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The History of Quinnipiac University

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From modest roots to national prominence

Quinnipiac has enjoyed a distinguished history of educating students with a thoughtful, dedicated faculty and a commitment to excellence. From our New Haven origins as the Connecticut College of Commerce in 1929, and later, the Junior College of Commerce, the university has become a nationally recognized institution with 110 academic programs, 3 campuses and a diverse learning community, including 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. 

Our unprecedented growth, nearly 100 years in the making, is artfully captured in “The History of Quinnipiac University” documentary series. We are delighted to share the ambition of our past — and the promise of our future — in a story that began with the shared dream of our founders, Samuel and Irmagarde Tator, in a single building with 11 students.

In Their Words

Pat Healy portrait
“Once we started building, we built toward what would make us better. We did everything possible to take the university to the next level.”
Pat Healy ‘66
Senior Vice President, Finance 1971–2015
Tricia Fabbri portrait
“Quinnipiac is always about the people — the people make the community. Somehow, some way, we find the right people, and those right people tend to stay for a really long time. It’s a great place.”
Tricia Fabbri
Women’s Basketball Head Coach, 1995-present

By the Numbers



The total student enrollment grew from 2,200 to 10,226 from 1987 to 2017, a 365% increase in student population.



Quinnipiac grew from 1 campus with 120 acres to 3 campuses totaling 700 acres, marking an increase of 483%.



With the addition of new majors and programs, Quinnipiac’s faculty grew from 130 to 420 full-time faculty, bringing decades of market-driven knowledge and expertise to the classroom.

In Their Words

John L. Lahey portrait
“I think Quinnipiac’s best years are ahead of us, and I think we will just grow and gain in recognition and academic quality exponentially in the years ahead.”
John Lahey
President, 1987–2018


Evening photo of the main entrance to the Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. The many windows are lit, showing the indoor atrium.

Purposefully designed for future success

Quinnipiac acquired a professional campus in North Haven. After renovating the buildings extensively, the new campus opened in 2009. The new space offered an emphasis on health care professions and allowed for founding our Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine to help address the predicted shortage of primary care physicians across the country. Pictured above is the main entrance of the Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, which opened in 2013.


Looking to the Future

Building on success

Today, Quinnipiac encompasses 8 professional schools and our College of Arts and Sciences — one of a select group of universities in America to offer medical, law and engineering schools — as well as 21 Division I athletics teams, and more than 50,000 alumni around the world.

On July 1, Judy Olian became the university's 9th president after serving 12 years as dean and John E. Anderson Chair in Management at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. She is deeply committed to the university’s mission to nurture our students into becoming enlightened global citizens prepared for the careers of the 21st century.

More about Olian
Judy Olian headshot

Experienced leadership

Judy Olian was named the 9th president of Quinnipiac University on July 1, 2018.

Photo Gallery: Quinnipiac Through the Years