Courtesy: Monmouth Sports Information
Release: January 11, 2007
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Courtesy: Monmouth Sports Information

History of Monmouth University

Monmouth University was founded in 1933, with federal assistance, as Monmouth Junior College. It was created largely to provide higher education to area high school graduates who, during the Depression, could not afford to go away to college. Monmouth Junior College was a two-year institution, holding classes only in the evening. For a time it appeared uncertain whether the college would have adequate funds to continue.

Support from students and the community did enable the college to survive the economic crisis and quickly assume its present private status. In 1956, it was renamed Monmouth College and accredited leading to the baccalaureate degree. Less than a decade later, it was authorized to offer master’s degree programs. In March 1995, the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education designated Monmouth a teaching university.

Today, Monmouth offers more than 45 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and concentration. Within its student body, 25 states and 34 foreign countries are represented. More than 1,750 undergraduates are resident students.


Founders’ Day

The first Founders’ Day was held in 1983 as part of the College’s 50th anniversary. Since then, Founders’ Day has become a tradition. It is scheduled annually on the second Wednesday in October.

The main part of the celebration is the convocation ceremony, at which the University’s community and friends assemble in Pollak Theatre. The ceremony, presided over by the president, begins with a formal academic procession. The program is devoted to remembrance and a renewal of Monmouth’s dedication to education and scholarship. As part of the ceremony, awards and honorary degrees are presented to individuals whose achievements merit recognition or who have been instrumental in nourishing the growth and progress of the University Student leader and honors scholars are also recognized. Faculty, students, staff, administrators, and friends of the University are invited to attend.


Senior Week

This annual tradition has been a part of the Monmouth University community for many years. Every spring juniors can run for the positions of president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer of their Senior Class. Their mandate is to work with the Office of Alumni Affairs and to create a Senior Week. Senior Week is held immediately following final exams in the spring semester and concludes just before commencement.



Celebrating the life and spirit of Monmouth University, Homecoming took on a new meaning when Monmouth welcomed NCAA Division 1 football to campus in 1993 as part of the college’s athletic program.

Homecoming is always held during the fall semester and is built around a home football game between one of the Hawks’ rivals. Included in this week-long celebration are the nomination of student leaders for Homecoming King, Queen, and their court, an annual parade of floats through campus before kickoff, a bonfire/pep rally, and additional programs, which tie in with a theme.


Greek Week

A spring event which brings fraternity and sorority members together for athletic, theatrical, and academic competition in a spirit of friendly rivalry. The coveted Greek Week Champion’s Cup is awarded to the leading fraternity and sorority.



This event is sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Student Activities Board (SAB) toward the end of each spring semester, right before finals begin. It’s a way for the Monmouth University community to unwind and celebrate another year in the life of the University. This day-long event includes a variety of bands, festival games, a barbeque, giveaways, and novelty acts.


The Big Event

Sponsored by the Student Government Association, the Big Event is a recent addition to the many traditions celebrated at Monmouth University. The Big Events is a day of community service, typically taking place on the last Saturday of March. In 2004, more than 300 students, staff, and faculty members volunteered at 25 worksites in the towns and communities surrounding the campus. The Big Event, which originated at Texas A&M University in 1983, has spread to colleges and universities throughout the nation.


About Woodrow Wilson Hall

The wide, sweeping lawns of Woodrow Wilson Hall are a verdant backdrop for University festivities. Its grand entrance is the setting for candlelight balls, spontaneous celebrations, alumni get-togethers, and national to neighborhood events. Wilson Hall is the first building prospective students visit and it is the center of the Monmouth University community.

The Beaux-Arts mansion once named Shadow Lawn is pretty enough to bring graduates back on campus for wedding photos and magnificent enough to deserve its National Historic Landmark status. But mostly, Wilson Hall is full of activity as the administrative, academic, and social hub of the campus.

Arched ceilings soar over students as they attend classes in the limestone mansion, and the Great Hall’s vast, stained Venetian glass skylight provides light, if not entertainment, for study groups. Once the private residence of a former president of F.W. Woolworth Co., Hubert T. Parson, Wilson Hall is where staff and faculty meet in rooms graced by Gilded Age chandeliers or attend conferences in the building’s auditorium which has been meticulously restored to its original elegance.

Built in 1929, the mansion stands on the site of the original Shadow Lawn – a colonial wood frame 52-room mansion widely recognized as one of America’s most palatial homes. Shadow Lawn was loaned by its then owner, financier Joseph B. Greenhut, to President Woodrow Wilson in the summer of 1916. It was, however, destroyed by fire in 1927. By 1938, the rebuilt mansion slipped out of Hubert T. Parson’s hands and was sold to the town of West Long Branch for $100. After serving as a variety of private schools, the University, then known as Monmouth College, began offering classes in Wilson Hall in 1956. The hall’s name was changed from Shadow Lawn in honor of Woodrow Wilson.

Wilson Hall is Monmouth University’s identifying landmark. Built in the twilight of an age of historic splendor, Wilson Hall’s splendor is alive today in those who learn, teach, work, or have fun in its broad halls, elegant rooms, or on its green lawns.

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