HISTORY OF NJCU
While New Jersey City University throughout its history has held fast to its founding principles of access and excellence, it has grown and evolved over the years to become the institution of great opportunity that it is today.
Chartered in 1927, what is now New Jersey City University opened in 1929 as the New Jersey State Normal School at Jersey City. It was renamed New Jersey State Teachers College at Jersey City in 1935 and Jersey City State College in 1958 before adopting its present-day status and name in 1998.
Degrees and disciplines evolve
NJCU began its history as the country’s only teacher-training college with a three-year program. In a single building situated on 10 acres along what was then Hudson Boulevard, it taught 330 women and one man, most of whom were residents of Hudson County. In 1958 the school was authorized to award the Bachelor of Arts degree, and an M.A. in education was added the following year. In 1962, it became one of the few colleges in the United States with a special-education demonstration school when it began administering the A. Harry Moore School, with which it officially merged in 1963. In 1968, Jersey City State College developed a liberal arts program.
In 1998, the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education approved the school’s request for university status and a change in name to New Jersey City University, and the institution was restructured to include:
•The College of Arts and Sciences, dedicated as the William J. Maxwell College of Arts and Sciences in 2006 in honor of the 1958 alumnus, president emeritus, and distinguished service professor of history and education
•The College of Education, dedicated in 2007 as the Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe College of Education in honor of the 1937 alumna, teacher, theologian and humanitarian
•The College of Professional Studies
Since its founding, the institution now known as NJCU has consistently elevated the student experience with the addition of state-of-the-art campus facilities, including:
•Its first dormitory, Vodra Hall (1963)
•The Forrest A. Irwin Library (1968), which was rededicated as the Congressman Frank J. Guarini Library in 2000
•The Student Union Building (1976), dedicated as the Michael B. Gilligan Student Union Building in 1985
•The Athletic and Fitness Center (1994), dedicated in 2005 as the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center in honor of the 1956 alumnus and 1989-2005 Board of Trustees chair
•A new, two-story Visual Arts Building with a sculpture garden featuring a work by internationally renowned artist Maya Lin (2003)
•The Michael Graves-designed George Karnoutsos Arts and Sciences Hall, named in honor of the 1955 alumnus and retired professor of philosophy who donated $2.5 million to the University (2006)
With each step along its storied history, NJCU has evolved from a school for area residents into one that welcomes students from throughout New Jersey and the United States and from countries around the world. As the NJCU community has grown richly diverse, so too have the options of settings in addition to campus, which now includes 27 buildings over 51.46 acres.
In 2002, NJCU and Brookdale Community College in Wall, NJ, launched a “Communiversity” partnership to offer bachelor and master degree completion programs for residents in central and southern New Jersey, and in 2007, NJCU opened its Harborside facility for graduate business programs in Jersey City’s waterfront financial district.
In September 2015, the NJCU School of Business, a state-of-the art, custom-designed facility opened at Harborside Plaza 2 directly on the waterfront, adjacent to the Exchange Place PATH station and steps away from the light rail station on Hudson Street. The two-story facility features 18 instructional spaces, two data science centers, a simulated trading floor, an auditorium, offices, study areas, a student lounge, and a large waterfront conference center with stunning views of Lower Manhattan.
While the NJCU community treasures our shared history, it is just part of our story. We invite you to visit and experience our vibrant atmosphere, explore our many excellent academic programs, meet our outstanding people. We are proud of our history, but we are even more excited about what the future holds. We hope you will join us for the chapters ahead.