10 Reasons Gael Nation is Fired Up for 2022

Iona College thrives as it expands programming to support students inside and outside of the classroom

Academics News, Capital Projects, Club Sports News, Entrepreneurship, Service

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — As Iona College launches into another transformative semester, here are 10 reasons Gael Nation is so excited about the year ahead:

1) Iona is nearly doubling its footprint with a second campus in Bronxville, N.Y.

Iona has acquired a new 28-acre campus in nearby Bronxville, formerly home to Concordia College. In addition to establishing a premier school of health sciences, Iona will also add new opportunities in the performing arts, varsity and club athletics and other extracurricular activities.

2) Iona is developing the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences.

Supported by a $20 million gift, the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences is a unique opportunity to shape the future of Iona University, train the next generation of health care professionals and support the communities we serve.

Expected to be a model for mission-based collaboration between higher education and health care in service of the public good, the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences offers unparalleled access to clinical placements and full-time career opportunities with New York’s #1 hospital, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals.

Degrees currently include Nursing (BS); Social Work (BS); Communication Sciences & Disorders (MA); Mental Health Counseling (MA); Marriage and Family Therapy (MS); and Occupational Therapy (MS). Together, the organizations will continue to develop new programs to meet emerging needs.

3) Iona men’s basketball is off to its best start in 25 years with Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino.

Coach Pitino recently celebrated his 800th college win as the Gaels set out to claim Iona’s 14th MAAC Championship title and go further in the NCAA tournament than ever before.

Coach Pitino has taken four different programs to the NCAA tournament and coached two NCAA National Championship teams. He became the first coach to take three different schools to the NCAA Final Four; became the first coach to win an NCAA Championship at two different schools; and has the third-highest winning percentage in NCAA tournament games (.740) among all active coaches.

4) Iona is expanding extracurricular activities in club sports and performing arts.

Iona continues to expand extracurricular activities to keep students active and engaged beyond the classroom. Launching with great success, highlights include:

  • Esports: In launching a popular new esports club, the College built an esports room fully equipped with computers, modems, gaming chairs and televisions that offers a high-quality gaming experience. The Gaels have become top contenders across numerous games competing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).
  • Irish Dance: Iona’s new Irish Dance team has also come out on top, taking the stage by storm at the 2021 Villanova Intercollegiate Irish Dance Festival in several categories.
  • Rugby: Iona’s Rugby Football Club reigned supreme as well, becoming the 2021 Liberty Conference Champions.
  • Iona Players: The fall production of the Addams Family reached capacity crowds for all three performances.
  • Pipe Band: Already world renowned, the Pipe Band kicked off a new tradition of performing at Iona’s “GaelGates” before basketball games, marching students into the Hynes Athletics Center to cheer on their fellow Gaels.  
  • Pep Band and Dance Team: Who doesn’t love some extra energy? The Pep Band and Dance Team have expanded to bring added Gael spirit to competitions, and the results speak for themselves.  
  • Club Sports: The College has worked to launch various new club sports, including rugby, esports, women’s club soccer, women’s club basketball, a co-ed weightlifting team, men’s club soccer, men’s club basketball and men’s club lacrosse.

5) As a Gael, Iona students have access to one of the best alumni networks in the country thanks to the Gaels Go Further Mentoring Program.

Launched as a pilot program in the fall of 2021, Gaels Go Further Mentoring taps into Iona’s network of over 50,000 alumni across a wide range of industries. Now, Iona is looking to get everyone a mentor.

In addition to the “flash mentoring” opportunities available via GaelsConnect Networking, the initiative also includes a long-term mentorship opportunity consisting of a two-credit course. This full-year program matches students with dedicated mentors whose professional experience will assist students in advancing their career development.

6) Iona is opening a vibrant new green space in the heart of campus.

The new Murphy Green will transform a parking circle into a lively outdoor landscape thanks to a generous gift from Joseph M. Murphy ’59, ’83H and his late wife, JoAnn M. Murphy ’98H, a longtime Iona trustee. Complete with benches, trees, stone walkways and a terrace area, the focus of the Murphy Green will be a gorgeous green lawn. The space will also include seating built into East Hill, which will provide a dramatic setting for outdoor performances, poetry readings and outdoor classes. The Murphy Green is expected to open this spring.

7) The Iona community completes over 80,000 hours of community service a year, and looks forward to doing even more as pandemic restrictions loosen.

As a mission-driven school with core values for the common good, Iona encourages students to become involved with a wide range of volunteer efforts. Even throughout the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Gaels continued to fulfill their commitment to serving the community by taking part in after-school activities for children, promoting sustainability at local gardens and even biking across the country to raise over $175,000 for people with disabilities. Iona looks forward to continuing to make an impact on the communities we serve while developing civic-minded graduates.

8) Iona’s award-winning Pipe Band will march in the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Founded in 1966 by Brother Charles Quinn and Jack Dooley, the Pipe Band is a unique group of performers dedicated to Iona University and the music of the Great Highland Bagpipe. This award-winning group looks forward to once again leading the College's march up Fifth Avenue during the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade. In 2019, the Pipe Band was awarded first place in the “College and High School Pipes and Drums Division,” a prestigious recognition. The Pipe Band also performs at College events such as Commencement ceremonies, GaelGates and much more.

9) Iona is one of U.S. News & World Report’s Top 20 “Most Innovative Schools” in the North.

Despite being on the front lines of COVID-19 when the pandemic first hit New Rochelle in March 2020, Iona nevertheless pushed ahead on its path of innovation. The College added new academic degrees; incentivized faculty to reexamine and reinvent the curriculum; expanded student opportunities in performing arts, club sports and service; and even rebranded with a promise to “Learn Outside the Lines.” Iona is a school on the rise, and the momentum is palpable all across campus.

10) Iona is recognized as one of the top colleges for business and entrepreneurship.

Iona’s newly renovated LaPenta School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide.

Highlights of the building renovation include a new LaPenta-Lynch Trading Floor with 27 desktop computers, 16 Bloomberg Terminals and a live, wrap-around stock ticker that can be seen from across campus. In addition to this inspiring new space and leading faculty, the school also recently welcomed a new dean to lead students into the future.

Separately, the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation was also recognized as one of the most outstanding emerging college programs for entrepreneurship. Open to students across disciplines, the Hynes Institute is housed in a 3,800-square-foot, state-of-the-art coworking space at the center of campus and also runs a business incubator program to support start-ups. 

Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of more than 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona students enjoy small class sizes, engaged professors and a wide array of academic programs across the School of Arts & Science; LaPenta School of Business; NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences; and Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Iona is widely recognized in prestigious rankings, including The Princeton Review’s 2024 national list of “The Best 389 Colleges” and The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse’s “2024 Best Colleges in America,” which ranked Iona at #66 in the nation overall and #8 in the nation among Catholic schools. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is also accredited by AACSB International, a recognition awarded to just six percent of business schools worldwide. In addition, The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2023.” Iona also offers a fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, which is now principally located on Iona’s Bronxville campus in collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian. Connecting to its Irish heritage, the University also recently announced it is expanding abroad with a new campus in County Mayo, Ireland. A school on the rise, Iona officially changed its status from College to University on July 1, 2022, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.