The Beginning

"Here on earth..." Where on earth? Syracuse, NY? What sort of city would soon become home to the newest Jesuit College in the United States.


Campus Life in the Fifties

Le Moyne entered the 1950's with optimism and enthusiasm.


Social Action and Christian Commitment

The inspiration and idealism of the Kennedy presidence provided the uderpinning of a renewed effort to support social justice and community action


Vietnam's Impact on Le Moyne

Restrictions under which previous generations of students had lived were eliminated: dress codes, curfews and a dry campus to name a few


Diversity and Change

The 1980s became a decade of search – for the college’s heritage, its identity and its future.


Values for Today, Vision for Tomorrow

New leadership, expanding programs, and an expanding campus brought the 20th century to a close.


Building for The Future

For 75 years Le Moyne has nurtured leaders, innovators and problem-solvers who are both great and good, and perhaps never before has the world needed them more than it does today.


Bouwhuis Announces Name for College

On October 21, 1945, Father Andrew Bouwhuis announced that the college would be named after the Rev. Simon Le Moyne, S.J., a French missionary to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy between 1654 and 1662. The choice resonated throughout the Syracuse area, for Father Le Moyne was well known as the discoverer of the wells and springs which gave Syracuse its nickname as the “salt city.”


The College Takes Shape

By the close of 1945 Le Moyne possessed a name, 116 acres of land, a nondescript building in downtown Syracuse, and its first president, Rev. Anthony J. Bleicher S.J. who was appointed on December 10th


Funding the College

Bishop Walter A. Foery opened one week of fundraising in every parish of the diocese with a radio address urging financial support for the new college. Volunteers went from door to door throughout the diocese between January 20 and 27 and raised $614,000 – a remarkable sum of money for one week’s effort at a time when the average salary was less than $3000 per year.


First Day of Classes

Scrambling and improvising, Father Schlaerth was able to rent the residence of the late Judge Frank Hiscock for a nominal fee from the owner, the omnipresent Eagan Real Estate. All classes would be held in that building at 930 James Street, with the exception of some courses in business administration, which would be taught in Le Moyne Hall. On September 15, 1947, one week after Bishop Foery laid the cornerstone of the new administration building on the Heights, Beglan rang an old-fashioned, hand-held school bell to summon 450 students to the opening of the first full academic year at Le Moyne College.


First Issue of the Dolphin Published

Published in October of 1947, the inaugural publication spoke of Le Moyne being built by the “zeal and generosity” of the faithful who believed in establishing a Jesuit college on the Heights.


Dolphins Compete

Thomas J. Niland was hired to coach basketball and baseball at Le Moyne. More than forty hopeful candidates travelled to Griffin Field in Liverpool to try out for the first basketball squad. On January 16th, the basketball team suffered its first loss against Syracuse University freshman with a score of 62-59. On December 8th, the first Le Moyne varsity basketball team opened their season with a 41-39 loss at Siena.


First Graduates

Class of 1951 was an unusual and distinctive group. A mixture of veterans and recent high-school graduates, they were a close-knit bunch, highly conscious of being the leaders, the pathfinders, the first to do everything at Le Moyne. Their ranks dwindled from 450 in September 1947 to 259 on commencement day in 1951; some were recalled to active duty when the Korean War broke out in 1950, while others found that notwithstanding the GI Bill, a Jesuit education was a bit more rigorous than they had bargained for. Those who stayed the course continued to lead others from the day of graduation to the days of retirement; a disproportionate number became prominent in business and the professions. The first class to enter Le Moyne and the first class to leave, they were also the first to sing the school’s alma mater, written by the Rev. John V. Curry, S.J., professor of English.


Forming a Vision

The Jesuits insisted upon an educational process that develops and forms the whole person, rather than one that concentrates solely upon passive learning and the straightforward memorization of facts. Students were expected to take responsibility for, and play an active role in, their own education. This process took place in an environment which recognized that the spiritual dimension of life was a proper and necessary subject of study.


Performing Arts

Boot and Buskin, or B & B, the college’s dramatic guild, staged several plays each year, with a repertoire drawn from Shakespeare and more modern works. Beginning in 1953, each senior class staged a “Senior Show,” an originally written piece featuring parodies of hit songs, replete with references to people and events at Le Moyne.


Appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show

The building and entertainment needs of the college coincided with the appearance in Syracuse of the nationally-famous variety show host, Ed Sullivan, who brought his “Toast of the Town” revenue to the War Memorial to benefit the Le Moyne College Building Fund


The Debate to Become a Residential College

Students in the fifties lived in an environment that would bemuse their modern-day counterparts. A strict dress code prevailed on campus: men wore jackets and ties, while women wore dresses or skirts (never shorts or slacks). On formal occasions, women added heels, hats and gloves. Seniors wore black academic robes, as did professors.


Construction Begins on Nelligan Hall

Le Moyne was primarily a commuter, or “day-hop” college, for its first several years of existence, until it was feared that by not offering housing to students, the College was losing its competitive edge and many potential students. To counteract this perceived loss of students, Nelligan Hall was constructed as the first dormitory. The majority of the funds for construction were donated by Mrs. H. Paul Nelligan in honor of her late husband, a Syracuse industrialist and a member of the Le Moyne College Advisory Board of Regents


Women's Athletic Association Established

Accounced in the Dolphin on September 12, 1955: "Le Moyne College recognizes that in the pressures and tensions which develop in college life, the woman student is apt to neglect the king of physical activity, which is essential to relaxation and the maintenance of vigorous good health, unless she is given every encouragement to think if it as an integral part of her college experience. To meet this need, the Women's Athletic Association has been established.


Honors Program Established

Dean of Studies Robert Mitchell, S.J., established an Honors Program in order to provide superior students with the opportunity to develop their talent to the utmost during four years of college. Today the Integral Honors Program continues to provide advanced work for students in both the College’s Core curriculum and in their major or elective field.


Berrigan Publishes New Work

Encounters, the second book of poetry by Daniel Berrigan, S.J., was hailed for its style and content as a worthy successor to Berrigan’s first publication, Time Without Number, which won the 1957 Lemont Poetry Award. In an interview, the author and activist said that the inspiration for his poems came from his work as a teacher of theology: “All [of] the first section deals with the great Biblical idea of vocation; they aim to take a man or woman to a moment of great spiritual crisis – temptation, martyrdom – and to reflect through the mask of time and language, on the human and divine ironies that underlie the situation.”


Breaking the Glass Ceiling

K.R. Hanley made Le Moyne history as the first female professor hired at the college. "Her work brought her worldwide acclaim, yet she always remained the down to earth person who impacted generations of Le Moyne students. Her remarkable career made her a true trailblazer in the world of academia."


St. Mary's Makes History

Saint Mary’s would be the first dormitory for women ever built on the campus of a Jesuit college.


A Home for Dolphin Sports

Anthony A. Henniger Athletic Center opened in 1962 to complete the Le Moyne building boom. The Henninger Athletic Center symbolized Le Moyne’s conviction that intercollegiate and intramural athletics constitute an important part of the educational process.


Dolphins Chase NCAA Tournament Championship

Traveling to the NCAA College Division Regional Tournament in Akron, the Dolphins drew the Youngstown State Penguins in the semifinals, ranked fourth in the nation. The winner of the regional would go to the Final Four, where the opposition was expected to consist of teams like the Evansville Purple Aces and the Southern Illinois Salukis, teams which are now in Division I and which in those days boasted future NBA greats like Jerry Sloan (Chicago Bulls) and Walt Frazier (New York Knicks). More than three hundred students out of a student body of 1300 made the trip to Akron for the tournament on a raw Friday evening in early March. The rest of the college jammed both sides of the dining center to hear the first game over a radio hookup. The Dolphins 64-53 victory over Youngstown punched their ticket for the regional final. The next night, the Dolphins fell to the Akron Zips 62-38, and the Dolphins’ improbable season, which had started at 3-4, finished at 18-6.


Rocking The Heights

The Beach Boys took the stage with The Buffalo Springfield, The Soul Survivirs, Strawberry Alarm Clock and the Pickle Brothers. Tickets ranged in price from $3.50 to $4.50


Projects in the Community

Started in the gathering room of International House, Projects in the Community aimed to expand student involvement in service, living our mission to be the change we want to see. Some of the PIC projects included hosting dinners for senior citizens, collecting Christmas gifts for underpriviledged youth, and tutoring at risk students


An Iconic Campus Spot Opens

“The Rathskeller” opened in the basement of Foery Hall, serving alcohol between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and midnight to anyone over the age of eighteen (the legal drinking age in New York until 1986). It was a sign of changing times on campus as seniors weren't required to wear black robes and women no longer had to wear dresses at all times on campus.


Dolphy Day is Born

The Dolphy Day tradition began in the spring of 1971 as a spontaneous celebration of the first truly warm day after the vernal equinox. Legend proclaims that a supernatural being known as the “Grand Wizard” came to earth on the eve of that day and made his wishes known to a humble Le Moyne student. That student arranged to have the trees on campus decorated with toilet paper as a sign that everyone should feel free to cut classes, recline on the grass, and “groove.” There were three prerequisites: the sun should be shining brightly (a condition not to be taken for granted in Syracuse), the temperature should be warm, and the ground should be dry enough to retain its firmness throughout the day’s festivities.


Milestone for Niland

With a 72-70 win over the Cortland Red Dragons, Tom Niland picked up his 300th career victory, a total he amassed over his then 22 varsity seasons.


Thomas Heads the HEOP Program

Opportunities for disadvantaged students are offered by the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), which serves those who are already enrolled in college. Carl A. Thomas ’65, H ’19, HEOP’s director from 1972 until his retirement in 2013, brought to the program the energy, competence, and deep personal commitment that characterized all his efforts on behalf of the college.


Mary Lou Williams Performs

Jazz great Mary Lou Williams performed in what is now Simon's Pub to a packed house. In addition to her own long & successful career, she wrote and arranged for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, plus kept some pretty impressive company including Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie.


Seeger & Chapin Perform

Pete Seeger and Harry Chapin performed on campus in 1976 after two Le Moyne seniors persuaded the duo to include the campus on their tour after having the chance to play with Seeger on his boat during the summer.


The Firehouse

After nearly thirty years of its love-hate relationship with the Grewen Auditorium, Boot and Buskin’s “loyalties” were transferred in 1977 to an abandoned firehouse across Salt Springs Road from the campus. The Syracuse Fire Department sold the building to Le Moyne for the princely sum of one dollar, and for more than two decades it housed Le Moyne’s theater program.


Breaking Ground on a New Library

The $4.2 million project not only gave the library a dedicated home on campus, but freed up space for today's Dolphin Den. The new library was a showpiece in every respect. Air-conditioned and spacious, enclosing 56,000 square feet with seating for 700 students and room for 250,000 volumes, it was designed to meet the college’s requirements for the next fifty years.


Continuous Learning Added to College's Offerings

The Continuous Learning program broadened the school’s mission by providing evening courses for those whose personal schedules precluded their attendance in the daytime. Evening courses were a staple offering in the college’s early years; the 263 students enrolled in such offerings in the fall semester of 1951 constituted 25 percent of total enrollment. But evening courses had vanished during the 1950s, and for 25 years the emphasis on the education of the “baby boom” generation resulted in neglect of the educational needs of adults. Continuous Learning, born out of anxiety over the anticipated decline in enrollment (which did not occur), rekindled Le Moyne’s traditional interest in the needs of non-traditional students.


Milestone Moment

Le Moyne certified its 10,000th graduate, a milestone which underscored not only how far the college had come, but how young it remained, with most of its alumni still in the workforce.


Values Program Launches

At the instigation of the Rev. Donald Kirby, S.J., of the department of religious studies, Le Moyne became one of eight colleges across the nation to conduct a “values audit” in 1984. As one consequence of that self-appraisal, Kirby assembled a group of six professors from various departments to discuss ways in which values-related issues could be emphasized at Le Moyne without succumbing to proselytization or indoctrination. The group met regularly for three years, constituted itself as the “Values Program,” and obtained funding for a series of summer institutes on values-laden themes for faculty, staff, administrators and students.


Cinderella Dolphins

Le Moyne entered the NCAA tournament seeded sixth and last, behind Arkansas, Arizona State, Illinois, Penn, and George Washington. In the opening game against Arkansas, the team came out on top with a victory of 7-5 but lost 7-0 against Illinois. The following day, Le Moyne defeated Penn 18-16 in the greatest comeback in NCAA history. Two hours later they took on Arizona State and eliminated the second seed with a 4-2 victory. In the rematch with Arkansas, the Dolphins came up short, but earled the respect of baseball fans across the country.


Recreation Center Opens

Le Moyne broke ground for the Recreation Center in the spring of 1988; the center opened in April of 1989. One of the aims of Jesuit education is to educate the whole person, including body and soul in addition to the mind. It assumes that young minds work best when supported by a healthy body and spirit. The center was one of Le Moyne's giant steps toward achieving that aim.


First Graduate Program Launches

Directed by Professor William G. Foote, the MBA program at Le Moyne opened it's doors. The program was oriented to the learning needs of the adult professional. Focusing on business people in their late twenties and older, it blended practical, hands-on training with a strong yet appropriately balanced intellectual and theoretical component. M.B.A. graduates learned that the decisions they would be asked to make would carry consequences with impacts far beyond the immediate confines of the corporation that employs them.


Dolphins Make a Major Splash

1993 baseball team that featured 4 players selected in the MLB draft: Jon Ratliff, RHP, Chicago Cubs, Dave Smith, SS, Boston Red Sox, Chuck Kulle, OF, Cleveland Indians, Dickie Woodridge, 2B, San Diego Padres


Chapel Dedicated

On October 29, 1994, Bishop Joseph T. O’Keefe presided at the dedication of the Panasci Family Chapel, dedicated at Henry Panasci’s request to the Madonna della Strada (Our Lady of the Way). That title connects Le Moyne’s chapel to the first Jesuit church, Santa Maria della Strada in Rome, which was given to the Society of Jesus in 1542 by the pope. With a 400-seat main chapel, a small prayer chapel for daily mass, a spacious community room, and ample office space for campus ministry, the new facility provides an exceptional setting for worship, ministry and fellowship. Beyond this, its prominent location opposite Grewen Hall, combined with the distinctiveness of its architectural profile, stand as a constant reminder to all of the beliefs and values that continue to animate Le Moyne College.


Dining Center Renovated

The renovated dining center was a thoroughly modernized building. All the dining takes place on the expanded south side, which can accommodate 525 students at one sitting. A large, brightly illuminated gallery offers entry to the dining area, and the decentralization of food service among six different modules eliminates the need for long lines. Students are able to select the sort of food they wish and proceed directly to that module.


Masters in Education Programs Added

These new offerings complemented the college’s well-established and highly successful teacher preparatory programs at the undergraduate level, building on Le Moyne’s well-deserved reputation throughout upstate New York as a superb institution for teacher education. Unlike the M.B.A. program, which was structured solely for part-time students, the graduate programs in education could be pursued on either a full-time or part-time basis.


Men's Lacrosse Takes First National Title

The 2004 men’s lacrosse season began with grit and focus; the type of determination that can only be derived from the heartbreak of the final game from the previous season. The Dolphins cruised through the regular season and NE10 Championship with a perfect 14-0 record having outscored their opponents 229 to 63. A dominating regular season earned Le Moyne a home game in the NCAA semifinals, where they defeated New York Tech, 7-5, to avenge a one-goal loss to the Bears in the same round the previous year and earn a berth in the College’s first national championship game.


Eric Dolphy Statue Unveiled

The statue of the internationally acclaimed jazz musician was commissioned for the 40th anniversary celebration of Dolphy Day.


First Service Group Travels to Kenya

15 members of the Le Moyne community traveled to Kenya for a three-week service trip over the 2010-2011 break. Everyone found the trip to be a life-changing experience: "the spirit and hope of the clients among such dire circumstances was both emotional and inspiring."


Nelligan Hall Goes Co-Ed

The student population, roughly 60 percent female, had created a critical need for more housing for women. Also, a cultural shift was noted. Whereas in the ’70s parents were reluctant to give permission for their offspring to live in co-ed dorms, in the last decade, parents of male freshmen complained if their sons did not get into a co-ed dorm. By 2010, co-ed housing was an accepted fact.


An Historic First

Dr. Linda M. LeMura became the 14th president of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., on July 1, 2014. She is the first female layperson to ascend to the presidency of a Jesuit institution in the United States.


Purcell School Named

The highly regarded M.S. program in Physician Assistant Studies was complemented by master’s programs in nursing and occupational therapy. The naming in 2016 of the Kathy (’66) and John (‘65) Purcell School of Professional Studies completed the process of gathering these programs together under a single umbrella. The Purcells’ gift of $6.5 million, the third largest gift in Le Moyne’s history, was a logical consequence of their decades-long affection for their alma mater. Kathy and John put it this way: "Since we first set foot on campus as students and throughout our time as alumni, this wonderful Jesuit institution has been a central part of our lives for more than 50 years. We are so blessed to be able to give back to our alma mater in such a meaningful and significant way and to say thank you for all that Le Moyne has meant to us."


Women's Lacrosse Takes First National Title

The Le Moyne Dolphins made program history, winning their first national championship in defeating Florida Southern 16-11 from University of Tampa Lacrosse Stadium. Le Moyne was up to the task of slowing Florida Southern's potent offense. The Mocs, making their third-straight finals appearance, countered the Dolphins' Bryanna Fazio's opening goal by reeling off four straight of their own. The rain of South Florida couldn't slow the Dolphins, however, who opened up a 10-6 halftime lead. The Mocs made a run in the second half to try to capture their second championship in three years, but the Dolphins offense was simply too much. Led by Fazio, who had six goals and an assist, Erin McMullen, who had two goals and three assists, and Sidney Hall, who added four goals and two assists, the Dolphins rolled to program history 16-11.


First Doctoral Program Launched

Le Moyne extended its graduate programs with the establishment of its first doctoral program, leading to an Ed.D. in Executive Leadership. This innovative program provides leadership development for professionals in the fields of education, business and healthcare or for those seeking to enter the educational arena. It enters the future on the foundation of the past, unleashing Le Moyne’s commitment to the Jesuit way in offering a unique learning opportunity for professionals who, as leaders, are committed to promoting a just society and serving as men and women for and with others.