The Latino Experience & Seton Hall University – From Pioneering Students to the Unanue Institute

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month and the 45th Anniversary of the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute, the Archives & Special Collections Center is proud to present an exhibit that honors the contributions of this Center and its varied accomplishments.

First Page of the 1856-57 Student Register

The historical course of Seton Hall has been enhanced with the presence of Latino students from its foundation years to the present day.  Within the earliest college registers it has been discovered that Mr. Ernesto Regil, a native of the Yucatan Mexico was the 20th student ever enrolled at the school on October 20, 1856.  This milestone led the way to a number of other students from across Mexico along with future classmates from the Latin American countries of Cuba, Ecuador, and Panama among other lands who would consistently fill class rosters during the mid-late 19th century.  Their example led the path, but over time countless students, faculty, administrators, and friends of the Latino experience have also contributed to the positive growth of Seton Hall in their own respective ways.

More formal recognition of the contributions made by the Latino community came about in 1974 with the creation of the Puerto Rican Institute (which would later come to be known as the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute) at Seton Hall University.  Their objective has been to promote scholarship, culture, history, and build further recognition of the value connected with this unique area of study as shown in part through various examples found within this exhibit and within our collective research holdings.

Various reproductions from original texts found within the Archives & Special Collections Center have been included to highlight the early days of the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute in order to show in part the educational mission, cultural support, and overall vibrancy and value of this organization across campus and to the wider community.

Examples from our collection will be on exhibit from September through December of 2019 in the First Floor foyer of Walsh Library located across from the stairs and elevator.

  • For additional background and more information on this topic and other aspects of Seton Hall please feel free to contact University Archivist, Alan Delozier at: delozier@shu.edu or by phone: (973) 275-2378.

A Moment in Space and Time – Seton Hall Honors A Pioneering Astronaut

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first successful Moon Landing by humankind, this month has been a time of reflection in regard to the wonders of inter-galactic exploration that have made history.  The American space program was very active during the 1960s as a number of different astronauts and support staff completed memorable missions beyond the borders of Earth made it possible for scores of individuals to learn more about our solar system as a result of their collective efforts.  Those connected with Seton Hall were no different in its fascination with astronomological  studies through the sharing of news updates, course content, and seeing what would come next in the evolution of space travel and discovery.

In light of the popularity of the cosmos created through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and its successful work made those associated with the program not only trailblazers, but also heroes and role models.  This led Seton Hall to bestow an honorary degree of science on James Alton McDivitt (b. 1929), a United States Air Force Brigadier General (Ret.), Aeronautical Engineer, and Astronaut whose work with various programs between 1962-72 as part of NASA led to command of the Gemini 4 mission which included the first U.S. spacewalk and the Apollo 9 mission of April, 1969.  This latter endeavor encompassed the testing of Lunar Modules and hardware that would be used a few months later on the famed mission to the Moon that achieved success and renown two months later.

McDivitt himself made history as the first Roman Catholic to soar into space.  Along with this milestone, his  accomplishments on the whole were recognized by University President, the Most Reverend John Dougherty in his last official act before retirement when he introduced then Colonel McDivitt at the morning commencement ceremony of June 7, 1969 with the following words . . .

“Mother Earth is a Jealous Guardian, and Few are the Men who have been privileged to free themselves completely from her embrace.  Yet he whom we honor here has done so twice . . . Were it not for the knowledge gleaned from the experiments with Apollo 9, of which he was the command pilot, we would not now – – actually and vicariously – – be standing on the threshold of the moon and, perhaps, beyond.  Stalwart in honor, upright in integrity, steadfast in bravery, devoted to his family and his country and his God, he was but a natural choice to become an adopted son of Seton Hall.  For he is of the stuff of heroes.”

Seton Hall University Commencement – 1969 (From Left to Right) Bishop John Dougherty, University President; Senator Gale W. McGee, (D-WY); Colonel McDivitt

Before a graduating class of 1,887, Colonel McDivitt noted to those in attendance that: “You are entering into another form of life, and there is a lot to be done . . . With luck, skill and hard work I am confident we will land on the moon this year.  I am also confident that in your lifetime you will see men on Venus and Mars.  Landing on the moon is only the first step in space exploration.  Perhaps in your lifetime you will be called upon to solve problems on Mars and Venus along with those on Earth and the knowledge we gain will help the lot of people all over the world.”  He also urged the graduates to keep both their standards and ideals high as they made their way in the world.  Another revelation came when Colonel McDivitt mentioned that he carried a relic of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton on his Apollo 9 flight that was sent to him by a nun who prayed for his success and in the process made the bond closer between the honoree and his fellow alumni.

With his words as a prelude to the Moon landing and the exploration of Mars that is currently being undertaken, the words of Colonel McDivitt live on and have provided the Seton Hall community and others who heard his message with a hopeful note moving into the future of time and space discoveries yet to ensue.

For more information on Seton Hall history please feel free to contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist by e-mail: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or phone: (973) 275-2378.

“Pirates Beyond Play” – Seton Hall Athletics Exhibit

Walsh Gallery Highlights Seton Hall’s Sport History

“Pirates Beyond Play”

Mon June 3 – Thurs Aug 8, 2019

The Walsh Gallery, in conjunction with the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives & Special Collections Center at Seton Hall University, presents “Pirates Beyond Play” (The History and Art of Setonia Athletics, 1856-2006) on display between Monday, June 3 – Thursday, August 8, 2019.  The exhibit was created and organized by Jeanne Brasile, Gallery Director and curated by University Archivist Alan Delozier.  This show focuses on the symbolic, intellectual and aesthetic importance of sports on the Seton Hall University campus.  Objects on display include artifacts such as vintage magazine covers, game programs, photographs, uniforms and other ephemera that give homage to numerous athletic achievements over the years.

University Archivist, Alan Delozier will present a gallery talk on the History of Athletics at Seton Hall and tour of the exhibit on Monday, June 10th from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  An optional complimentary lunch is available.  To RSVP for the talk and/or lunch, please contact at: alan.delozier@shu.edu or (973) 275-2378.  The exhibition and talk are free and open to the public.

The Walsh Gallery is located on the first floor of Walsh Library located on the campus of Seton Hall University.  Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 10:30am to 4:30pm.  Additional information can be found via the Walsh Gallery website – https://library.shu.edu/walshgallery/current-exhibitions or (973) 275-2033.

 

South Orange and Seton Hall – Local Research Ties

Seton Hall has enjoyed a historical relationship with the Village of South Orange since the school established their campus within its boundaries after moving from nearby Madison in 1860.  The original land which constitutes the present-day South Orange was purchased by Robert Treat (also acknowledged as the founder of Newark) from officials of the Lenni Lenape tribe around 1666. This led to official settlement by the Brown brothers (Joseph and Thomas) who built a farmstead along the present-day South Orange Avenue by 1680 that ultimately set the stage for the development of Setonia in due course.

Over the next few centuries this area experienced steady development in terms of a resort town during the 1800s and subsequent year-round residential growth.  This was in large measure made possible when South Orange became a transportation hub for the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad as of 1869 when the area was also incorporated as South Orange Township (that originally contained present-day Maplewood before this municipality became independent) and made for a prime destination that appealed to commuters, visitors, and students from across the metropolitan area.  South Orange is also known for its distinctive gas light posts and these illuminations served a symbolic and practical purpose for both hometown citizens and those affiliated with the college.  These milestones and others have led to many joint landmarks and project building initiatives over time.

Beyond this brief overview of local history, there are many layers of research potential that bond “town and gown” together including prominent individuals, property data, shared events, and many other topics of note.  Specific examples of collections found within our repository include, but are not limited to various files related to past University Presidents, Velotto South Orange Postcard Collection, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish files, and many other examples found through our Rare Book and various manuscript-based holdings.  More information and leads can be found via our homepage-based search engine – https://archivesspace-library.shu.edu/search?q[]=south+orange&op[]=&field[]=keyword&from_year[]=&to_year[]=&filter_fields[]=repository&filter_values[]=%2Frepositories%2F2

Along with our own resource base and work in preserving historical school records within the context of the town has been a constant.  Research tools of various types are available within the University Libraries and through its book catalog, databases, and different electronic-based sites.  Specialized connections have also been made with the South Orange Public Library, South Orange Historical Preservation Society, and other organizations and individuals around the area have provided valuable research connections over the years Further details can be located within a specially created Library Reference Guide devoted to South Orange resources found within the following link – https://library.shu.edu/south-orange

For more information on resources related to Seton Hall, South Orange, and other aspects of local history please feel free to contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist via e-mail at: Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or by phone: (973) 275-2378.

College life in the 1870s: John Erigena Robinson’s diary

The Archives & Special Collections Center recently acquired a historic diary of a Seton Hall student, which provides interesting glimpses into what it was like to attend Seton Hall College in the 19th century. The diary was written by John Erigena Robinson, who graduated from Seton Hall College in 1874. His diary concerns his everyday life at the college, including worrying about assignments, writing letters to his family and friends, and playing for the college’s baseball team. The campus that Robinson studied at during the mid-1870s was one that centered on a structured, liberal arts education that was emblematic of Catholic higher education during his age. He entered into a world of study at Setonia that consisted of two sessions lasting five months apiece from September through June.

Front cover of John Erigena Robinson's diary
Front cover of John Erigena Robinson’s diary

According to his recollections, Robinson primarily lived on campus during the school year, but on many weekends and holidays he would travel the roughly 24 miles from South Orange to Manhattan via the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad roughly three hours or more round trip to visit family and friends and then reverse his commute prior to the resumption of classes.  After walking from the train station to campus he would study on campus in a setting where “The College buildings are of great architectural beauty, large and commodious . . . ” and quite different in setting with the Orange Mountains in the background as opposed to the more congested streets of Brooklyn.  Along with the scenery and the structures where he would spend most of his time while at the school, Robinson entered a world that was structured and included a liberal arts curriculum of long standing.

A view of Seton Hall College from 1875
A view of Seton Hall College from 1875

Beyond the classroom, Robinson played baseball for the Seton Hall nine also commonly known in that age as the Alerts which began as a popular sport on campus during the late 1860s and engaged in more formal play the following decade.  According to existing documentation they played local teams mainly their arch-rivals St. John’s College (now known as Fordham) of the Bronx during the 1873 season.  The main highlight of his time was a defeat of St. John’s 24-13 during October of that year which carried the squad into the following campaign where they would play the same opponent twice more.  Robinson would be among the pioneer players for the team that would grow in competitiveness and success over subsequent seasons.

One of the earliest photographs of Seton Hall College's baseball team, The Alerts, taken in the early 1890s.
One of the earliest photographs of Seton Hall College’s baseball team, The Alerts, taken in the early 1890s.

John Erigena Robinson was the son of William Erigena Robinson, a congressman and a journalist whose political career is mentioned several times in the diary. Robinson must have been inspired by his father’s journalistic pursuits, because he writes in the diary about his desire to start a student newspaper for Seton Hall College. On January 26, 1873 he wrote:

“To start a paper. How, when, and where? These were the things that occupied me during the day and I may add during the night as I went to bed and fell asleep with visions of shears scraps and papers flying here and there. If we can only get the permission of Malley who owns a press and of Dr. Corrigan who heads the College we are all right. We have fixed the name it is the Setonian. We have got the outline and the matter for each page and now for the permission of the two worthies who at least in this case have a great case in hand!”

Unfortunately, Robinson never realized his dream of starting The Setonian. A full explanation is never given in the diary, but on February 14, 1873 he laments that his plans will not come to fruition:

“George and Bill received a valentine today. I also received one. It had a picture of an editor on it and some ridiculous rhyming lines beneath it. It was sent to me as it had got around that I was going to start a paper in the college. Alas, the poor ‘Setonian’ is but a dream of the past.”

The reasons why Robinson was not able to start a college newspaper are unknown, but fortunately for Seton Hall it was not completely “a dream of the past” but simply deferred. A college newspaper was eventually founded in 1924—51 years after Robinson’s plans and with the same name he proposed, The Setonian.

Front page of the first issue of the Setonian
The first issue of the Setonian was released on March 15, 1924, 51 years after Robinson’s initial attempt to start a newspaper for Seton Hall College.

After graduation, Robinson returned home to Brooklyn and filled his days by playing baseball and meeting with friends. When the school year re-commences and he does not return to Seton Hall, he muses in his diary:

“First day of September. Tomorrow school opens. I have no fears of the morrow. The noisy Setonia cricket no longer hears my tramp. The boys no longer shake me by the hand. The prefect no longer smiles in anticipation of the sarcasm and the lines he will burden me with. Such is the past. The future is alone known to God. Played ball.”

Handwritten entry in Robinson's diary reflecting on Seton Hall College
Handwritten entry in Robinson’s diary reflecting on Seton Hall College

Like many Seton Hall students, Robinson felt a connection to the College that extended well beyond his graduation, and further diary entries indicate that he remains aware of what is happening there and stays in touch with friends he met in school. His diary provides insight into the ways that student life has changed over the years, but also ways it has remained the same. To read the whole diary and learn more about the context of Robinson’s life, please visit our digital exhibit.  For more information or to view the diary please make an appointment with Brianna LoSardo or Alan Delozier. We can be contacted at archives@shu.edu or (973)-761-9476.

Studying Ireland, Irish Resources in the Archives and Special Collections Center

With March upon us an increased interest in learning about the culture, history, individuals, events, and traditions associated with the Irish experience is both evident and welcome!  However, when it comes to finding resources related to both Éire proper and Irish-America alike we offer year-round opportunities to study a wide-range of subject areas related to, and inspired by Ireland proper.

The Archives & Special Collections Center at Seton Hall University features a group of printed volumes from the collection of Irish literary figure and noted book collector Michael Joseph (Meagher) MacManus (1888-1951) who wrote various nationalist-themed books and worked as editor of the Irish Press from 1931 until his death two decades later. This library includes over 3,000 titles dating from the seventeenth century to the present day and covers several different aspects of Irish and Irish-American life including culture, geography, literature, politics, biography, history and religion. Nearly all editions are printed in either English or Irish (Gaelach).  The core of this collection consists of acquisitions secured by MacManus during his lifetime, but arrangements have been made to add latter day works to what has become a continuously expanding bibliography.

Most of these volumes of the volumes found in the MacManus Collection are housed in our repository, but many non-rare titles featuring a connection to the Ireland and Irish-American experience in some manner are also included via our databases (including the JSTOR Irish Studies Collection – https://www.jstor.org/subject/irishstudies and the digital Irish Times and Weekly Irish Times [1859-2015] – https://search.proquest.com/hnpirishtimes/index?accountid=13793) along with various e-books or print volumes in our Main Collection and assorted Reference Collection holdings.  More information can be found via our Irish Studies Research Guide – https://library.shu.edu/Irish-studies

and complimented by one specializing on Irish Literature: Past and Present – https://library.shu.edu/irishlit compiled by Professor Gerry Shea.

Another collection donated by Rita Murphy (1912-2003), achieved status as one of the first female graduates of Seton Hall in 1937, prior to becoming a long-time director of the Irish Institute at Seton Hall during the 1950s and 1960s.  She also hosted a weekly Irish Music Program on W-S-O-U FM, South Orange and frequently appeared on local television.  Her collection of nearly 1,000 titles are complimented by other important works donated by prominent donors of Irish titles including the recently acquired Emmet-Tuite Library of volumes focusing on varied aspects of the Irish experience printed between from the 16-19th century, noted New Jersey based journalists Barbara O’Reilly; Jim Lowney and noted advocate Jim McFarland whose bequest centers on focused materials related to political issues in Northern Ireland over the past few decades.

Counted among our major subject collections featuring Irish subject matter include the reference papers of John Concannon (1924-2011) former author, publicist and National Historian of the Ancient Order of Hibernians whose voluminous source material on Ireland and Irish-America is especially detailed with particular emphasis on parades, noted political and military figures.  In addition, the Center houses microfilm editions of the National Hibernian Digest (1905-97), Hibernian Journal (1907-69), and Convention Proceedings of the AOH in America (1888-1990).  Various materials including ledgers, documents, and other items representing the New Jersey AOH have also found a central place within our collection.

When it comes to family ties and Irish-connected genealogy, the presence of church census data, select religious community information, educational files and various institutional and parish records are also found within this collection. Original and microfilmed nineteenth and early twentieth century sacramental registers from both current or closed parishes and various local cemeteries provide a wealth of data for those conducting genealogical research for their Irish and Irish-American ancestors either on-site or via mail inquiry. Supplementing these distinctive resources are bound or microfilm copies of Catholic Almanacs and Directories dating from 1851 onward.

Governor Richard J. Hughes greets President John F. Kennedy at Mercer County Airport – Trenton, NJ, c. 1962

In terms of manuscript collections individual figures with Irish surnames have also been featured prominently in the organization of archival collections featured at Seton Hall through University connections including such academics and former presidents as Bernard J. McQuaid (1856-1857 and 1859-1867); James H. Corrigan (1876-1888); James F. Mooney (1907-1922); Thomas H. McLaughlin (1922-1933); Francis J. Monaghan (1933-1936); James F. Kelley (1936-1949); John L. McNulty (1949-1959) and John J. Dougherty (1959-1969).  Other prominent collections include resource materials from the laity including Congressman Marcus Daly (1908-1969) of Monmouth County, the first Catholic Governor of New Jersey Richard J. Hughes (1909-1992); and Bernard Shanley III (1903-1992), political advisor to President Dwight Eisenhower to name a few.

For more information about these, and other resources, and/or to schedule a research appointment please contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist/Education Coordinator via E-Mail:  Alan.Delozier@shu.edu or by Phone: (973) 275-2378

Women of Accomplishment and Authority Honoring the First Female Administrators and School Leaders of Seton Hall (1928-1959)

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Archives & Special Collections Center is proud to present an exhibit that honors some pioneering female professionals who made a difference in the building of a stronger administrative and educational institution over the last several decades on campus.

List of First Female Faculty at the Urban Division of  Seton Hall College (1937)

The varied contributions made by women in the annals of Setonia have always been significant from her earliest days forward. A portent of success was found when Mme. Chegary, a successful school mistress sold her academy to the Diocese of Newark in 1856 on land in Madison that served as the first home of Seton Hall.

Upon establishment of the school, the work of the Sisters of Charity was enlisted to provide spiritual leadership and nursing care and supervision of the infirmary during the 19th century.  The mothers of the all-male Seton Hall student body also provided a strong influence as role models and support for their college-bound sons.  The accomplishments of women during the early years of Seton Hall was rarely documented and mostly done in the shadows, but their varied and valuable contributions cannot be denied.

When it came to individual females who began the trend of administrative leadership on campus, Ms. Marie K. Fitzsimmons began her affiliation with Seton Hall as the College Registrar in 1928 and lasted through most of the 1950s.  Her work defined who would ultimately attend Setonia and she also oversaw the dawn of co-education when women were first admitted to the Urban Division of Seton Hall (Newark and Jersey City) in 1937.

Marie K. Fitzsimmons (Registrar)

This move towards admitting female students also paved the way for the first women faculty (either adjunct or full-time) members.  This included a number of subject experts including – Sr. M. Aloysius, O.P., Ph.D. (Psychology); Sr. M. Anthony, O.P., A.M. (Education); Sr. Catherine Jonata, M.P.F. (Modern Languages), A.M.; Mary A. Colton, LL.B. (Law); Sr. M. Ines, O.P., A.M. (English); Blanche Mary Kelly, Litt.D. (English); Julia Killian, B.S. (Library Science); Mary T. Mooney, A.M (Sociology).; Dorothy I. Mulgrave, Ph.D. (English); Mary C. Powers, A.M. (English & History/Social Studies); Aileen Reilly, A.M. (English); Elizabeth Scanlon, Ph.D. (Education); and Sr. Teresa Gertrude, O.S.B., Ph.D. (Education).  Complimenting this roster of instructors was Ms. Rita Murphy who became first head of an information center when she became Director of the Urban Division Library during the 1938 academic year.

Blanche Mary Kelly, Litt.D. (English)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary C. Powers, A.M. (English & History/Social Studies)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leadership opportunities arose shortly afterwards when Professor  Anne E. Murphy, B.A., B.S. was named as the first Dean of Nursing.  She became the first-ever female department head at Seton Hall in 1940. Her example led the way to the hire of other professional women who continuously led the School of Nursing in succession to the present day.  Other milestones initiated across campus included creation of the Dean of Women positon first held by Ms. Ruth Dugan, A.M. during the early 1950s.

When it came to national recognition, Seton Hall instituted its Law School in 1951 and school administration selected Miriam T. Rooney, LL.B. as the inaugural Dean who served in this capacity until her retirement in 1959.

Eventually more women served as key managers, faculty, vice presidents, deans, trustees, and within the last few years assumed top  positions within the administration.  Provost and Executive Vice President, Karen Boroff, Ph.D. and Acting University President appointed in 2016 and Mary Meehan, Ph.D. named in 2017 who serve in their respective capacities have made history and continue to blaze trails in the process.

Examples from our collection will be on exhibit from February through May of 2019 in the First Floor foyer of Walsh Library located across from the stairs and elevator.

  • For additional background and more information on this topic and other aspects of Seton Hall please feel free to contact University Archivist, Alan Delozier at: alan.delozier@shu.edu  or by phone: (973) 275-2378.

1968 : A Year in the Life of Seton Hall University – A Pictorial Retrospective Exhibit

The Archives & Special Collections Center is proud to present an exhibit that shows scenes from the Seton Hall campus from half a century ago to celebrate student life, academics, activities, and the school within the context of one of the most pivotal years and times in national and world history.

 

Counted among the highlights that happened at Seton Hall in 1968 include the following milestones . . .

  • The South Orange campus of Seton Hall becomes fully Co-Educational.
  • The Humanities Building (today known as “Fahy Hall” named in honor of Rev. Thomas Fahy) houses offices and classroom space is dedicated.
  • The Boland Hall East Dormitories were also dedicated on October 23.
  • Bishop John J. Dougherty serves as the University President (1959-69).
  • Commencement takes place on June 8th of that year.

  • Sister Agnes Reinkemeyer is appointed Dean of the School of Nursing on July 11th of that year.
  • University Council approves Voluntary R.O.T.C. Program on campus.
  • Business School starts plans for a new structure (ultimately completed in 1972).
  • Spring Weekend at Seton Hall called the “Biggest and Best Ever” at the time.
  • New Core Curriculum plan for the College of Arts & Sciences is discussed in December.

 

Examples from our collection will be on exhibit from October through December of 2018 in the First Floor foyer of Walsh Library located across from the stairs and elevator.

For additional background on the United States Constitution and questions about relevant holdings and other research topics please feel free to contact us at – archives@shu.edu or (973) 761-9476.

Discovering the namesake of the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives

Written by Rev. Michael Barone

The Spring 2018 semester at Seton Hall University found Archives staff at the Monsignor William Noé Field Archives and Special Collections Center beginning to process the collection belonging to the eponymous former University Archivist, Director of Special Collections, and Rare Book Librarian, who died in December 2000.

Holy card, 2000
Holy card, 2000

Speaking to people who knew him, one learns that “Father Field” was a fixture on campus and in the Archdiocese of Newark, for which he was ordained a priest in 1940.

While the arrangement and description of the collection is still an ongoing project, looking through Monsignor’s papers and ephemera, one sees the story of a priest, scholar, lecturer, and traveler beginning to take shape.  After all, archivists process and maintain the collections of persons so that their lives and work might be preserved for future generations of researchers and historians.  While tedious at times, the task of archiving invites oneself to experience a sense of reverence or respect for the subject and creator.

Being himself an archivist for 30 years, Msgr. Field’s papers gives insight into the work of a Dean of Library and Special Collections Director, who earned his MLS from Columbia University in 1961.

Daybook, 1940-1970
Daybook, 1940-1970

Most of the collection is structured to organize his academic papers. However, Monsignor Field was also a gifted poet who sent and received numerous greeting cards from all across the globe. These are part of a correspondence series.  Msgr. Field kept detailed travel logs, postcards, and brochures from years of travel.  Beloved chaplain and member of several professional societies, the numerous awards, religious and devotional objects, owned and collected by the priest, will be discoverable by use of a detailed finding aid describing its inventory of materials and their structure.

Entering the reading room, one notices a prominently placed bust and portrait of Msgr. William Noé Field, welcoming visitors to his beloved

Archives, which bear his name.  Founded during his lifetime, and organized with help of Peter Wosh, the Center remains a valuable repository and resource.  For more information, or to schedule a visit to the Archives at Seton Hall University, located on the ground floor of our Walsh Library.  We look forward to this collection being available to the public in the very near future.

Archives sign
Namesake of the Archives

 

Seton Hall Community College – The Associate Degree Experience (1952-64)

From its first semester forward, Seton Hall has offered students the option of pursuing a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree through its undergraduate studies program which on average typically lasted four years to complete. However, there have been exceptions to this traditional approach as educational trends changed over time.  For example, Seton Hall offered not only collegiate level instruction, but a preparatory school option during the earliest decades which encompassed a seven-year curriculum until this was discontinued in 1897 with “Seton Hall Prep” establishing its own identity.  Otherwise, during the twentieth century, Setonia began to develop various professional, or extension schools (not only its South Orange campus, but also in Newark, Jersey City, and Paterson) outside of the customary post-secondary model including such study options as certificate programs, distance education, graduate degrees, and other specialized curricula.  In general terms, many of these programs were designed to help educate and build specific skill sets for those who wanted to learn outside of the undergraduate model.  In many cases, these programs usually last two-three years (or less) depending on the major and curriculum involved.  This led to an experimental school known as the Seton Hall Community College which helped train a number of individuals for work in the white collar world.

Seton Hall Community College (SHCC) followed a wave of other accredited two-year schools (also known as junior colleges) that were established nationwide. During the post World War II and Korean War-era when the GI Bill helped pay for tuition for college education this led to an explosion in college attendance and offered increased learning opportunities for veterans, but also others who wanted to explore different vocational options.  On a more local level within New Jersey, for a number of years SHCC shared company with independent junior colleges that featured Catholic-affiliation including  the now defunct Alphonsus, Don Bosco, Englewood Cliffs, Maryknoll, and Tombrock Colleges for example.  Today most accredited community colleges are public institutions administered on a county-wide basis, but although no longer in operation, SHCC still retains its place in the annals of junior college history.

SHCC was founded in 1952 as a two-year school that offered classes at its original campus located within the 12-story structure situated at 31 Clinton Street in Newark or in the building situated at 3055 Boulevard in Jersey City.  From its start, SHCC was co-educational and mainly designed for those who worked during the day as classes were typically held during late afternoons, evenings, and on Saturdays.  However, before anyone could enroll they had to meet admission requirements.  As noted in SHCC catalogs of the period the school  offered “young men and women” who attended high school and had adequate grades along with good “ . . . health (and) character . . .” along with passing “ability (and) placement” tests and a post-exam interview helped to assure admission.  Furthermore, the individual had to complete an official application and offer official transcripts for board review.

When contemplating a course of study the prospective student had a limited amount of offerings at the start as SHCC granted diplomas in either Business or Secretarial Studies when it began operations.  During its first years within the framework of  different concentrations including General Business, Accounting, Selling, Personnel, Retailing, Insurance, General Secretarial, Medical Secretarial, Insurance Secretarial, or Legal Secretary work were available.  When it came to the core curriculum, the first semester that a typical freshman faced included a total of 9 required credits which included one credit courses in “Apologetics I,” “Survey of the Catholic Religion I,” or “Religion and Reason” and partnered with such two credit offerings as – “Principles of Rhetoric I,” “History of the United States I,” “Voice and Diction I and II,” and “The Natural Sciences.”  During the mid-1950s, a new major was established an Associate Degree in Applied Police Science. For this path of study, he same type of classes were required at the start along with Moral Philosophy and eventually led to such courses as “Traffic Control,” “Swimming and Life Saving,” “Principles of Investigation,” Psychology of the Criminal,” and others.  Along with required and topical classes, optional classes available through the College of Arts & Sciences, Education, and General Studies were also available in subsequent semesters.  When it came to costs, the fee structure for the SHCC included the following: Matriculation Fee (payable once)  – $10.00, Tuition per credit – $13.50, Graduation Fee – $20.00, Registration Fee (per semester) – $3.00, Student Activities Fee  (per semester) – $1.00, Laboratory Fee (Typewriting) – $5.00 and a comprehensive $125.00 for the Applied Police Science program.

In order to make the experience more well-rounded, the school offered students personnel counseling, various extracurricular activities, a student council, placement bureau, and various facilities for Ex-Service Men among other options.  In addition, the ability to transfer into a four-year program either for those who earned the requisite 68 credits (36 in the basic core and 32 in electives) was in the offing for those who wished to advance further.  Once all required coursework, costs, and other goals were met, this led to an Associate of Arts degree for the graduate.

For those who attended and the message after graduation was outlined for the student in the following practical manner:  “Earning A Living.  The practical world today requires that young people acquire skills and understanding if they are to succeed in the highly competitive situation which prevails.  Seton Hall has selected general fields of training that grow out of the needs of the great metropolitan area.  Particular attention has been paid to those fields in which there are the greatest shortages of adequately trained personnel at present.  The programs planned, however, are sufficiently fundamental so that adaptability to general business as well as specific ability in one field may be expected . . . “ Therefore, the SHCC strove to meet this goal for its students and those who called it alma mater.

Although admissions and attendance peaked during the mid-1950s, the days of the SHCC were numbered as more schools were established and Seton Hall concentrated more on its undergraduate division and looming full co-education options on the South Orange campus which occurred in 1968.  The last days of SHCC came about around 1964 when the last two graduates of the program earned their A.A. degrees, but all who attended, taught, or were impacted by the Seton Hall Community College remain part of the institutional history and are pioneers in the educational development of the school.

For more information on Seton Hall Community College and other aspects of school history please contact Alan Delozier, University Archivist at: <Alan.Delozier@shu.edu>  or (973) 275-2378