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A brief history of Adelphi University.

Adelphi University’s roots reach back to 1863 and the founding of the Adelphi Academy, a private preparatory school in Brooklyn, New York. The Academy was incorporated in 1869 and its Board of Trustees was charged with establishing a first class institution for the broadest and most thorough training, and to make its advantages as accessible as possible to the largest numbers of our population. The school quickly gained a reputation for its innovative curriculum, particularly in physical culture and early childhood education.


Adelphi Academy

Adelphi Academy in Brooklyn, New York.


The appointment of Charles H. Levermore, Ph.D., as the head of the Academy in 1893 was an important moment in Adelphi’s history. Realizing the city of Brooklyn was without a liberal arts college, Levermore seized the opportunity to establish Adelphi College. Through the efforts of Timothy Woodruff, former lieutenant governor of New York State and future president of Adelphi’s Board of Trustees, Adelphi College, with 57 students and 16 instructors, was granted a charter—one of the earliest charters granted to a coeducational college by the Board of Regents of the State of New York—on June 24, 1896. Henceforth, degrees issued bore the seals of Adelphi College and of the University of the State of New York and were signed by the officers of the College and by the chancellor and the secretary of the University. For the next 25 years, the Academy remained intact yet separate from the College.


Adelphi University 1928 groundbreaking in Garden City New York.

Adelphi University 1928 groundbreaking, Garden City NY.


Over the course of the next 100 years Adelphi grew and changed significantly. In 1929, Adelphi University became the first private, coeducational institution of higher education on Long Island. Since that time, more than 100,000 students have passed through our doors, leaving their mark on the University and the world beyond.

Today, Adelphi is thriving. Our colleges and schools include the College of Arts and Sciences; the Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies; the Honors College; the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business; the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education; the School of Nursing; the School of Social Work; and University College. Under the leadership of Robert A. Scott, Ph.D., president of Adelphi since 2000, we have reinvigorated our academic community and invested in our future. Our faculty is leading the way to ensure that our students receive the finest education in the region and that Adelphi continues to serve as a vital resource to our local communities. As we turn our strategic plan into a vision for our future, the campus community has come together to accomplish mutual goals centered on scholarship and student achievement.

While universities around the country have been eliminating faculty, Adelphi has hired more than 280 new professors since 2001. Current full- and part-time faculty total 956, with a student/faculty ratio of 10:1. To ensure that our scholars have the resources needed to reach their goals, we have invested millions of dollars in infrastructure. We have renovated our facilities; upgraded our technology and created smart classrooms; dramatically improved our libraries—both facilities and collections; and invested in new equipment, including state-of-the-art lasers for two new physics laboratories, an atomic scanning microscope and a nuclear magnetic resonance machine for the chemistry program, new pianos from Steinway & Sons, and enhanced digital music facilities to support our music and performing arts programs. An ambitious campus expansion project has, over the last decade, resulted in the completion and opening of the Adele and Herbert J. Klapper Center for Fine Arts with space for painting, printmaking, sculpture and ceramics; the Center for Recreation and Sports, containing gyms and an indoor track; the Performing Arts Center (AUPAC) includes a 500-seat Concert Hall and additional performance, rehearsal and classroom space for music, theatre and dance; an outdoor sports complex; a complete renovation of Woodruff Hall with a modern exercise room, pool, teaching gym and classroom; the Alice Brown Early Learning Center; and additional parking.

Scholars throughout the University are making significant contributions to their disciplines. In recent years, Adelphi faculty members have been recognized as Fulbright and Hartford Scholars, and have received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. The School of Social Work is accredited for the maximum time that the accrediting agency grants. In fact, our School of Social Work was reaccredited with no recommendations for improvement by the Council on Social Work Education’s site evaluation committee, and the School’s self-study document so impressed the council that it is now used as a model in reaccreditation training sessions for other programs.

Aerial view of Adelphi University

Aerial view of Adelphi University’s main campus in Garden City.

Currently, nearly 8,000 students are thriving in our classrooms, in our programs, on our sports fields at the main Garden City campus and at centers in Manhattan, Hauppauge, and Poughkeepsie. Our students have gone on to achieve awards and national recognition for their scholarship, service and leadership.

Adelphi also seeks to serve its locality, state and nation through the research and practice of its faculty; the strengthening of ties between the professional schools and community; the staging of distinguished cultural events at its campuses; and most essentially, the education of a generation of future leaders and informed citizens, professionals, and community members.

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