By Mary Marvin, Mayor of Bronxville
Nov. 30, 2022: So many of you have commented on the beehive of activity on the new Iona University campus as you drive up Tanglewylde Avenue or across Route 22.
We did indeed lose a venerable institution in Concordia College - neighbor and friend to so many in the Village for over 120 years, but we have welcomed a new college, now a university, with much the same ethos on the same 28 acres.
Both schools share a common mission to be a faith-based, service-driven, liberal arts institution and they both served many first-generation college students with sensitivity and assistance.
For many of us privy to the changeover, we took great comfort as we witnessed the character of both institutions as they worked together as their first priority was to help the remaining students at Concordia receive maximum support from both institutions for a smooth transition while trying to mitigate financial ramifications. This demonstrated much about the Iona family as many of the students went with welcome arms to the Iona program.
The Concordia Campus was so needed by Iona because it offered so much. Iona is essentially landlocked in the density of the City of New Rochelle. They required more space to enhance their programs; academic, athletic, and extracurricular for their growing student body as their new-student enrollment went up over 30 percent in the last three years totally bucking the trend of most all other small liberal arts institutions. Iona attracted so many college-bound applicants as one indices was the Georgetown Center for Workforce and Education ranking it in the top 4% nationwide on long-term return because of their known history to produce graduates who have the holistic leadership skills to solve real world problems.
In addition, Iona understood the need for space to fulfill the ever-expanding healthcare needs in the country and the professionals that will be required to provide the services. What is important to note, is that the footprint of the Concordia buildings will not be expanded in any way, simply be re-configured.
As background, currently Iona has approximately 3,000 undergraduates and 3,600 students matriculated in all its programs. Healthcare careers were a piece of the puzzle that Iona had not been offering and in 2022, it was clear many students desired these professional careers. In a tremendous fortuitous and timely collaboration, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital gifted $20 million to build a premier school of health sciences to develop the next generation of world-class health professionals as a partner with Iona. Together, they want to develop a new paradigm for collaborative healthcare, education and a modern workforce dedicated to community care. This collaboration will not only lead to unparalleled access to clinical placements and full-time career opportunities at one of the nation’s top hospitals as ranked by US News and World Report, but the Bronxville campus will offer degrees including; a BS in Nursing, BS in Social Work, MA in Communication Science and Disorders, MA in Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Therapy and MS in Occupational Therapy.
Beyond academic offerings is the physical use of the property and many of you have asked what will be the change from Concordia College to Iona University in terms of building structures, accessibility for the community and possible effects on Village residents who live adjacent to the campus.
The Concordia Conservatory will remain right where it is as Iona is happy to have them continue in their location at Stein Hall. As Iona president Seamus Carey stated, “Iona supports the value of music and the performing arts in a young person’s life.” The beautiful Sommer Center will remain intact and Iona looks forward to being able to host public events in a collaborative way that benefit the community and the university. The sports fields are currently undergoing renovations and upgrades that were honestly desperately needed. Iona is a Division 1 school and the fields will be used for practices only during the year so there will not be an influx of cars coming to home games. The teams will be bused over for their practice sessions. When not in use by Iona teams, Iona is open to working with local groups to discuss possible space usage.
As of now, Iona has no plans to utilize the dorms for student housing as most students will be graduate students. Students will be coming to campus for the winter semester in January 2023 and Iona has yet to grow into this new space, so to speak, so plans are still in formation as to usage of all the buildings. However, a majority of the programs on the Bronxville campus will be graduate degree programs along with nursing, and the university will be utilizing vans to minimize the traffic and parking impact as much as possible.
In a gracious nod to the history of the former college, Concordia Place will retain its name even while under the ownership of Iona University. The houses, one of which is rented at the moment, will be kept and will perhaps be used as an incentive to attract truly high-level faculty to the new institution, but there are no firm plans at the moment. The only loss to the community is the O’Silas Gallery, which contained the space needed to simulate hospital rooms for the healthcare degrees. Iona is very aware and respectful of the historical significance of the buildings, most notably those facing Route 22, and will only, when time permits, upgrade the interiors with the beautiful exteriors left intact.
In a very recent development, the flagship building of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences will be named the Kelly Center for Health Services in honor of benefactors, Alfred F. Kelly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Visa, and his wife, Peggy, both double degree alums of Iona, who gave a personal gift of $5 million to further this incredible mission.
Iona University has proven to be a reliable, eager and visionary partner with the Village and we look forward to a continued seamless collaboration.
Bronxville is a quaint village (one square mile) located just 16 miles north of midtown Manhattan (roughly 30 minutes on the train) and has a population of approximately 6,500. It is known as a premier community with an excellent public school (K-12) and easy access to Manhattan. Bronxville offers many amenities including an attractive business district, a hospital (Lawrence Hospital), public paddle and tennis courts, fine dining at local restaurants, two private country clubs and a community library.
While the earliest settlers of Bronxville date back to the first half of the 18th century, the history of the modern suburb of Bronxville began in 1890 when William Van Duzer Lawrence purchased a farm and commissioned the architect, William A. Bates, to design a planned community of houses for well-known artists and professionals that became a thriving art colony. This community, now called Lawrence Park, is listed on the National register of Historic Places and many of the homes still have artists’ studios. A neighborhood association within Lawrence Park called “The Hilltop Association” keeps this heritage alive with art shows and other events for neighbors.
Bronxville offers many charming neighborhoods as well as a variety of living options for residents including single family homes, town houses, cooperatives and condominiums. One of the chief benefits of living in “the village” is that your children can attend the Bronxville School.
The Bronxville postal zone (10708, known as “Bronxville PO”) includes the village of Bronxville as well as the Chester Heights section of Eastchester, parts of Tuckahoe and the Lawrence Park West, Cedar Knolls, Armour Villa and Longvale sections of Yonkers. Many of these areas have their own distinct character. For instance, the Armour Villa section has many historic homes and even has its own newsletter called “The Villa Voice” which reports on neighborhood news.
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