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Seton Hall University

Our History  

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From its founding in 1856 as Seton Hall College to the present day, Seton Hall has been dedicated to the vision of its founder, Bishop James Roosevelt Bayley, as “a home for the mind, the heart, and the spirit.” Its Catholic roots have made the University open to people of all faiths, creeds and colors. The seeds of diversity at Seton Hall were planted almost from its birth; during its first 12 years, Seton Hall enrolled more than 500 freshmen from 17 states and six foreign countries. The University continues to reflect the growing ethnic scope of its students and the increasing diversity of the Church and society it serves.

During the 19th century, in spite of setbacks, lean times and the Civil War, the College continued to expand. By 1937, Seton Hall established a University College. This marked the first matriculation of women at Seton Hall. Seton Hall’s South Orange campus became coeducational in 1968.

The College was organized into a university in 1950 following a period of unprecedented enrollment growth. The College of Education and Human Services comprised the University; the School of Law opened in 1951 with Miriam Rooney as the first woman dean of law in the United States.

The next two decades saw the modernization of many facilities and the construction of a library, science building, residence halls and the Bishop Dougherty University Center. Several programs and majors were inaugurated, as were important social outreach efforts. New ties were established with the private and industrial sectors, and a growing partnership developed with federal and state governments to create programs for the economically and educationally disadvantaged.

In 1986, representatives from 13 New Jersey Catholic hospitals and medical centers met at Seton Hall to address medical education in the state. This led to the suggestion that Seton Hall play a major role in this effort. Later that year, hospital presidents from St. Elizabeth Hospital (now Trinitas Regional Medical Center), St. Michael’s Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital (now St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center) met with the University chancellor with a vision to open a school on Seton Hall’s South Orange campus.

In April 1987, Seton Hall’s Board of Trustees approved the formation of the School of Graduate Medical Education. The school’s mission is to prepare outstanding professionals to assume leadership roles in the healthcare arena. To achieve this goal, various unique and innovative educational programs utilize a multi-institutional — yet integrated — approach to graduate education. The school comprises two distinct educational divisions: graduate education degree programs in the health sciences and post-medical school residency and fellowship programs. In 2008, the school was renamed the School of Health and Medical Sciences.

The 1970s and 1980s continued to be a time of growth and renewal. New business and nursing classroom buildings and an art center were opened. In 1984, Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology returned to Seton Hall, its original home, after 58 years at Darlington, Bergen County, N.J. The Richie Regan Recreation and Athletic Center was dedicated in 1987. With the construction of four new residence halls from 1986 to 1988 and the purchase of an off-campus apartment building in 1990, the University significantly changed its identity as a primarily commuter institution. Seton Hall is now recognized as a residential campus, providing living space for approximately 2,100 students.

The physical development of the campus continued in the 1990s. The $20 million Walsh Library opened in 1994 with first-class study and research resources that marked the beginning of Seton Hall’s technological transformation. Jubilee Hall, which was dedicated in 1997, provided a clear example of the University’s continued commitment to undergraduate education and the expanding role of information technology in higher education. A School of Law building and parking garage also were constructed in the 1990s.

The School of Diplomacy and International Relations opened in 1997 in an alliance with the United Nations Association of the United States of America. Beginning in 1998, all incoming full-time, first-year students were issued laptop computers as part of the University’s innovative and nationally recognized mobile computing program.

In the fall of 2007, the University finalized $35 million in renovations to McNulty Hall to transform it into a leading-edge facility for science and technology learning and research. Since 2010, Seton Hall has completed a host of campus renovations and new construction projects. An initial round of improvements totaling $134 million concluded in 2014 with the opening of a new state-of-the-art fitness center, academic building, parking garage and expanded Aquinas Hall dormitory.

Seton Hall announced the formation of two additional academic units in 2015 — the School of Medicine and College of Communication and the Arts. The medical school, which opened in 2018 as the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, is one of six Catholic medical schools in the United States. It was conceived to address a serious shortage of primary care physicians in New Jersey and the nation and to anchor a new Interprofessional Health Sciences campus that also houses the College of Nursing and School of Health and Medical Sciences. By training students in an environment that mirrors how modern medical facilities operate, the University is establishing a new national model for healthcare education.

The College of Communication and the Arts combines Seton Hall’s traditional strengths in the performing, visual and media arts with close ties to New York City — the nation’s media and cultural capital. The college’s innovative programs offer interdisciplinary study, invaluable experiences in the media and mentorship opportunities from eminent professionals through its artist-in-residence program. And the innovative curriculum focuses on the skills employers look for most: communication, teamwork, creativity and adaptability.

The South Orange campus took another leap forward in 2018 with the addition of Bethany Hall — Seton Hall’s new welcome center. The building, which graces the Farinella entrance to campus, houses the University’s admissions offices and exquisite event spaces for all manner of student and alumni events.

New and enhanced facilities are providing a home to some of the best and brightest students to ever study at Seton Hall. In the fall of 2018, 1,524 freshmen boosted the total number of undergraduates to 6,136 students — the largest undergraduate population at the University in more than three decades. Selected from the largest applicant pool in Seton Hall history, the class boasted an average two-part SAT score of 1230 — an impressive 110-point increase since 2009.