Manhattanville College

Manhattanville College
Manhattanville College
Manhattanville College Logo
Motto In Exultatione Metens
Established 1841
Type Private coeducational
Academic staff 368
Undergraduates 1,700
Postgraduates 1,000
Location Purchase (Harrison), NY, USA
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 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]

Approximately 1,700 undergraduate and 1,000 graduate students attend Manhattanville. Manhattanville students come from 76 countries and 48 states.[1] In accordance with the college's Portfolio System, which is the nation's oldest such system, undergraduate candidates must present: a freshman year assessment essay, a study plan outlining all course work counted toward the degree, a program evaluation essay giving both a rationale for course choices and an evaluation of the course, and specific examples of work in writing and research.[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 Olmstead, 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.



In 1841 the Academy of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic boarding school for girls, was founded in a three-story house on Houston Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The Academy relocated in 1847 to an area in the northwestern part of Manhattan Island on a hill overlooking the village of Manhattanville. Destroyed by a fire in 1888, the Academy was rebuilt on the same foundation and continued to grow both in curriculum and physical size. In March 1919, 76 years after its founding as an academy, Manhattanville was chartered as a college by the New York State Board of Regents, empowering it to grant both undergraduate and graduate degrees. During the Depression and World War II, President Grace Cowardin Dammann, RSCJ, instilled in Manhattanville's students a keen awareness of social problems by encouraging them to spend one day a week working with children at the Barat Settlement in the Bowery and at Casita Maria in East Harlem. Mother Dammann's widely published speech, "Principles vs. Prejudice," inspired other colleges to break down racial barriers. This speech and Mother Dammann’s commitment to racial integration were frequently applauded by other leaders, including Sargent Shriver who in a speech he gave at a Baptist church in Winnetka, Illinois, praised Mother Dammann for her visionary leadership. Mother Dammann also instituted tenure and sabbaticals for faculty, enlisted staff and faculty in TIAA by contributing to their retirement, connected with national academic organizations, championed integrated learning, and promoted the importance of scholarship to teaching.

In 1952 under president Mother Eleanor O'Byrne, the college moved from its campus in Harlem [2] to suburban Purchase to the former estate of Whitelaw Reid, "Ophir Hall." The campus was sold to City College of New York.[3] After becoming co-ed and secular in the late 1960s and early 1970s the college faced a crisis of identity and some of its real-estate assets were liquidated. Under the leadership of presidents Barbara Knowles Debs, Marcia Savage, Richard Berman and Molly Easo Smith, Manhattanville underwent a strengthening of assets. Co-educational since 1969 and non-denominational in its governance since 1971, Manhattanville's original vision lives on in the tradition of service begun by the Society of the Sacred Heart, extending from the students to the global community through Manhattanville's mission to educate ethically and socially responsible leaders for the global community. RSCJs continue to serve on the College’s Board and a few reside on campus. The accomplishments of the Religious and their profound impact on the life of the College are celebrated annually through events such as a “Founding Mothers Exhibit,” and lectures on the College’s engagement with civil rights and social action. In 2010, as part of Inauguration ceremonies for President Smith, the College hosted an evening of Gregorian Chants, in honor of its Pius X School of Liturgical Music, which closed in 1969.

An aerial photo of the former campus of the Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in the Manhattanville section of New York City, taken from the south looking northeast.
Statue of Jesus Christ in the campus cemetery


Manhattanville is located on a 100-acre (0.40 km2) wooded campus in Purchase, New York, on the former estate of Ben Holladay, and later, Whitelaw Reid. The college originally purchased a larger tract of land, but sold segments to the Keio Academy and Mastercard in the 1970s and 1980s. The centerpiece of the campus is a quadrangle designed in part by Frederick Law Olmsted, who was hired by Reid to landscape his estate. The quad is bordered on its north end by Reid Hall, which occupies the footprint of Ben Holladay's Ophir Hall, which burnt down and was rebuilt by Whitelaw Reid as a massive granite crenellated mansion, built in 1895 to designs by McKim, Mead & White and now known simply as "the Castle." Reid Hall was at one time a potential site for the United Nations, and its grounds were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. On the northwest side of the quad is the Manhattanville library, with a full-time cafe. There is also a graveyard on campus which contains the remains of nearly 50 nuns, a relic of the days when this was a Catholic school known as Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart. The historic Lady Chapel, with an unused crypt in its basement, and biology classroom in the Ohnell Environmental Park were designed by Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam War Memorial. Two other historic buildings, the President’s Cottage, and Stables built of fieldstone, are part of the campus. Stones from the dismantled Japan Pavilion at the New York World Fair, a gift from the Japanese government to the College, can be found around the President’s Cottage.

Japan Pavilion stones on campus.


Manhattanville is a highly ranked[3] liberal arts institution, offering the four-year Bachelor of Arts degree to undergraduate students and the M.A. and Ed. D. for graduate students. There are 36 academic programs, and 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 and History Manhattanville College History Department.

In order to graduate with an undergraduate degree, a student must complete 120 total credits, twenty four to thirty six of which are typically part of a chosen major program although music, dance and theater, and education majors must follow special guidelines. Other requirements for graduation include the completion of the college's "Portfolio Program", core curricular competency requirements and a first-year seminar and writing program. Many departments offer honors programs requiring students seeking that distinction to engage in "independent, sustained work," culminating in the production of a thesis.

Pius X School of Liturgical Music

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.[4] Faculty over the years included Ward, Achille Bragers and Andre Mocquereau. 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. A renewed focus on history at the College by President Smith has resulted in the revival of several signature traditions and a renewed focus on the community’s shared commitment to ceremonial events, historic commemorations, and rich history of accomplishments in the field of music. [5]

Graduate Programs

In addition to its more than 50 areas of undergraduate study, the College offers graduate Master’s degrees in 10 areas of study and an Ed.D. in the School of Education. Master’s degrees include Master of Science in Organizational Management and Human Resource Development, Master of Science in Leadership and Strategic Management, Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications, Master of Science in International Management, Master of Science in Sport Business Management, Master of Science in Finance, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Professional Studies, and Master of Arts in Writing. The college also offers accelerated degrees, including a BA/MA in Creative Writing. The MS program in Sports Management is highly successful and draws on the expertise of individuals from the national and regional sports community.

Master of Arts in Writing

Manhattanville offers a 32-credit Master of Arts in Writing (MAW) degree program for writers and aspiring writers. It publishes the award-winning literary magazine Inkwell. Inkwell offers students the opportunity to acquire real publishing skills through a number of graduate assistantships. The MAW Program also hosts a lively series of workshops and literary events featuring notable authors and poets and is home to a thriving writing community. Its annual Summer Writers’ Week at the end of June began in 1983 and featured keynote speaker Toni Morrison. Summer Writers’ Week brings participants together with some of the country’s finest writers and teachers of writing for an intensive week of deepening the study of their craft.

Manhattanville Library Rare Book and Manuscripts Room

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 Books of Hours. The most notable of these is the Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis, Cum Calendario – also known as the Manhattanville Book of Hours.[4]

Student life

The recently restored nineteenth-century "Lady Chapel" in the Ohnell Environmental Park
  • 200 Nights Halloween Party, 100 Nights Theme party, 50 Nights Toga Party in honor of remaining nights until graduation in the East Room.[6]
  • Fall and Spring Formals in the East Room
  • "Fall Fest" Music Festival, also attended by alumni
  • United Nations Ambassador Lecture Series [5]
  • Quad Jam [6]
  • West Point Football Saturday [7]
  • International Bazaar [8]
  • Annual Holiday Concert (formerly the Christmas Concert)Manhattanville Music Department
  • Shakespeare in the Castle [9]
  • Homecoming Weekend [10]
  • History Department Annual BBQ Manhattanville History Department


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 seven teams since 2007 and currently sponsors 21 varsity sports: men's and women's basketball, cross country, hockey, indoor track, lacrosse, outdoor track, soccer and tennis; baseball, softball, men's golf, field hockey and women's volleyball.

The Quadrangle at Manhattanville College.

Recent Projects and News

  • The Richard A. Berman Students' Center (Opened April 2008).
  • The Ohnell Environmental Park, featuring the restored "Lady Chapel" and "Living Classroom" designed by Maya Lin (dedicated Fall 2006).

Manhattanville College People

List of Manhattanville College Presidents[7]

  • 1917–1918 Mary Moran, RSCJ
  • 1918–1924 Ruth Burnett, RSCJ
  • 1924–1930 Charlotte Lewis, RSCJ
  • 1930–1945 Grace Dammann, RSCJ
  • 1945–1965 Eleanor O'Byrne, RSCJ
  • 1965–1974 Elizabeth McCormack
  • 1974–1975 Harold Delaney
  • 1975–1985 Barbara Knowles Debs
    • 1981–1982 Jane C. Maggin (acting)
  • 1985–1995 Marcia Savage
  • 1995–2009 Richard Berman
  • 2009–2011 Molly Easo Smith, Ph.D
  • 2011 Robert C. Hall (Acting President)
  • 2011- Jon Strauss (Interim President)

Notable alumni

External links


  1. ^ Undergraduate Admissions - Manhattanville College
  2. ^ Portfolio System - Manhattanville College
  3. ^ 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,
  4. ^ Catherine A. Carroll, "Justine B. Ward and the Pius X School 1916-1931: Historical Outline," in Litjens/Steinschulte, Divini 121-124.
  5. ^ Benofy, Susan (March 2001). "Buried Treasure: Can the Church recover her musical heritage?". Adoremus Bulletin 7 (1). Retrieved Feb. 8, 2010. 
  6. ^ Calendar
  7. ^ Manhattanville College Presidents - Manhattanville College:

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