History of Ithaca College

Commitment to Excellence

Building for the Future

In 1992 the former Ithaca Conservatory of Music, our founding school, turned 100 years old, and we celebrated for a full year with special concerts, symposia, stage productions, athletic events, and galas. A major expansion and renovation of Ford Hall -- now the James J. Whalen Center for Music -- furthered the reputation of our long-standing music program.

We also turned our attention to solidifying Ithaca's position as a student-centered comprehensive college. To that end, we embarked on yet another ambitious construction effort, starting with a building for the health sciences and one dedicated to fitness.

Community Center

The year 1997 brought us a strong, civic-minded leader in the person of Peggy R. Williams, the first woman to head the College.

Williams affirmed and expanded Ithaca's long tradition of community involvement. From the Community Plunge in the fall to the Celebration of Service every spring, students, faculty, and staff regularly volunteer their time and expertise to local organizations and agencies. Further evidence of the College's concern for the community's social and environmental health is its leadership role in Sustainable Tompkins, a regional sustainability initiative. We further demonstrated our commitment to sustainability through the renovation of existing facilities to enhance energy efficiency, as well as through the construction of two, new buildings, the Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise, and the Peggy Ryan Williams Center, dedicated in 2008 and 2009, respectively. Both of these buildings were designed for LEED platinum certification, a measure of the highest principles of architectural sustainability.

Williams retired in 2008, passing the baton (or rather, the ceremonial academic mace) to Thomas R. Rochon, who initiated a strategic visioning process to guide our path over the coming years. Among the top priorities of the College under Rochon are increasing diversity on campus, strengthening our academic programs, and enhancing our students' educational and residential experiences through integrated, interdisciplinary projects.

Ithaca College remains an integral part of the town that shares its name, and it continues to affirm its role in shaping a sustainable and inclusive global community. The campus may now be a mile or two up the road and more than a century away from where it all began. But it’s not so far away, really, in spirit.