Manhattan College is a Roman Catholic liberal arts college in the Lasallian tradition in New York City. Despite the college's name, it is no longer located in Manhattan but in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, less than a mile north of the northern tip of Manhattan and roughly 10 miles north of Midtown. Manhattan College offers undergraduate programs in the arts, business, education, engineering, and science. Graduate programs are offered for education and engineering.
It also houses a public middle school, Jonas Bronck Academy, on the bottom floor of Hayden Hall, the primary residence of the Biochemistry, Chemistry and Physics departments, named after the noted philanthropist Charles Hayden.
The college was founded as the Academy of the Holy Infancy in 1853 by five French Lasallian Brothers in a small building on Canal Street. When the need to expand forced them from Lower Manhattan, the College moved to 131st Street and Broadway, in the Manhattanville section of Harlem. Passengers on the uptown 1 line of the New York City Subway will find that there is a short-section of above-ground track located near the college's original location. The school's name was changed to Manhattan College 1863, and moved to its present location in the Riverdale section of The Bronx in 1922 as it outgrew its facilities in Manhattanville. This is often the cause of some confusion as the college is located outside of Manhattan but still within the city limits of New York City.
Originally exclusive to men, Manhattan College established a cooperative program with the College of Mount Saint Vincent with which it still shares some facilities and programs after the pair became coeducational in 1973 and 1974, respectively. As of 2006, however, Manhattan College and the College of Mount Saint Vincent have decided to separate completely, including academically. This separation is set for the end of the 2007-2008 academic year.
For 118 years, there existed on the Manhattan College campus a boys' secondary school, Manhattan College High School, familiarly known to students, parents, and rivals as Manhattan Prep. Founded in 1854, the school educated its young men in a Catholic college preparatory curriculum geared toward eventual university matriculation. It was, indeed, a "prep" school in the classic sense: coats and ties were mandatory for class attendance; strict standards of behavior were enforced; and daily newspaper reading was required. The curriculum included 3 years of Latin (with an optional 4th year); foreign language study, including Greek, French, and Spanish; 4 years of laboratory science, and 4 years each of mathematics, English rhetoric and literary forms, and theology.
Throughout its existence, Manhattan Prep was very much the "kid brother" of its host institution. Students shared the college cafeteria, auditorium, and athletic facilities, and its sports teams bore the nickname, "the Jasperites" in homage to the Manhattan College Jaspers. The school newspaper, published monthly, was called The Prepster.
Manhattan Prep closed its doors in 1972 due to rising costs and a decline in religious vocations.
Manhattan College offers degrees in five undergraduate schools: Arts, Business, Education, Engineering and Science. The School of Arts is the largest school overall at the college, but the School of Engineering is the college's most well-known program.
Students are required to take college-wide general education requirements (such as math, college writing, religion and foreign language) as well as core requirements in their respective school, which varies by school. For example, the School of Arts maintains a core curriculum called The Roots of Modern Learning which includes courses such as "Classical Origins of Western Culture."
Classes operate on a semester schedule. The first semester begins in late-August and runs to December. The second semester begins in mid- to late-January and runs to May. Some courses may run in summer and January, but most students do not take classes during these times.
The College also offers graduate programs in Education and Engineering. The graduate School of Engineering allows students studying engineering as an undergraduate the opportunity to continue on to get their Master's degree without having to switch colleges, as is the case at colleges with a 3 + 2 Engineering program.
Academic programs that were entirely housed at the College of Mount Saint Vincent (such as Communications) are currently being created on campus.
Manhattan College contains chapters of various honor societies as Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and Tau Beta Pi. Manhattan participates in the Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges and in the New York Cluster of seven colleges and universities supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts for undergraduate science education.
The school's men's sports teams are called the Jaspers; women are known as Lady Jaspers. It is written in the Baseball Hall of Fame that "During one particularly warm and humid day when Manhattan College was playing a semi-pro baseball team called the Metropolitans, Brother Jasper noticed the Manhattan students were becoming restless and edgy as Manhattan came to bat in the seventh inning of a close game. To relieve the tension, Brother Jasper called time-out and told the students to stand up and stretch for a few minutes until the game resumed." On the college's 150th anniversary in 2003 at a New York Yankees game, Brother Jasper was credited with the Seventh-inning stretch.
The College annually played the New York Giants in the late 1880s and into the 1890s at the Polo Grounds and Manhattan is credited by the Baseball Hall of Fame with the practice of the “seventh inning stretch" spreading from there into major league baseball.
Luis Castro, a Manhattan College alumnus, was the first ever professional baseball player of Hispanic origin.
Overall, Manhattan College is home to 19 Division-I athletic teams for men and women, including basketball, soccer, baseball and softball, tennis, lacrosse and volleyball. Historically track and field has been the school's strongest sport.
Manhattan College did have a football program from 1924 until 1942. The college team posted an all-time record of 194 wins, 198 losses, and 22 ties. The final coach for the school's football team was Herbert M. Kopf. After the 1942 season, the school suspended intercollegiate football competition for World War II and then did not reactivate the program after completion of the war. The team was invited to the first ever Orange Bowl, then known as the Miami Palm Festival, a contest they lost 7-0 to the University of Miami.
The team was revived in the 1960's in the form of a club team, and existed until 1987. The final Manhattan College football game was a loss against the University of Massachusetts - Boston.
The school participated in the first intercollegiate lacrosse game in the United States, playing New York University.
Manhattan College is a relatively compact campus given its student population. The focal point of the campus is the Quad, which sits at the center of the campus four main buildings. Memorial Hall is the main entry onto campus and houses the office of the president as well as much of the other administrative offices on campus. Miguel Hall and De La Salle Hall are the main academic halls that border each side of the Quad. The fourth side of the Quad is bordered by the chapel building, which houses Smith Auditorium (used for receptions and various speakers and performances) on the first floor and the Chapel of De La Salle and His Brothers on the second floor.
Thomas Hall is the College's student life building. It houses the offices of the Dean of Students, the student government, the radio station, the newspaper, the TV station, the musical ensembles, and others. The colleges three dining halls, Locke's Loft, Plato's Cave and Dante's Den, are also located in Thomas Hall.
The O'Malley Library is relatively new, six-story structure that was joined with the previous library, the Cardinal Hayes Pavilion. Built on a hill, the new library was built directly next to and above the old one, essentially combining the two and creating more floors. The Office of Admissions is on the sixth floor of O'Malley.
Hayden Hall is on the east side of campus and houses the sciences as well as Jonas Bronck Academy.
Separate from the main campus, across 240th street, is the Leo Engineering Building and the Research and Learning Center (RLC). The two are home to all of the engineering departments: electrical, computer, civil, chemical, mechanical, and environmental, along with the math and computer science department. Laboratories and classes for these disciplines take place in both buildings. Both biology and chemistry laboratories are also located in Leo. The Leo cafeteria, located in the basement, provides an alternative to trekking up to the main campus for breakfast and lunch.
The Leo Engineering Building is the future home of the Communications Department's new television studio and journalism lab.
There are currently on-campus dorms at Manhattan. Jasper Hall and Chrysostom Hall are both traditional-style dorms, while Horan Hall (the newest and, at 11 stories, largest) is a suite-style building. A new dorm is being built next to and in the style of Horan Hall, tentatively called East Hill Tower II, and construction is scheduled to be complete by Fall of 2008. There are plans to turn Chrysostom Hall into offices once the new building is constructed. Chrysostom Hall is said to be haunted by the ghost of Brother Chrysostom who died of a mysterious death on campus. Hundreds of students have claimed of paranormal activity inside the halls of Chrysostom. The college also leases a number of off-campus apartment complexes, making these rooms available to upper classmen.
Draddy Gymnasium is the home of the basketball and volleyball teams, and also features the largest indoor track in New York City. Commencement exercises are held in Draddy. Gaelic Park, on 240th street, has recently been renovated with an artificial turf and is where soccer, lacrosse, and softball teams play. The college also heavily utilizes adjacent Van Cortlandt Park for baseball, outdoor track and field, golf, and cross country. Alumni Hall is the home of the college's workout facilities.
The College is located between two major New York City roads, the Henry Hudson Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway. The Van Cortlandt Park-242nd Street subway station provides access to Manhattan and the rest of the city via the 1 train. Travel time to midtown on the subway is roughly 30-40 minutes.