Wagner College
Former names
Lutheran Proseminary of Rochester (1883–1886)
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1883; 141 years ago (1883)
Religious affiliation
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Academic affiliations
Endowment$83.7 million (2020)[1]
PresidentAngelo Araimo
ProvostTarshia L. Stanley
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

40°36′54″N 74°05′38″W / 40.615°N 74.094°W / 40.615; -74.094
Campus105 acres (42 ha)
ColorsGreen and white[2]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division INECMAACUSA Triathlon

Wagner College is a private liberal arts college in Staten Island, New York City. It was founded in 1883 and has an enrollment of 1,947 students as of 2023.[3] Wagner has an academic program known as The Wagner Plan for the Practical Liberal Arts.[4][5] It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Wagner College was founded in 1883 in Rochester, New York, as the Lutheran Proseminary of Rochester. Its purpose was to prepare young men for admission to Lutheran seminaries and to ensure that they were sufficiently fluent in both English and German to minister to the large German immigrant community of that day. The school's six-year curriculum (covering the high-school and junior-college years) was modeled on the German gymnasium curriculum. In 1886, the school was renamed Wagner Memorial Lutheran College, after a building in Rochester was purchased for its use by John G. Wagner in memory of his son.[6][7]

The college moved to the 38-acre (15 ha) former Cunard estate on Grymes Hill, Staten Island, in 1918. An Italianate villa called Westwood, the Cunard mansion (circa 1851), is extant (now Cunard Hall), as is the neighboring former hotel annex that was built in 1905 (initially named North Hall, now called Reynolds House). The college soon expanded to 57 acres (23 ha) after it acquired the neighboring Jacob Vanderbilt estate in 1922. In the 1920s, the curriculum began to move toward an American-style liberal arts curriculum that was solidified when the state of New York granted the college degree-granting status in 1928. The college admitted women in 1933 and introduced graduate programs in 1951. The college expanded further when it purchased the W.G. Ward estate in 1949 (current site of Wagner College Stadium), and again in 1993, when the college acquired the adjacent property of the former Augustinian Academy, which has largely remained wooded green space and athletic fields. The college now occupies 105 acres (42 ha) on the hill and has commanding views of the New York Harbor, the Verrazzano Bridge, Downtown Brooklyn, and Lower Manhattan.

New York City Writers Conference

From 1956 through the late 1960s, Wagner College was the home of the New York City Writers Conference, which brought some of the leading lights of the literary world to campus each summer. Instructors included Saul Bellow, Robert Lowell, Edward Albee, Kay Boyle and Kenneth Koch. From 1961 to 1963, while English professor Willard Maas directed the conference, it served as a training ground for poets of the New York School.[8]

Maas himself was a significant figure in the New York avant-garde world of the 1950s and 1960s; Edward Albee used Maas and his wife, experimental filmmaker Marie Menken, as the models for his lead characters in the early masterwork, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?[9]

The Stanley Drama Award, which began as a prize given at the conclusion of the NYC Writers Conference, has provided encouragement for several notable playwrights, including: Terrence McNally for This Side of the Door (1962), an early version of "And Things that Go Bump in the Night"; Adrienne Kennedy for Funnyhouse of a Negro (1963); Lonne Elder III for an early version of Ceremonies in Dark Old Men (1965), and Jonathan Larson in 1993 for an early version of Rent.[10]


Early 20th century postcard

Prominent early buildings include Cunard Hall (ca. 1851); Reynolds House (1905); Kairos House (1918), a Craftsman Style cottage; and Main Hall (1930, restored 2012) and Parker Hall (1923), built in the Collegiate Gothic style. Main Hall provides classroom and office space and a theater auditorium. Parker Hall, first built as a dormitory, is used for faculty offices.

Two cottages built in the early 1920s provide administrative space for the college's Public Safety and Lifelong Learning offices.

Three dormitory facilities were constructed during the college's major building drive: Guild Hall (1951), Parker Towers (1964) and Harbor View Hall (1969), later complemented by Foundation Hall (2010), a residence hall for upperclassmen. About two-thirds of undergraduates live on campus.

Another dormitory building, Campus Hall (1957), now provides classroom and office space.

The Horrmann Library (1961) contains over 200,000 volumes and holds the collection and personal papers of poet Edwin Markham.

The Megerle Science Building and Spiro Hall were opened in 1968, followed by the Wagner Union in 1970.

Two building projects have expanded earlier structures. In 1999, a dramatic expansion of the 1951 Sutter Gymnasium created the modern Spiro Sports Center. And in 2002, a pair of Prairie Style cottages constructed around 1905 were refurbished and joined by a bridge building into Pape Admissions House.

Three substantial resources on the physical history of the Wagner College campus have been published:

  1. "Founding Faces & Places: An Illustrated History Of Wagner Memorial Lutheran College, 1869–1930," first published for Wagner College's 125th anniversary commemoration in 2008,[11]
  2. "Wagner College Memories: A Photographic Remembrance of Grymes Hill" (2011),[12] and
  3. "Wagner College History Tour," a three-part series published in the Winter 2015–2016, Fall 2016 and Summer 2017 issues of Wagner Magazine.[13][14][15]


Wagner College's ranking in the 2023 edition of Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report is Regional Universities North, tied for #69.[16]


Main article: Wagner Seahawks

Wagner College offers athletic scholarships and competes at the NCAA Division I level in all intercollegiate athletics. Football competes at the NCAA Division I FCS – formerly I-AA – level.

Wagner is a member of the Northeast Conference. Men's varsity intercollegiate teams are fielded in 10 sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, tennis, and track & field (indoor and outdoor) and men's water polo, which was established in fall 2016. Women's varsity intercollegiate teams are fielded in 14 sports: basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and water polo, in addition to three newly added sports in fencing (2016), triathlon (2018) and field hockey, which was reinstated in 2018 and will compete in 2019.

Walt Hameline, in 38 years (1982–present) as the director of athletics and 34 years as head football coach at Wagner (1981–2014), won the school's only National Championship with a 19–3 victory over the University of Dayton in the 1987 NCAA Division III Championship game (also known as the 1987 Stagg Bowl). He was named NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in 1987. During his 34-year coaching career, Hameline amassed an all-time record of 223–139–2 (.615) at Wagner College. Upon his retirement as head football coach following the 2014 regular season, those 223 victories ranked fifth among active head Football Championship Subdivision head coaches and remains in the top 10 among all Division I-FCS coaches in the United States.

Notable Wagner sports coaches of the past include former Seton Hall University, NBA head coach and current TV analyst P.J. Carlesimo (head basketball coach 1976–1982), former Marquette University and Wagner head coach Mike Deane, Jim Lee Howell (head football coach 1947–1953), and former University of Florida head football coach Dan Mullen (assistant football coach 1994–1995). In 2019, two NFL coaches who had previously been Wagner assistant coaches were elevated to defensive coordinator positions. Lou Anarumo now heads the Cincinnati Bengals' defense, while Patrick Graham was formerly defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins.

The football team's home venue is Hameline Field (designated in 2012) at Wagner College Stadium, while the basketball teams play their home games in the Spiro Sports Center's Sutter Gymnasium.

Six of Wagner's student athletes have been NEC Student-Athlete of the Year winners (2013–2018).


A panorama of the Wagner Union building

Notable alumni

Filming location

Wagner's campus has been featured in several films, television-show episodes, and advertisements. Shoot dates (where shown) are from Wagner College location contracts on file on campus:


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  2. ^ Wagner College Style Guide (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  3. ^ https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/wagner-college-2899
  4. ^ Review, Princeton; Franek, Robert (2015-09-01). Colleges That Create Futures: 50 Schools That Launch Careers by Going Beyond the Classroom. Random House USA Incorporated. ISBN 9780804126083.
  5. ^ "Wagner College Undergraduate Academics." Wagner College. Retrieved on May 3, 2021.
  6. ^ ""Founding Faces & Places: An Illustrated History of Wagner Memorial Lutheran College, 1869–1930" (NYC: Wagner College, 2008)". 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  7. ^ ""Wagner College: Four Histories" (NYC: Wagner College, 2008)". 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  8. ^ Diggory, Terence (2009). Encyclopedia of the New York School Poets. New York, NY: Facts on File. pp. 342. ISBN 978-0-8160-5743-6.
  9. ^ Wagner Magazine (Winter 2014). "Who's the Source for 'Virginia Woolf'?". Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Stanley Drama Award: Complete History, 1957–2019". Wagner College Newsroom. 4 February 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  11. ^ Manchester, Lee (26 September 2018). "Founding Faces & Places". Wagner College Slideshare. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  12. ^ Manchester, Lee (1 September 2011). Wagner College Memories. Retrieved 1 March 2019. ((cite book)): |website= ignored (help)
  13. ^ Manchester, Lee (Winter 2016). "Wagner College History Tour, Part I: The College's New Home on Grymes Hill". Wagner Magazine. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  14. ^ Manchester, Lee (Fall 2016). "History Tour, Part 2: The Birth of an American College". Wagner Magazine. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  15. ^ Manchester, Lee (Summer 2017). "History Tour, Part III: The Boom Years". Wagner Magazine. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Wagner College #69 in Regional Universities North (tie)". usnews.com. U.S. News & World Report, L.P. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  17. ^ "Miami Dolphins 2012 Media Guide" (PDF). MiamiDolphins.com. p. 23. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  18. ^ Manchester, Lee (Fall 2011). "Fearless: One of Wagner's first nursing graduates, Claire Mintzer Fagin '48 H'93 proves no challenge is too great for a 'real nurse'". Wagner Magazine. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Michael Tadross, producer etc". Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  20. ^ Freund, Michael (26 January 2019). "Armin Thurnher: Erinnerungen an Manhattan (Memories of Manhattan)". Der Standard. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  21. ^ "Silent Madness (1984)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Naked in New York (1993)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Cadaverous (2000)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  24. ^ "Sopranos filming location - Hudson Military Institute". The Sopranos Location Guide. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  25. ^ "School of Rock (2003)". movie-locations.com. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Four Lane Highway (2005)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  27. ^ "Exposing the Order of the Serpentine (2006)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  28. ^ "Illegal Tender (2007)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  29. ^ "The Visitor (2007)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  30. ^ "Little New York (2009)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  31. ^ "Rescue Me: Play". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  32. ^ "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Swing". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  33. ^ "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Lunacy". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  34. ^ "An Invisible Sign (2010)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  35. ^ "You Don't Know Jack (2010)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  36. ^ "AmeriQua (2013)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  37. ^ "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Gridiron Soldier". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  38. ^ "The Rewrite (2014)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  39. ^ "Allstate TV ad, "Mayhem: We're Going To The Playoffs!"". YouTube. 26 September 2016. Archived from the original on 2021-12-22. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  40. ^ "Crashing: NACA". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  41. ^ "Clear TV commercial, 'Jimmy'". iSpot.tv. 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  42. ^ "Clear website". clearme.com. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  43. ^ ""Bull: Behind the Ivy"". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  44. ^ ""The King of Staten Island"". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 22 June 2020.