Wagner College

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Wagner College
Wagner College Main Hall - Summer 2018.jpg
Main Hall at Wagner College
(Summer 2018)
Type Private liberal arts college
Established1883; 138 years ago (1883)
Academic affiliations
Campus Compact
Endowment$83.7 million (2020) [1]
PresidentJoel W. Martin
ProvostJeffrey Kraus
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

40°36′54″N 74°05′38″W / 40.615°N 74.094°W / 40.615; -74.094
Latitude and Longitude:

40°36′54″N 74°05′38″W / 40.615°N 74.094°W / 40.615; -74.094
Campus105 acres (42 ha)
ColorsGreen and gold [2]
Nickname Seahawks
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division INECMAACUSA Triathlon
Website wagner.edu
Wagner College wordmark.svg

Wagner College is a private liberal arts college in Staten Island, New York City. Founded in 1883 and with an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Wagner is known for its academic program, The Wagner Plan for the Practical Liberal Arts. [3] [4] It is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Wagner College was founded in 1883 in Rochester, New York, as the Lutheran Proseminary of Rochester. Its purpose was to prepare young men for admission to Lutheran seminaries and to ensure that they were sufficiently fluent in both English and German to minister to the large German immigrant community of that day. The school's six-year curriculum (covering the high-school and junior-college years) was modeled on the German gymnasium curriculum. In 1886, the school was renamed Wagner Memorial Lutheran College, after a building in Rochester was purchased for its use by John G. Wagner in memory of his son. [5] [6]

The college moved to the 38-acre (15 ha) former Cunard estate on Grymes Hill, Staten Island, in 1918. An Italianate villa called Westwood, the Cunard mansion (circa 1851), is extant (now Cunard Hall), as is the neighboring former hotel annex that was built in 1905 (initially named North Hall, now called Reynolds House). The college soon expanded to 57 acres (23 ha) after it acquired the neighboring Jacob Vanderbilt estate in 1922. In the 1920s, the curriculum began to move toward an American-style liberal arts curriculum that was solidified when the state of New York granted the college degree-granting status in 1928. The college admitted women in 1933 and introduced graduate programs in 1951. The college expanded further when it purchased the W.G. Ward estate in 1949 (current site of Wagner College Stadium), and again in 1993, when the college acquired the adjacent property of the former Augustinian Academy, which has largely remained wooded green space and athletic fields. The college now occupies 105 acres (42 ha) on the hill and has commanding views of the New York Harbor, the Verrazano Bridge, Downtown Brooklyn, and Lower Manhattan.

New York City Writers Conference

From 1956 through the late 1960s, Wagner College was the home of the New York City Writers Conference, which brought some of the leading lights of the literary world to campus each summer. Instructors included Saul Bellow, Robert Lowell, Edward Albee, Kay Boyle and Kenneth Koch. From 1961 to 1963, while English professor Willard Maas directed the conference, it served as a training ground for the poets of the New York School. [7]

Maas himself was a significant figure in the New York avant-garde world of the 1950s and 1960s; Edward Albee used Maas and his wife, experimental filmmaker Marie Menken, as the models for his lead characters in the early masterwork, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” [8]

The Stanley Drama Award, which began as a prize given at the conclusion of the NYC Writers Conference, has provided encouragement for several notable playwrights, including: Terrence McNally for “This Side of the Door” (1962), an early version of “And Things that Go Bump in the Night”; Adrienne Kennedy for “Funnyhouse of a Negro” (1963); Lonne Elder III for an early version of “The Ceremonies in Dark Old Men” (1965), and Jonathan Larson in 1993 for an early version of “Rent.” [9]


Early 20th century postcard

Prominent early buildings include Cunard Hall (ca. 1851); Reynolds House (1905); Kairos House (1918), a Craftsman Style cottage; and Main Hall (1930, restored 2012) and Parker Hall (1923), built in the Collegiate Gothic style. Main Hall provides classroom and office space and a theater auditorium. Parker Hall, first built as a dormitory, is used for faculty offices.

Two cottages built in the early 1920s provide administrative space for the college's Public Safety and Lifelong Learning offices.

Three dormitory facilities were constructed during the college's major building drive: Guild Hall (1951), Parker Towers (1964) and Harbor View Hall (1969), later complemented by Foundation Hall (2010), a residence hall for upperclassmen. About two-thirds of undergraduates live on campus.

Another dormitory building, Campus Hall (1957), now provides classroom and office space.

The Horrmann Library (1961) contains over 200,000 volumes and holds the collection and personal papers of poet Edwin Markham.

The Megerle Science Building and Spiro Hall were opened in 1968, followed by the Wagner Union in 1970.

Two building projects have expanded earlier structures. In 1999, a dramatic expansion of the 1951 Sutter Gymnasium created the modern Spiro Sports Center. And in 2002, a pair of Prairie Style cottages constructed around 1905 were refurbished and joined by a bridge building into Pape Admissions House.

Three substantial resources on the physical history of the Wagner College campus have been published:

  1. Founding Faces & Places: An Illustrated History Of Wagner Memorial Lutheran College, 1869–1930," first published for Wagner College's 125th anniversary commemoration in 2008, [10]
  2. Wagner College Memories: A Photographic Remembrance of Grymes Hill" (2011), [11] and
  3. Wagner College History Tour," a three-part series published in the Winter 2015–2016, Fall 2016 and Summer 2017 issues of Wagner Magazine. [12] [13] [14]

Admission and tuition

About 88% of incoming students graduated in the top half of their high school classes, about 50% in the top quarter, and about 25% in the top tenth. The average incoming SAT score for critical reading is 540–620, math 530–630. The average incoming ACT score is between 23 and 30. [15]

The average high school grade point average of incoming students is 3.45. Important admissions factors are class rank, rigor of secondary school record, academic GPA, application essay, extracurricular activities, recommendations, and standardized test scores.

Tuition, fees, and room and board for full-time undergraduate students (9 units) during the 2018–2019 academic year was $61,214. [16]

About 87% of students receive financial aid. Wagner College offers various academic and athletic scholarships.


Wagner College's ranking in the 2020 edition of Best Colleges by US News & World Report is Regional Universities North, tied for #32. [17] 92% of courses at Wagner College have fewer than 30 students, while 100% of students intern or do a practicum. Wagner College’s faculty-to-student ratio is 1:14 with students coming from 44 states and 30 countries.


Wagner College offers athletic scholarships and competes at the NCAA Division I level in all intercollegiate athletics. (Football competes at the NCAA Division I FCS (Formerly I-AA) level.) Wagner is a full-time member of the Northeast Conference along with Bryant University, Central Connecticut State University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Long Island University, Mount Saint Mary's University, Robert Morris University, Sacred Heart University, Saint Francis College and Saint Francis University. (In September 2018, Merrimack College accepted an invitation from the NEC's Council of Presidents to become the league's 11th member and will become a full member of the conference in 2023 upon completion of its four-year NCAA Division I reclassification period.) Men's varsity intercollegiate teams are fielded in 10 sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, tennis, and track & field (indoor and outdoor) and men's water polo, which was established in fall 2016. Women's varsity intercollegiate teams are fielded in 14 sports: basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor), and water polo, in addition to three newly added sports in fencing (2016), triathlon (2018) and field hockey, which was reinstated in 2018 and will compete in 2019.

Walt Hameline, in 38 years (1982–present) as the director of athletics and 34 years as head football coach at Wagner (1981–2014), won the school's only National Championship with a 19–3 victory over the University of Dayton in the 1987 NCAA Division III Championship game (also known as the 1987 Stagg Bowl). He was named NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in 1987. During his 34-year coaching career, Hameline amassed an all-time record of 223–139–2 (.615) at Wagner College. Upon his retirement as head football coach following the 2014 regular season, those 223 victories ranked fifth among active head Football Championship Subdivision head coaches and remains in the top 10 among all Division I-FCS coaches in the United States.

Notable Wagner sports coaches of the past include former Seton Hall University, NBA head coach and current TV analyst P.J. Carlesimo (head basketball coach 1976–1982), former Marquette University and Wagner head coach Mike Deane, Jim Lee Howell (head football coach 1947–1953), and current University of Florida head football coach Dan Mullen (assistant football coach 1994–1995). In 2019, two NFL coaches who had previously been Wagner assistant coaches were elevated to defensive coordinator positions. Lou Anarumo now heads the Cincinnati Bengals' defense, while Patrick Graham was formerly defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins.

The football team's home venue is Hameline Field (designated in 2012) at Wagner College Stadium, while the basketball teams play their home games in the Spiro Sports Center's Sutter Gymnasium.

Wagner has the distinction of producing six consecutive NEC Student-Athlete of the Year winners (2013–2018).


A panorama of the Wagner Union building

Notable alumni

Filming location

Wagner's campus has been featured in several films, television-show episodes, and advertisements. Shoot dates (where shown) are from Wagner College location contracts on file on campus:

  • Silent Madness,” 1984 film [48]
  • Naked in New York,” 1993 film [49]
  • “Cadaverous,” 2000 short film [50]
  • The Sopranos,” Ep. 39, “Army of One,” 2001. Wagner College was used for the Hudson Military Institute campus. [51]
  • The Education of Max Bickford,” 2001. CBS drama series starring Richard Dreyfuss and Marcia Gay Harden. Wagner College (along with Brooklyn College) was the fictional Chadwick College.
  • School of Rock,” 2003 film starring Jack Black and Joan Cusack. The Horace Green School exterior portrayed in the movie is Wagner College's Main Hall. [52]
  • Poster Boy,” 2004 film which won the Outfest Grand Jury Award for Best Screenwriting.
  • “Four Lane Highway,” 2005 film (shot on campus April 18, 2004) [53]
  • “Exposing the Order of the Serpentine,” 2006 film (shot on campus Jan. 5–6, 2005) [54]
  • Illegal Tender,” 2007 film (shot on campus May 25–26, 2006) [55]
  • The Visitor,” 2007 film distributed by Overture Films (shot on campus Oct. 9, 2006) [56]
  • Comedy Central on Campus: Starring Christian Finnegan” (shot on campus Dec. 6, 2006)
  • Little New York” (orig. title “Staten Island)”), 2009 independent film starring Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio (shot on campus May 2 and June 8, 2007) [57]
  • “Rescue Me,” TV series, “Play” (S5, E7, 2009) (shot on campus July 11, 2008) [58]
  • “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” TV series, “Swing” (S10, E3, 2008) (shot on campus Sept. 4–9, 2008) [59]
  • “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” TV series, “Lunacy” (S10, E4, 2008) (shot on campus Sept. 4–9, 2008) [60]
  • An Invisible Sign,” 2010 film (shot on campus July 18–19, 2009) [61]
  • You Don’t Know Jack,” 2010 made-for-TV biopic (shot on campus Sept. 17–21, 2009) [62]
  • “AmeriQua” (also titled “Eurotrapped”), a 2013 film featuring Alessandra Mastronardi (shot on campus Dec. 4, 2010) [63]
  • “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” TV series, “Gridiron Soldier” (S15, E16, 2014) (shot on campus March 5, 2014) [64]
  • The Rewrite,” 2014 film starring Hugh Grant and Marisa Tomei (shot on campus 2013) [65]
  • “Mayhem: We’re Going to the Playoffs!” Allstate TV ad (shot on campus Aug. 27, 2016) [66]
  • Crashing,” HBO series, “NACA” (S2, E7, 2018) (shot on campus Aug. 11, 2017) [67]
  • “Jimmy,” Clear biometric ID system commercial (2019) (shot on campus Aug. 25 & 26, 2018) [68] [69]
  • "Bull," CBS TV series, "Behind the Ivy" (S4, E12, 2020). Filmed on campus November 18, 2019. [70]
  • "The King of Staten Island" (2020), loosely biographical film based on life of film's lead, Pete Davidson, directed by Judd Apatow. Filmed on campus June 10-17, 2019. [71]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  2. ^ Wagner College Style Guide (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  3. ^ Review, Princeton; Franek, Robert (2015-09-01). Colleges That Create Futures: 50 Schools That Launch Careers by Going Beyond the Classroom. Random House USA Incorporated. ISBN  9780804126083.
  4. ^ " Wagner College Undergraduate Academics." Wagner College. Retrieved on May 3, 2021.
  5. ^ ""Founding Faces & Places: An Illustrated History of Wagner Memorial Lutheran College, 1869–1930" (NYC: Wagner College, 2008)". 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  6. ^ ""Wagner College: Four Histories" (NYC: Wagner College, 2008)". 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  7. ^ Diggory, Terence (2009). Encyclopedia of the New York School Poets. New York, NY: Facts on File. pp.  342. ISBN  978-0-8160-5743-6.
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  9. ^ "Stanley Drama Award: Complete History, 1957–2019". Wagner College Newsroom. 4 February 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  10. ^ Manchester, Lee (26 September 2018). "Founding Faces & Places". Wagner College Slideshare. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  11. ^ Manchester, Lee (1 September 2011). "Wagner College Memories". blurb.com. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  12. ^ Manchester, Lee (Winter 2016). "Wagner College History Tour, Part I: The College's New Home on Grymes Hill". Wagner Magazine. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  13. ^ Manchester, Lee (Fall 2016). "History Tour, Part 2: The Birth of an American College". Wagner Magazine. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  14. ^ Manchester, Lee (Summer 2017). "History Tour, Part III: The Boom Years". Wagner Magazine. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
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  55. ^ "Illegal Tender (2007)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  56. ^ "The Visitor (2007)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  57. ^ "Little New York (2009)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
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  62. ^ "You Don't Know Jack (2010)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  63. ^ "AmeriQua (2013)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  64. ^ "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Gridiron Soldier". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  65. ^ "The Rewrite (2014)". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  66. ^ "Allstate TV ad, "Mayhem: We're Going To The Playoffs!"". YouTube. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  67. ^ "Crashing: NACA". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  68. ^ "Clear TV commercial, 'Jimmy'". iSpot.tv. 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  69. ^ "Clear website". clearme.com. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  70. ^ ""Bull: Behind the Ivy"". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  71. ^ ""The King of Staten Island"". Internet Media Database (IMDb). Retrieved 22 June 2020.

External links