Skip to main content

GSE Historical Timeline

1916 - Fordham University established its Manhattan Division that included the Graduate School, Teachers College, and the School of Sociology and Social Service. These schools joined the Law School in New York's tallest skyscraper, the Woolworth Building. The Teachers College served undergraduate students whereas a separate Department of Philosophy and Education serving graduate students belonged to the Graduate School. According to the 1916 School Bulletin, "The Mission of the Department of Philosophy and Education: These courses should appeal especially to the young priests, professional men, lawyers, doctors, journalists, educators, etc., who would find mental diversion from ministerial occupation and business routine in practical graduate work, which would qualify them within a few years, according to leisure, capacity, attainments, strength and application, for the degree of Master of Arts and the higher degrees."

From the beginning, the Teachers College and Department of Education were co-ed. Some of the first women to earn A.B. degrees at Fordham came from the Teachers College.

1919 - Marietta Riley, A.M., Ph.L. and Henry E. Hein, Ph.D. were the first lay faculty members to join the Education faculty. Dr. Hein was a NYC public school teacher and then principal of James Monroe High School in the Bronx. “Ms. Marietta Riley, the first woman faculty member of the School of Education, was one of Fordham’s pioneer women. After her Fordham A.M., she continued her Fordham studies, and won her doctorate in 1920, the only woman among seven doctorate winners. The next year, Fordham awarded nine doctorates: five of them to women. Fordham, which awarded its first higher degrees to women in 1918, was becoming a leader in Catholic higher education for women." (Learning in the City, Joseph F.X. McCarthy)

1919 - Department of Education offered six courses: History of Education, Principles of Education, School Administration, Educational Psychology, Educational Hygiene, School Methods

1920 - Enrollment growth must have been substantial in the beginning years, as twenty-one faculty members, including three women, were listed in 1920, up from four in 1916.


  • The first scholarships were offered to those from religious orders, since they have taken vows of poverty and were unable to pay tuition.
  • Student teaching (“practice teaching”) was instituted for undergraduate students. It was not required for graduate students, who were already teaching.
  • Dr. Pierre Marique, Belgian-born and trained professor, joined the faculty to teach history and philosophy of education and became one of the School of Education’s most widely published authors.
  • Many education faculty members worked in the school system full-time and at Fordham part-time, maintaining and deepening Fordham’s connection to NYC schools.

Mid-1920s - Graduate work began to be clustered into “Divisions," a term we still use today. The first divisions were History and Philosophy of Education; Psychology, Measurement and Methods; and Administration.

1927 - School of Education’s graduate program developed seven “Supervisor Training Courses” designed for people seeking to become principals or assistants to principals in city school systems.

1930s - Courses were offered at offsite branches for religious orders in Staten Island and upstate New York.


  • Rev. Joseph Lennon, SJ, was appointed first full-time Dean of Teachers College, previously deans managed more than one Fordham school.
  • Psychologists Dorothea McCarthy and Robert T. Rock joined the faculty, strengthening the Psychology, Measurement, and Methods division.


  • The Graduate School was moved from the Woolworth Building to the Rose Hill campus.
  • The Graduate Department of Education was detached from the Graduate School. It merged with the undergraduate Teachers College and the two were renamed the School of Education with both undergraduate and graduate students. The graduate work focused on professional training for teachers whereas the undergraduate programs mixed the B.S. in Education with bachelor's degrees in the humanities, physical sciences, and social sciences. The 1938 School of Education Bulletin said the undergraduate programs provided "a well-rounded preparation for worth-while careers in teaching, law, science, government, social-service and other fields which our complex modern society has opened up to students with ambition.”
  • Dr. Francis M. Crowley becomes the first lay Dean of the School of Education. He was previously Director of the Bureau of Education of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, then Dean of the School of Education at St. Louis University

1943 - School of Education moved from Woolworth Building to 302 Broadway ("the City Hall Division").

1951 - Robert Keeshan, aka Captain Kangaroo, graduated from the undergrad School of Education

1960s - The 1960s were a particularly busy time in GSE's history. Short-term, intensive Institutes established in a number of areas.

  • In response to Sputnik, the National Science Foundation provided funds STEM-related teacher training. Fordham sponsored an institute for teaching math, which eventually led to the establishment of the MST in Teaching Mathematics.
  • Guidance and Counseling Institutes attracted future guidance counselors.
  • Summer Institute for Elementary School Principals

1964 - Dr. John Roche recommended and secured scholarships to support highly qualified students of color admitted as freshmen.

1966-7 - The School of Education phased out its undergraduate division and was renamed the Graduate School of Education.

1966 -

  • Dr. Harry Rivlin became the first Jewish professor and Dean at Fordham GSE.
  • In response to the Brown v. BOE decision, Johns Hopkins University released the “Equality of Educational Opportunity,” aka the Coleman Report, which addressed racial inequity in education. In response, GSE placed greater emphasis on urban education.
    • The first formal work in Urban Education was done through a series of summer institutes (developed and managed by Dr. Sheldon Marcus, who is a faculty member today.)
    • Curriculum changes were made in each division to require coursework in educational research and urban education.
    • GSE began to offer master’s and doctoral degrees in urban education and became leader in the field.

1967 -

  • GSE secured funding from the Ford Foundation to train 60 minority students for administrative and supervisory school leadership positions. This became the basis of our Urban School Leadership.
  • Professors Drs. John M. Martin and Joseph P. Fitzpatrick, SJ co-founded the University's Institute for Social Research (ISR) to do funded studies of timely social problems: crime, delinquency, assimilation, poverty, urban education. At its height in the 1970s, ISR employed 55 professionals and students.
  • Division of Administration and Supervision introduced Fordham’s first Doctor of Education degree.
  • Dean Rivlin released his “1967 Plan for the Fordham University School of Education," wherein he completely redesigned the teacher training programs to focus on urban schools, increase service to the community, and use student teaching to better connect theory to practice. His plan began -

“There is a time for boldness, even for brashness. That time is now, if New York and other urban centers are to solve the problems that beset the schools and the communities of which they are a vital part."

1968 -

  • GSE moves to its current location at the Lincoln Center campus.
  • United States Commissioner of Education Harold Howe called out Fordham GSE in its "The People Who Serve Education" report saying the following:

The experiment in the preparation of urban teachers recently launched by the School of Education at Fordham based upon the significant recognition that all schools of tomorrow must be increasingly community-centered; that is to say, they will shape their goals in cooperation with the community, rather than imposing an alien structure upon the community...Students, parents, and the community have had the opportunity to make clear what kind of teachers they want in their schools, and the Fordham program has been designed to produce that kind of person."

1969 - GSE received a Certificate of Special Recognition from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. The citation of the Urban Teacher Education program stated:
These programs help the prospective teacher understand the world of the urban child and the role of theory and practice, the social pressures in education, on-the-job training in urban schools, and an intensive follow-up program during the new teacher’s first year. Attention is focused in a number of ways on the social, psychological, and educational forces which affect urban children. Students gain first-hand familiarity with community groups and with social case-work agencies whose clients are urban children and their families. Beginning teachers are given classroom assignments they can handle, and instructors work with them individually through the year on their classroom problems and, in cooperation with school personnel provide appropriate counsel and support.

Late 1960s -

  • The Division of Religious Education was spun off into a freestanding Institute that eventually became the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education.
  • The federal "Training the Teacher of Teachers - Leadership Training Institute” (aka the Triple T) came to Fordham. We were one of 13 Triple T sites in the nation. Community members and teaching and administrative staffs at schools worked with faculty and staff from universities to improve urban education. 

Early 1970s - A training program for school principals was developed in cooperation with the NY Archdiocese. Catholic school principals met at Lincoln Center to study supervisory and administrative theory and practice. The program led to the creation of the Master's degree in Catholic School Leadership. 

1977 - Anthony Mottola, Ph.D., became Dean. He earned his doctorate at Fordham in romance languages. In 1969, Dr. Mottola led Fordham's Urban Teacher Corps Program to train auxiliary school personnel as elementary school teachers.

Late 1980s - Dean Rivlin introduced a Teacher Intern stipend program to attract more people to become teachers, subsidize students' tuition, and increase students' fieldwork experiences.

1989 - GSE alum Dr. Catherine Hickey was the first layperson and first woman to become Superintendent of Schools for the New York Archdiocese.

1991 - On the 75th anniversary of GSE, Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J, president of Fordham, shares the following sentiment: “Today, as classrooms become increasingly diverse, as the economy pressures administrators to do more with less, educators require more creativity, more tenacity, more faith than ever before. And what of those who teach the teachers? The challenges of urban education are our laboratory and, at the same time, a responsibility we share with our city.”

1997 - The Fordham Institute for Research, Service, Teaching was founded to engage faculty across Fordham's schools in high-quality, interdisciplinary research and actively involve students in this research. The program launched to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Institute for Social Research (ISR).

2006 - The Center for Educational Partnerships is established. Committed to social justice and urban education, the center was created to further foster University-school partnerships and provide technical assistance and professional development through content specific, student-centered practices.

Timeline of Education Deans

1916-1919 -- Rev. Matthew L. Fortier, S.J.
1919-1920 -- Rev. Terence J. Shealy, S.J.
1920-1926 -- Rev. R. Rush Rankin, S.J.
1926-1932 -- Rev. Miles J. O'Maelia, S.J.
1932-1938 -- Rev. Joseph A. Lennon, S.J.
1938-1956 -- Dr. Francis M. Crowley
1956-1962 -- Dr. James Donnelly
1962-1966 -- Dr. Joseph Probst
1966-1973 -- Dr. Harry N. Rivlin
1973-1977 -- Dr. Jonathan Messerli
1977-1981 -- Dr. Anthony Mottola
1981-1993 -- Dr. Max Weiner
1993-2004 -- Dr. Regis Bernhardt
2004-2015 -- Dr. James Hennessy
2015-Present -- Dr. Virginia Roach