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Saint Peter's University

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Title: Saint Peter's University  
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Subject: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, Saint Peter's Peacocks and Peahens, Will Durant, Interrogation Room 109
Collection: 1872 Establishments in New Jersey, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, Council of Independent Colleges, Education in Jersey City, New Jersey, Educational Institutions Established in 1872, Jesuit Universities and Colleges in the United States, Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Roman Catholic Universities and Colleges in New Jersey, Roman Catholic Universities and Colleges in the United States, Saint Peter's University, Sports in Hudson County, New Jersey, Universities and Colleges in Hudson County, New Jersey, Universities and Colleges in New Jersey
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Saint Peter's University

Saint Peter's University
Latin: Universitas Sancti Petri
Former name
Saint Peter’s College
Motto Ad majorem Dei gloriam (Latin)
Motto in English
For the Greater Glory of God
Established 1872 (1872)
Type Private Nonprofit
Research Coeducational
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Academic affiliation
Endowment $31.05 million[1]
President Eugene J. Cornacchia
Provost Gerard P. O’Sullivan
Academic staff
Students 3,302[2]
Undergraduates 2,506[2]
Postgraduates 796 (graduate/doctoral)[2]
Location Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
Campus Urban - 30 acres (12.1 ha)
Colors Blue and White
Nickname Peacocks
Mascot Peacock
Sporting affiliations
Website .edu.saintpeterswww

Saint Peter's University, formerly Saint Peter's College, is a private, coeducational Jesuit Roman Catholic college in the United States. Located in Jersey City, New Jersey, the school was founded in 1872 by the Society of Jesus. Today, Saint Peter's is one of 28 member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Saint Peter's University offers over 33 majors to more than 3,200 undergraduate and 500 graduate students. Its college mascot is the Peacock – the women's sports teams are called the Peahens – and its sports teams play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, of which it is a founding member.

The school is located on a 28-acre (11 ha) campus just south of Journal Square, and is 2 miles (3 km) west of New York City. Evening and weekend classes are offered in Jersey City, Englewood Cliffs, and South Amboy.


  • History 1
  • Recent developments 2
  • Student clubs and activities 3
  • Athletics 4
  • Peacock mascot 5
  • Succession of presidents 6
  • Notable alumni 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The college was chartered in 1872 and enrolled its first students in 1878 at Warren Street, in Jersey City, on the present site of its former high school section, St. Peter's Preparatory School. In September 1918, the college was closed, along with several other Jesuit colleges and high schools, because of declining enrollment in the face of World War I. Although the war ended only two months after its closing, and despite clamoring from alumni, it took until 1930 to re-open the college. The college was temporarily located on Newark Avenue, before moving in 1936 to its current location on Hudson (now Kennedy) Boulevard, between Montgomery Street and Glenwood Avenue.

Unlike other institutions in New Jersey, the school was racialls segregated for many years, and did not admit women at all for nearly a century. It was first inegrated in 1936, when the college admitted its first black student. The college granted an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree to Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965, became coeducational in 1966.

The Englewood Cliffs campus, as seen from Manhattan
Gannon Hall

The college has made an effort to reach out into the New Jersey suburbs, with a satellite campus at Englewood Cliffs opened in 1975 and an extension at South Amboy's McCarrick High School opened in 2003.

Recent years have seen much construction for the college. In 1975, the college constructed the Yanitelli Recreational Life Center, a sports complex. Beginning with the 1983 acquisition of its first residence hall, the college has converted four apartment buildings to dormitory use, and constructed two brand new dormitories.

Recent developments

Gannon Hall, the science building and one of the first structures on campus, underwent an $8.2 million renovation.

In 2004, the long-awaited pedestrian bridge over Kennedy Boulevard linked the East Campus and the West Campus. In 2006, the college began a $50 million capital campaign. Further expansion of the east side of the campus calls for plans for a student center, funding for which has been mostly secured.[3]

On December 24, 2006, sitting college President James N. Lougran, S.J. was found dead in his home.[4] On May 10, 2007, the Board of Trustees appointed Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., as the 22nd President of Saint Peter's College. Dr. Cornacchia is the first layperson to serve as President of the 135-year-old Catholic, Jesuit institution.

In 2008, Saint Peter's was awarded a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to create the Center for Microplasma Science and Technology. This grant allowed the college to expand upon its 20 years of studying microplasma as part of its research on water purifiers in conjunction with United Water. Saint Peter's graduates U.S. Senator Robert Menendez and U.S. Representative Albio Sires helped secure the $2 million grant.[5]

On the day after his narrow defeat in the 2008 New Hampshire Presidential primary election, Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama held a rally at the college's Yanitelli Center.[6]

In March 2011, it was announced that the college would take over Saint Aeden's Church at McGinley Square from the Archdiocese of Newark.[7]

Footbridge over Kennedy Boulevard links the campus as it grows eastward
Yanitelli Center, Home of the Peacocks/Peahens

In March 2012, it was announced the college had been granted the university designation by the New Jersey State Secretary for Higher Education and would thus change its name. On August 14, 2012, Saint Peter's announced its official change on its website, becoming Saint Peter's University.[8][9]

In 2013, Saint Peter's University opened its new student center.[10]

Student clubs and activities

Saint Peter's University has numerous clubs and organizations that participate in a broad range of activities. Saint Peter's University has over 50 active student-run organizations, in addition to the new Mac Mahon Student Center.


Competing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), the college fields 18 athletic teams. The men's teams are known as the Peacocks, and the women's teams are the Peahens; Saint Peter's is the only NCAA Division I institution with this mascot. The baseball, softball and soccer teams play at Joseph J. Jaroschak Field, in Lincoln Park. All other teams play at the The Victor R. Yanitelli, S.J. Recreational Life Center, located on campus. The school also uses the Jersey City Armory for some events. On June 14, 2007, it was announced that the football team would be disbanded.[11]

Basketball has long been the most popular sport at the college. Under legendary coach Don Kennedy, the men's team gained national attention by defeating heavily favored and nationally ranked Duke University in the 1968 NIT quarterfinals, en route to a fourth-place finish.

Saint Peter's has won the MAAC men's basketball championship and the accompanying automatic bid to the NCAA tournament three times (1991, 1995, and 2011) and has appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) 12 times (1957, 1958, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1987, and 1989). The women's basketball team has won seven MAAC championships and automatic bids to the NCAA tournament (1982, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1999, 2000, and 2002); it also won the MAAC championship in 1983 and 1984, years when the MAAC champion did not receive an automatic NCAA tournament berth.

In recent years the basketball program has seen a resurgence, owing much to the success of John Dunne was named the 14th head coach in Saint Peter’s College men’s basketball history on May 24, 2006. On November 25, 2007, the Peacocks defeated Rutgers University 65–58 at the Jersey City Armory. This victory was Saint Peter's first win against a Big East Conference opponent since defeating Seton Hall University at the Meadowlands in 1995.[12]

Peacocks logo

The men's soccer team has also enjoyed some success of late. The Peacocks were crowned the 2003 MAAC Men's Soccer Champions after defeating Loyola College (Maryland), 2–1. In 2006 the Peacocks returned to the MAAC Men's Soccer Championship finals where they were outlasted by Fairfield University, 1–0. The Peacocks again returned to the MAAC Men's Soccer Championship Finals in 2007, where they fell to Loyola College, 1–0. In 2007, the men's team earned a place in the 2007 NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament with the first at-large nomination in school history. The Peacocks met the University of Virginia in the first Round of play at Charlottesville, Virginia. Saint Peter's lost by a score of 3–1. In 2010 Saint Peter's College Mens Soccer term earned their 2nd MAAC Championship title defeating Iona College 2–1.

The women's bowling team is one of the most successful programs at the school, winning its first-ever championship title in 2009.[13]

The golf team enjoys access to the prestigious Liberty National Golf Club on the beautiful Jersey City waterfront — home to The Barclays 2009, first stage of the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedEx Cup. Liberty National is noted as a unique course because of its proximity to and panoramic views of both the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan.

Peacock mascot

Peacock mascot

Saint Peter's University is the only NCAA Division I institution whose mascot is the peacock. This choice was made for several reasons. Primarily, the land on which Saint Peter's now stands was once owned by a man named Michael Pauw, whose last name means "peacock" in Dutch. His extensive holdings included most of Hudson County and were part of the Pavonia, New Netherland settlement.

In pagan mythology, the peacock is considered to be a symbol of rebirth, much like the phoenix. For Saint Peter's, it is a reference to the closing and reopening of the college in the early 20th century.

At one point in the 1960s, live peacocks roamed the campus. Many institutions within the college derive their name from the peacock:

  • The school newspaper is titled the Pauw Wow.
  • The literary magazine is titled the Pavan.
  • The school's yearbook is titled the Peacock Pie.
  • The drama society calls itself Argus Eyes, in reference to Argus "Panoptes", who, according to Greek mythology, had his 100 eyes preserved by Hera in the tail of the peacock.
  • One of the major dining facilities is named the Pavonia Room.

Succession of presidents

Notable alumni

Saint Peter's has approximately 28,000 living alumni worldwide. Saint Peter's alumni are distinguishing themselves in the fields of arts & entertainment, business, government, law, medicine and sports.

  • In the field of sports, Saint Peter's graduates include: Keydren Clark, Two-time NCAA basketball scoring champion and seventh all-time leading scorer in NCAA history; Bob Hurley, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame basketball coach at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, New Jersey; Richard Rinaldi, former NBA player for the Baltimore Bullets and New York Nets, who, as a senior, averaged 28.6 ppg for the Peacocks; and former MLB relief pitchers Frank Brooks and Víctor Santos.
  • Other notable Saint Peter's graduates include: Nicholas J. Cifarelli, physician known for starting the first Bioethics Advisory Committee in the United States; John Henning, award-winning TV and radio news reporter in Boston, Massachusetts; and Joseph McGinn, pioneer of minimally invasive cardiac bypass surgery and medical director of The Heart Institute of New York[18]


  1. ^ "Sortable Table: College and University Endowments, 2013-14". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 29 January 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^ "St. Peter's College launches $62 million capital campaign with help from 'American Idol' Taylor Hicks, looks to build its first student center". The Jersey Journal. May 7, 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-07. 
  4. ^ "Rev. James N. Loughran, 66, College Head, Dies", The New York Times, December 28, 2006. Retrieved November 29, 2007.
  5. ^ Shortell, Tom. "Microplasma means big money for St. Peter's College", December 4, 2008, Retrieved June 21, 2010.
  6. ^ Cardwell, Diane. "Obama Swipes at Clinton, but Takes Aim at Bush", The New York Times, January 9, 2008. Retrieved January 10, 2008.
  7. ^ "Longtime St. Aedan's parishioners slam deal Archdiocese quietly made for Saint Peter's College to take over Jersey City church". 2011-03-31. Retrieved 2012-08-09. 
  8. ^ Jersey Journal file photo. "St. Peter's College in Jersey City approved for university designation". Retrieved 2012-08-09. 
  9. ^ "Saint Peter's College is now Saint Peter's University". 13 August 2012. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. 
  10. ^ "University Hosts Grand Opening Celebration for Mac Mahon Student Center". 2013-03-20. Retrieved 2013-06-05. 
  11. ^ St. Peter's drops football program due to trouble competing. Retrieved November 29, 2007.
  12. ^ Cangiano, Andrew. "Peacocks Strut Their Stuff", The Jersey Journal, November 26, 2007. Retrieved November 29, 2007.
  13. ^ Bowling Peahens Win 2009 Beach Open
  14. ^ Mary Ann McGuigan website
  15. ^ "Lawrence R. Codey". Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "Joseph R. Gromek". Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  17. ^ Zina Moukheiber. "Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned". Forbes. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  18. ^ "McGinn, Joseph T., Dr. - The Heart Institute". The Heart Institute. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Saint Peter's Athletics website
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