Celebrating 60 Years

2021 marks 60 years since Villa Maria College opened its doors.

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Six Decades of Villa Maria

Today Villa Maria College offers its nearly 600 students 18 different majors, 26 minors, and several computer science-related certificate programs.  The College’s academic offering ranges from health sciences to digital media arts, to fine arts and design, to humanities and social sciences and more. 

Over the last 60-years, hundreds and hundreds of students throughout the Western New York area and beyond have come to call Villa Maria College home. Its origins, however, are quite humble.  

The College was founded in 1961 by the Felician Sisters. It was originally opened to provide the first two years of college for their Sisters who were preparing to become schoolteachers. Classes were taught in various rooms in the Convent of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is located on Doat Street.  

In 1964, Villa Maria opened the doors to its present-day campus on Pine Ridge Road. Four years after the College was founded, in 1965, it would welcome laywomen and laymen shortly thereafter in 1968.  

For 44 years, Villa Maria remained a junior college. In 2005, the absolute charter was amended, and the College began offering its baccalaureate degree in Interior Design. Four more baccalaureate programs were approved in the next three years: Animation, Fashion Design and Merchandising, and Music and Music Industry, following by Psychology, Digital Filmmaking, Digital Media and Communications, Game Design, Computer Software Development, and most recently, Community Health.   

Over the last 6 decades, campus has grown beyond the prominent Main Building, and now includes Felician Hall, Athletic Center, and Art Shop. Athletics were reintroduced to the campus in 2015 and the College proudly competes in the USCAA in basketball, bowling, cross country and soccer.  

Guided by its dynamic Franciscan spirit and welcoming Catholic tradition, Villa Maria College continues to grow in new directions to serve its community and enrich the lives of its graduates. Because of College’s strong foundation, unwavering commitment to student success, and innovative leaderships, the future of Villa Maria College remains bright. 

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About Our President

“It is an extraordinary privilege to be named the fourth president of Villa Maria College, an institution that has served our community with distinction for almost 60 years. Villa’s Catholic, Felician mission, as well as its values of transformation and respect, completely align with my own beliefs and with my convictions about higher education.  I have witnessed Villa’s transformative power on a daily basis, seeing firsthand how it changes and improves the lives of the students and families it touches through its exceptional academic programs and community outreach. I am thrilled to lead the College as it builds off of this enduring legacy to create an even brighter future and as it plays a critical role in the continued resurgence of Western New York.”

– President Matthew Giordano, Ph.D.

VIP Video Series

To learn more about what Villa Maria has accomplished in the past 60 years, and where we’re going next, watch these entertaining and informative videos. If you would like to learn more about everything going on at Villa Maria College, please email or call Tracy Rozler, special events coordinator, at [email protected] or 716-961-1825.

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