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Building Tomorrow Together: Adelphi Celebrates 125 Years

By Katie Farkas

Current Adelphi students may not be aware that our university is 125 years old this year.

Adelphi began as a private preparatory school in Brooklyn in 1863 and the institution quickly gained a reputation for its innovative curriculum. Charles H. Levermore (for whom Levermore Hall is named), who was the head of the Academy in 1893, realized the city did not have a liberal arts college and took that opportunity to establish Adelphi College. It became an official co-educational college in June 1896 when it received a charter.

It was 1929 when Adelphi University became the first private, coeducational institution of higher education on Long Island. There are many other firsts at Adelphi as well. For instance, Adelphi established one of the first college dance departments in 1938. The School of Nursing was established in 1943 to meet the need for nurses during WWII. The School of Business Administration was created in 1963. And now with eight schools and over 200 academic programs, Adelphi has grown and progressed over the 125 years of its existence. What started as only 57 students with 16 faculty has grown to more than 8,100 students and a current full- and part-time faculty total of 956.

To celebrate the progress and achievements of Adelphi over the last 125 years, the university is hosting multiple events for students, faculty and staff, alumni and the larger community that will help to support the university in its future endeavors.

This year of celebrations kicked off with the annual President’s Gala on June 24 where over $290,000 was raised and honors were given to Professor David Machlis and Dr. Anita D’Amico ’84 and her husband, Dr. Joseph Stambouly.

The events surrounding the 125th anniversary are planned to continue and grow throughout the semester, said Kaitlyn Woods, senior associate director of Special Events and Engagement.

“The anniversary celebrations are focused on highlighting the progress that Adelphi has made and will include pop-up tables, giveaways and incentives, as well as distinguished lectures that have been put together in conjunction with the academic deans and the Center for Student and Community Engagement.”

Although many of the guest speakers have chosen to remain in a virtual format, there will be in-person events for students to look for both in the fall and spring semesters. For instance, Oct. 14 - 17 was Adelphi’s spirit weekend and included events such as Daniel Martin’s Magic Show, Casino Night Under the Stars, the 10th Anniversary Celebration: 10 Under 10 Young Alumni Recognition Program, and the Spirit Carnival.

A “Great Books, Great Conversations” lecture will be taking place with alumni Alice Hoffman ’73, ’02 (Hon.), a “New York Times” bestselling author, who will be discussing her new novel, “The Book of Magic” on Nov. 17 at 6:30 pm. Starting with the Bengsons online on Dec. 4 at 3 pm in the Olmsted Theatre, there will be a Larson Legacy Concert Series that will showcase the next generation of musical theatre creators. Abigail and Shaun Bengson are a married composing and performing duo. Their music has been featured on “So You Think You Can Dance” and in several short films and dance pieces, as well as received and been nominated for various awards.

As part of the Global Dialogue Series, on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 4:30 pm Jeh Johnson, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Ambassador Joseph Westphal '70, Ph.D. will talk about "The Future of Democracy - A U.S. and International Perspective.” On Monday, Nov. 8 at 7 pm there will be a discussion “Mental Health Matters, No Shame in the Game'' with Olympian athlete, Julie Ertz, a member of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team.

Historic aerial view of campus. Image from Adelphi website.

Adelphi has also created a 125th anniversary toolkit for students, faculty and staff to utilize that includes Zoom backgrounds, social media templates and profile frames, anniversary logos, and email signatures, as well as #Adelphi125 for use on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The bookstore will also have special 125th-anniversary apparel and merchandise. Students can read more about the history in the current alumni magazine at All information regarding the history of Adelphi University, as well as the 125th anniversary celebration details, can be found on the university website.

How Well Do You Know Adelphi?

Did you know that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt came to campus on May 6, 1944 to help dedicate Adelphi’s first dormitories, Harvey Hall and Alumnae Hall, which were used to house nurse cadets?

Did you know that in 1945 Helen Holmes Taylor ’49 became the first Black student to attend Adelphi and earned a nursing degree?

Did you know that in 1957 Adelphi hosted the first National Wheelchair Games with team and individual events, including javelin throwing, table tennis, wheelchair basketball

and archery?

Did you know that MBA students in 1971 were able to take for-credit classes while they rode the LIRR? Adelphi got national recognition for this innovative Adelphi-on-Wheels MBA program—the first commuting classroom.

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