Collage of students, campus, faculty at the SJU Staten Island Campus

Staten Island Campus

Personalized attention, smaller classes, and career-focused education prepare students for success on the Staten Island, NY, campus.

“Bridge to the Future” 50th Anniversary Celebration

Since 1971, the Staten Island campus has been the bridge to success for thousands of St. John’s students. To commemorate our 50th anniversary, we recognize the Staten Island campus as the “Bridge to the Future,” highlighting the spirit of innovation and the Vincentian mission that first brought St. John’s to Staten Island.??????

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Bridge to the Future 50th Anniversary of St. John's University staten Island campus

Message from the Vice Provost

James O’Keefe, Ph.D.

As the academic leader of the Staten Island campus, I am proud to offer students the best of both worlds—a world-class university education in a small college setting that includes high-quality academic programs, vibrant student organizations, and robust opportunities for community service and career preparation.

I invite you to contact me directly to learn more about our Staten Island beautiful campus. Our commitment to personal attention starts with me.

James O’Keefe, Ph. D.
Vice Provost
Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, and Homeland Security

Email Dr. O'Keefe

Celebrate Our 50th Anniversary

Download the anniversary logo to include on the bottom of your email signature in recognition of the celebration year.

About Our Campus

Our campus is small, but we support big dreams. With a 12:1?student-faculty ratio and personalized attention from faculty, administrators, and staff, students form long-lasting academic and career mentorships.?

St. John’s gives you many opportunities to apply the University’s Vincentian mission and expand your education through academic service-learning and civic engagement. You will be inspired to become more deeply involved in the local community and to learn more about social justice issues on Staten Island, in New York City, and throughout the world.?

St. John’s Staten Island campus unites the academic traditions of the liberal arts with the practical applications of professional degrees, so you never have to choose between them. Faculty and academic deans work together to make sure that barriers between colleges and majors are turned into pathways. University Career Services advisors work hand-in-hand with academic departments, helping students transition from classroom to career.?

St. John’s vibrant Student Life organizations invigorate the Staten Island campus and provide leadership opportunities from day one. The campus is located in the beautiful Grymes Hill neighborhood, sited on the historic Gans family estate overlooking the New York Harbor, and is the former home of Notre Dame College.

Image of computer lab with chairs, desks, computers, TVs and St. John's University logo on the columns

We offer modern academic buildings, collaborative learning spaces, and state-of-the art technology. Check out our Loretto Memorial Library, Project-Based Learning Center, Applied Technology Hub, Emergency Management Simulation Lab, and our Communications Lab—all superbly designed for modern learning.?

Campus Life

Staten Island campus life?is a reflection of the entire St. John’s University community: diverse and service-focused. With more than 40 clubs and leadership opportunities for students, campus life is an essential part of your personal growth and a springboard for success.?

Campus Distinctions

2018 Spring Career Fair at St. John's University

Career Building

Career readiness and preparation are part of every St. John’s students’ education on the Staten Island campus from first-year orientation to graduation

Staten Island Campus in the background with Tulips

Campus Civic Engagement

St. John’s University is committed to educational equity on Staten Island and supports programs that open doors for all students to succeed.

The Gans Family Estate

The site of the Staten Island campus was originally purchased in the early 20th century by immigrant John Gans. He chose the Grymes Hill location for his family estate because it overlooked New York Harbor, where he operated a steamship company. The main house of the estate, a 30-room Georgian mansion, was completed in 1915 and became home to his son, Herbert Gans, and his family.

Notre Dame College

In the early 1930s, Herbert Gans and his wife befriended Mother Saint Egbert, later known as Sister Helen Flynn, a Sister of the Congregation of Notre Dame. She had just been named the Director of the newly established Staten Island extension of Fordham University which was housed at Notre Dame Academy, a private school down the road from the Gans estate.?

When the small college of 13 students received its own charter in 1933, the Gans family sold the family mansion to the new Notre Dame College, a Catholic undergraduate college for women. The home, renamed Flynn Hall after the college foundress, opened in 1934 and graduated its first class in 1935.

In 1937, Lavelle Hall, an academic building, was added and named in honor of Monsignor Lavelle, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of New York. A science building followed in 1945, named Mahoney Hall after its principal benefactor.

In 1955, the college doubled its property with the purchase of the Herbert Gans estate, which included several properties. The largest was the college library, Spellman Hall, named after Francis Cardinal Spellman, then-archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, who contributed toward its reconstruction.?

The final purchase, an English Tudor home at the far end of the campus, was made in 1965.? The Drury family, who had purchased the house from Hans Gans in 1945, sold the house and surrounding property to Notre Dame College. It was renamed Rosati Hall in honor of Bishop Joseph Rosati, C.M. (1789–1843).

St. John’s Staten Island Campus Opens

Notre Dame College served the community as a premier women’s college for more than 30 years. During the late 1960s, when it became difficult for small colleges to survive, Terence Cardinal Cooke, then Archbishop of the Archdiocese of New York, asked the Vincentian fathers of St. John’s University to integrate Notre Dame College, to ensure that Catholic higher education remained a vibrant presence in the Staten Island community and its environs.

On January 27, 1971, the New York State Board of Regents approved the consolidation, and the Staten Island campus of St. John’s University became a reality. Classes began in the Fall of 1971, combining the original Notre Dame College with the Brooklyn campus of St. John’s, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, business, and education.

The Staten Island campus then saw considerable growth. A new building housing the Loretto Memorial Library opened in 1973, named in honor of Loretto McCarthy, the late wife of Charles E. McCarthy, D.C.S., Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer of the University. In the 1980s, the Campus Center was added. It includes dining facilities, student support services, and a gymnasium.

The Kelleher Center was dedicated in 1999. A student-centered building donated by University Trustee and alumnus Denis Kelleher, and his wife, Carol, the Kelleher Center is the home for enrollment services, premier meeting space, and a state-of-the-art Fitness Center.

In the Fall of 2004, the campus welcomed the John J. DaSilva Academic Center, which features computer labs for student and community use, a media lab, computer-assisted classroom space, faculty office space, and student/faculty meeting spaces. In the Fall of 2005, a newly refurbished Rosati Hall welcomed the College of Professional Studies administrative offices, faculty spaces, student commons, and conference space.

The Campus Today

The Staten Island campus has expanded to include 16.5 acres serving more than 2,000 students who are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs. St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies, and The School of Education offer degree programs on the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels with an opportunity for a commuter or residential experience. More than 10,000 degrees have been awarded on the campus to date.

This unique campus, where turn-of-the-century buildings stand alongside contemporary edifices, has a magical history of design and purpose. It fulfills the promise to bring together the academic rigor of a national Catholic University with the Vincentian mission.

In its infancy under European regime, Richmond remained a rural community, supporting many farms, mills and a growing fisherman’s industry, mostly shell fishing. The community began to thrive under the control of the British and by 1700 the population was roughly 1,000.

During the Revolutionary War, General Howe landed his ship at the Water Place, today’s neighborhood of Tompkinsville, in June of 1776.? Thirty thousand prepared for the battle known today as The Battle of Long Island. A month later, General Howe attacked George Washington in the western portion of Long Island, know today as Brooklyn. By September of 1776, a secret peace meeting to end the war took place in what is currently known as the Conference House on the south shore, Tottenville. The final shot of the American Revolution was fired on Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island in 1783.

Control over Staten Island was an ongoing dispute between New York and New Jersey for almost two centuries. New Jersey claimed Staten Island because it is much closer in proximity than to New York, and because of original grants. However, New York claimed ownership of land as far south as Raritan bay. By 1833, both states mutually agreed on the current-day boundaries.

The New York colony, or state, legislature divided the island into four towns in 1788.? These towns were Castleton, Northfield, Southfield and Westfield and had their own elected officials. The state, however, did not supply adequate infrastructure as the sewage and road systems were the worst among the counties in New York. In 1799 a quarantine station for new immigrants was set up in Tompkinsville for those who had Yellow Fever and Small Pox due to an outbreak of disease during the time. Later, it was intentionally burned down by angry residents who feared it would spread disease within the isolated community. In 1897, as a means to generate capital investment, provide adequate infrastructure and improve overall living conditions, Staten Islanders agreed to join four other counties or boroughs that made up New York City.

Numerous historical events occurred in 19th Century Staten Island. During the early 1800s, the Staten Island Ferry began regular operation to New York. Slavery was abolished in New York in 1827, a movement led by Staten Islander, Daniel Tompkins. The Island also progressed with major advancements in its infrastructure and technology. Major thoroughfares were created, the county’s first steamboat and railroad began operation, and a magnetic telegraph line reached its shores. Serving the needs of the growing community, the nation’s first home and hospital for retired seamen and the Island’s first Catholic Parish, St. Peter’s, were established. In addition, the oldest existing public school, currently known as P.S.1 was built.

Development on Staten Island greatly increased during the 20th century.? Vehicular traffic on and off the Island became possible thanks to the construction of bridges. In 1928, the Goethals Bridge, and its sister, the Outerbridge Crossing, opened providing access to mainland, New Jersey. The Goethals Bridge connects the Howland Hook section of Staten Island to Elizabeth, New Jersey. Concurrently opening with the Goethals Bridge was the Outerbridge Crossing, connecting Staten Island’s southern shore to Central New Jersey. Both bridges cross the narrow Arthur Kill channel and are in operation to this day.

With the proliferation of investments and growth of resources, the population of the county was estimated at 221,000 by 1960. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge became the largest contributing factor to the Island’s growth since it’s opening in 1964. As the longest suspension bridge in North America, the Verrazano Bridge opened the floodgates of Brooklyn residents who sought suburban life with access to New York City. By 1980, the population grew by 33% from the previous decade. During the 80s, Staten Island became home to a United States Naval Base, Naval Station New York. It consisted of two sections including the Strategic Homeport in Stapleton and a larger section by Fort Wadsworth. The ‘Teleport’, a satellite earth station complex designed to provide telecommunications for New York and New Jersey, was developed in 1986.

By the end of the 20th century, Staten Islanders became disenchanted with the city of New York. Residents were upset over the disproportionate amount of city funding compared with other boroughs, a lack resources, and underrepresentation in the City Council. Ironically, nearly 100 years after Staten Island joined New York City, Staten Islanders overwhelmingly voted to secede from it in 1993. The bill allowing Staten Island to become autonomous was approved by the state senate, however, one member of the City Council refused to allow a vote on the measure. When Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was elected, he fulfilled many promises made to Island residents, including the closing of the Fresh Kills landfill. During his tenure, cries for secession simmered.

Today, Staten Island is a bedroom community which offers the safety and comfort of suburban living along with the many resources found only in New York City. Because its unique characteristics, both demographically and geographically, Staten Island is known for its history, beauty and culture and home to over 468,000 residents.

Sources
Staten Island Historian
Staten Island History
Staten Island Legal Services
Fun Trivia
2010 Census
Statenopoly
Port Authority of NY and NJ
SILive.com
Biography.com