Just months after being elevated to the status of a university, Dominican University New York reached another important milestone – its 70th anniversary. Administrators, faculty, staff, and friends of the university gathered in the Lawrence Room of Rosary Hall on October 1, 2022, for an event “Celebrating Our First 70 Years of Excellence.”
One of the highlights of the event was a video presentation that reviewed the last 70 years of the University’s history beginning with the founding of the institution by the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt in 1952 as a two-year college for religious women to become educators. Over the years, the campus expanded to accommodate a growing enrollment and to welcome resident students.
Sr. Mary Eileen O’Brien O.P., Ph.D., President, Dominican University New York, said, “The first 70 years have been most productive. We look forward to the next 70 and beyond.”
Among the guests at the anniversary celebration was New York State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, who presented Sr. Mary Eileen with a proclamation honoring the University on 70 years of outstanding educational services in the community. “To see a county, a state, and really a world full of people that have gone through this special place – who have gotten their educational foundation, their religious foundation, and set them up for a life of success,” he said.
New Fundraising Campaign Launched
Steven Sabatini, Chair, Dominican University New York Board of Trustees, said the University had a lot to be proud of, having educated more than 15,000 alumni and encouraged education, leadership, respect for the individual, and service to the community.
During the event, Sabatini announced the launch of a new fundraising campaign. “’Charging Forward With U’ is our current initiative focused on raising support from our alumni and friends so that we can ensure that both the current and future generations of Chargers are supported with the resources they need in order to prepare for success.” He said any donation – large or small – makes a difference and moves the University closer to this year’s fundraising goal of $1.35 million. Sabatini announced that he and his wife are kicking off the contributions with a $25,000 commitment on top of a previous gift to the turf field and a provision in his will to Dominican University.
Because of the urgency and importance of the fundraising effort, Sabatini said he hoped others would support the campaign, “Together we can continue to make a difference in the lives of the thousands of individuals who have and will be impacted by Dominican University.” Those wishing to contribute to the campaign can donate here.
University’s Four Stages of Development
Sr. Mary Eileen told attendees that she has often thought of the University’s history in four stages of development. During the first 15 years, the institution transitioned from a Junior College for the Dominican Sisters to a four-year independent liberal arts college for both men and women. The second phase, which lasted 20 years, saw the broadening of undergraduate offerings, especially in business, health-related programs, and social work. The institution began outreach to non-traditional students with the establishment of the Weekend College. A partnership with the South Orangetown Central School District allowed for the use of Cooke Hall and Casey Hall for classrooms and administrative offices.
Between 1987 and 2007, or the third phase, the campus expanded with the construction of new buildings and evolved from a commuter college to a campus for residents and commuters. In 1994, a new athletic facility, the Hennessy Center, was opened. The next priority was to provide on-campus housing and to construct a dining hall and student center for the new residents. In 1996, Hertel Hall, a 290-bed residence hall, and Granito Center, a student center and dining hall opened.
In 2005, the Prusmack Center for Health and Science Education was completed, offering updated classrooms, laboratories, and a lecture hall. Enrollment continued to grow throughout this period and in 2007 Guzman Hall, a 200-bed student residence, was constructed. Sullivan Library also opened in its new location in Rosary Hall in 2007. The third phase also is when Dominican established graduate programs in Teacher Education, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and an MBA.
Sr. Mary Eileen said that we are now 15 years into the development of a fourth phase of development in which technology has grown, the lease/purchase of an additional 17 acres of land from the Sisters of Blauvelt was completed, and a Master Plan for the use of this property was developed. During this most recent phase, there has been a focus on career development and fostering internships. Faculty are developing new general education curriculum and the University is exploring alternative sources of income. The crowning achievement during the current phase, has been the name change from Dominican College to Dominican University, New York.