History of The College of New Rochelle
1900s-1940s: The first Catholic women's college in New York
At a time when young women were generally excluded from higher education, Mother Irene Gill, O.S.U., believed that Catholic women in New York must be afforded access to college. This conviction led her to found the College of St. Angela — the first Catholic college for women in New York State — in 1904. The first class of students comprised 12 women, all of whom lived and attended class within Leland Castle.
The school's name was changed to The College of New Rochelle in 1910, and as the school grew, its programs evolved to meet the changing educational needs brought about by contemporary events. The first B.S. degree program was established around the time of World War I. During the Great Depression, career preparation became more essential than ever; a concentration in Secretarial Studies was inaugurated and a Vocational Bureau was established to provide career counseling and job placement for students and alumnae. In response to World War II, the College developed new offerings including courses in motor mechanics, Morse code, and civil defense.
1950s-1960s: A focus on service and access
The post-war era brought an emphasis on co-curricular activities focused on service, as CNR joined the National Student Association and the National Federation of Catholic College Students. A core concentration program strengthened the curriculum and a new form of student government, introduced during the 1960s, paved the way for greater student participation in policy-making.
The College also took steps to broaden access to education. Married women were allowed to matriculate, and in 1968 the College developed a scholarship program for African-American students from the Westchester area. Introduced in 1969, the master's degree program in art education was both the first program to admit men and the start of the Graduate School.
1970s-1980s: Growth and reorganization
In 1972, the School of New Resources was created to deliver an innovative baccalaureate liberal arts program designed to address the needs of adult learners. New campuses were created in New Rochelle, at DC-37 Headquarters in Manhattan, and in Co-op City. The College was now comprised of three schools: the School of Arts & Sciences, the Graduate School, and the School of New Resources, each headed by its own dean. The School of Nursing was added in 1976. By the end of the decade, four more campuses for the School of New Resources were added — at the New York Theological Seminary in Manhattan, and in the South Bronx, Brooklyn, and Harlem.
CNR in the 21st century
In the course of 100 years, the College grew from 12 to approximately 4,000 students, and from a single campus with one school to four schools and six campuses. A major renovation of the Gill Library was completed in 2002, transforming this resource into a state-of-the-art facility. In 2008, the College completed its first new construction on campus in four decades — The Wellness Center, an award-winning facility that features a gymnasium, interior running track, competition-size swimming pool, fitness and weight room, technologically equipped classrooms, holistic meditation room, and a contemplation roof garden.
In its second century, CNR remains committed to innovation and is well positioned to continue to evolve to meet the changing educational needs of our complex, interconnected world.