Chestnut Hill College is a coeducational Roman Catholic college in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The college was founded in 1924, as a women’s college, by the Sisters of St. Joseph. It was originally named Mount Saint Joseph College. In 1980 Rose Bracelet, the college established a coeducational graduate education program and started to admit male students to its undergraduate programs in 2003. As of 2012, a total of 2,318 students were enrolled in Chestnut Hill College’s three constituent schools, with fewer than 900 as undergraduates.
Located at the northwestern edge of Philadelphia, on 45 acres (180,000 m2), overlooking the Wissahickon Creek, Chestnut Hill College opened in 1924 as a Catholic, four-year, liberal arts college for women. Founded as Mount Saint Joseph College by the Sisters of St. Joseph, the college was renamed in 1938 as Chestnut Hill College. In the 1960s, the high school section moved to Flourtown, about 3 miles (4.8 km) away, and retains the original name Mount Saint Joseph.
Throughout its history, the college has aimed to offer a liberal arts education that provides students with a broad background in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, to prepare students for life’s challenges by helping them to grow intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and socially.
The curriculum has been modified over time. The college originally awarded only the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees to young women of traditional college age. In 1972, a continuing education department, now called the School of Continuing Studies, was established to extend opportunities for undergraduate study to mature women and men. Many classes are conducted on evenings and weekends to accommodate the schedules of older students. The coeducational School of Graduate Studies was established in 1980 to offer Master’s degrees; in 1997, it added a doctoral program.
Academic changes also included expanding beyond the physical limits of the campus. As a member of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education (SEPCHE), Chestnut Hill pursues a collaborative approach to higher education with seven other local institutions. Through membership in the Association of Colleges of Sisters of St. Joseph (ACSSJ), Chestnut Hill offers its students opportunities to enrich their educational experiences by studying at seven other colleges in the United States. Study-abroad programs also are available.
In November 2001, Chestnut Hill College announced plans to admit men to the traditional-age, full-time undergraduate program in fall 2003. With the enrollment of male students, the 78-year-old College for Women became the School of Undergraduate Studies.
Enrollment increased dramatically after the undergraduate college became coeducational, increasing 80% by fall 2005, and total enrollment numbered well over 2,000 in the 2010s.
The Chestnut Hill campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For many years the main buildings were St. Joseph Hall, with a six-story Greco-Roman rotunda and French Gothic exterior, Fournier Hall, a jewel of Italian Romanesque architecture, and Clement Hall, which houses classrooms and modest athletic facilities, including a swimming pool. The campus grounds include a grotto and fountain, the House of Loretto, and an elegant main chapel that was inspired by Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. Logue Library, Fontbonne Hall, Barbara D’Iorio Martino Hall and, most recently, a new residence hall called Fitzsimmons Hall are relatively new additions to accommodate the college’s growth. New structures were designed to preserve the architectural integrity of the campus while addressing specific educational or student life needs.
In recent years, the science facilities and computer laboratories have been renovated to help create a 21st-century teaching and learning environment. Martino Hall includes “smart” classrooms and seminar rooms that are part of the campus-wide interactive network.
In 2006, Chestnut Hill announced the acquisition (from the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation for $11 million) of the Sugarloaf Estate, a 30-acre (120
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,000 m2) non-contiguous property across Germantown Avenue and Wissahickon Creek from the existing campus. It was previously used as The Albert M. Greenfield Conference Center of Temple University as well as the headquarters of the Greenfield Foundation, and from 1952 to 1967, as the residence of the Foundation’s namesake, local realty magnate Albert M. Greenfield. The additional property was used to accommodate additional campus expansion, including a residence hall. In addition, the 1929 Steel-Greenfield mansion was restored to its original appearance and renovated for classroom, conference and meeting use, and is now known as Commonwealth Chateau.
More than 10,000 individuals have earned degrees from Chestnut Hill College since 1924. The list of accomplished graduates includes numerous representatives in medicine, law, research, education, business, and social service. One alumna, Kathleen Byerly, was among the women featured in Time magazine when the American Woman was selected Time’s Person of the Year for 1975. Frances Spence, once of the original ENIAC programmers, graduated from Chestnut Hill College in 1942.
The mission of Chestnut Hill College is to provide students with holistic education in an inclusive Catholic community marked by academic excellence, shared responsibility, personal and professional growth, service to one another and to the global community, and concern for the earth.
An Associate of Arts degree (A.A.) may be obtained in the following majors: Accounting, Criminal Justice, Biology, French, Business Administration, Psychology, Chemistry, Spanish.
A Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A.) may be obtained in the following majors: English, Political Science, English and Communications, Psychology, French, Spanish, History.
A Bachelor of Music (B.M.) may be obtained in Music.
A Bachelor of Science degree (B.S.) may be obtained in the following majors: Accounting, Education, Biochemistry, Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Biology, Early Childhood Education, Business Administration, Elementary Education, Chemistry, Human Services, Computer and Information Sciences, International Business, Language and Culture, Computer and Information Technology, Marketing, Communications and Technology, Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Criminal Justice, Molecular Biology, Environmental Sciences, Music, Education, Sociology.
Graduate programs are designed to meet the needs of working professionals, including some distance education offerings. Master’s degrees are offered in Administration of Human Services (in an accelerated format); Clinical and Counseling Psychology; Education; Holistic Spirituality, Holistic Spirituality and Spiritual Direction, Holistic Spirituality/Healthcare; and Instructional Technology. The Doctor in Clinical Psychology degree (Psy.D.) is also available.
Chestnut Hill College’s sports teams are known as the Griffins. Chestnut Hill College is an NCAA Division II institution that competes in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). Previously, Chestnut Hill was a charter member of the North Eastern Athletic Conference of NCAA Division III from 2004-05 to 2006-07. The College sponsors 14 varsity intercollegiate sports teams, with baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, and tennis for men, and basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball for women. Soon to be added to the slate of sports are Sprint football and women’s bowling in the 2015-2016 academic year.
Chestnut Hill College also has a Quidditch team. The Chestnut Hill College Griffins placed third at the 2008 Intercollegiate Quidditch Association World Cup and earned first place at the 2014 Brotherly Love Cup. They host an annual Harry Potter Festival in mid- to late October.