History And Traditions

Molloy College was founded by the Dominican Sisters of the Congregation of the Holy Cross Amityville. The establishment of a Catholic college for women on Long Island was a long time dream of the congregation that came to fruition through many years of patience and determination. The sisters obtained the deed to the land that would become Molloy's campus in 1942, but actual plans for the buildings were not begun until 1948. It was another six years before ground was broken for construction on August 15, 1954. With the support of Bishop Thomas E. Molloy and the encouragement of Monsignor Peter Quealy, Mother Anselma Ruth O.P., Ph.D., first president of Molloy, and Sister Rose Gertrude Hoenighausen, O.P., Ph.D., first Academic Dean, officially opened the doors of the College to a freshman class of 44 young women at a Victorian residence on North Village Avenue in Rockville Centre on September 12, 1955.

As classes got underway at the North Village Avenue "Mansion," construction was moving forward quickly at Molloy's permanent campus, located a few blocks away on Hempstead Avenue. Quealy Hall was completed just before the fall term started in 1956 and the young college quickly abandoned the Mansion for its new home. The second key building on campus, Kellenberg Hall, was completed a few years later in the fall of 1958. Mother Bernadette de Lourdes, second president, guided the young college at this formative time and presided over Molloy's first graduating class in 1959. It was during Mother Bernadette's tenure that Molloy Catholic College for Women gained its absolute charter from New York State in 1960.

The decade that followed, from 1962 through 1972, the College was led by its third President, Sr. Mary Celeste Beck, O.P., Ph.D. During these years Molloy solidified its service-oriented professional programs in Nursing and Education and developed a reputation for excellence and value in higher education on Long Island. Accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education was obtained in 1967, and professional accreditation of the nursing program by the National League for Nursing followed soon after in 1969. Toward the end of Sr. Celeste's tenure, two significant and related changes took place at Molloy - the college accepted men into the evening classes in the nursing program, and the name was officially changed from Molloy Catholic College for Women, to Molloy College.

Sr. Janet Fitzgerald, O.P., Ph.D. was elected president of Molloy in the fall of 1972. A young, energetic philosophy professor, Sr. Janet took on the role of leadership at a time of growth in both the student population and the physical campus. Ten years into her term, in 1982, Molloy officially became co-educational. During her 24 years as president, Molloy College's student population doubled and academic programs expanded adding over 13 major fields of study and introducing both graduate programs and post-master's certificate programs. The physical campus expanded too - adding three new buildings; the Wilbur Arts Center, the Sacred Heart Chapel and the William J. Casey Center.  

The latter half of the 1990's was a time of change at Molloy. Breaking with over forty years of tradition, Molloy elected its first non-religious president in 1996, Dr. Martin Snyder, Ph.D. Notable achievements of this time were the approval of a master of science in education degree, and the establishment of the Center for Social and Ethical Concerns and the Global Learning Program. Molloy's facilities also grew with the addition of three houses adjacent to the main campus.  

The millennium brought a new leader to Molloy and with him a renewed vision and purpose. Dr. Drew Bogner, Ph.D. was inaugurated in February 2000, as the sixth president of Molloy College. Under his guidance, Molloy has strengthened its commitment to providing a values-focused experience and has expanded upon one of its founding principles - Leadership Through Service. Dr. Bogner has been instrumental in helping the College develop as a center for social discourse.

In tandem with the growth of programs in the 21st century, Molloy's campus has continued to evolve. In 2005, the Suffolk Center, a satellite facility in Farmingdale, opened and Siena Hall was dedicated on the main Rockville Centre campus. After many years of planning Molloy opened a new student and community centered building in 2011. The aptly named Public Square is designed to be Molloy's central hub for conversation and discussion with spaces for both public venues and student study. Perhaps the most auspicious change at Molloy is the opening of the College's first student Residence Hall, in the fall of 2011.

From modest beginnings, Molloy has grown rapidly and consistently. Founded as a Catholic women's college with academic programs focused on service-oriented professions such as Nursing and Education, today Molloy is a multi-denominational, co-educational institution offering bachelors, masters, post-graduate certificates - and as of 2010 a doctoral degree in Nursing.