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Nazareth College

Nazareth College is a coeducational, independent college located in suburban Rochester, in the U.S. state of New York. It was founded in 1924 by the Sisters of St. Joseph as Nazareth College of Rochester.


4245 East Ave

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Additional Information

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Campus Housing
Golden Flyer
Purple Gold
Empire 8

College History


At the request of Bishop Hickey of Rochester, five Sisters of St. Joseph � with Ph.D�s that included graduate study at Oxford University and the Sorbonne � founded Nazareth College in 1924. The first class was composed of 25 young women who began their studies in a large mansion on Lake Avenue in Rochester, New York. The original mansion that housed the college was known as "the Glass House." At that time, the college offered Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees, each with a liberal arts core. In response to increasing enrollment, the college moved to a larger facility in 1928, located at 402 Augustine Street. In January 1942, the college moved to its present-day campus on East Avenue in the suburb of Pittsford. In the 1950s the college responded to the need for graduate study by adding majors and by the 1970s was renowned for quality teacher education and social work. Study abroad programs and intercollegiate sports were also added in the 1970s. During this time of monumental change�that included lectures from eminent figures such as John Ciardi, Robert Fitzgerald, Edward Said, Gabriel Marcel, Dorothy Day, Rudolph Nureyev, and Oscar Arias, the President of Costa Rica�the college became co-educational and governmentally independent of the religious congregation. Nevertheless, it retained its original focus on academic excellence and the charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph: �serving all without distinction.� (History of Nazareth College, Nazareth College Archives) Nazareth competed in men�s intercollegiate athletics for the first time in 1977. The official nickname of the sports teams became the Golden Flyers. Golden for the Nazareth colors, and flyers for the bird-like symbol which was part of the Nazareth logo. Today Nazareth supports 24 varsity and 1 junior varsity sports teams, the most recent, added in 2013, men�s ice hockey. In the late 1980s a five-year degree program in Health Sciences/Physical Therapy was added. Students in the program were awarded a BS in Health Sciences and a Masters in Physical Therapy. This program was the foundation for Nazareth's six-year clinical doctoral program in Physical Therapy (DPT), accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). In the early 2000s, the college purchased adjacent land from the Sisters of St. Joseph, including the former Motherhouse and Infirmary. This acquisition doubled the campus size to its current 150 acres. As a result of generous support from college benefactors (including Tom Golisano, the founder of Paychex), the Motherhouse became the Golisano Academic Center. The Infirmary is now George Hall, a residence that also houses Colie's, a popular spot for coffeehouses and late night study. The decade of the 2000s also saw the construction of new state-of-the-art residence halls, including Portka Hall, Clock Tower Commons, and Lyons and Breen. In 2003, Nazareth College was removed from The Official Catholic Directory, having been declared no longer a Catholic institution by Rochester Bishop Matthew H. Clark. It was the second time since Pope John Paul II issued Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the apostolic constitution on Catholic universities in 1990, that a bishop declared a historically Catholic college or university to be not Catholic. Today, Nazareth College is described as "maintaining many favorable connections with the founding congregation" but "inclusive, non-denominational, comprehensive" (History of Nazareth College, Nazareth College Archives). The Nazareth College Arts Center reopened in the Fall of 2009 after a $10.5 million renovation project. Major changes were made to the stage, which is now a hybrid (proscenium-thrust) stage with a modified fly system. Peckham Hall, the Integrated Center for Math and Science, opened in 2012. Named after lead donors Nancy and Larry Peckham, the $30 million facility supports majors in math and science fields, as well as future teachers of math and science. It also provides important learning facilities for students in health and human services programs. Currently, fundraising is underway for the Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute. This project involves an extensive renovation of Carroll Hall to house all of the clinics associated with the School of Health and Human Services.

College Specialty


The mission of Nazareth College is to provide a learning community that educates students in the liberal arts, sciences, visual and performing arts, and professional fields, fostering commitment to a life informed by intellectual, ethical, spiritual, and aesthetic values; to develop skills necessary for the pursuit of meaningful careers; and to inspire dedication to the ideal of service to their communities. Nazareth seeks students who want to make a difference in their own world and the world around them, and encourages them to develop the understanding, commitment, and confidence to lead fully informed and actively engaged lives.



Jack Allocco, an Emmy award-winning composer, conductor, music producer, and music director whose career includes television, film and theater. Sean Ferrell, a novelist (author of NUMB and Man in the Empty Suit). Jeff House, assistant coach of University of Kentucky WBB, formerly of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). Jim Jabir, head coach of the University of Dayton women's basketball team and leader in all-time wins. Edward J. Monster, a U.S. Cultural Affairs Officer, U.S. State Department Michael Park, an Emmy award-winning actor, best known for his role of Detective Jack Snyder on As the World Turns Neal Powless, an Iroquois lacrosse player from the Six Nations of the Grand River Indian reserve near Brantford, Ontario Manuel Rivera-Ortiz, a documentary photographer Maria Russo, a dramatic soprano Barbara Staropoli, SSJ, a soprano, Nazareth Music Department Chair (1995-2003), Congregational vice-president, Sisters of Saint Joseph of Rochester Jeff Van Gundy, a head coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1996 to 2007 before becoming an NBA analyst for ESPN. Mary Beth West, executive vice president and CMO of Mondel?z International, Inc., formerly Kraft Foods, Inc.



Suburban: 150 acres