Discover Teaneck '83: "THEN AND NOW"

Published for The Teaneck Housing Center by The Teaneck News
May 18, 1983

Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Grows with Township

By Marjorie Cox

Fairleigh Dickinson University's , Teaneck-Hackensack campus, serving approximately 9.000 students in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, has been a vital part of the community since it opened in 1954. The campus, with 70 buildings on 115 acres stretched along the banks of the Hackensack River, has a rich and fascinating history,

One of the oldest buildings on campus is Lyans Hall. Built in the 1890s, the magnificent structure served as the home of Charles Henderson, son of the seed magnate Peter Henderson who established one of the most successful seed houses in the United States at the turn of the century. The 15-acre estate surrounding the mansion was eventually called Montague Farm.

Montague Farm was known as a showplace. A newspaper report of 1904 on the wedding of Marion Henderson Montague; the daughter of Charles Henderson, captured the flavor of the palatial home, decorated for the occasion with "masses of pink sweet peas and pink roses, with smilax ...and jack roses." The paper reported that "The Henderson place, with its river front on the west and broad lawn sloping eastward to the river road, is noted as one of the most attractive suburban homes in Northern New Jersey, while Mr. and Mrs. Henderson are among the most popular members of the leading set."

It is reported that ownership of the estate passed from the hands of Hendersons to Pearl Delores Bell Rubens, a Hollywood scenario writer. During her brief ownership, it was called Willow Brook.

Fairleigh Dickinson Junior College, which began in Rutherford in 1942, felt the need for expansion when the end of the Second World War brought a flood of veterans into colleges across the nation. In April 1948. the junior college attained four-year status: becoming Fairleigh Dickinson College. While it was growing, Bergen Junior College was experiencing financial problems. Fairleigh Dickinson assumed ownership of the grounds and opened its second New Jersey campus in Teaneck in 1954. Today, the university has three campuses in New Jersey -- Teaneck, Rutherford and Madison and two overseas -- Wroxton, England and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

In 1955, the university opened the first school of dentistry in the state on the Teaneck side of the river. Also in the 1950s, a College of Science and Engineering, the only new school of its kind to be established in that decade, opened its doors in Teaneck. In 1956. the New Jersey Department of Education granted university status to the college and Fairleigh Dickinson University continued to expand..

Edward Williams College, the university's two-year junior college, opened in Hackensack September 1964. This widely-acclaimed college offers an innovative liberal arts program and pioneered a Saturday College program for weekend students in 1969.  In 1970, the School of Dentistry moved into a new $10 million facility on the Hackensack side of the river.

Today, Fairleigh Dickinson University continues to serve the community, not only in terms of its academic programs, but in the variety and quality of services it offers. The School of Dentistry gives free denta1 screening  periodically throughout the year, and the Division of Psychological Services offers therapeutic counseling on a sliding-scale basis. The Women's Outreach Center presents free lectures, seminars and workshops, in addition to free counseling for women wishing to start college or return to school. The Maples Gallery and the Edward Williams College Gallery feature the works of New Jersey and New York artists and the Literary Society brings high-calibre authors like Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut to campus. In addition, the Town and Gown Society offers a variety of privileges to the people of Teaneck and surrounding communities, including free monthly cultural events during the academic year.

Fairleigh Dickinson University's Teaneck-Hackensack campus has enjoyed a long and healthy relationship with the Township of Teaneck. It looks forward to many more years of mutual cooperation and is proud to be of service to the community.

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