1853 - Four German-speaking Sisters of Saint
Dominic first arrived in New York City in 1853, leaving behind the
security of their convent of the Holy Cross in Regensburg, Germany.
The sisters opened a school on Second Street in lower
1883 - Thirty years later, at the request of
the pastor of St. Mary's Church in Newburgh, a small group of the
Sisters of Saint Dominic from the Second Street Convent opened
Mount Saint Mary Academy in Newburgh, just off Gidney Avenue, on
the grounds of the 7-acre McAlpine estate.
1913 - The Sisters purchased the adjoining
33-acre Van Duzer estate, comprised of “Rosenhof,” a villa mansion
in the Gothic Revival style of architecture promoted by Andrew
Jackson Downing; the carriage house; the ice house; and the
hothouse. Rozenhof was renamed the “Villa Madonna,” and this
structure today houses the Offices of the President, Academic
Affairs, Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions, Enrollment
Management, International Studies, Community Relations and News
Services, Marketing, and the Associate Dean. The stable became the
Domus Angelorem, and is today called Whittaker Hall.
1927 - As the Dominican Sisters' reputation for
academic excellence became legendary, they outgrew the school's
facilities rapidly. The new school, called Greater Mount Saint
Mary, opened in 1927 as the high school. A storehouse was rebuilt
as the Casa San Jose and it served as the elementary school.
1930 and 1934 - The Sisters’ growing
involvement in education made clear the need for a teacher training
program. In 1930, the Mount Saint Mary Normal and Training School
was certified by the New York State Education Department as a
teacher training institute. This would certify the sisters to teach
in NY elementary schools and enable them to enroll in any college
in the state to complete work for a degree.
1950 - The Casa San Jose had served the sisters
well, but a new facility was needed to meet the growing needs of
the elementary school. In 1950, the new Bishop Dunn Memorial School
was accredited by the Middle States Commission on Elementary
1954 - The Board of Regents of the University
of the State of New York granted the Mount a provisional charter to
grant the degree of associate in arts upon the completion of the
registered three-year curriculum.
1959 - The Board of Regents voted to amend the
college's charter on October 3, 1959 and the Mount became a
four-year liberal arts college.
1960 - The Mount opened its door to the first
class of lay women and the college embarked on an amazing period of
1963 - Aquinas Hall, named after Saint Thomas
Aquinas, opened as the centerpiece of the college's academic life.
Guzman Hall opened this same year and served as the residence hall
for the young Dominican novices.
1964 - The Mount celebrated the commencement of
its first graduates from the four-year liberal arts college known
as Mount Saint Mary College. There were 32 graduates in the Class
1968 - The college received full accreditation
from the Middle States Association. In the spring of that year, the
first and only male student began taking classes at the new
co-educational Mount Saint Mary College. By 1970, 58 male students
were enrolled at the college.
1976 - In August of this year, Sr. Ann Sakac
was designated acting president of the College. Sr. Ann's
predecessors were: Mother Leo Vincent Short, OP (1960-1964), the
first president and co-founder of the college; Sr. Mary Francis
McDonald, OP (1964-1972); and Dr. William T. O'Hara
1984 - The college's first master's degree
program was introduced, leading to a master of science in special
education. The late Sr. Frances Berski, a beloved professor at the
Mount, is largely given credit for this milestone.
1991 - Alice Curtis Desmond bequeaths her
Balmville estate to the Mount. Today, both the Community Education
and L.I.F.E. (Learning Is Forever Enriching) offices are located at
the Desmond Campus.
1992 - The William and Elaine Kaplan Recreation
Center opens, providing much-needed facilities for recreational and
intramural activities, as well as intercollegiate sports. The new
center features NCAA-rated basketball and volleyball courts,
seating for 1,500, a weight training room, aerobics room, athletic
training facilities, lounges, a snack bar, an indoor track, and a
pool, as well as classrooms.
1996-1999 - The college purchased the Newburgh
Jewish Community Center property in 1996, and completed renovations
to the new Hudson Hall in 1999, opening in time for the fall
semester. Hudson Hall has 10 state-of-the-art, smart classrooms, a
multipurpose auditorium, a café, lounges, and the Education
2003 - The demand for student housing was at an
all-time high when Sakac Hall, named in honor of Sr. Ann Sakac,
president of Mount Saint Mary College, opened its doors to freshmen
women. This aesthetically pleasing building offered students the
best in campus living and unsurpassed views of the Hudson
2004 - A new and improved Guzman Hall opened in
the fall of 2004. Founders Chapel, named in honor of the Dominican
Sisters who founded the college, and Guzman Hall were both
re-dedicated on the same day in 2004.
2006 - On May 5, the college broke ground for
the construction of a new 53,000 square-foot Mathematics, Science
and Technology Center addition to Aquinas Hall. The college
publicly announced the Answering the Call campaign to
raise $10 million toward this project. The new Center provides
state-of-the-art biology, chemistry, and computer labs and enables
the college to expand the Nursing Learning Resource Center on the
second floor of Aquinas Hall.
2007 - The new Kaplan Family Mathematics,
Science and Technology Center (MST) addition to Aquinas Hall opened
in September. Construction began on the new Nursing Learning
Resource Center in space on the second floor of Aquinas Hall. The
new MST center features a 3,000 square foot atrium, a Career
Center, and Jazzman’s Café.
2008 - The college completed a $30 million
renovation project on the College Courts, now townhouse-style
apartments on the north side of campus for the
upperclassmen. On June 30, Sister Ann Sakac retired after 31
years as president of Mount Saint Mary College. Father Kevin E.
Mackin, OFM, began his tenure as the fifth president of Mount Saint
Mary College on July 1, and was inaugurated on October 17.
2009 - On May 1, the new MST Center was
dedicated as the Kaplan Family Mathematics, Science and Technology
Center, in honor of the family of William Kaplan and the Kaplan
Family Foundation, which provided the lead gift of $5 million for
the Answering the Call campaign.
2010 - The Mount saw the opening of The
View, the renovated dining commons in Aquinas Hall. The new
all-weather turf field for soccer and lacrosse was unveiled in
September, and six new tennis courts were opened at the Kaplan
2011 - In July, the Mount purchased the
Dominican Center and 13 acres of property from the Sisters. Plans
are underway to expand the College and parking areas.
2012 - The Mount begins renovations on the
Dominican Center, with plans to build a new library, dining hall,
and student residences. The lovely Chapel of the Most Holy Rosary
will remain the spiritual and physical core of the Center. A
Call to Excellence: The Campaign for the Dominican Center is
launched in September 2012, with the goal of raising $10 million
for the Dominican Center renovation. The College unveils a new
baseball and softball field, carved from land purchased with the
Special thanks to Dr. James F. Cotter, professor of English,
for providing much of the milestone information.