The history of Quinnipiac: A prosperous 72 years

By on March 8, 2001

Many years ago, the area that we call Quinnipiac University was just a big, land filled area with trees.
This land was once owned by the Quinnipiac Indian tribe of Connecticut. Thanks to this tribe, the University got its name. It also got its name because of the Quinnipiac River, which is located close this area. In the year of 1929, Samuel W. Tator built the school that would someday grow to become Quinnipiac University.
Tator founded the Connecticut College of Commerce. This was a two year small business college where one could receive an associate’s degree. The school was located in a different area than it is now.
1951, the school began its transformation. It was in this year that the college was moved into the New Haven area. This is also the year that the college became Quinnipiac College. The college began offering a bachelor’s degree and two decades, later a master’s degree.
The college went through another expansion in 1952. This was the year that Quinnipiac took over Larson College. This was an all-women’s private college. This led to the college getting more people and the college recieving more space to expand.
In 1965, the college moved to the Hamden. The college had a total of 1,800 students enrolled. All but 50 were commuters. The other 50 lived in Larson, the one resident hall on campus. In time, the number of people rose to 2,000 and growth continued from then on.
Neil Salen took over the college as its third president in 1966. He had a dream to expand Quinnipiac even further. He bought more land and started making plans. He wanted to build resident halls, a dining area, and a place were students could go to do work. He was responsible for building Irma Tator resident hall, Tator Hall, Dana resident hall, the original library, and a student union. The construction took over a year. Quinnipiac didn’t start its semester until October 10.
Things stayed basically the same, with some expansions here and there. The year in which Qunnipiac really changed was the year of 1987. This is the year that our current president, John Lahey, took over Quinnipiac College. President Lahey is responsible for building Echlin, Buckman Center and the Theater, as well as the Lender School of Business.
President Lahey is also responsible for the Law School that we have now on campus. The Law School was once owned by the University of Bridgeport. But because they were having financial problems, they gave up the Law School and our President took it under his wing.
By this point in time, the college had grown to 4,000 undergraduate students and 2,000 graduate students. The tuition also rose to $3,800.
Under President Lahey, the Mass Communications School, a new library, resident halls, Pine Grove, and many other buildings that we have on campus have been built. He is also responsible for the sports team becoming D-1, and for “Quinnipiac College” becoming “Quinnipiac University.”
According to Donald Blumenthal, the Senior Associate Dean of Students, “We have much better quality students, lots more programs, and much diversity.”
This is because of how we have grown and prospered over the last 72 years. When asked about the growth of the University, Blumenthal states, ” I have seen the growth and I think that it is wonderful. This University was once a commuter school, unknown, and easy to get into. We have changed so much since `87. We have grown and become better in both academics and in number. It is nice to see the change.”
President Lahey and the administrative staff of Quinnipiac University are not ready to stop the expansion. According to Blumenthal, the university is thinking about buying more land to do future expansions. Some plans are building a new athletic center, a new medical center, and a new resident hall. These plans are not yet solid, but they may occur within the next few years.
The University is also thinking about making a new resident hall for graduate students and upperclassman. The school is still looking for approval on this issue, as well as more parking lots.
Over a short span of 72 years, Quinnipiac went from a small, two-year college to a university with over 6,500 students and more than 20,000 alumni. It has more programs, sports, and majors then it did just 10 years ago. With this kind of growth Quinnipiac has gone through, who knows where it will be in 10 years, but it will be interesting to find out.


About Kellie Gleeson