As we invite the entire Montclair State community to join in celebrating the University’s first one hundred years, it provides us with the occasion to refresh our understanding of the vital historical role Montclair State has played in the state and in the nation.
The founders of this school shared with the founders of this country the profound conviction that the destiny and the purposes of our nation require its citizens to be educated. As a school that was established to educate those who would, in turn, be responsible for the education of the state’s children, Montclair State has been steeped from the beginning in principles and a mission that recognized that real access to knowledge by the many, rather than the select few, was necessary both to the equality of opportunity envisioned by the principles of American democracy and to the economic and social progress desired for the nation and its people.
When Montclair State opened its doors in 1908, only 5% of America’s youth graduated from high school and a mere 1% went on to attain a college degree. The next century would see a vast expansion of educational opportunity across the nation of a kind that has been unparalleled anywhere in the world.
Here at Montclair State, what began as a teacher preparation school with one building, one program and 187 students today stands as a comprehensive university with over 50 buildings, five colleges and schools offering 250 majors, minors and concentrations, and nearly 17,000 students.
Over the last hundred years, 107,512 students have been granted a degree from Montclair State. Tens of thousands ofthese graduates have gone on to educate hundreds of thousands of New Jersey’s children. Additionally, countless numbers of our business, science, math, humanities, social science and arts graduates have helped shape the economic, social and cultural fabric of today’s world.
As we embark on our second hundred years, we once again find our nation in a period of great economic and social transformation as our country continues to shape its place in what is now a global economy and a complex multi-national society. History has taught us that access to high quality education that provides a strong base in the liberal arts and sciences, along with excellent professional preparation, is the best legacy we can provide to the young. So, over the next one hundred years, Montclair State will do what it has always done. It will prepare its students to become productive and engaged citizens; it will design and offer distinguished academic programs; it will innovate and adapt to changing needs in society; and it will continue to be a vital engine of intellectual capital for the region and the nation.