Marist Campus

About Marist College

Menu Display


Marist History: 1929-1978

In 1929, college-level courses were first offered. In 1946, the State of New York granted the institution an official, four-year charter under the leadership of founding president Brother Paul Ambrose Fontaine, FMS. The Brothers set about to construct several buildings on the grounds of what was then called Marian College: a gymnasium (now Marian Hall, a student residence) in 1947; Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel in 1953; the Brothers' residence, located on the site of the James A. Cannavino Library, in 1954; and Adrian Hall in 1957 (which was demolished in 2000).

Dr. Linus Richard Foy became president in 1958 and became, at age 28, the youngest college president in the United States. Marian College became Marist College in 1960. In that same year, the mission of the College was broadened to include the wider community. Lay male students were admitted to pursue undergraduate studies. An evening division was also introduced to serve the educational needs of the surrounding communities.

Sheahan Hall opened as the first campus residence hall in 1962. It was named for a long-time pastor of St. Peter's Church in Poughkeepsie, which was then the parish church of the Brothers and the College. It was followed in 1963 by Leo Hall, named for Brother Leo Brouilette, a former provincial of the Marist Brothers who was responsible for securing the 1929 charter for the Marist Normal Training School, the forerunner of modern-day Marist College, and Champagnat Hall, named for the founder of the Marist Brothers, Saint Marcellin Champagnat, in 1965. All three of these residence halls, which house first-year students, were recently renovated. Leonidoff Field, the College's first major athletic field, was named for benefactor Dr. Alexi Leonidoff and dedicated in 1968.

Women were admitted to the evening division in 1966. In 1968, women entered the day division, making the College fully coeducational. Ownership of the College was transferred in 1969 to the Marist College Educational Corporation with an independent, predominantly lay board of trustees. Nonetheless, the Marist Brothers' legacy of service and striving for excellence continues to inspire and enrich the academic life of the College. Donnelly Hall was built by the Brothers in 1962 and named for Brother Nilus Donnelly, who supervised construction of the 12 major campus facilities built by the Brothers. Donnelly Hall was renovated between 1989 and 1991 to house classrooms, lecture halls, a science center, the Fashion Program, the College's information technology facilities, a computer lab and administrative offices.

Under President Foy's leadership in the late 1960s, the College expanded programs for the educationally disadvantaged, added a computer center, instituted graduate programs in business administration and community psychology, and completed the James J. McCann Recreation Center.

In 1973, Marist began a cooperative program with area secondary schools in which selected high school seniors take first-year college courses through Marist and "bridge" into college. The following year, the College expanded its commitment to continuing education by increasing course offerings in the evening division and summer session.