History of Stevenson University

University Timeline


Villa Julie College is founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at "Seven Oaks," an 80-acre estate in Greenspring Valley, formerly the home of the George Carrell Jenkins family. The college opened its doors on Oct. 1, specializing in medical-secretarial training.


Official approval as a two-year college is granted by the Maryland State Department of Education. In that same year, a new classroom facility, Founder's Hall, is opened.


The college receives Maryland state approval for a child development program and for transfer programs in the arts and sciences as well as teacher education. Shortly thereafter, the college is granted an "A" rating for transferability of credits by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.


Villa Julie becomes an independent institution that is no longer affiliated with the Catholic Church. Control is vested in a newly formed Board of Trustees comprised of business, civic, and professional leaders.


In response to increasing enrollment, the college builds a multi-million dollar complex consisting of an art wing, learning resource center, and student center. Evening and summer sessions are inaugurated this same year.


Villa Julie becomes co-educational, admitting its first full-time male student.


Villa Julie became a four-year college offering the bachelor’s degree in computer information systems.


While the college continued to offer two-year programs, the student body and faculty continued to grow. Academic offerings were augmented to include new majors and programs that provided a wider choice of professional career possibilities and supported the changing requirements of the business and professional communities in the region. The concept of career education combined with the liberal arts became a hallmark of the College’s philosophy, Pro Discendo, Pro Vivendo: For Learning, For Living.


The Middle States Association reaffirmed the college’s accreditation, this time as a four-year college offering bachelor’s and associate’s degrees.


A cooperative education program was initiated for junior and senior students, making it possible for them to experience firsthand a working environment directly related to their fields of study. 


Off-campus housing for students in garden-type apartments was opened a short distance from the college. The cooperative education program was also expanded and opened to all students in the baccalaureate programs. 1994 The college was awarded membership in NCAA Division III. 1995 The college began the first phase of the construction of an Academic Center, Inscape Theatre, Student Union and gymnasium, and Science Center. The college was awarded membership in NCAA Division III.


The college began the first phase of the construction of an Academic Center, Inscape Theatre, Student Union and gymnasium, and Science Center.


The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) granted approval for programs for the preparation of elementary and early childhood teachers. This was the first Maryland education program that fulfilled the new state MSDE requirements for teacher education.


The college celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Academic Center, Inscape Theatre, and Art Gallery opened in August, and in November, the Student Union and gymnasium opened.


A new bachelor’s degree program in visual communication design was approved by MHEC.


President Carolyn Manuszak and Dean Rose Dawson retired with a combined 65 years of service to Villa Julie College.


The new decade brought the inauguration of Villa Julie's fifth President, Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D. 


New master’s programs in business technology management and e-commerce were approved by MHEC. 


The School of Graduate and Professional Studies was created to accommodate the needs of adult learners. Through this school, adult students could enroll in master’s degree programs, evening/weekend bachelor’s degree programs, or accelerated bachelor’s degree programs. Additionally, the college began offering an accelerated B.S. to M.S. degree in advanced information technology, enabling students to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years.


The college broke ground on its first campus-owned student housing complex in nearby Owings Mills


Apartment-style housing for 550 students and a community center opened in Owings Mills. The college also leased classroom space on the same piece of land, allowing students to live and attend classes at the same location for the first time in Villa Julie history. Those moves, along with the purchase of the former Baltimore Ravens training facility and the office building where the college leased classroom and office space, gave Villa Julie more than 80 acres of land at the Owings Mills campus. In December, Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski visited the college to announce nearly $250,000 in federal funds to support distance-learning efforts utilizing the Verizon Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Also in 2004, the Board of Trustees began discussing the possibility of transitioning to university status because of the growth in student population and the addition of a second campus.


A bachelor’s degree in medical technology was added to replace the two-year medical laboratory technology program. 


The Rockland Center opened in October to provide a student dining center, offices for Student Affairs, and a banquet hall for functions organized by on- and off-campus groups. Additionally, the college received just over $1,000,000 to expand the nursing program. The Caves Sports and Wellness Center, the new name for the renovated facility formerly used by the Baltimore Ravens, was opened. In August, the college began offering an online Master of Science in Forensic Studies degree. 

The Board approved university status in November 2006 and later established a committee to oversee a study of name options for the institution. 


In May, the college broke ground on the next new building for Owings Mills, a 60,000-square-foot academic building to house the newly formed Brown School of Business and Leadership, other programs and a state-of-the-art mock trial courtroom. The school opened in April 2009.


Villa Julie celebrated its growth throughout the 2007-08 academic year as part of its 60th anniversary celebration, inaugurating a new tradition on October 1, 2007, by celebrating Founders Day to commemorate the day the college first opened. The college received reaccreditation from Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, and Villa Julie took a leadership role in educating Maryland's future teachers by creating the state's first teacher preparation program for middle school educators. 

On June 11, 2008, the Board voted unanimously to change the name of the institution, and the name Stevenson University was unveiled the next morning. The Board also voted to keep the Villa Julie name alive by creating the Villa Julie College of Arts and Sciences as part of Stevenson University. 


Additional expansion of the Owings Mills campus included Wooded Way, which housed specialized student learning communities as well as the Office of Career Services. In March 2009, the University Restructuring Plan was adopted by the Faculty Council. The plan created four new schools within the Villa Julie College of Arts and Sciences: the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; the School of Design; the School of Education; and the School of the Sciences. The Brown School of Business and Leadership and the School of Graduate and Professional Studies remained as originally configured.


A new entrance to the Owings Mills campus was opened. Stevenson was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service learning, and civic engagement.


In April, the university hired its first band director to lead the newly created marching band. Two new residence halls welcomed an additional 500 students on the Owings Mills campus, and the new 3,500-seat Mustang Stadium was opened in early September. 

In November 2011, the university purchased the Owings Mills site of Shire Pharmaceuticals. The 28-acre site—which today includes the School of Design and the Manning Academic Center—comprises the university’s Owings Mills North location. 


The University Archives established the Maryland Bible Society Collection at Stevenson to house the society’s historic 400-year-old first edition of the King James Bible. In December 2012, the Greenspring Valley Orchestra, conducted by Stevenson music professor Robert Suggs, celebrated its 10th Anniversary Concert. 


The School of the Sciences hosted the inaugural Dell Lecture in honor of Stevenson trustee Samuel M. Dell III and his wife Geraldine and awarded the first Dell Scholarship for outstanding Stevenson seniors studying biology, chemistry, and mathematics. The men’s lacrosse team won the NCAA 2013 Division III National Championship game, beating the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Tigers at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on May 26. 


Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak came to campus to address a crowd of middle school, high school, and Stevenson students. In April, Stevenson unveiled the iconic 12-foot-tall, bronze mustang statue, "Victory," outside of Mustang Stadium. The university opened an Athletics Hall of Fame, located in the Owings Mills Gymnasium, which was later named in honor of Dick Watts, the University’s former Director of Physical Education. 


The new School of Nursing and Health Professions was created, comprised of the Department of Nursing and the Medical Laboratory Science Program, bringing Stevenson's number of schools to seven. 


President Manning announced his plan to retire after 16 years of leadership. In August, the university dedicated the new 200,000-square-foot academic building at Owings Mills North as the Kevin J. Manning Academic Center (MAC). Stevenson also received naming gifts for two of schools housed in the MAC: the Sandra R. Berman School of Nursing and Health Professions and the Beverly K. Fine School of the Sciences. 


Stevenson opened the Center for Student Success on the Owings Mills Campus to provide student resources and academic support services, including the Office of Student Success, the John L. Stasiak Academic Link, and the Experiential Learning Center. In March 2017, the Board concluded its presidential search and unanimously named Elliot Hirshman, Ph.D., President of San Diego State University (SDSU), as the new President of Stevenson as of July 2017. The School of Graduate and Professional Studies' name was changed to Stevenson University Online. In July, the university formally announced its plan to acquire the former Rosewood Center property.


In January, the Garrison Hall Student Activities Commons opened. The commons includes rooms for student clubs and activities, clubs sports offices, three meeting rooms, a fitness center, and a console video gaming room. The center also serves as the home for Stevenson’s eSports team with a dedicated eSports room. Work was completed on the Quad, a green space connecting the School of Business and Leadership, Garrison Hall, and Rockland Center. In the fall, the Reading Room was opened in Garrison Hall, giving students a quiet area for studying. The university’s first Professional Minors were being offered in management and organization leadership, entrepreneurship and small business development, human resources, real estate, and software design and coding.


The university introduced two new undergraduate programs, Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics and Biomedical Engineering, starting in Fall 2019. In November, Stevenson senior Patrick Watson crossed the finish line at the 2019 NCAA DIII Cross Country Championships, becoming the first student-athlete in Mustang Athletics history to capture an NCAA individual national championship.


In February, Stevenson announced that it received a $2 million naming gift from the Philip A. Zaffere Foundation for the new library to be constructed on the Owings Mills campus. The university also received a gift from faculty member Dennis Starliper to create an Applied Finance Lab in the Brown School of Business and Leadership.

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