Siena College was founded by the Franciscan Friars of the Province of the Most Holy Name in 1937 as a men's college. The Catholic college was built upon the 40-acre Garett estate in the suburban hamlet of Loudonville, New York. The name was selected in honor of St. Bernadine of Siena. Siena College is a mostly residential, undergraduate school with an absolutely beautiful campus. Siena values a superior education, a "one by one" approach to its students, and offers excellent dorm life and career opportunities.

History of the Campus

The groundwork for the first building, Siena Hall, was begun in March 1938. By June, Siena received it's provisional charter (previously being a sub-unit of St. Bonaventure University). Siena grew in student body quite quickly. By 1939, Siena added a co-educational evening division, and one year later enrollment was just shy of 1,000. In 1941, Gibbons Hall (the gymnasium) was built as the second building on campus.

In 1942, St. Bernadine of Siena College received it's permanant charter. Also in 1942, Siena changed it's program to meet defense needs for World War II, creating a program to traing Navy personnel, as well as regular students.

After the war, 75% of the student body were ex-servicemen. The college had to rely on the existing structures and rented facilities to handle the large enrollment which hit a peak of 2,752 in 1948. Two of the buildings created, called "A" and "B", were later destroyed to make way for the current "Roger Bacon Science Center".

In Juny 1950, the Friary was completed, and that same year, Siena was granted a US Army ROTC detachment. In 1955, the Dawson Memorial Library was erected, containing stack rooms for 150,000 volumes and reading room accommodations for over 400 students. In 1959, Siena built it's first residence hall, Plassman Hall, followed closely by another - Ryan Hall (which are both currently still in use). To provide for resident students, Serra Dining Hall was also created, which also is still the school's dining facility.

In 1967, the (previously mentioned) Roger Bacon Science Center opened its doors, on top of where building's "A" and "B" once stood. One year later, Hennepin Hall was added, a 300-person dormitory. Also in 1968, the "quad" was beautified and Siena Hall refurbished. It was in 1968 that women were allowed Full-time student status.

In the early 1970's the curriculum was extensively revised and a student voice in policymaing was assured by seating a student on each standing committee.

The Alumni Recreation Center, a 55,000 square foot recreational and athletic facility was opened in December 1974. Gibbons Hall, the former gymnasium, was converted into use as "Foy" campus center (now re-converted into a theatre and creative arts center)

In 1981, a new friary was opened to accomodate the Franciscans. The former friary was converted into a residence hall for 200 students - Hines Hall. In 1986, townhouses were erected for 300 upperclass residence living. Later that year, floors were added to Hennepin and Plassman Halls, increasing their capacity to 470 and 380 students respectively. To provide for the need of additional classrooms and office space for faculty, Kiernan Hall was constructed between Siena and Hines Halls, and opened at the start of the 1987-88 school year.

The Marcelle Athletic Complex was completed in February of 1992 and houses an indoor pool, aerobics/dance/martial arts studio, exercise equipment, racquetball and squash courts, an elevated running track, and full sized basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts. Started in 1993, and completed in 1995, a 300-bed townhouse complex was opened for more upperclass students.

The Standish Library was built on the academic quad and opened for use in the fall of 199. The old library was constructed into a new student center, the Sarazen Student Union (named after the inventor of the Sand Wedge and alumni, Gene Sarazen) opening in April 2001.


Franciscan Tradition

Siena's Franciscan Tradition grows from roots about 700-years ago by St. Francis and St. Clare. The Franciscan tradition encourages students of Siena to live together as a peaceful, respectful, responsbile community. Each student is valued as an individual and not as a member of some group. Mutual respect and responsibility are Franciscan values.

Friars teach classes and perform religious functions on campus (through the college Chaplains office), as well as having an in-residence Friar in each dormitory hall.


Siena College's website (http://www.siena.edu) reflects it's current status, course offerings, departments, and the like and provides information on the college as it is today.

Buildings on Campus

Residence Halls:
  • Hennepin Hall
  • Hines Hall
  • Padua Hall
  • Plassmann Hall
  • Ryan Hall
  • McClosky Square Townhouses
  • Cushing Village Townhouses

Academic Buildings
  • Siena Hall   -   4 floors, Mostly liberal arts classes
  • Kiernan Hall   -   2 floors; small Business & Liberal Arts classes, Professor Offices.
  • Standish Library   -   3 Floors. Biggest military history collection on east coast.
  • Roger Bacon Hall   -   Older Science Building. Classrooms and Labs.
  • Morrell Hall   -   New Science Building. High-Tech labs, classrooms.
  • Foy Hall   -   Theater & Creative Arts building
Other Buildings
  • Sarazen Student Union   -   Conference Rooms, Bookstore, Student government and club offices, Administration Offices, Post Office, O'Leary's Pub
  • Serra Hall   -   Campus dining services
  • Friary   -   Home to the Franciscan Friars on campus
  • Marcelle Atheltic Complex (MAC)   -   Gyms, Tennis and Squash Courts, Weight Rooms, Pool, Alumni Recreation Center (ARC), etc.
  • Security & Plant Operations   ?   Security, Maintenance, Housekeeping, Print Shop, UPS Package Pickups.
  • Clare Center   -   Various professor offices
  • Admissions Building   -   Admissions staff offices
  • Pepsi Arena   -   Off-campus, in downtown Albany, NY - but the home court of the Siena Saints.



Academics

The academic side of the college is divided into three schools: The schools of Arts & Humanities, Business, and Science. Each department has associated courses, and students can choose from a list majors in each school. When the student applies to the school, even if undecided, he must choose a school. If the student later decides to swtich between schools (say become a Business student, instead of a Science), they must undergo review again and gain acceptance to the other school.

Their is a set list of majors that Siena students can choose from. Personally, I am a double major in History and French. The choices are as follows:

- Arts & Humanities:
- Business:
- Science:

As one can see by the list of available majors, that Siena focues quite a bit on the Liberal Arts. In addition, all students, even those taking Business and Science majors and minors are given a rich list of "Core" requirements outside their major which they must fulfill, including such classes as a religious studies, philosophy, aesthetic dimensions, other Math and Science courses, History, English, a basic 2-semester Freshman course, and more. The purpose is to ensure that all students leaving with the credentials of Siena College have been thoroughly educated and versed in a variety of academic areas, not just their field of study, so as to be well rounded.

As a student of Siena, I can say that I am very pleased by the school. I find the education very thorough, with a very respectable faculty; and I enjoy the campus as a residential student. There is never a shortage of quality campus events and the spiritual presence of the Friars only adds to the quality of the school, in my opinion. When I graduate in 2005, I will be proud to have the Siena name on my bachelor's degree.

Sources Used:
Siena Life: Student Handbook
Personal Knowledge

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