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College of Mount Saint Vincent

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Title: College of Mount Saint Vincent  
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Subject: Corazon Aquino, Noreen Culhane, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, Sisters of Charity of New York, Skyline Conference
Collection: 1847 Establishments in New York, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Council of Independent Colleges, Educational Institutions Established in 1847, Former Women's Universities and Colleges in the United States, Henry Engelbert Buildings, Liberal Arts Colleges in New York, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Riverdale, Bronx, Roman Catholic Universities and Colleges in New York, Roman Catholic Universities and Colleges in the United States, Skyline Conference Schools, Universities and Colleges in New York City, Universities and Colleges in the Bronx
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College of Mount Saint Vincent

College of Mount Saint Vincent
Latin: Collegium ad Sancti Vincentii Montem
Motto Bonitatem et disciplinam et scientiam doce me.
Motto in English
"Teach me goodness and discipline and knowledge."
Established 1847
Type Private
Affiliation Roman Catholic
(Sisters of Charity of New York)
Endowment $5.8 million[1]
President Charles L. Flynn, Jr.
Undergraduates 1,527
Postgraduates 400
Location Riverdale (NYC), NY, United States
Campus Urban
Colors White, Gold[2]
Athletics NCAA Division IIISkyline
Nickname Dolphins
Mascot Dolphin
Affiliations ACCU

The College of Mount Saint Vincent (CMSV) is a Catholic liberal arts college located in the northwest[3] corner of the Riverdale section of The Bronx, New York, adjacent to the Yonkers border. It is the northernmost location in New York City. It was founded by the Sisters of Charity of New York.

Today, the school serves 1,800 students, with professional undergraduate programs in nursing, business, communication, and education. In addition, the college offers a strong liberal arts undergraduate curriculum with distinctive strengths in biology, biochemistry, English, psychology, and sociology. The College also offers graduate degree programs in nursing, business, TESOL and education.

The college is the peak of the educational network under the care of the Sisters of Charity of New York, one of several Sisters of Charity congregations of Catholic women that trace their lineage back to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.


  • College history 1
  • Campus buildings 2
    • Fonthill Castle 2.1
    • The Villa 2.2
    • The Administration Building/Founder's Hall 2.3
    • Maryvale 2.4
    • Lourdes Grotto 2.5
    • Le Gras Hall 2.6
    • Rosary Hall 2.7
    • Grace Center 2.8
    • Science Hall 2.9
    • Elizabeth Seton Library 2.10
    • Residence Halls 2.11
  • Academics 3
  • Athletics 4
  • Notable alumni 5
  • Notable faculty and staff 6
  • Cultural references 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

College history

The college was founded in 1847 as the Academy of Mount Saint Vincent, a school for women. It took its name from Saint Vincent de Paul, the 17th-century French priest who worked with the poor and founded the original Sisters of Charity, and from the geographic high point along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan known as McGowan's Pass. When New York City began acquiring land for Central Park in 1855, the sister, under the leadership of Mother Angela Hughes, sister of Archbishop John Hughes, purchased the 70-acre (280,000 m2) "Fonthill," the estate of famed Shakespearean actor Edwin Forrest, in the Riverdale neighborhood of The Bronx. On April 25, 1865, the funeral train carrying Abraham Lincoln back to Springfield, Illinois passed by the College.[4]

In 1911, the Academy became a degree-granting institution, and changed its name to the College of Mount Saint Vincent. The Campus Record, the original college newspaper (named the Alembic in 1970), published its first issue in 1922. Just five years later, the first issue of the College's literary magazine, the Fonthill Dial, was published. The end of the decade saw the first issue of the College yearbook, the Parapet. In 1943, the College began working in conjunction with St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City to provide a nursing education program for its students.

In 1964 the Mount joined forces with the other college in Riverdale, Manhattan College, in a Cooperative Program that ran until 2006. Also in 1964, the Mount granted its first degrees in Fine Arts. In 1974, the College of Mount Saint Vincent became a co-educational institution as it began admitting men. In 1976, the College Emeritus program was started to provide courses for mature students.

The Mount began to offer a new baccalaureate nursing program in 1975. The Mount began offering business as an independent major in 1983. In 1988, almost 80 years after the College first amended its charter, the Mount amended its charter again to allow the College to confer Master of Science degrees. At the end of the decade, in 1989, the Honors Program was established. Also that year, the continuing education program became adult education.

In 1994, the Mount added a new masters program in Urban Multicultural Education, the first masters program in a department other than nursing. In 1995, the College enhanced its curriculum again by adding programs in allied health studies on both the undergraduate and master's degree levels.

Collegium ad Sancti Vincentii Montem

Campus buildings

Fonthill Castle

The Fonthill Castle, dramatically sited above the Hudson River, was the centerpiece of the estate of actor Edwin Forrest. Forrest built Fonthill in Riverdale, the Bronx, New York, from 1848 to 1852 for his wife, but before they could occupy it divorce proceedings interrupted their lives and Forrest sold the estate to the Sisters of Charity. Fonthill was named after the castle of William Beckford (the younger) in England, Fonthill Abbey. The design of Mr. Forrest's Fonthill Castle has been attributed to Thomas C. Smith of New York City. The castle housed the college library from 1942 to 1968. Fonthill forms the architectural symbol of the college and houses the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.[5]

The Villa

One of the original buildings on site, the Villa (or gardener's cottage) was built of ashlar, sometime prior to 1856 in mid-19th-century "bracketed" style.[6] From 1887 to 1911 the "Stone Cottage" (originally called "Lourdes Villa") housed the St. Aloysius Academy for Boys. Many of the boys' attending had sisters who were students at Mt. St. Vincent Academy. Actor Lionel Barrymore enrolled at the age of 10. At the turn of the century, American playwright Eugene O'Neill was enrolled in 1895[7] and received his First Communion in the Chapel in 1900. In 1911 the Villa, which no longer educated boys, was used as a college residence for the ladies.

The Administration Building/Founder's Hall

The Administration Building was built between 1857 and 1859 and subsequently expanded in 1865, 1883, 1906-1908, and in 1951. The original building is a five story red brick building on a fieldstone base. It features a six story square tower topped by a copper lantern and spire. The tower is flanked by five story gabled sections.

The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception was enlarged to its present size in 1874. The Crucifixion scene over the altar was painted by Constantino Brumidi, who also worked on the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The stained glass windows were created by Meyer of Munich. The organ was built by Hilborne L. Roosevelt of New York City in 1873.[8]

In 1877, Thomas Edison came to campus to demonstrate inventions for the Academy students in South Hall.[4] In 1978 a former locker room in the Administration Building was converted into Cahill Lounge. The Administration Building was listed on National Registrar of Historic Places in 1980.

Today, The Administration Building has been renamed to "Founder's Hall" in honor of all those who founded the college.


Maryvale was constructed in 1859; it originally served as a laundry. In 1906 the laundry moved to the newly constructed Rosary Hall and Maryvale housed science classes. In 1954 science classes moved to the new science building and Maryvale became the Library Annex and Studio Annex. Today, it mainly houses the communications and fine arts departments.

Lourdes Grotto

In 1873 the Lourdes Grotto was built. It is now considered the oldest outdoor grotto still in existence in the United States. The grotto is situated on a little island in a small lake in an area at one time known as "Lourdes Park".[4]

Le Gras Hall

In 1875, Le Gras Hall, named after Louise le Gras de Marillac, was built as St. Vincent Free School for the Catholic Children of Riverdale. This brought more young children onto the campus which at that time was filled with orchards and vegetable gardens. In 1911, with the opening of a parochial school in Riverdale, Le Gras was remodeled to house the college gymnasium with an auditorium on the second floor.[4] It also housed the commuter students' cafeteria. In 1931 the library moved from the Administration building to Le Gras, before relocating in 1942 to Fonthill Castle. In 1951, the commuter students' cafeteria moved from Le Gras Hall to the first floor of the Administration Building.

Rosary Hall

In 1906 Rosary Hall was constructed to house the boiler and laundry. The Sisters made room for the new building by using land in the lower orchard.

Grace Center

In 1930 Hayes Auditorium and Gym were built on the site of the vegetable field. This building was renovated in the early 1990s and is now known as the Grace Center.

Science Hall

In 1954 science classes moved from Maryvale to the new Science Hall on the hill, which had been built on the former sports field.

Elizabeth Seton Library

In 1968, the new Elizabeth Seton Library, or 'Seton Library,' was opened. The College's community spirit was evident as many books were moved from the Castle to Seton Library via a human chain stretching up the hill.The library is named after Saint Elizabeth Seton, the first native-born American to be canonized. Elizabeth Seton founded the Sisters of Charity.

Residence Halls

  • The corner stone of the Italian Renaissance style Seton Hall was set by John Cardinal Farley in November 1911.[4]
  • In 1920 the Sisters purchased adjacent Randolf estate and renamed the house Marillac Hall after Louise le Gras de Marillac who was declared a saint that year and had been instrumental in the foundation of the Daughters of Charity. In 1922 the north wing was added to the residence hall, and in 1924 the south wing.
  • In 1962, the cornerstone was laid for Spellman Hall.
  • The cornerstone was laid for the Alumnae Hall in 1965.


CMSV is registered by the New York State Education Department, Office of Higher Education, in Albany, NY. and is independently chartered to grant degrees by the Regents of the State of New York.

The student-faculty ratio at CMSV is 13:1. The most popular majors at College of Mount St. Vincent include: Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse; Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies; Business/Commerce, General; Speech Communication and Rhetoric; and Psychology, General.[9]


Mount Saint Vincent teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Dolphins are a member of the Skyline Conference. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, volleyball and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving and volleyball.

Notable alumni

Notable faculty and staff

  • James Haley - Biologist, N.S.F. grant recipient
  • Joseph Skelly - noted author and Bronze Star recipient; veteran of the current war in Iraq.
  • Ron Scapp - noted educator and author of "Teaching Values" and other works

Cultural references

  • Playwright Eugene O'Neill's mother, Mary Ellen Quinlan had attended St. Mary's College in Indiana. When she accompanied her husband, actor James O'Neill, on tour with his production of The Count of Monte Cristo, young Eugene was placed at Mount St. Vincent's boys' boarding school, then housed in the "Villa" overlooking "Lourdes Park" and the Grotto. In the autobiographical play, A Long Day's Journey into Night, the mother, Mary Tyrone, has a morphine induced soliloquy wherein she reminisces about praying to Our Lady of Lourdes "on the little island in the lake".
  • The 2008 film Doubt was filmed at the College of Mount Saint Vincent.


  1. ^ "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. June 30, 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2010. 
  2. ^ CMSV - Athletics
  3. ^ "Mt. St. Vincent, Bronx"; Google maps
  4. ^ a b c d e , P.J. Kenedy & Sons, New York, 1917College of Mount Saint Vincent: A Famous Convent SchoolBrown, Mary Josephine.
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  6. ^ Bady, David. Lehman College Art Gallery
  7. ^ "Eugene O'Neill", American Society of Authors and Writers"
  8. ^ "Hilborne L. Roosevelt", The New York City Organ Project
  9. ^ "Colleges", US News and World Report
  10. ^ The Countess of Romanones Commands a Dazzling Cast in Her Second Memoir
  11. ^ How Desus and Kid Mero Went From Twitter Cranks to Comedy's Hottest Duo

External links

  • College of Mount Saint Vincent
  • Sisters of Charity of New York
  • Google Book College of Mount Saint Vincent: a famous convent school
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