CSE History

History Overview

Founded by Women for Women

Founded in 1899 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, the College of Saint Elizabeth is the oldest four-year Catholic liberal arts college for women in the State of New Jersey, and one of the first Catholic women's colleges in the United States.


Accreditation into Middle States

In 1917 the Association of American Universities placed the College of Saint Elizabeth on its approved list of Colleges and Universities. Included among the accredited colleges listed by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in its official listing in 1921, the College continually has maintained such accreditation.


Establishment of an Alumnae Association

During the early years of the College, graduates of both the College and Academy established one Alumnae Association. As the number of graduates from both institutions grew, each institution created its own separate alumnae organization. Since the spring of 1920, the College of Saint Elizabeth Alumni Association has raised funds for scholarships, buildings, and all anniversary celebrations held throughout the decades.


Answering the Call to Adult Needs

In 1970, the College established a Continuing Education program to respond to the needs of older women seeking to complete degree programs or to update their formal education. The request for both women and men to obtain degrees while maintaining full-time employment led the College to initiate a Weekend College Program in 1976. In 1994 Continuing Education was renamed Continuing Studies - Adult Undergraduate Degree Programs.

Beginning in the 1990s, the College began offering graduate programs leading to the development of the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies in 2001 for the "non-traditional age adults."

In 2007 the College broke new ground, offering adult students for the first time in its history a doctoral program in Educational Leadership.


15,000 Graduates and Growing

In 1903, the College bestowed its first baccalaureate degrees to a class of four women. Today, with more than 15,000 graduates, the College remains strong, with a growing enrollment and a vital purpose: to provide a value-centered education that responds to today's society's needs while remaining true to its mission.


Past and Current Presidents

Since inception, there has been only seven presidents. These women have provided leadership marked by faith, courage, and vision:

  • Dr. Helen J. Streubert, 2013 to present
  • Sister Francis Raftery, 1997 to 2013
  • Sister Jacqueline Burns, 1981 to 1997
  • Sister Elizabeth Ann Maloney, 1971 to 1981
  • Sister Hildegarde Marie Mahoney, 1952 to 1971
  • Sister Marie Jose Byrne, 1922 to 1951
  • Sister Mary Pauline Kelligar, 1899 to 1922