847 in a rural village called Manhattanville.[20] Over the next century New York City expanded, transforming the area from a farming village to a neighborhood in West Harlem.

The campus was located between 130th and 135th streets. The eastern border was Convent Avenue and its western border St. Nicholas Terrace. In 1949 proceedings began to incorporate the campus into the existing City College campus. Today it is known as the South Campus of City College. The final remaining buildings from the Manhattanville era are Park Hall (then known as Benziger) and Mott Hall (the Parish School during Manhattanville’s time).[21]

Reid Estate (1860-1949)

Manhattanville purchased its current 100-acre campus in 1949. The first owner of the parcel of land was Ben Holladay who bought the estate in the 1860s and named its Ophir Farm after a silver mine in Nevada.[22] The Holladay family built a mansion called Ophir Hall, family chapel, and several outbuildings. However, after several family deaths and financial difficulties, Ben Holladay left the estate in 1873.[23]

In 1888 Whitelaw Reid and his wife Elisabeth Mills Reid purchased the property. Whitelaw was editor of The New York Tribune and served various political positions including ambassador to France and England. Elisabeth was the daughter of Darius Ogden Mills, founder of The Bank of California. The Reids remodeled the existing Ophir Hall and outfitted it with the latest home luxuries, including electricity. However, shortly before completion, faulty wiring sparked a fire that destroyed the home on July 14, 1888. The Reids rebuilt under the direction of the famed architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White. This home was designed in the style of a gothic castle and built onto the existing foundation. The Castle was completed in 1892.[24] A three-story addition including the East Library and West Room was completed in 1912.[25] Whitelaw Reid passed away while serving as the ambassador to England in 1912. Elizabeth Mills Reid passed away in 1931 and the contents of the house were auctioned in 1935. In 1947 the Reid family placed the estate for sale.

Reid Castle was dedicated to Elisabeth Mills Reid on September 19, 1969. In 1974 the U.S. Department of the Interior placed the building on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its historical and architectural significance.[26]

Purchase Campus (1952–present)

The new Manhattanville campus was completed in 1952 with six buildings: a renovated Reid Castle for use as an administration building, the library, the academic building, Brownson Hall; the music building Pius X Hall; Benziger Dining Hall, and Founders Dormitory.

The increasing student population led to the addition of the Spellman Hall dormitory in 1957. The Kennedy Gymnasium, also completed in 1957, was made possible through a grant from the Lieutenant Joseph Kennedy Jr. Foundation. The Kennedy family dedicated the gymnasium in honor of daughter Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish. The dedication for the both Kennedy Gymnasium and Spellman Hall were held October 27, 1957 and presided over by Cardinal Francis Spellman. In attendance were Joseph P. Kennedy, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy ‘11, Jean Kennedy Smith ‘49, and Ethel Skakel Kennedy ‘49. Edward M. Kennedy delivered the dedication speech.[27]

For the first decade in Purchase, the campus worship space was located in the West Room. The Chapel was completed in 1963 and named in honor of President Eleanor O’Byrne, RSCJ. O’Byrne is the longest serving president with an administration lasting from 1945 to 1966. Dammann and Tenney Halls were the final residence buildings completed in 1966. In 1991 forty-eight faculty and staff housing units added a new dimension to the Manhattanville campus community.[28]

On September 26, 2006 the Manhattanville community dedicated the Ohnell Environmental Center. The center includes a classroom housed within a LEED-compliant, non-invasive structure designed by Maya Lin, architect of the Vietnam War Memorial. The project also included a restoration of the Holladay Stone Chapel, which features new stonework and a glass roof providing a unique reflective space on campus. In 2008 the Berman Center was completed.[29] This building currently houses the Communication and Media Department. The past several years have seen a variety of campus renovations including improvements to the library, gym, and campus walkways. In 2012 the college welcomed Heritage Hall, a permanent exhibition of the college’s history.


Manhattanville is a highly ranked[30] liberal arts institution, offering the four-year Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees to undergraduate students and the M.A., M.S., Ph.D. and Ed. D. for graduate students. Undergraduates can choose from 45 majors and minors, while graduate students can explore 75 graduate degrees and advanced certificates. Students are also free to design special majors or engage in dual majors. The most popular majors for undergraduates are Business, Management, Psychology, Communications, English, Studio Art, and History.

The Castle Scholars Honors Program[edit]

The Castle Scholars Honors Program at Manhattanville College seeks to challenge high-achieving students and encourages them to explore new areas of interest beyond the usual intellectual parameters during their entire undergraduate career. This selective program limits admission to the top ten percent of each incoming class. Castle Scholars Honors Students benefit from rigorous, intellectually stimulating, interdisciplinary seminars, all of which are taught by full-time faculty. Castle Scholars can also apply for special funding to complete independent Honors research and creative projects, allowing them to design, implement, and achieve the ambitious goals they set for themselves. Castle Honors students also learn how to become effective leaders and give back to the Manhattanville community by organizing Human Rights Awareness Day each fall, and the Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Fair each spring.

Pius X School of Liturgical Music[edit]

The Pius X School of Liturgical Music was opened in 1916 as part of the College. It was founded by Justine Ward, who had developed teaching methods for Gregorian chant emulating the techniques of the monks in Solesmes, and by Mother Georgia Stevens, RSCJ, a musician and Roman Catholic nun.[31] Faculty over the years included Ward, Achille Bragers and Andre Mocquereau.[citation needed] Thousands of music teachers studied at the school, including Cecilia Clare Bocard and Thomas Mark Liotta. The school's namesake was Pope Pius X, a devotee of sacred music who initiated reform of the liturgy in the 20th century. The institute closed in 1969. In 2010 a Gregorian Chant, held in Pius X Hall, as part of Inauguration festivities for the current President, saw a packed auditorium of alumni, students, and faculty.

Graduate programs[edit]

In addition to its more than 50 areas of undergraduate study, Manhattanville College offers graduate master's degrees in ten areas of study and an Ed.D. in the School of Education. The School of Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) offers Master’s of Science degrees in Human Resource Management and Organizational Effectiveness, Business Leadership, Marketing Communication Management, International Management, Sport Business Management, and Finance. The college also offers accelerated BS degrees, and dual-degree options including a BA/MA in Creative Writing. GPS is also home to the Education and Research Center for Managing Risk.

Manhattanville’s 36-credit Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program is open to graduates of accredited colleges and universities who demonstrate a strong potential in writing and critical thinking. Students are admitted to the program primarily on the strength of the writing they submit as part of the application process.

Manhattanville Library Rare Book and Manuscripts Room[edit]

The Rare Book and Manuscripts Room preserves both manuscripts and printed materials from the Manhattanville College Library. The rare book collection consists of approximately 2,400 titles that span the history of the book in the United States and Europe. Subject fields represented include history, religion, literature, biography, and philosophy. The collection also includes other formats such as periodicals, Jewish pamphlets, government documents, maps, and manuscripts. Particularly noteworthy are five incunabula, and several bound manuscript volumes. The latter include individual collections of psalms and prayers intended as an aid to private devotion, known as the Books of Hours. The most notable of these is the Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis, Cum Calendario—also known as the Manhattanville Book of Hours.[32]

Student life[edit]

The restored nineteenth-century "Lady Chapel" in Ohnell Environmental Park


The Touchstone is the oldest newspaper serving the Manhattanville community; the national literary magazine Inkwell is also published at Manhattanville.


Manhattanville is a member of NCAA Division III, competing primarily in the Freedom Conference within the Middle Atlantic Conferences as well as in the ECAC West Conference (men's hockey) and ECAC East Conference (women's hockey). The department has added eight teams since 2007 and currently sponsors 20 varsity sports: men's and women's basketball, cross country, hockey, indoor track, lacrosse, outdoor track, and soccer; baseball, softball, men's and women's golf, field hockey, and women's volleyball.

Manhattanville Valiants
University Manhattanville College
Conference Freedom
ECAC (Hockey only)
NCAA Division III
Athletic director Keith Levinthal
Location Purchase, NY
Varsity teams 20 (9 Men & 11 Women)
Basketball arena Kennedy Gymnasium
Soccer stadium Field
Mascot Valiant
Nickname Valiants
     Crimson       White


Sport Venue Coach 2014-15 Year
Baseball Manhattanville Field (Baseball) Jeff Caufield 11th Year
Basketball (Men) Kennedy Gymnasium Pat Scanlon 11th Year
Basketball (Women) Kennedy Gymnasium Kate Vlahakis 3rd Year
Cross Country (Men & Women) Manhattanville Cross Country Course Eric Schaffer 1st Year
Field Hockey Field Kevin Kelly 7th Year
Golf (Men) N/A Arlen Marshall 1st Year
Golf (Women) N/A David Turco 3rd Year
Ice Hockey (Men) Playland Ice Casino Arlen Marshall 3rd Year
Ice Hockey (Women) Playland Ice Casino David Turco 4th Year
Lacrosse (Men) Field Ryder Bohlander 1st Year
Lacrosse (Women) Field Courtney Burhans 3rd Year
Soccer (Men) Field Gregg Miller 4th Year
Soccer (Women) Field Graham Kennett 1st Year
Softball Manhattanville Field (Softball) Dale Martin 3rd Year
Indoor Track & Field (Men & Women) N/A Eric Schaffer 1st Year
Outdoor Track & Field (Men & Women) N/A Eric Schaffer 1st Year
Volleyball (Women) Kennedy Gymnasium Amanda Alayon 4th Year
The Quadrangle at Manhattanville College.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Manhattanville College". Manhattanville College. Retrieved 2015-08-03. 
  2. ^ "UndergraduateAdmissions". Retrieved 2015-08-03. 
  3. ^ Garvey, RSCJ,, Mary (1925). Mary Aloysia Hardey: Religious of the Sacred Heart 1809-1886. New York: Longmans, Green and Co. pp. 78–84. 
  4. ^ Williams, Margaret (1942). Second sowing; the life of Mary Aloysia Hardey. New York: Sheed & Ward. p. 228. 
  5. ^ Williams, Margaret (1942). Second sowing; the life of Mary Aloysia Hardey. New York: Sheed & Ward. p. 240. 
  6. ^ Rebardy, Janet (1975). "A Brief Summary of the History and Contributions of the Society of the Sacred Heart in the Archdiocese of New York,". Manhattanville College Special Collections. 
  7. ^ Byrne, Patricia (1995). "A Tradition of Educating Women: The Religious of the Sacred Heart and Higher Education". U.S. Catholic Historian 13 (4): 52–59. 
  8. ^ Byrne, Patricia (1995). "A Tradition of Educating Women: The Religious of the Sacred Heart and Higher Education". U.S. Catholic Historian 13 (4): 65. 
  9. ^ "Manhattanville Timeline". 
  10. ^ "The Manhattanville Resolutions". 
  11. ^ "Letter of Protest, Anonymous Alumni Mailing". Accessed 7/21/2015. 
  12. ^ "Principles Versus Prejudices". 
  13. ^ "Manhattanville College of Sacred Heart Epitome of Liberal Interracial Educational Institution". 
  14. ^ "Mother Dammann College President". New York Times. 14 February 1945. 
  15. ^ Fine, Benjamin (6 February 1949). "City College Seeking to Buy Near-by Manhattanville Plant". New York Times. 
  16. ^ "City Board Votes to Take Manhattanville College Site". New York Times. June 30, 1950. 
  17. ^ "City Buys College Paying $8,800,620: Manhattanville Campus". New York Times. June 14, 1952. 
  18. ^ "Manhattanville Timeline". Manhattanville College Library Special Collections. 
  19. ^ Wepner, Shelley B. (Fall 2010). "Greetings from the Dean" (PDF). Education is Life: School of Education Alumni Magazine. 
  20. ^ Williams, Margaret (1942). Second Sowing: The Life of Mary Aloysia Hardey,. New York: Sheed & Ward. p. 240. 
  21. ^ "The Lost World of CCNY: Architectural Gems of Our Past: South Campus". CCNY Libraries Exhibitions. 
  22. ^ Lucia, Ellis (1959). The Saga of Ben Holladay: Giant of the Old West. New York: Hastings House. pp. 189–192. 
  23. ^ Lucia, Ellis (1959). The Saga of Ben Holladay: Giant of the Old West. New York: Hastings House. pp. 320–321. 
  24. ^ Todd, Nancy E. (Spring 2004). "The Chapel at Reid Hall: History of Land of the Site Now Occupied by Manhattanville College, Purchase, N.Y.". The Westchester Historian 80: 55–57. 
  25. ^ Duncan, Bingham (1974). Whitelaw Reid: Journalist, Politician, Diplomat. Athens: The University of Georgia Press. pp. 224–225. 
  26. ^ "The History of Reid Castle" (PDF). Manhattanville College. Retrieved March 2015. 
  27. ^ "Cardinal Spellman Presides at Dedication Ceremony". The Centurion. Manhattanville College Special Collections. 31 October 1957. 
  28. ^ "The History of Reid Castle" (PDF). Manhattanville College. Retrieved March 2015. 
  29. ^ "Campus Buildings - What's In A Name?". Manhattanville College Library Digital Collections and Exhibits. 
  30. ^ Manhattanville is ranked as a "Top Tier" college by US News & World Report "Top East Coast School" by and as one of the "360 Best Colleges" by Princeton Review,
  31. ^ Catherine A. Carroll, "Justine B. Ward and the Pius X School 1916-1931: Historical Outline", in Litjens/Steinschulte, Divini 121-124.
  32. ^ "Media Services". Retrieved 2015-08-03. 
  33. ^ "Faculty Profile". Retrieved 2015-08-03. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°1′55.42″N 73°42′56.01″W / 41.0320611°N 73.7155583°W / 41.0320611; -73.7155583