Introduction - Saint Peters College
Saint Peter's College, the Jesuit College of New Jersey, was founded as a liberal arts college for men in 1872. When classes first started in Jersey City on September 2, 1878 seventy-one students originally enrolled in the Preparatory Department. That number grew to one hundred and twenty-three by year's end. They aged from ten to fifteen, and thus none of them were doing college-level work. As more students arrived work began on a new school building on Grand Street in 1899.
By 1900 the College had granted 63 Bachelor degrees and 26 Master's degrees. Five years later, the College and Saint Peter's High School, though located in the same building, were distinct academic institutions. From 1918 to 1930, the College closed down because of World War I and because Jesuit superiors wanted to concentrate their manpower in other colleges on the East Coast. As noted in the College yearbook, "The classrooms went empty. The faculty closed their markbooks, and left for the battlefields."
It reopened in 1930 on the fourth floor of the Chamber of Commerce Building in downtown Jersey City, and women were admitted to the Evening Session for the first time. Robert I. Gannon, S.J., was Dean. Reverend Gannon introduced six new Jesuit faculty members, who brought a new vigor and outlook to the College, stressing, as their predecessors had done, a strong Catholic liberal arts program, the hallmark of a Jesuit education. By 1933, the College had made serious efforts to move from downtown Jersey City to its present site on the former Edward Young estate.
In 1936 the College moved to its present location on Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City. Changes were gradually made on the new campus (among other buildings, McDermott Hall, Dinneen Hall, the Yanitelli Recreational Center, and Whelan Hall were started in 1949, 1956, 1973, and 1992, respectively).
Saint Peter's became fully coeducational in 1966 when women were admitted to the Day Session.
In 1975 Saint Peter's established a branch campus, a "college for adults," in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. The College offered its first graduate program in education in 1980.
Saint Peter's celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2002.
The Society of Jesus remains faithful to its commitment to mission educated Jesuits to Saint Peter's College. The current 21st President of Saint Peter's College, the Rev. James N. Loughran, S.J., likewise remains committed to promoting Saint Peter's as a Jesuit, Catholic, co-educational, liberal arts college that seeks to develop the whole person in preparation for a lifetime of learning, leadership, and service in a diverse and global society.
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