Founded in 1899 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, the College has a strong tradition of concern for the poor, for developing leadership in a spirit of service and social responsibility, and a commitment to the promotion of women as full partners in society.
Through the vision of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Saint Vincent de Paul, Saint Louise de Marillac and Mother Mary Xavier Mehegan, CSE continues to support students as they search for intellectual and personal growth in the caring and supportive atmosphere of a Catholic liberal arts college.
In 1917, the Association of American Universities placed the College of Saint Elizabeth on its approved list of Colleges and Universities. Included among the accredited colleges listed by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in its official listing in 1921, the College continually has maintained such accreditation.
During the early years of the College, graduates of both the College and Academy established one Alumnae Association. As the number of graduates from both institutions grew, each institution created its own separate alumnae organization. Since the spring of 1920, the College of Saint Elizabeth Alumnae/i Association has raised funds for scholarships, buildings, and all anniversary celebrations held throughout the decades.
In 1970, the College established a Continuing Education program to respond to the needs of older women seeking to complete degree programs or to update their formal education. The request for both women and men to obtain degrees while maintaining full-time employment led the College to initiate a Weekend College Program in 1976. In 1994, Continuing Education was renamed Continuing Studies - Adult Undergraduate Degree Programs.
Beginning in the 1990s, the College began offering graduate programs leading to the development of the School of Graduate and Continuing Studies in 2001 for the "non-traditional age adults."
In 2007, the College broke new ground, offering adult students for the first time in its history a doctoral program in Educational Leadership.
In 1903, the College bestowed its first baccalaureate degrees to a class of four women. Today, with more than 15,000 graduates, the College remains strong, with a growing enrollment and a vital purpose: to provide a value-centered education that responds to today's society's needs while remaining true to its mission.
Since inception, there has been only seven presidents. These women have provided leadership marked by faith, courage, and vision: