Centenary University
Old Main, Centenary University, Hackettstown, NJ.jpg
Old Main, the Edward Seay Administration Building
Former names
Centenary Collegiate Institute (1867–1940)
Centenary Junior College (1940–1956)
Centenary College for Women (1956–1976)
Centenary College (1976–2016)[1]
TypePrivate Liberal Arts College
Established1867; 156 years ago (1867)
FounderJonathan Townley Crane
AffiliationUnited Methodist Church
Endowment$7.3 million (2019)[2]
PresidentBruce Murphy [3]
Academic staff
73 full-time
Location, ,
Campus42 acres (Main Campus),
65 acres (Equestrian Center)
ColorsCentenary Blue and Grey
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division III
Centenary University logo.svg
Centenary Collegiate Institute
Centenary University is located in Warren County, New Jersey
Centenary University
Centenary University is located in New Jersey
Centenary University
Centenary University is located in the United States
Centenary University
Coordinates40°50′57″N 74°49′57″W / 40.84917°N 74.83250°W / 40.84917; -74.83250Coordinates: 40°50′57″N 74°49′57″W / 40.84917°N 74.83250°W / 40.84917; -74.83250
Area4.3 acres (1.7 ha)
NRHP reference No.97000564[4]
NJRHP No.3496[5]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 13, 1997
Designated NJRHPApril 21, 1997

Centenary University is a private liberal arts university in Hackettstown, New Jersey. Founded as a preparatory school by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1867,[6] Centenary evolved into a Junior College for women and later a coeducational four year University offering undergraduate and Master's level graduate programs.[7]

Situated in suburban Warren County, New Jersey, 52 miles west of New York City, 35 miles southeast of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and 26 miles northeast of Easton, Pennsylvania in the Lehigh Valley, the school's main campus is identifiable by the Old Main building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8]


Centenary was founded as the Centenary Collegiate Institute (CCI) by what was then known as the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1867. The name was chosen to commemorate the centennial of Methodism in the United States.[9] It was built at a cost of $200,000. George H. Whitney, D.D., was president from 1869 to 1895.[10]

Beginning as a coeducational preparatory school, CCI became a girls only institution in 1910. In 1940, it became a junior college: Centenary Junior College. It would subsequently become Centenary College for Women in 1956 before becoming Centenary College in 1976, a four-year college for girls offering associate and bachelor's degrees with men allowed to pursue degrees only at night courses. In 1988, men were allowed to attend full time. In 1995, master's degree programs were introduced.[9] In 2016, Centenary College was granted University status by the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education.[11]

Tillie Smith Monument to Chastity[12]
Tillie Smith Monument to Chastity[12]

In 1886, a 19 year old kitchen worker named Tillie Smith was "outraged" and murdered in a field just off campus. A janitor at CCI named James Titus was convicted of the crime based on circumstantial evidence strongly influenced by yellow journalism. Authors and historians generally consider this to be a false conviction but debate over the facts continue perennially through dark tourism ghost tours, theatrical performances, books and Weird NJ magazine articles.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

On Halloween night, 1899, the original five-story CCI building burned to the ground in a fire.[19][20] The Seay Administration Building, also called Old Main, was designed by architect Oscar Schutte Teale in a Renaissance Beaux Arts style[21] and built on the ruins of the original structure in 1901.[8]

In 1957, a student run FM college radio station WNTI began broadcasting on campus. Eventually becoming an NPR affiliate serving the regional community with an adult album rock format, the FM transmitter was sold to University of Pennsylvania based WXPN in 2015.[22][23][24] As of 2020, a student run internet radio station continues to operate at WNTI.org.[25]

The Centenary Stage Company, a professional Equity theater, has been operating on campus since 1985.[26][27] In 1992, a "Women's Playwright Series" development program offers grants, workshops, prizes and world premieres for the underserved voice of women in theater.[28][29] Centenary also offers an intensive musical theater program for intermediate and advanced young performers.[30][31]

In 1999, Centenary founded the Center for Adult and Professional Studies program. In 2011, the program was renamed the School of Professional Studies.[7]


In 2019, Centenary reported enrollment of 1,119 students.[32] Centenary was the first college in the State of New Jersey to require service education as a condition of graduation.[citation needed]


Centenary University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and approved by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church. Some programs at Centenary are accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education, Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, Council on Social Work Education, or International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.[7]

Main campus and learning centers

Centenary University Main campus is located in Hackettstown, New Jersey. The Centenary Equestrian Center located in Long Valley provides riding and education facilities for its Equine Studies Department.[33] The college also operates two satellite learning centers located in Parsippany[34] and Edison, New Jersey[35] to service its adult student programs.

Hackettstown Campus

The main campus of Centenary University is home to most of the school's academic, administrative, athletic and collegiate activities, as well as housing for its undergraduate students. It consists of ten main buildings and eight residence buildings.[36] It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 13, 1997, for its significance in architecture.[8]



Residence halls

Equestrian Center

The Equestrian Center is located in Long Valley, New Jersey. It consists of several large paddocks, an outdoor eventing course, two indoor arenas and one outdoor arena. The Equestrian Center sits on 65 acres (260,000 m2) of land.

In 2007 and 2012 Centenary Equestrian Center hosted the American National Riding Commission Championships, Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Zone Finals, and the Intercollegiate Dressage Association Championships.[41]

Parsippany Center

The Parsippany campus is home to Centenary's School of Professional Studies faculty and staff. This location boasts a small cafe, offices for staff, a student computer lab, a student workroom, and 13 classrooms operating with a broadband WiFi network. Classes take place in the evening for the benefit of working professionals.[citation needed]

Edison Center

The Edison office serves as a satellite location for the Centenary School of Professional Studies. This location consists of six classrooms, two offices, a small conference room, a small dinette, a student work room, and a wireless broadband network. The building complex hosts a cafeteria and ample parking.[citation needed]


Centenary University teams participate in eight NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports. The Cyclones joined the Colonial States Athletic Conference for the 2007–08 season, after having been a member of the Skyline Conference. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, equestrian, golf, lacrosse, soccer and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, equestrian, lacrosse, soccer, softball and volleyball. Students enrolled in the college's Equine programs may participate in competitions through intercollegiate organizations such as the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, the Intercollegiate Dressage Association, or with the Hunter/Jumper's Club.[citation needed]

Noted athletic achievements

In 2009 Centenary's Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team won the National Championships in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Lindsay Clark, a Centenary Student, also won the USEF/Cacchione Cup.[42]

Debbie Harry

The 2010 women's soccer team won the CSAC Championship,[43] earning them an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.[citation needed] The 2013 and 2016 men's soccer teams replicated this feat.[43]

Notable alumni and staff


  1. ^ "CENTENARY UNIVERSITY". tmlarchives.wordpress.com. Taylor Memorial Library Archives. Retrieved 29 January 2023.
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  3. ^ "President's Office – Centenary University". Retrieved October 6, 2016.
  4. ^ "National Register Information System – (#97000564)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
  5. ^ "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places - Warren County" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection - Historic Preservation Office. August 17, 2017. p. 3.
  6. ^ "Centenary University - Profile, Rankings and Data | US News Best Colleges". Archived from the original on 2018-10-15. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  7. ^ a b c "Centenary College History". Archived from the original on July 2, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
  8. ^ a b c Goodman, Rochelle; Knaap, Simone; DeFabritis, Elizabeth (February 10, 1997). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Centenary Collegiate Institute". National Park Service. With accompanying 19 photos
  9. ^ a b "CENTENARY COLLEGE CATALOG ADULT & PROFESSIONAL STUDIES" (PDF). centenaryuniversity.edu. Retrieved Nov 24, 2020.
  10. ^ "1890 Centenary Collegiate Institute". Retrieved July 28, 2012.
  11. ^ "Surprise! N.J. College announces name change at graduation". 14 May 2016.
  12. ^ NJ.com, Emily Cummins | For (2015-04-07). "120th Anniversary of Tillie Smith murder: Book signing in Warren County". nj. Retrieved 2020-11-26.
  13. ^ Sullivan, Denis (2000). In Defence of Her Honor: The Tillie Smith Murder Case. Flemington: D.H. Thoreau Books.
  14. ^ O'Donnell, Chuck (2013-10-06). "Tillie Smith murder at Centenary College remains part of Hackettstown lore". lehighvalleylive. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  15. ^ "In Memory of Tillie Smith". The New York Times. 1887-05-18. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  16. ^ "Following the path of Tillie Smith". New Jersey Herald. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  17. ^ "Murdered Maid Haunts Centenary College | Weird NJ". weirdnj.com. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  18. ^ "Mondays with authors: Maryann McFadden's new novel explores1886 NJ murder". 2020-01-24. Archived from the original on 2020-01-24. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  19. ^ "Historic Hackettstown". www.hackettstownhistory.com. Retrieved 2020-01-29.
  20. ^ Morgan, Susan. "HISTORIC SITES OF WARREN COUNTY" (PDF). Warren County Cultural and Heritage Commission. Archived (PDF) from the original on Jan 13, 2020.
  21. ^ Herman, Jennifer (2008-01-01). "seay+administration+building"&pg=RA1-PA206 New Jersey Encyclopedia. State History Publications. ISBN 978-1-878592-44-6.
  22. ^ "WNTI license sold to Philadelphia public radio station - News - New Jersey Herald - Newton, NJ". 2020-11-24. Archived from the original on 2020-11-24. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  23. ^ Lustig, Jay (2015-10-06). "WNTI-FM is sold; DJs say goodbye online". NJArts.net. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  24. ^ "'WNTI Is Over': Centenary College Radio Station Reportedly Sold". Hackettstown, NJ Patch. 2015-10-06. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  25. ^ "ABOUT WNTI". WNTI.org. Archived from the original on Jan 28, 2020. Retrieved Nov 24, 2020.
  26. ^ "Centenary Stage Company - Hackettstown, NJ | Scenic Wild Delaware River". scenicwilddelawareriver.com. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  27. ^ "Message from Carl Wallnau | Centenary Stage Company | Hackettstown, NJ". Centenary Stage Company. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  28. ^ "Women Playwrights Series | Centenary Stage Company | Hackettstown, NJ". Centenary Stage Company. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  29. ^ Wilcox, Stephen. "Women Playwrights Series at Centenary Stage Co". gardenstatewoman.com. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  30. ^ "Centenary sets fall Young Performers Workshop". New Jersey Herald. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  31. ^ "Young Audience Series | Centenary Stage Company | Hackettstown, NJ". Centenary Stage Company. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  32. ^ "Centenary University". usnews.com. U.S. News & World Report L.P. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  33. ^ "Equine Studies". Centenary University ™. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  34. ^ "Centenary University – Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce". Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  35. ^ "Edison Learning Center". Centenary University ™. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  36. ^ "Locations, Maps & Directions". Centenary University ™. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  37. ^ "Academic Facilities". Centenary University ™. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  38. ^ a b "Venues | Centenary Stage Company | Hackettstown, NJ". Centenary Stage Company. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  39. ^ "The David and Carol Lackland Center". Centenary University ™. Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  40. ^ "Library". Centenary University ™. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  41. ^ [1][permanent dead link] "In 2007 Centenary Equestrian Center hosted the American National Riding Commission Championships, Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Zone Finals, and the Intercollegiate Dressage Association Championships."
  42. ^ misc/ihsa2009results.html[permanent dead link] "In 2009 Centenary's Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team won the National Championships in Murfreesboro, TN. Lindsay Clark, a Centenary Student, also won the USEF/Cacchione Cup.
  43. ^ a b "All-Time Champions". csacsports.com. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  44. ^ "SORORITIES ADMIT 85 AT CENTENARY JUNIOR; Majority of Students Named to Three Societies Are From New York Area", The New York Times, November 21, 1937. Accessed December 6, 2007. "Miss Bette Cooper of this community, who was chosen Miss America for 1937 at the Atlantic City beauty contest in September, is a new member of Delta Sigma Sigma."
  45. ^ Wertheim, Stanley. (1997). A Stephen Crane encyclopedia. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 70. ISBN 0-313-00812-4. OCLC 52242909.
  46. ^ Wertheim, Stanley. (1997). A Stephen Crane encyclopedia. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. 76–7. ISBN 0-313-00812-4. OCLC 52242909.
  47. ^ McSorely, Nora (15 April 2021). "Madison native, professional bassist, hones skills, longs for return to the road and gigs". New Jersey Hills Media Group. Retrieved 23 January 2022. Once out of Madison High School, from which he graduated in 2008, Hall studied both criminal justice and political science at Centenary University in Hackettstown.
  48. ^ "Centenary College Honors Deborah Harry as a Distinguished Alumna" Archived 2012-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, Centenary College of New Jersey press release dated October 24, 2007. Accessed March 20, 2010. "Deborah Ann Harry, Class of 1965, is a singer, songwriter, and actress."
  49. ^ "Centenary’s Kimball Chosen by Nationals in 12th Round." Archived 2012-02-10 at the Wayback Machine, Centenary College of New Jersey press release dated July 7, 2006. Accessed January 13, 2008. "A graduate of Hackettstown High School, and a resident of Great Meadows NJ, Centenary has been a terrific fit for Cole’s most recent two seasons."
  50. ^ Farhi, Paul (October 6, 2008). "The Separate Peace of John And Carol". The Washington Post. Retrieved Jan 2, 2020.
  51. ^ Assemblyman Gail Phoebus, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed August 19, 2016.