History of Medaille College: 1875 to Present Time

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Medaille College History

The History of Medaille College: 1875 to Present Time

With campuses located in Buffalo and Rochester, NY, Medaille College is a private, four-year institution committed to serving the higher education needs of Western New York. Known for its flexible delivery systems, the College offers associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees through day, evening, weekend, and online programs, to a diverse regional student population.


Medaille traces its roots to 1875, when the Sisters of St. Joseph (SSJ) founded an institute for the preparation of teachers. In 1937, the SSJ received a charter from New York State to grant baccalaureate degrees in education to women in religious orders, and the institute was named Mount Saint Joseph Teachers' College. 

In 1968, the Sisters of St. Joseph, led by Alice Huber, SSJ, Ph.D., initiated a change in the charter that would create a co-educational college. New York State issued the charter and Medaille College was born. Granted by the Board of Regents, this charter established the College as an independent institution governed by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. 

Medaille experienced significant growth in the 1970s and student enrollment has risen steadily ever since. During the 1980s and 1990s, the College strengthened programs and services for a growing and diverse student body. 

In 1991, the College implemented a residence program, attracting students from across New York State and Southern Ontario. Three years later, the Kevin I. Sullivan Campus Center opened, offering students a setting for dining, recreational and co-curricular activities. With the Trbovich Alumni Tower welcoming all visitors, the Sullivan Center serves as home of the Medaille Mavericks; our men’s and women’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III sports programs.

Medaille College Student Looking Out Window
Medaille College Main

The Buffalo, NY campus has continued to expand its facilities and services to meet the needs of a growing college population. Major capital investments have enhanced students' learning opportunities and access to support services, while encouraging a vibrant student life experience. With two residence halls, technologically-enhanced classrooms, academic programs that integrate liberal and pre-professional learning with practical problem solving, and an array of extra- and co-curricular opportunities, the campus has evolved into a vital learning environment within the historic Olmsted Crescent of Buffalo, NY. 


In 2010, Medaille initiated its online program, which continues to grow with new degree options. In the fall of 2011, the College completed a construction project that doubled the size of Huber Hall, with a Student Success Center that integrates academic and student support services under one roof. In September 2012, the Sullivan Center expansion was completed, creating a 3,000-square-foot fitness center, an events arena with 750-person capacity, locker rooms, and student group meeting spaces. 

In June of 2015, Dr. Kenneth M. Macur became the seventh and current president of Medaille College, ushering in a new age for the school. In his inaugural year, Macur collaborated with the College community to pinpoint what Medaille holds dear, and together, created the current mission and vision statements, core College values, and strategic plan, all designed to focus the College as a whole, in perspective, as progress is made.

Medaille College Celebration 2018
Medaille College Athletic Field

In September 2017, Medaille's main building saw the completion of its expansive new Laboratory and Science Center; 1,600 square feet of donor-funded, state-of-the-art equipment. In addition to Medaille College program use, the space was also used for the Science in Bloom program, a partnership between Medaille and the Valley Community Association (VCA). In this initiative, Medaille students taught the basics of biology, dissection, chemistry, lab techniques, botany, and molecular biology to middle school students from the Buffalo Public Schools (BPS). Our students learned their material better by being mentors, giving their young mentees what is often their first experiences on a college campus, and instilling a lifelong interest in the pursuit of scientific discovery.

Continuing the campus expansion, September 2019 saw the grand opening of the Medaille Sports Complex, which serves as the home for Medaille's men's and women's soccer and lacrosse teams. The complex boasts 100,000 square feet of the best concussion-rated artificial turf available, on a lighted field marked for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and football. In addition to playable area, the complex includes bleachers for 500 spectators, scoreboard, a press box and a 20,000-square-foot athletic administration building, featuring six locker rooms, classrooms, office and storage space, a concession stand, and strength and conditioning facilities. In November 2019, Macur announced the second phase of the development of the complex, which will add a baseball diamond, three softball diamonds, dugouts, batting cages, press boxes, scoreboards, and a lighted multipurpose field to the site. This expansion not only serves the needs of the student-athletes on campus, but also allows Medaille to increase its already significant impact within the Buffalo, NY community, as all of the fields are available for rent.

Medaille College Athletes on New Field

In December 2017, Macur saw to the addition of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, appointing Mr. Kenya K. Hobbs as the inaugural director, as well as the campus Title IX coordinator. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion focuses its efforts on embracing the differences of individual members of the Medaille community and utilizing those differences to create a stronger, more welcoming campus with a variety of backgrounds, viewpoints, cultures, and experiences. The office aims to improve Medaille on every level, including encouraging integration among staff and faculty, and by consistently addressing the ever-growing population of diverse students and the importance of adaptation to meet individual needs.

To expand the educational options available to students at Medaille, Macur added three new programs to the course catalogs. In 2016, Macur helped to install the 3+3 program with the UB School of Law, where students may to earn their bachelor’s degree from Medaille College and their law degree from the University at Buffalo School of Law in six total years, instead of seven, allowing law students to save a year of tuition and to begin their careers sooner with an educational background from two of the best schools in Buffalo, NY. 

Medaille College Main Building

Similarly, in August 2019, with the help of Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Michelle Bogdan, and Department Chair for Communications and Sport Studies Lisa Marsherall, Macur instituted the 4+1 accelerated degree program, allowing students to complete their bachelor's in communication from Medaille and a master’s degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, in just five years of study. 

Finally, Medaille has introduced the Bachelor of Science in Esports Management in response to the explosive interest in the fastest growing aspect of the professional sports industry. Esports is the term used to describe a video game, often an online multiplayer game, that is played before an audience, typically by professional gamers who compete in tournaments, which have grown so astronomically that they are now viewed by millions of individuals. This demand opens up a new realm of careers to be filled; Medaille's new program is intended to prepare students for careers as hosts, analysts, coaches, managers, administrators, and marketers in the Esports field. 

Under Dr. Macur's leadership, the College's role in Western New York continues to grow, boasting an economic impact on the community that exceeds $147 million, with a faculty of nearly 85 full-time, and more than 250 part-time members. Faculty and staff have voted Medaille College one of Western New York's Best Places to Work for 2017, 2018, and 2019.

The growth of Medaille College throughout its history has been guided by a commitment to being the "College of Opportunity" for the region that it serves. As the College continues to innovate and respond to the higher education needs of the 21st century, it embraces this ethos even more. Medaille and has set a strategic direction that seeks to extend and deepen what “opportunity” means for both its students and the community in which they live.


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