The John Gans Family Estate, located on Grymes Hill, was purchased for Notre Dame College of Staten Island in 1934. The Gans family's home, renamed Flynn Hall after the founder of the college, Sister Helen Flynn, became the first campus building.
Lavelle Hall, named honor of the Right Rev. Msgr. Michael J. Lavelle, was dedicated at the Fourth Commencement Exercises on May 31, 1938.
The Science Hall was dedicated on November 19, 1945. A new addition onto the original Science Hall was dedicated on November 11, 1962. In 1963, the Science Hall was renamed Mahoney Hall in honor of Joseph A. Mahoney.
In 1955, the college purchased the Herbert Gans Estate, doubling the size of the campus. One of the buildings from this estate was renovated to become the new Cardinal Spellman Library, dedicated on October 20, 1956, and named in honor of New York's Archbishop Francis Cardinal Spellman.
In 1965, an English Tudor home on the far end of the campus was purchased from the Drury Family (formerly owned by the Herbert Gans Estate until 1945), which was then renamed Rosati Hall in honor of Bishop Joseph Rosati, C.M.
On January 28, 1971, the consolidation of the former Notre Dame College of Staten Island with St. John’s University was announced. This occurred alongside the closing of the downtown Brooklyn campus of St. John’s University on Schermerhorn Street; those students relocated to the Queens and the new Staten Island campus.
Notre Dame College of Staten Island Now Part of St. John’s University
Jamaica, N.Y. – The Regents of the University of the State of New York have approved the consolidation of the former Notre Dame College of Staten Island with St. John’s University, it was announced today by Very Rev. Joseph T. Cahill, C.M., President of St. John’s.
The new college, which will be a separate unit and will be distinct from other present schools and colleges of the University, will be known as Notre Dame College of St. John’s University. The program of the college, which will be initially designed to accommodate no more than 1,000 full-time undergraduate students, will emphasize Liberal Arts with certain special interdisciplinary areas, and business and education.
St. John’s students presently attending the University’s Brooklyn Center, which will be closed at the end of the current school year, will be able to complete their studies at either St. John’s Jamaica Campus or the new college in Staten Island.
…The new 22-acre Staten Island campus will provide St. John’s students with extensive and modern classrooms, food and recreation facilities, ample parking, and a pastoral setting in which to pursue their studies. Its Tudor-style buildings include a well-equipped Student Center – a facility which was not available to students at the Brooklyn Center – several classroom halls, a modern library, an administration hall, and food and lounge accommodations for both students and faculty. The college is easily accessible by major highways via the Verrazzano Bridge and, from New Jersey via the Goethals Bridge.
The first building constructed by St. John’s University on the Staten Island campus was the Loretto Memorial Library, which opened on December 15, 1972. The building was formally dedicated on October 29, 1973. It is named in honor of Mrs. Loretto McCarthy, wife of Charles McCarthy, Treasurer of the University at the time, who donated funds for the building.
Construction on the Campus Center began in 1979 and was completed in 1980.
The Kelleher Center opened on December 14, 1998. The building was formally dedicated on April 10, 1999 in honor of Denis and Carol Kelleher who donated funds for the building.
Groundbreaking for the DaSilva Academic Center took place on July 9, 2002. The formal dedication took place on October 2, 2004. It is named in honor of John DaSilva ‘80SVC, son of Leon DaSilva ‘99HON who donated funds for the building.
A Blessing Ceremony for Notre Dame House (previously called St. Joseph Hall) was held on April 28, 2007. The building is named in honor of the devoted service of the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame, and the generosity of the Notre Dame College Alumnae Association.