History of Medaille University: 1875 to Present Time

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Medaille University History

The History of Medaille University: 1875 to Present Time

With campuses located in Buffalo and Rochester, NY, Medaille University is a private, four-year institution committed to serving the higher education needs of Western New York. Known for its flexible delivery systems, the University offers associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees through day, evening, weekend, and online programs, to a diverse 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 continued to develop more 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 the home for many of the Medaille Mavericks National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III sports programs.

Medaille University Student Looking Out Window
Medaille University 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 offerings, which continue 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 a 750-person capacity, locker rooms and student group meeting spaces. 

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

Medaille University Celebration 2018
Medaille University Athletic Field

In September 2017, Medaille's main building saw the completion of its expansive new Laboratory Science Center — 1,600 square feet of donor-funded, state-of-the-art equipment. In addition to Medaille student use, the space has also been used for the Science in Bloom program, a partnership between Medaille and the Valley Community Association. In this initiative, Medaille students teach the basics of biology, dissection, chemistry, lab techniques, botany and molecular biology to middle school students from the Buffalo Public Schools.

Continuing with expansion, September 2019 saw the grand opening of the Medaille Sports Complex, located in South Buffalo. Completed in two phases of development, the facilities now include home fields for Medaille’s baseball, softball, women’s field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s lacrosse teams. The complex boasts two 100,000-square-foot, top-of the-line 2½ inch thick turf fields — the best concussion-rated product on the market — and a 20,000-square-foot Athletics Administration Building with state-of-the-art strength and conditioning facilities. It also includes a baseball diamond, two softball diamonds, dugouts, batting cages, press boxes and locker rooms, and all outdoor facilities include lighting for evening play. The Medaille Sports Complex not only serves the needs of the student-athletes on campus, but also allows Medaille to increase its already significant impact within the Buffalo community, as all of the facilities are available to rent.

Medaille University Athletes on New Field

In December 2017, Dr. Macur oversaw the addition of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, appointing Kenya K. Hobbs as the inaugural director, who now serves as the vice president of diversity, equity & inclusion and the campus Title IX coordinator. The Office of Diversity & 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 continually addresses the ever-growing population of diverse students and the importance of adaptation to meet individual needs.

To expand the educational options available to students, Medaille added several new academic programs to its course catalogs under Dr. Macur’s leadership. In 2016, Dr. Macur helped establish the 3+3 program with the UB School of Law, where students are able to earn their bachelor’s degree from Medaille and their law degree from the University at Buffalo School of Law in six 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 University Main Building

Similarly, in August 2019, Medaille established a partnership with Syracuse University, where 3+1 and 4+1 accelerated degree programs allow 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 four or five years of study. 

Among other degree additions and updates, in 2019 Medaille introduced its Bachelor of Science in Esports Management, in response to the explosive interest in the fastest-growing aspect of the professional sports industry. A unique offering to the region, Medaille's esports program is intended to prepare students for careers in the burgeoning gaming industry, as hosts, analysts, coaches, managers, administrators and marketers. 

In spring 2022, Medaille’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to submit a charter amendment request to New York State seeking university designation. In May 2022, the New York State Education Department Board of Regents approved an amendment to Medaille’s charter to make the institution a university. The transition to Medaille University is the latest addition to the institution’s rich history, and it reflects Medaille’s long history of providing a full range of undergraduate and graduate degrees. This recognition is also a testament to all of the exceptional work done by Medaille’s faculty, staff, students and alumni, shining a light on the institution’s global impact and reach.

In June 2022, Dr. Macur notified the Board of Trustees that he made the decision to retire from his role as president of Medaille University. To assure there is continued strong and committed leadership for faculty, staff and students, Medaille’s Board of Trustees appointed Lori V. Quigley, Ph.D., as interim president of Medaille University, following Dr. Macur’s retirement. Dr. Quigley previously served as provost, senior vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at Medaille, from 2016 through 2020, and she has the full endorsement of the Board of Trustees to lead through this time of transition.

Under Dr. Quigley’s leadership, Medaille’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 65 full-time members and more than 250 part-time members.

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


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