Dr. Rosalie Mirenda,
Neumann's president, announced to
a gathering of approximately 300 students and faculty that the
Pennsylvania Department of Education had granted the certificate of authority for the college to operate
as Neumann University.
On May 1, Delaware County became home to a new university. On that morning, President Rosalie Mirenda announced that Neumann College had received approval (the certificate of authority) from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to become Neumann University. Between 250 and 300 members of the college community gathered in St. John Neumann Circle, the brand new pedestrian hub of the Aston campus, at 11:15 a.m. to hear the news.
A letter from Dr. Gerald Zahorchak, Secretary of Education in Pennsylvania, stated that the College has approval “to operate as a university within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with a change of legal name to Neumann University.”
According to Dr. Mirenda, “University status is the culmination of Neumann’s transformation. It will be a catalyst for enhancing scholarship, research and service to our community. At the same time, Neumann’s commitment to its mission, core values and personal attention to our students will remain the same”
The process of achieving university status took more than two years from concept to completion. It's the latest benchmark in a local, higher education success story. Neumann College was founded in 1965 as Our Lady of Angels College and opened its doors with 115 students. Today, the total enrollment stands at slightly more than 3,000.
The decision to file the application came in October 2007, when the Neumann College Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of pursuing university status. This conclusion came after a year of research and discussion, including a perception study in which every constituency polled agreed that Neumann College should seek to become a university. Groups supporting the transition included College alumni, current students, and faculty.
In Pennsylvania, the criteria for becoming a university do not include any stipulation regarding size or enrollment. Relevant benchmarks are that a university must provide study of the arts and sciences at the undergraduate level, a minimum of five professional programs at the graduate level, a doctoral program, and access to cultural facilities and opportunities for the community.
(Story continues below the photo).
Neumann students and staff applaud the announcement that the college
has achieved university status.
Neumann has an undergraduate division of arts and sciences (as well as business, education and nursing divisions), five graduate-level professional programs, and doctoral programs in education (Ed.D.) and physical therapy (DPT). In addition, Neumann’s Arts Guild provides dozens of musical, theatrical, artistic and intellectual programs each semester, all of which are open to the community.
A nationally known research firm conducted a perception study for the College in 2007. Among those surveyed were Philadelphia area college-bound students who never inquired about admission to Neumann and similar students who inquired about Neumann but who did not apply. The principal intent was to gauge perception about the differences, in general, between a college and a university.
In both groups, significantly more students thought that a university was more challenging, more prestigious, and offered stronger majors and better career preparation than a college.
Since 2000, Pennsylvania colleges that have become universities, including Alvernia (2008), Misericordia (2007), Waynesburg (2007), Holy Family (2004), Immaculata (2002), Seton Hill (2002), and DeSales (2001).