History of Pace University

Pace is a University whose resources have played an essential role in the realization of individual dreams of achievement; its mission is voiced in its motto: Opportunitas. Founded in 1906 by two Pace brothers, Pace Institute was a business school for men and women who aspired to a better life. Homer and Charles Pace borrowed $600 to rent a classroom and office in the old Tribune building in lower Manhattan to teach ten men and three women the principles of accounting and business law. That building stood where the Pace Plaza building stands today.

Two years later, because of the overwhelming success of the Pace School of Accountancy, the brothers relocated their classes to the nearby Hudson Terminal complex. Another move to the Transportation Building at 225 Broadway, took place in 1927 in response to continued growth. Under the leadership of Homer St. Clair Pace, the school flourished. Shortly after his death in 1942, his son, Robert S. Pace, was appointed president. His presidency was immediately interrupted, however, by service in the armed forces. The war also caused the number of students at Pace to drop sharply, requiring the school to redefine its programs and mission, but not to reduce its aspirations.

The postwar result was that in 1948, the New York State Board of Regents approved Pace Institute for college status, and at long last the Bachelor of Business Administration degree could be awarded. Academic expansion forced yet another move, to 41 Park Row, in 1951, and two years later Pace College received authorization to grant the Bachelor of Arts degree. During this time, a dynamic young assistant dean named Edward J. Mortola was beginning to influence the development of Pace. In 1960, after serving as dean, provost, and vice president, he became the college's third president.

Under President Mortola's leadership, Pace built on the foundation laid down by the Pace brothers, adding campuses and programs, increasing services, and growing in recognition and prestige.

Classes began on the Westchester campus in 1963. The year before, the Marks Hall building was signed over to the College by Pace Trustee Wayne Marks, chairman of General Foods, and his wife, Helen. Soon after, Dyson Hall was constructed, named in honor of alumnus, trustee, and benefactor, Charles Dyson. Willcox Hall was named for trustee and benefactor Byron Willcox. In 1965, the Undergraduate School of Business Administration, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Education were established. The year following, the School of Nursing was founded (later named after alumnus, trustee, and benefactor Gustav Lienhard). In December 1966, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the downtown building at New York City's Civic Center, the Vice President of the United States, Hubert Humphrey, promised to teach at Pace. He later conducted a Scholar-in-Residence seminar at the New York City campus.

In 1973, the State Education Department approved Pace College's petition for university status. Two years later, the College of White Plains consolidated with the new Pace University; the School of Law was established in White Plains in 1976. The assets of Briarcliff College were acquired in 1977. In 1983, the Ivan G. Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems was established.

In 1984, Edward J. Mortola became chancellor and chief executive officer, and William G. Sharwell, chairman of Pace's Board of Trustees, was elected the University's fourth president. A distinguished AT&T executive, Sharwell used his business experience to stabilize enrollments and finances during his six years in office.

Few eras in the history of Pace were as dramatic as the 1990s. Early in the decade, Pace began to reexamine itself in the face of the changing needs and expectations of a generation of learners who were at the forefront of the information age.

On July 1, 1990, Patricia O'Donnell Ewers became the fifth president of Pace. Over the next 10 years she led the University through a series of transformations that repositioned the institution to recognize the challenges of globalization, technology, shifting public priorities, and learner demographics. By the start of the new century the result was a strong University, with a diverse student body, a rich and innovative curriculum that included online courses and international programs, a renewed commitment to adult and continuous learning, new and enhanced facilities on all campuses, a streamlined organizational structure, technologically mature academic and administrative programs, and an endowment of nearly $100 million—more than four times what it had been when Dr. Ewers assumed the leadership of Pace a decade earlier.

David A. Caputo became the sixth president of Pace on July 17, 2000, taking charge of a comprehensive university serving more than 14,000 students in undergraduate, graduate, professional, and specialized programs on three campuses in New York City, Westchester County, and the School of Law. During his tenure, President Caputo underscored Pace's commitment to being a national education leader in business, law, education, nursing, computer science, and liberal arts and sciences. Leading the University with compassion and vision through the events of September 11, 2001, Caputo created the Center for Downtown New York, which has catalyzed ideas about revitalizing the area. Renewing the University's commitment to Opportunitas, the Pforzheimer Honors College was founded and a new guaranteed tuition program was launched. Supporting a faculty initiative, the University embraced a new crossdisciplinary core curriculum that emphasizes civic engagement. President Caputo launched the It’s Time capital campaign to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Pace University in 2006.

On June 4, 2007, Stephen J. Friedman became the seventh president of Pace University. An eminent US lawyer, President Friedman served as dean of the School of Law prior to being named president. Immediately upon becoming President, he drafted a Three Year Plan, titled the Path to a Firm Foundation, to shore up Pace’s financial footing, stabilize and grow enrollment, improve the management culture and reduce bureaucracy – all to assure Pace’s national reputation for academic excellence. As a result of quick and careful implementation of the Three Year Plan, Pace has turned a corner and all indicators for the near future look positive, despite the turbulent economy. In the fall of 2008, Pace experienced a record 10-year high in the number of new students. Many exciting academic initiatives – including an interdisciplinary center for excellence on the environment – are currently underway at Pace. Educating its students for the professions, Pace is developing the next generation of leaders in management.

For almost 100 years, bright and motivated men and women have passed through Pace's many doors and have ventured into the world prepared for the new challenges of each passing decade.

As Pace implements its plan for the next five years, the University will continue to build upon its legacy of providing the best teaching and learning to ambitious and talented students, acting as an engine of opportunity for those seeking to change their lives and to change the world.