Morristown, N.J. (August 18, 2016) – A new era began at the College of Saint Elizabeth today as the first coeducational undergraduate class was welcomed into the 116-year-old institution.
The historic class of 2020 has the highest undergraduate enrollment in the College in more than five years and includes freshmen from across New Jersey, towns in California, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas as well as emigrants from countries such as Germany and Syria.
Of the 169 first-time freshmen, approximately 40 percent are young men, half of whom are committed to playing either basketball or soccer for the College this fall.
"There is certainly an air of excitement, vitality and optimism on campus as we welcome the class of 2020," said Dr. Helen J. Streubert, president. "This historic class includes talented young men and women from across New Jersey and parts of the world who may otherwise have limited access to a higher education. We are proud to open our doors to these students who are seeking an education that is aligned with the principles of our founders, the Sisters of Charity."
Students are looking forward to the start of the semester.
"CSE is all about diversity so we welcome the men to our campus," said Destiny Bacy, '19, health administration, from Tinton Falls. "Being coed just adds to the diversity we already have."
Young men who are part of the historic first class are optimistic as well.
"I want to be part of history by being on the first men's soccer team at CSE," said Lidio Bicaku, a criminal justice major from Chatham. "I love the campus and can't wait to start."
Teammate Fernando Zuniga, a freshman from Dallas, Texas, agrees. "It looks like we are going to have a great team," he said.
The College has offered coeducational continuing studies and graduate classes on campus since the 1970s. The decision to open the traditional undergraduate programs to men was made in June 2015 by the College's Board of Trustees.
In announcing that decision, Sister Rosemary Moynihan, chair of the trustees said, "Going coeducational embraces our past while expanding our reach. It will enable us to maintain our commitment to the Sisters of Charity, whose mission is to serve where there is need. In 1899, that need was for the education of young women. Today, the need is to produce male and female servant leaders who are committed to making the world a better place."
Since June 2015, the College has strategically and carefully planned for the class of 2020 and beyond. More than $5 million has been invested in science lab upgrades; a $1.2 million renovation to the dining hall is underway; restrooms in residence halls and locker rooms in the gymnasium have been renovated, and new programs in health administration, broadcasting, actuarial science and social work are being introduced.
The College also initiated CSE Promise, a program that guarantees first-time freshmen who fulfill all requirements of the program a paid internship if they do not find a job or gain acceptance into a graduate program within six months of graduation.