On September 23, 1935, in the middle of the Great Depression and at a time of great turmoil, Hofstra College first opened its doors to 19 faculty members and about 800 students (many of whom were part-time students attending evening classes). Under the direction of Truesdel Peck Calkins, Howard Brower and the trustees of the Hofstra estate, they bravely began a new and hopeful journey in higher education, by starting a small, commuter college, in what had been until only a few years earlier Kate and William Hofstra’s Hempstead Plains home.
75 years later, Hofstra University, much like its Long Island home, has changed and grown, perhaps even more than Mr. Calkins and his colleagues would have ever dreamed. As you know, Hofstra is now an internationally renowned university, welcoming thousands of students from around the world and across the country, with hundreds of faculty scholars on a beautiful residential campus.
This year, beginning on September 23, 2010, we celebrate 75 years of Hofstra University: 75 years of academic excellence, growth, community, service, scholarship, success, and most especially, Hofstra Pride and Purpose. Hofstra’s history encompasses the story of our great university as well as thousands of stories of individual achievement, of our students, friends, families, faculty and alumni.
As president, I am privileged to meet many of the extraordinary people who are members of the Hofstra community and hear their individual stories. Time and time again, I learn about how a student-faculty relationship influenced a career, how a friendship lasted a lifetime, how ideals, skills and concepts learned both inside and outside the classroom changed the direction of someone’s life. And I witness the contributions made by faculty, by students and by our alumni, and see firsthand how each of these contributions changes and shapes the University, helps us grow and adjust to changing times, and brings new ideas, research, programs and innovation to our university.
The Hofstra community is a special community, one dedicated to achievement, service and success; however, each of us defines those ideals. Together, we have made Hofstra University into the great institution it is today.
Our 75th anniversary committee has worked long and hard to ensure this celebration was worthy of our great history. Our goal is to encourage all alumni and families to come home to Hofstra, for the Diamond Weekend that launches the yearlong commemoration, for some of the academic programs, or to tour and engage in our historical exhibits and projects. If you cannot return to campus, we invite you to spend some time on our 75th anniversary Web site, where you'll find a treasure trove of archival photos and videos, contests and ways to interact with your fellow alumni.
Welcome back, and thank you for joining us. I look forward to hearing about your Hofstra connection.