|Monmouth Junior College|
|Endowment||$106.7 million (2020)|
|President||Patrick F. Leahy|
|Campus||Suburban, 159 acres (64 ha)|
|Colors||Midnight blue, white|
|NCAA Division I MAAC|
Big South Conference
|Mascot||Shadow The Hawk|
Monmouth University is a private university in West Long Branch, New Jersey. Founded in 1933 as Monmouth Junior College, it became Monmouth College in 1956 and Monmouth University in 1995 after receiving its charter.
There are about 4,400 full-time and 260 part-time undergraduate and 1,750 graduate students, as well as 302 full-time faculty members. About 80% of faculty members hold Ph.D.s or other terminal degrees in their field of study. The university's student-to-faculty ratio is about 14:1. Forty-four percent of students live on-campus. Most of Monmouth's student body is drawn from the northeastern United States, although student body is composed of students from 29 states and 28 countries.
The school that would become Monmouth University was founded in 1933 as Monmouth Junior College, a two-year junior college under Dean Edward G. Schlaefer. Created in New Jersey during the Great Depression, Monmouth Junior College was intended by Schlaefer to provide an opportunity for higher education to high school graduates in Monmouth County who could not afford to go away to college. The junior college did not have its own campus at the time of its founding and was housed at Long Branch High School in Long Branch. Due to sharing a building with a high school, classes were taught during evening hours after the high school students had departed.
Monmouth Junior College opened to students on November 21, 1933. The junior college's first student enrollment was reported at 325, all graduates from Monmouth County high schools, with a faculty of 12 instructors. Federal reemployment funds financed the junior college, with approximately $18,000 approved by New Jersey Director of Emergency Relief John Colt.
In 1947, the school received full college accreditation from the New Jersey Board of Education to award associate degrees to students. 100 students became the first recipients of associate degrees from Monmouth Junior College the following year. Support from students and the community are credited with helping the school continue to teach classes and become a privately funded institution.
Monmouth Junior College acquired its own campus in 1955 when it relocated from Long Branch to the estate of Shadow Lawn in West Long Branch. The estate was purchased from Eugene H. Lehman for $350,000. In addition to the monetary cost, Lehman signed over the estate under the provision that he serve as the school's president for one year.
A year later, the school was renamed Monmouth College when it was accredited by the state to offer four-year programs that would award bachelor degrees to students. Through the agreement that granted Shadow Lawn to the school, Lehman became the first president of Monmouth College from 1956 to 1957. Schlaefer resumed leadership after Lehman's tenure, serving as president from 1957 to 1962. Monmouth's first commencement was held at Shadow Lawn the same year that Schlaefer assumed the presidency and the first bachelor's degrees were awarded the year after, in 1958.
The 1960s saw further growth for Monmouth in campus size, athletics, student life, and academics. At the start of the decade, the Murry and Leonie Foundation transferred ownership of the Murry Guggenheim House to Monmouth, which became the school's library. The transfer also included a stable and carriage house that would be converted into the Lauren K. Woods Theatre. Elmwood and Pinewood, Monmouth's first campus residence halls, opened in 1963, while the William T. Boylan Gymnasium was built in 1965 as a new home for the basketball team. Additional property was acquired by the college in 1969 when Monmouth was granted ownership of Maurice Pollak's home, the site of what would become Pollak Theatre. Amid the campus expansion, Monmouth College received authorization from the state to offer graduate programs and award master degrees in 1967.
Monmouth's 50th anniversary in 1983 was coincided by its athletics program being granted Division I status from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Teams representing Monmouth competed in the Northeast Conference for the next three decades. The 50th anniversary also saw the first Founders' Day at Monmouth, which would become an annual tradition. Four years later, the school's Athletics Hall of Fame was established.
A significant development occurred for Monmouth in 1995 when it was granted university status by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education, resulting in the school being renamed Monmouth University. The university status was obtained under the leadership of Rebecca Stafford, the school's first female president, who described Monmouth as being "on the move". The College Center, constructed in the 1970s, would be renamed the Rebecca Stafford Student Center in her honor.
During the 1990s, the school's athletic program was joined by a football team, which began play in 1993. The athletic teams would continue to compete in the Northeast Conference until 2013 when they moved to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). As the MAAC did not sponsor collegiate football, Monmouth's football team became part of the Big South Conference as an associate member.
The 21st century saw the completion of a pedestrian underpass on campus in 2001. By the end of the decade, the Multipurpose Activity Center replaced the William T. Boylan Gymnasium as the home of the men's and women's basketball teams in 2009. The new facility, which cost $57 million, was described by then-Senior Associate Athletic Director Jeff Stapleton as "probably the biggest undertaking that the institution has done". The facility was renamed OceanFirst Bank Center in 2016 after Monmouth University and OceanFirst Bank reached a $4 million agreement through 2036 that included the naming rights of the facility.
The centerpiece of the Monmouth University campus is Shadow Lawn. Originally, it was the site of the Shadow Lawn mansion, constructed in 1903 and housed 52 rooms.
After the original Shadow Lawn was destroyed by a fire in 1927, the current building that would become was built as a residence for Mr. and Mrs. Hubert Templeton Parson. Mr. Parson was the former head of F.W. Woolworth Company. The building was designed by Horace Trumbauer and Julian Abele. Abele is regarded as the first professional African American architect.
Shadow Lawn became municipal property during the Great Depression and until Monmouth acquired ownership, it was home to Highland Manor Junior College, a private girls' school. Today, it is a National Historic Landmark. Some classrooms and the administrative offices are inside of the building.
Shadow Lawn was named to the National Register of Historic Places on March 28, 1978. It was named a National Historic Landmark on February 4, 1985.
Shadow Lawn has also been a host of the film version of Annie, starring Aileen Quinn. Some of the scenes in this movie were filmed inside and outside of the building along with the rest of the Monmouth University campus. Shadow Lawn was used as Daddy Warbucks' mansion.
Following Monmouth's acquisition of the estate, Shadow Lawn was renamed Woodrow Wilson Hall after United States President Woodrow Wilson, who stayed in the original mansion during his campaign in summer of 1916. The current mansion was renamed to Great Hall in 2020, with the university citing racist policies of Wilson for the change.
In 1903, Murry Guggenheim (1858–1939), son of Meyer Guggenheim, bought property in West Long Branch to build a summer residence for himself and his wife, Leonie. The original structure of the Beaux-Arts mansion, designed by Carrère and Hastings is now the Murry and Leonie Guggenheim wing of the Monmouth University Library.
It was also added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 28, 1978.
The Guggenheim estate also included a stable and carriage house across the road on Cedar Avenue. This has been converted into the Lauren K. Woods Theatre.
Monmouth University is organized into seven schools:
|U.S. News & World Report||18|
Monmouth University's placement on the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Ranking increased during the 2010s, moving from 76 in 2005 to 37 in 2012 and 30 in 2013 among regional universities in the Northern United States. By 2018, Monmouth ranked at 28 among northern regional universities, its highest spot at the time from U.S. News & World Report. The ranking also made Monmouth the highest private regional university in New Jersey and the state's second-highest regional university behind The College of New Jersey.
Despite moving up in the U.S. News & World Report ranking, however, Monmouth University did not appear on Forbes Magazine's List of America's Best Colleges until 2021. Mark Blackmon, the director of News and Public Affairs at Monmouth, attributed the school's omission in 2016 to Forbes relying "on some information that can be highly subjective", with schools "[losing] points for awarding grants and scholarships". In response to Forbes allegedly lowering a school's ranking for providing financial support, Blackmon commented that, "We are actually quite proud that we can assist so many students in getting an education", and concluded, "Even though Monmouth failed to make the Forbes list, I think that it doesn't reflect the quality of its teachers and the type of school that Monmouth is. I think it should have definitely made it." The 2021 ranking marked the first appearance of Monmouth University, where it placed 394.
Monmouth University has held multiple academic symposia on the work of Bruce Springsteen and houses the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music.
Monmouth University has a variety of on-campus clubs and organizations, including the campus television station HawkTV; the college radio station WMCX-FM, one of the last media outlets to interview Bob Marley and the first media outlet in America to announce his death; and the student-run newspaper The Outlook, which has been published since 1933.
The Department of Art and Design is an active participant in the arts of Monmouth. It maintains multiple galleries for exhibiting creative works of students, faculty, and staff, as well as practicing artists and designers.
Monmouth University also has its own independent, student run record label, Blue Hawk Records. The music organization allows students to learn hands-on, gaining relevant experience and encountering situations that would occur in the Music Industry. Blue Hawk Records allows students to work together, alongside experienced industry professionals, to build their skills in talent scouting, artist promotion and development, live music and record releases, artwork, packaging, sales, marketing, further learning the structure of business and how to mold artists into marketable material.
Monmouth's athletic teams are known as the Hawks. The school competes as a Division I (NCAA) school in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, with football competing as an FCS independent in the 2013 season before joining the Big South Conference in 2014. Monmouth fields the following sports at the Division I level: baseball, basketball (men's and women's), bowling (women's) cross country (men's and women's), field hockey, football, golf (men's and women's), indoor track (men's and women's), lacrosse (women's and men's), soccer (men's and women's), softball, tennis (men's and women's), and track & field (men's and women's). In the fall of 2014, Monmouth announced the reintroduction of swimming programs (women's and men's) at the Division I level in the fall of 2015.
Monmouth University (then still Monmouth College), added football to the school's ledger of sports teams in 1993. The team's first game was played on September 25 of that year. The first points in school history were scored on a bizarre defensive play by intercepting and returning a two-point conversion.
A new multipurpose activity center opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 16, 2009. The 153,200-square-foot (14,230 m2) Center currently serves as the primary indoor athletic structure. A partnership agreement with OceanFirst Bank named the facility as the OceanFirst Bank Center in June, 2016. It houses a 4,100 seat competition arena; a 200-meter; six-lane indoor track; locker rooms; educational and conference space; ground-level bookstore; and fitness center. The new facility adjoins the William T. Boylan Gymnasium a 2,500-seat arena built in 1965.
Monmouth has been in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament in 1996, 2001, 2004, and 2006. Monmouth won their first NCAA men's basketball tournament game in 2006 when they beat Hampton University in that year's play-in game. It was the first time a Northeast Conference school won a game in the NCAA tournament since 1983 when Robert Morris University won in the opening round. Monmouth's men and women's soccer teams as well as baseball, women's lacrosse, men's tennis and men's golf team have also reached the NCAA tournament. The men's lacrosse team made the 2016 NCAA playoff tournament as well. The Monmouth Men's Soccer team is the only sport on campus to ever advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The men's soccer team also hosted three first round NCAA Tournament games on The Great Lawn, in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Monmouth's men's soccer team has even been ranked as one of the top teams in the country. In September 2010, Monmouth attained the #4 spot on the NSCAA/HendrickCars.com National Rankings and has been ranked in the national top 25 every single week for the past two seasons. Men's lacrosse won the 2021 MAAC conference championship