Behind the Names of Manhattan College


Horan, Thomas, Jasper, Leo and Hayden, all of these names roll off the tongue so easily if you are a part of the Manhattan College community. But, whom do these names belong to and why are they important enough have a building named after them?

Contrary to popular belief, not all of the buildings at MC were named because of monetary donations. The majority of the earliest buildings on campus were named after influential brothers and graduates.

Chrysostom Hall was built to accommodate a growing student body and was named in honor of two important brothers. Brother John Chrysostom Barat and Brother John Chrysostom Colon are the namesakes of the residence hall, as Chrysostom Hall was named in their honor in 1929.

“They left an impression with the alumni, so as the alumni wanted to support expanding Manhattan College, those names went with those brothers. It was basically keeping their memories alive as much as possible,” Brother Robert Berger, resident director of Jasper Hall, said.

MC’s Jasper Hall was built in 1957 and named after one of the most well known brothers in the college’s history.

“Brother Jasper of Mary was a bigger-than-life force in terms of the whole campus as the dean of students and athletic director,” Berger said.

The groundbreaking of Jasper Hall in Oct. 1955.
The groundbreaking of Jasper Hall in Oct. 1955.

Across the quad, stands Smith Auditorium. On the first floor of smith can be found the Chapel of De La Salle and His Brothers. The Chapel was not always the focal point of MC’s quad, the chapel was built in 1928. According to the MC archives, “Cardinal Hayes solemnly dedicated the chapel to St. John Baptist De La Salle, founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools Institute.”

Also inside Smith, is the auditorium located on the first floor, under the chapel. This auditorium was named after George R. Smith, an alumni of the class of 1884 who gave a monetary donation to the school.

Next to the Smith Auditorium is Thomas Hall, the home to Locke’s Loft, the Student Activities offices, Residence Life, performing arts rooms as well as the other dining options on campus, Dante’s and Café 1853. Thomas Hall was named after Brother C. Thomas Fitzsimmons, the former president of the college from 1921-1927.

A building that may be overlooked nowadays is the Cardinal Hayes Library. MC students are familiar with this building by its brick wall that can be seen in the atrium of the O’Malley library. Until 1938, Manhattan College originally housed its library in Miguel Hall. Berger indicated that Cardinal Hayes did a lot in terms of building Catholic education.

The Cardinal Hayes Library was dedicated in honor of Patrick Cardinal Hayes, a graduate of the class of 1888. Hayes went on to become the Cardinal of the Archdiocese of New York.

The relatively new O’Malley Library was added onto the Cardinal Hayes Library in 2002. Mary Alice and Tom O’Malley made a substantial donation in order for this new library to be built.

According to the MC website, “O’Malley has served as chairman of Manhattan’s board of trustees for the past seven years until this past July, and was also a trustee from 1987-2002.

In addition to his nearly 50-year professional career, he has served on the boards of several educational and charitable organizations.”

O’Malley has continued to donate generously to MC, which is why the new students commons will be named after another MC graduate.

According to a 2012 article in the Daily News, O’Malley donated $10 million to the new commons and asked Police Commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, if the building could be named after him. O’Malley told the Daily News in 2012 that Kelly reflects all that MC teaches.

Next to the O’Malley Library is Hayden Hall. Hayden houses the offices for the School of Science as well as the Fine Arts department. The Charles Hayden Foundation made a donation to build Hayden Hall in 1953. The foundation indicated on its website that it, “seeks to promote the mental, moral and physical development of children and youth…in the metropolitan area of New York.”

Another academic building on campus is Miguel Hall. According to MC’s Archivist, Amy Surak, Miguel Hall used to be called Manhattan Hall. “It was renamed in August 1994 in honor of Saint Brother Miguel Febres Cordero, an Ecuadorian Christian Brother who was canonized a Saint in 1984,” she said.

One of the oldest buildings MC utilizes was not always and academic hall. The Leo Engineering building was once the Fanny Farmer Chocolate Factory. MC accuired and renovated the building, turning it into a house for science and engineering labs as well as the college bookstore. The Leo building honors Brother Amandus Leo Call, the former dean of the School of Engineering.

The Fanny Farmer Chocolate Factory, now Leo Engineering Building.
The Fanny Farmer Chocolate Factory, now Leo Engineering Building.

For athletic buildings and facilities, Draddy Gymnasium was opened in 1978. The gym was named after its principal donor, Vincent de Paul Draddy. Draddy was a scholar and athlete in his time at MC and went on to serve on the Board of Trustees.

MC’s other athletic facility, Gaelic Park, was previously owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, MTA, and was home to Irish athletes of the Gaelic Athletic Association. The MTA leased the park to MC in 1991 for 20 years and the college refurbished it.

MC’s larger residence halls located behind Draddy Gymnasium share some interesting ties. Horan Hall was originally known as East Hill. In the summer of 2000, the dorm building was renamed after John J. Horan and his wife, who gave a large donation to the school, and with the addition of the current East Hill, the building took on the name.

The original buildings on the MC campus have a trend of being named after brothers and influential alumni. Even though the buildings were named over 100 years ago, it is important to remember that MC chose to honor these specific people for what they did and who they were.

As MC moves forward and continues to expand, it only seems right to continue honoring influential alumni and graduates who align with MC’s values.

“There’s 160 years of tradition in this place, which is rare in higher education,” Berger said. “I think it’s good to know the richness of the foundation of what’s here. We are really on the shoulders of some pretty important people.”