In remarks to the assembled 350 Monroe staff, faculty, and friends, President Jerome said, "I may get recognized for the much of the success of Monroe College, but everyone who has been part of the college over the years, staff, faculty, and students, are ultimately responsible for how well we've done."
Through its seventy years, Monroe College has shown remarkable growth. In January of 1933, during the worst part of the Great Depression, Monroe College was established in the West Farms section of the Bronx, as the Monroe School of Business. With dismal economic conditions in the nation and world, Monroe served a unique role - it taught people business skills that would enable them to find work in offices. That philosophy of education as preparation for employment has been a consistent hallmark of Monroe through the decades.
In 1945, the school took additional space in preparation for the post-war surge of enrollment. During the 1950's and early 1960's Monroe continued to grow. In 1960 the former "Starlight Ballroom" was added as part of the Monroe campus. That same year a new division was added to teach skills in emerging technology, the new business machines. In 1963, the school became the Monroe Business Institute.
In 1966 Monroe added its first computer, heralding the dawn of a new imperative in business education. The same year, Stephen J. Jerome joined the institution. Three years later Monroe opened a campus on Fordham Road. In the decade of the 1970's Monroe was transformed into a junior college. In 1972, Monroe began granting two-year associate degrees. In 1977, the West Farms campus closed and all programs were consolidated in the Fordham Road area. The next year Stephen Jerome became the school's president.
During the 1980's a new building was added (South Hall - 1981) and a branch campus was opened in New Rochelle (1983). Four years later, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education designated Monroe as a candidate for accreditation. Nineteen-ninety was a banner year for the college. Middle States accreditation was granted and the institution became Monroe College. Enrollment growth led to the opening of two more buildings, Jerome Hall opened in 1991 and King Hall in 1993.
In 1996, the college was authorized to offer bachelor's degrees. In 1997, the college expanded again, adding an adjacent 80,000 square feet to King Hall. In the late 1990's additional space was acquired at the New Rochelle campus also students began living in dorms on the New Rochelle campus. In 2003, with the recent opening of West Hall in the Bronx, the prospective opening of Milevac Hall in New Rochelle, and continued academic and program growth, Monroe College has emerged as a comprehensive educational institution. In fact, this year, Monroe College graduated the greatest number of students in its seventy-year history, conferring college degrees on 1,710 students. The college also presented 313 awards for academic achievement, another record.
New programs such as Health Office Associate, Criminal Justice, and a culinary component for Hospitality and Tourism Management have enhanced the college's associate-degree offerings. The Criminal Justice program and Business Management minors in Finance, Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Marketing are attracting greater numbers of students to the baccalaureate offerings as well.
Monroe's recognized leadership in technology, teaching, and personal service are well deserved. The college has one of the best ratios of students-to-computers in the metropolitan area. Its award-winning learning centers, the success of the Monroe Mustang men's basketball team (which finished fifth in the 2003 Division I NJCAA national tournament), a dedicated and committed faculty, and state-of-the-art technology are true reasons to celebrate.
Monroe is a unique institution that serves as a beacon of hope and success for the people of the Bronx and New Rochelle. The strength of the institution is based on a dedication to constant change and improvement while preserving the best of personal service and commitment to student success.