Milestone Moments

From the farmland that would become Fisher to transforming to a University, take a look back at Fisher's milestone moments.

Through the Decades

  • 1940s

    An open field on the site of what will later be the location of Kearney Hall on the St. John Fisher University campus, circa 1940s.


    At the invitation of Bishop James E. Kearney, the Basilian Fathers purchased a 70-acre site for the creation of a Catholic liberal arts college for men.


    St. John Fisher College was chartered with the stated goal of educating men in the liberal arts, sciences, and commerce.

    Fundraising efforts begin to support the institution.


    Reverend John A. Murphy, CSB, is appointed president by Reverend Edmund J. McCorkell, CSB, Superior General of the Basilian Fathers.

    Groundbreaking of the administration building, later to be named Kearney Hall.

  • 1950s

    Members of Fisher's Pioneer Class celebrate Commencement in Spring 1955 in front of Kearney Hall.


    The College opened its doors to the Pioneer Class, consisting of 110 men. The Administration Building, Kearney Hall, was the only building on campus.

    Provisional Charter, New York State, signed.


    The State Board of Regents awarded Fisher an absolute charter to grant the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Business Administration.

    The Pioneer Class graduated.


    Fisher fielded its first intercollegiate athletic team—golf.

    Enrollment grows to 425.


    Fisher is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.


    Chemistry building erected, later to be named Pioch Hall.

    Rev. Charles Lavery, CSB, is inaugurated as second president, succeeding Fr. John Murphy, CSB.

  • 1960s

    St. John Fisher College's campus in the late 1960s.


    The first image of the Cardinal as a bird used to represent the College, on the front page of The Pioneer.

    The Alma Mater is performed for the first time by the Fisher Glee Club.


    The Admissions Office is established for student recruitment.


    Ward Hall opens, named for benefactor Sarah Ward.

    Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Bobby Wanzer is named first full-time athletic director.


    Basil Hall opens.

    Athletic Center opens.


    Haffey Hall, named for founder Rev. Hugh Haffey, CSB, opens.


    St. John Fisher College became independent. A lay Board of Trustees assumed ownership and control of the College.

    Murray Hall opens.

    Science Building opens (later named Joseph Skalny Science Center).

  • 1970s

    In 1971, the first women students were admitted at Fisher as full-time undergraduates.


    Student radio station, WJFC begins broadcasting.


    The first women students were admitted to Fisher as full-time undergraduates and begin taking classes in the fall semester.


    First woman, Carol Worth, earns a Fisher degree.


    Lavery Library opens and is dedicated to Rev. Charles Lavery, CSB, second President.


    Student Life Center opens, expanding the Athletic Center.

  • 1980s


    Rev. Patrick O. Braden, CSB becomes third president of St. John Fisher College.

    Rev. Charles J. Lavery, CSB, becomes chancellor.

    Fisher purchases the Basilian House of Studies from the Basilians, and renames it Michaelhouse Hall.


    Fisher football team wins National Collegiate Football Association Championship.


    The first Teddi Dance for Love was held to benefit Camp Good Days and Special Times.


    MBA program is introduced, Fisher's first graduate program.


    William L. Pickett, Ph.D., named the fourth president, and is the first lay president of the institution.

    Rochester House opens, later dedicated as Dorsey Hall.

  • 1990s

    Dr. Katherine Keough, Fisher's fifth president


    Athletic Hall of Fame holds its first induction ceremony.


    Katherine E. Keough, Ed.D. named fifth president, Fisher's first female president.

    Service Scholars program is announced.


    Fisher celebrates 50th anniversary.

    The former Botsford property, located to the north of Basil Hall, is purchased.


    Growney Stadium opens.

    Renovation of the academic corridor includes upgrades to Pioch Hall, Basil Hall, and Skalny Science Center.

  • 2000s

    Kids Camp at Buffalo Bills Training Camp, 2000s


    Buffalo Bills Training Camp moves to Fisher.

    Science Center renamed Joseph S. Skalny Science Center.

    2001, 2002

    Dugan Baseball Yard opens.

    The School of Business is the first school created. Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education follows.

    Founders Hall opens.

    2004, 2005

    Donald E. Bain, Ph.D. named sixth president.

    Campus Center and Keough Hall open.

    2006, 2007

    Wegmans School of Pharmacy opens.

    Wegmans School of Nursing opens.


    Joseph S. Skalny Welcome Center opens.

  • 2010s

    Dedication ceremony for the Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great


    Fisher is reclassified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching from a Master’s Institution to a Doctoral/Research University Institution.

    Polisseni Track and Field Complex opens.


    The Wegmans School of Nursing launched an Online RN-to-BS in Nursing Program, the College’s first fully online program.


    Victor E. Salerno Center for American Enterprise opens, home to the School of Business. 

    William J. Pellicano Pavilion opens.


    Gerard J. Rooney, Ph.D., is named seventh president.

    Fisher receives the 2015 Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement.


    Hermance Family Chapel of St. Basil the Great and the Upper Quad Residence Hall open.

  • 2020s

    Dr. Gerard J. Rooney announces Fisher will become St. John Fisher University in 2022


    Fisher offers first fully online graduate program with the Pharm.D. program in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy.

    Wegmans School of Nursing offers fully-online Master of Science in Nursing degree.


    Officially named St. John Fisher University.

    DePeters Family Center for Innovation and Teaching Excellence, Dennis ’72 and Denise Tepas Commons and Terrace at Tepas Commons, and Joseph Pellicano Wrestling Pavilion open.