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.