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Iona College Timeline

In celebration of 75 years of Iona College, this timeline highlights many milestones and events throughout the College's history. See a shorter illustrated timeline starting on p. 24 of Iona College Magazine, Summer 2015 issue.

2015 – Iona celebrates the 75th anniversary since its founding on September 19, 1940; College hosts ground-breaking for new six-story residence hall opposite the main gate on North Avenue and ribbon-cutting for renovated science labs.

2014 – First Iona woman, Kate Avery ’16, wins NCAA national championship in cross country; Iona alumnus wins Fulbright Scholarship.

2013 – The Institute for Thomas Paine Studies – the first and only program of its kind at an academic institution – is established at Iona.

2011Joseph E. Nyre, Ph.D., appointed Iona’s eighth president.

2009 – Visions of Excellence: The Campaign for Ryan Library ends with $14.7 million raised.

2006 – Hynes Athletics Center opens.

2005 – Robert V. LaPenta Student Union opens.

2004 – Vision Into Reality campaign ends with more than $82 million raised for campus transformations.

2003 – Two residence halls, Conese and South, open on North Avenue.

2001 – Iona becomes one of the first colleges to offer wireless Internet service.

2000 – Iona Arts Center opens.

1994Br. James A. Liguori, Ed.D., ’65 becomes seventh president of Iona.

1989 – Iona acquires Elizabeth Seton College in Yonkers.

1988 – Ground-breaking for Loftus Hall, Iona’s second residence hall takes place.

1986 – College purchases St. Mary’s Church property on Mayflower Avenue and renovates it into the Arrigoni Center.

1984 – Governor Mario Cuomo gives Iona’s Commencement address as his daughter, Maria, graduates; Murphy Center opens.

1983 – Iona receives National Endowment for Humanities grant to develop foreign language study and study abroad program.

1980 – Rockland Campus opens, offering master’s degrees in education and business.

1979 – College receives first invitation to men’s NCAA basketball tournament, under coach Jim Valvano.

1972 – Graduate courses first offered in Rockland County.

1973 – First four-year coeducational class graduates from Iona College.

1972 – First residence hall, Rice Hall, opens for students.

1971Br. John G. Driscoll, Ph.D., becomes president and holds that position for the next 24 years.

1969 – Approximately 200 female students register in the freshman class; Iona Rally for Peace draws 3,000 attendees.

1968 – Uhuru, a black student organization, and the Free Action Committee invite Black Panther Party founder Eldridge Cleaver to speak on campus.

1967 – Curriculum is revised to allow greater freedom of choice in electives; students and faculty against Vietnam War protest Dow Chemical recruiters on campus.

1966Br. Joseph McKenna, Ph.D., becomes president; first female students attend Iona in summer sessions and cross-register from the College of New Rochelle.

1964 – College inaugurates its first MBA degree.

1962 – College establishes first graduate program in Pastoral Counseling.

1961 – Barbara Quint in the Finance Department becomes first female faculty member outside the library — the first female librarian, Doris (Lillian) Viacava, joined Iona in the 1950s.

1960 – College opens two new wings of library, and McSpedon Hall administration and faculty building; St. Columba statue, a gift from the Class of 1960, is constructed of County Kilkenny limestone.

1959Br. Richard B. Power, Ph.D., chosen as president; enrollment exceeds 2,000.

1953 Br. William H. Barnes, Ph.D., becomes president.

1952 – Iona receives Middle States accreditation.

1950 – Iona’s first live radio program airs weekly on WGNR, now WVOX.

1949 – Cardinal Spellman dedicates Iona’s new library.

1947 – Iona receives its “absolute charter” from the state, after a three-year extension due to a wartime drop in enrollment and finances.

1946Br. Arthur A. Loftus, Ph.D., becomes president; enrollment balloons to 1,020 – 800 of whom are veterans; and the first business program, an accounting specialization, begins.

1940 – Iona opens as a liberal arts college with 93 students in a single building, subsequently named Cornelia Hall after the College’s first president, Br. William B. Cornelia, Ph.D., on an 18-acre campus purchased for $85,000.

1916 – Christian Brothers settle in New Rochelle, founding the Iona School, with Br. Joseph Doorley as principal.

1802 – Wealthy merchant Edmund Rice of County Kilkenny founds the Congregation of Christian Brothers in Waterford, Ireland, to provide an education for poor Catholic boys.