By Jocelyn Visnov, Production Editor/Web Editor
The beginning of the fall 2022 academic year marks the centennial of Manhattan College’s residency in the Bronx. Having been originally established on the island of Manhattan, Jaspers first began taking classes at the “New Manhattan” campus in fall of 1922.
The college was originally founded in West Harlem, Manhattan, nestled between 131st to 132nd. According to manhattan.edu, the school began offering college level courses in 1859, and began using the name “Manhattan College” in 1861, and was officially chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York in 1863.
As the college began to grow in size and increase enrollment numbers, so did the city surrounding the campus. When the MTA made the decision to expand the 1 train line, this created disruption for the already crowded property.
Amy Surak, the director of archives and special collections, told The Quadrangle how this issue led to the idea for relocating the campus entirely.
“Literally the rumbling of the subway would shake the buildings of Manhattan College,” Surak said. “So this was 1901, 1902, when it [the subway] extended and so at the time, we [at the college] were like, ‘We can’t stay here anymore. We need more space. We need it to be almost in the country.’ And if you think about it at the time, at the end of the 19th century, the country was up here [in Riverdale].”
The land for what would be referred to as MC’s “new” campus in the Bronx was bought in 1902. Students continued taking classes at the “old Manhattan” campus in west harlem while the college raised money and worked on plans to develop the land for the new campus.
The college’s then President, Brother Thomas, first had the idea to seek financial support for the new campus from the college’s alumni. This concept proved successful, and after gaining the support needed from the Catholic diocese and MC alum, the college broke ground for the new campus during the spring commencement ceremony for the class of 1921.
According to Surak, when the “new Manhattan” campus opened for classes in the fall of 1922, the campus consisted of only three main buildings to form what we now know as the quad.
“There was Alumni Hall, which was obviously what’s known now as the administration building,” Surak said. “Then De LaSalle Hall, and then what was known as Manhattan Hall before it became Miguel Hall, this was basically where the library was.”
Current Interim President Brother Daniel Gardner spoke to The Quadrangle about the centennial anniversary of the “new” Manhattan College campus.
“I’m very excited about the anniversary year.” Gardner said. “I mean, it gives us an opportunity to take a look at the contributions that Manhattan College has done for the Bronx Community over these past 100 years. But even more importantly than that, I think it gives us the opportunity to review all of the good things that the Bronx Community has brought to our Manhattan College community. So it’s a wonderful opportunity just to sit back and reflect about the relationship with the Bronx, but it’s also a great opportunity to celebrate.”
Gardner also mentioned the ways in which the Bronx and surrounding areas have benefited from having MC as part of their communities.
“I think that because we’re here, the people that are in the general area around us benefit from all the services and the ability that we have here to to bring the light of our campus to them. And then we have their presence with us, in the same geographic area.” Gardner said. “ The Bronx has been very, very lucky to have a significant impact on nonprofits, working with the people and our students have been tremendous assets to those nonprofits, both in the immediate area but also in a larger context.”
Students and faculty can come together to celebrate this 100 year anniversary of the Bronx campus during various community engaged learning opportunities and extracurricular events which offer ways to learn more about the college’s history.