University History

Since our humble inception in the late 1940s, 鶹app has continually evolved to meet the needs of students, gradually expanding both our physical presence and academic offerings. Here is a sampling of SU’s rich history.

Seven Oaks' Julie Billiart Hall

Seven Oaks’ Julie Billiart Hall, as featured in the property’s sale flyer.


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 opens its doors on October 1, specializing in medical-secretarial training.

Villa Julie Junior College sign and students

Villa Julie’s 1954 accreditation as a Junior College capped several years of planning and preparation.


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.

Students working on an accounting issue at a blackboard

Kitty Lynch, Elaine Lucas, and Mary Ellen Jones work on an accounting issue, 1959.


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, separating from 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.

A VJC's paralegal program student in front of a word processor

Carol Grabowski of VJC’s paralegal program, interning at a law firm. Word processing technologies were rapidly transforming legal office practice in the 1980s, and VJC students stayed on the leading edge of change.


Villa Julie becomes a four-year college, offering a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems. Later, a degree in Paralegal Studies is added. The College continues to offer a two-year program leading to associate’s degrees for all available majors.

A woman holding up a test tube

A solid grounding in science was a prerequisite for many of the careers sought by Villa Julie Students in the late 1980s.


Again, in response to increasing student interest, the College constructs a new three-story laboratory building.


The concept of career education combined with the liberal arts becomes a hallmark of Villa Julie’s philosophy, Pro Discendo, Pro Vivendo: for learning, for living.


The College designs and installs a sophisticated computer network, enabling students and faculty to access software and library resources from any building on campus.


Cuvilly Hall is fully renovated and becomes The Student-Faculty Exchange. Containing an upscale cafe, a spacious reading room, and faculty offices, the Exchange provides an area for students and faculty to meet on an informal basis. Off-campus apartments are opened a short distance from the College this year.

College lacrosse team players

The College’s lacrosse team quickly reached high levels of competitiveness, becoming a respected NCAA Division III contender.


Villa Julie’s athletic programs are accepted into NCAA Division III.


Construction of the current Dawson Center, Inscape Theatre, Manuszak Center, Greenspring gymnasium, and science center begin as the first phase of the College’s master plan for the campus.


The Maryland State Department of Education grants approval for programs designed to prepare elementary and early childhood teachers. That same year, the College receives the endorsement of the Maryland Higher Education Commission for a Master of Science degree in Advanced Information Technologies.


The Dawson Center and Inscape Theatre open in August and the Manuszak Center and gymnasium open in November.


A new Science Center opens with top-notch research facilities and equipment.

Kevin Manning, Ph.D.

Kevin Manning, Ph.D., brought new energy to Villa Julie’s educational mission in 2000 when he began his tenure as the College’s fourth President.


Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D., assumes his role as Villa Julie’s fifth president.


The Academic Link, the College’s unique academic assistance center, reopens after undergoing extensive renovations, including the addition of quiet rooms for students to take tests, space for student tutors, and an expanded computer area.

Ground breaking ceremony

Baltimore County Executive James Smith Maryland Secretary of Budget and Management, James C. “Chip” DiPaula, Jr., Board of Trustees Chair Charles E. “Ted” Herget, Jr., and President Manning “breaking ground” on a new residence hall project at the Owings Mills campus, 2004.


Villa Julie opens its first College-owned housing complex in Owings Mills. The garden apartments and community center surround a quad perfect for campus activities.


On the Owings Mills property, Villa Julie opens the first of three planned suite-style residence buildings that accommodate between three and four students in a mixture of single and double bedrooms. The College names the residence buildings and community center after historical sites in Baltimore County, such as the Avalon Inn, and various valleys, including Cromwell Valley and Worthington Valley.

Students in the dining facilities

The Rockland Center provides dining facilities for both residential and commuter students as well as faculty and staff. The second floor houses Student Life offices and a banquet room for campus and community events.


The College opens Rockland Center (a dining and student center) and the Caves Sports and Wellness Center on the Owings Mills Campus in the fall. Renovations to the Exchange create new space for the music program. The expanded Nursing Skills Lab offers a new home for SimMan, a life-like manikin designed to develop the clinical skills of nursing students.


Villa Julie marks its 60th anniversary with the first Founder’s Day Celebration on Oct. 1. The first complete history of the College, A Vision and a Promise: Villa Julie College, is published. Construction begins on the School of Business.


On June 11, the Board of Trustees voted to change the name of Villa Julie College to 鶹app.

The name 鶹app is chosen for its perceptions of tradition, history, and academic quality-three hallmarks of the Villa Julie spirit. The name also maintains a geographical connection to the founding location of Villa Julie in Stevenson, Md. The Villa Julie name endures as the Villa Julie College of Arts and Sciences. With this change, the original campus in Stevenson is now referred to as the Greenspring Campus.

On the Owings Mills campus, the School of Business and Leadership opens to students in August. Housing the Divisions of Business and Legal Studies and Information Technology, the School joins the School of Graduate and Professional Studies as the second established within the new University structure. The 60,000-square-foot building offers cutting-edge classroom technology and a Mock Trial Courtroom.

Ribbon cutting at the opening of the School of Business and Leadership

The opening of the School of Business and Leadership marks a solid dedication to business, leadership, and entrepreneurial programs at 鶹app.


On March 24, President Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D., approves the University Restructuring Plan, which supports the creation of three new schools within the Villa Julie College of Arts and Sciences. The plan divides the departments to form the new Schools:

  • Art, Business Communication, Film, Video, and Theatre
  • Science, Math, and Nursing
  • Psychology, English, Human Services, Humanities, and Public History
  • The College of Arts and Sciences will also include the Department of Education.

On April 30, 鶹app names the new School of Business and Leadership after Baltimore builder and developer Howard S. Brown at an official ribbon-cutting ceremony. The school is now referred to as the Brown School of Business and Leadership.

The new residence hall, Wooded Way, located behind the Rockland Center, houses more than 200 students at the start of the fall semester. The building provides selected upperclassmen a unique “learning-living” experience. The first floor houses the Learning Beyond and Career Services Office and provides premier suite-style residences on the floors above.


New degrees and programs introduced this year include a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising, a criminalistics track in forensic studies, a sport management track in business administration, and a master’s degree in nursing. In the fall, the new Owings Mills gymnasium opens, encompassing approximately 60,000 square feet, featuring seating for 1,400, and offering premier athletic and fan amenities.

Stevenson Football Stadium

On Sept. 10, 2011, playing into double overtime, the Mustangs win 46-43 over Christopher Newport University in their first game in Mustang Stadium. A sellout crowd of 3,500 SU fans bore witness to the team’s first win in program history.

Mustang primary sculpture christened "Victory"

On April 23, 2014, the primary sculpture was unveiled and christened “Victory” in a celebration attended by students, faculty, staff, friends, and distinguished guests.

Kevin J. Manning Academic Center

On August 30, 2016, the opening and dedication ceremonies were held for the Kevin J. Manning Academic Center along with the Beverly K. Fine School of the Sciences, and the Sandra R. Berman School of Nursing and Health Professions. Guests were honored by the remarks by Senator Ben Cardin, Representative John Sarbanes, State Delegate Adrienne Jones, and State Senator Bobby Zirkin.

Claire Moore Interim President

After Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D., retired on November 29, 2016, Claire E. Moore, who served as Vice President of Student Affairs, began her service as Interim President of 鶹app.


The University unveils a new 3,500 seat stadium on its Owings Mills campus. Designed to rival any facility found in Division III athletics, the stadium accommodates football, lacrosse, and soccer on two synthetic turf fields and provides a host of features for athletes, patrons, the press, and fans. Stevenson’s first football team and marching band debut in the fall, and the first women’s ice hockey coach is hired.


The Stevenson Men’s Lacrosse team won its first NCAA Division III National Championship against RIT on May 26, 2013, at Lincoln Financial Field with a 16-14 victory. The lacrosse team finished the season (22-2) with a school record of 22 wins and a 10-game winning streak. The Mustangs led the nation with 11 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) All-American’s and two Scholar All-American’s. Not only was this the first National Championship for the Men’s Lacrosse team, but was the first National Title won in Stevenson history.

Stevenson’s New School of Design opens. Located on the Owings Mills North Campus, the School of Design houses a new gallery space and sound stage in addition to classrooms and lab spaces for the University’s visual communication design and film/video students.


To have a tangible representation of Stevenson’s spirit, the University commissioned original artwork from Bart Walter, a nationally renowned plein air artist. The result was two sculptures that have become focal points for building new traditions: a 12-foot-high bronze rearing mustang and a smaller replica of it. Both pieces are installed on the Owings Mills Campus, with the larger located outside of Mustang Stadium, a landmark feature. The smaller statue can be found within the Stadium to spur on our student-athletes as they take the field.

To view a complete list of accomplishments, check out the 2014 Year in Review.


Two new NCAA Division III sports are added to the Mustangs roster. With the introduction of women’s beach volleyball, SU becomes the first DIII athletic program in the country to offer the sport. Men’s ice hockey becomes the University’s 27th NCAA DIII Sport.

The University launches the new Center for Forensic Excellence on June 15, which will serve as a resource for both forensic professionals and students and help cement Stevenson as a national leader in forensic education.

“From Strategy to Reality” was unveiled as a publication highlighting the incredible transformation Stevenson has made over the last 15 years.

To view a complete list of accomplishments, check out the 2015 Year in Review.


Stevenson’s state-of-the-art, 200,000-square-foot Kevin J. Manning Academic Center opens on August 30, providing resources for the Beverly K. Fine School of the Sciences, the Sandra R. Berman School of Nursing and Health Professions, and additional space for the School of Design.

Kevin J. Manning, Ph.D., retired on November 29, 2016 after 16 years as President of 鶹app. Manning was inaugurated as the fifth president of Villa Julie College in October 2000 and played an integral role in many of the University’s groundbreaking accomplishments. Villa Julie College alumna Claire E. Moore, who has served as Vice President of Student Affairs, begins serving as Interim President of 鶹app.

Dr. Elliot Hirshman

Elliot Hirshman, Ph.D., is elected as 鶹app’s seventh president, effective July 1, 2017. He joins the University after serving as president of San Diego State University (SDSU) since 2011.


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. Prior to President Hirshman’s appointment at SDSU, he served as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Stevenson also celebrated the 70th anniversary of its founding. Additionally, the School of Graduate and Professional Studies’ name was changed to 鶹app Online. In July, the university formally announced its acquisition of the former Rosewood Center property. The sale was approved by Maryland’s Board of Public Works in June. The 117-acre Rosewood site is adjacent to the Owings Mills and Owings Mills North locations and will nearly double the total acreage of the University. The University’s tentative plans, after completion of environmental clean-up and remediation, include developing new educational facilities and recreational resources.


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 eSports team with a dedicated eSports room. Also in January, work was completed on the Quad began on a new quad area, a green space connecting between the School of Business and Leadership, Garrison Hall, and Rockland Center. The Reading Room was opened in Garrison Hall, giving students a quiet area with wifi for studying. Work also began on the Rosewood property, including the demolition and clean-up of existing buildings to make way for Stevenson’s campus master plan in the coming years. In the fall, the university’s first Professional Minors were are being offered in applied management, entrepreneurship and small business development, human resources, real estate, and software design and coding. These minor options give students additional career options and a competitive edge in the job market.


Stevenson forms partnership with Baltimore’s Ner Israel Rabbinical College on a two-year program that allows Ner Israel students to complete a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Pre-Med focus and a minor in Medical Humanities from SU.

On March 8, SU’s Mock Trial Team climbs to new heights when it is selected for the 2019 Opening Round Championship Series of the American Mock Trial Association. This positions the team for national-level competition and invitations to bigger Mock Trial tournaments.

Stevenson launches a new bachelor’s program in Biomedical Engineering.

During the Fall, the University marked the 25th Anniversary of NCAA Athletics at Stevenson/Villa Julie. In November, senior Patrick Watson wins the NCAA Men’s Cross Country Individual Title, the first NCAA individual national title in the University’s history and SU’s second national title.


In March, Stevenson launches its first doctoral program, the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology. On March 20, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders from the State of Maryland, Stevenson announces it will transition to remote instruction through the end of the Spring semester.

鶹app receives a $2 million gift—one of the largest in the university’s history—from the Philip A. Zaffere Foundation for the new Owings Mills campus library. The 42,000-square-foot library will be named in honor of the late Philip A. Zaffere, an entrepreneur, inventor, and food production engineer from Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

On September 25, Stevenson assumes ownership of Parcels 1 and 2 of the former Rosewood Center property after concluding its agreement with the State of Maryland. The property will be developed as Owings Mills East, an athletic and recreational hub providing space for the expansion of Stevenson’s current facilities.


To honor SU graduates and maintain their health and safety in light of COVID, in May the university hosts 16 smaller in-person Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021.

On July 7, the University celebrates the groundbreaking for the construction of the 42,000-square-foot Philip A. Zaffere Library. The facility will complement Stevenson’s academic hub at Owings Mills North with the Manning Academic Center and School of Design. The Zaffere Library will house the Zirkin Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, named in honor of late SU Associate Dean Barbara Zirkin.

After a decade of play and competition, the Mustang Stadium gets new artificial turn installed in June and July, while the university prepares Owings Mills East—the university’s new athletic hub for NCAA D3, club, and intramural sports—for opening in Spring 2022.

In September, the university dedicates the new Dennis A. Starliper Applied Finance in the Brown School of Business and Leadership.


In January, a 36 foot high tennis bubble was added to the tennis courts on our Greenspring campus, allowing Stevenson students to train off-season in heated comfort.

The new Philip A. Zaffere Library continues construction, with the foundation and structure being built throughout the year and prepares for the opening in fall 2023.

On July 13, Stevenson announces that it is adding Men’s Beach Volleyball as its 29th DIII Varsity Sport, becoming the first NCAA school in the nation to sponsor a varsity Men’s Beach Volleyball program.

Great progress is made on Owings Mills East – the university’s new athletic hub for NCAA D3, club, and intramural sports. Facilities are utilized for the first time in the fall 2022 season for field hockey, track and field, baseball, and softball.

The Center for Student Life and Leadership is announced in December 2022. The new Center is located on the second floor of Garrison Hall South and offers 8,000-square-feet of dedicated space for SU student clubs and organizations. A soft opening will occur in January 2023, and the full opening and dedication is prepared for the Fall 2023 semester.


In February, the Athletics Department unveils its new Mustang logo.

The University creates the Center for Student Life and Leadership (CSLL) as a new space for student groups and leaders to host meetings, brainstorm, plan initiatives and events, or simply reflect and learn together.

The Professional Minors program adds two new minors—Event Planning and Web Design—bringing the total number of Professional Minors to seven.

In April, Stevenson celebrates the official opening of the East campus with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

In September, the University announces its new 38,000-square-foot Sandra and Malcolm Berman Family Performing Arts Center project. Construction is slated to begin in 2024 on North campus.

In October, Garrison Hall is renamed Garrison Student Union in recognition of the many student resources housed under its roof.


In January, the Zaffere Library is readied and outfitted for its spring semester opening.

In February, Stevenson dedicates the Kahlert Foundation Makerspace in the MAC. The new space includes the Innovation Lab and Biomedical Engineering Lab.