Manhattan College— in the Bronx?


As students at Manhattan College, many are asked at least once where in Manhattan our school is. Answering this question, students must explain that although our school is called Manhattan College, us Jaspers actually reside in the Bronx— but why?

Manhattan College was founded by five French De La Salle Christian Brothers in 1853. Originally the Academy of the Holy Infancy, Manhattan College began as a single, small building on Canal Street.

As the school began to expand as more students attended, MC moved to 131 Street and Broadway, an area known as Manhattanville back then, in New York City. The Brothers created a new type of educational system combining the traditional liberal arts with pre-professional training with vocation, incorporating the ideals that began in 17th century France with the Patron Saint of Teachers, Saint John Baptist de La Salle.

The move from Manhattan to Riverdale began in 1922. This “New Manhattan” still provided MC with the big city location it treasured while giving it the space it required to expand and build its much needed new quarters.

MC’s campus was enhanced significantly by the addition of new buildings and student residences. It’s new location maintained MC’s access to the culture and opportunities New York has to offer with Midtown just 35 minutes away, while creating a residential campus feel in historic Riverdale.

“I love being where we are in the Bronx because we get to have a campus but also have access to the city whenever we want,” said freshman Patricia Wright.

MC continued to expand while remaining in its Riverdale location. Throughout the 20th century, MC continued to expand and prosper while remaining in its Riverdale location as new programs and schools were added.

At one point, the campus housed not only the College, but a preparatory school for high school students as well, providing them with the knowledge base of practical subjects that would lead to a useful role in society as well as religious teachings that imparted the school’s commitment to Christian ethics, the teaching MC prides itself on.

In 1973, MC accepted its first women undergraduate students when it decided to become coeducational. In the following decades, MC saw a major shift in its student body from a majority of commuter students to a majority of residential students as new residence halls opened.

The 21st century gave way to new buildings such as Lee Hall and the O’Malley Library. The Raymond W. Kelly Student Commons opened just four years ago in 2014 and has provided students with new dining options, a fitness center, and comfortable places to study or just hang out with friends.

“Being located in the Bronx is so convenient because we get to benefit from everything New York City has to offer and we are exposed to opportunities that other college students don’t have access to,” said freshman Madison Smith.

MC continues to strive to modernize its campus and provide its student body with new facilities. Construction on south campus will begin within the next year as plans for a new engineering building and residence halls are underway.

Despite its move from Manhattan to the Bronx, MC decided to retain its name despite the misnomer because of the 60 years of history it established when it first began in New York’s most well-known borough.