Skip Content

College History

Le Moyne is the second youngest of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the US.

Our History

Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1946, Le Moyne is the second youngest of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, and the first to open as a coeducational institution. It was named in honor of Simon Le Moyne, S.J., a priest, missionary and teacher with a considerable influence on Central New York.

Le Moyne’s first classes were held in downtown Syracuse before excavation began on the former Gifford Farm. In 1948, the College’s first two structures, now known as Grewen Hall and the Coyne Science Center, were built. Today, the campus has grown to include five academic buildings and 15 residential buildings, as well as a chapel, library, performing arts center, Jesuit residence, plaza, and athletic facilities.

Although it is now in its seventh decade, the College remains true to the ideals and the nearly 500-year-old intellectual and religious tradition upon which it was based. It is committed to its founding ideal, “But Love the Truth and Peace,” and to providing students with a well-rounded, liberal arts education. Courses in English, history, religion and philosophy remain at the core of a student’s academic experience at Le Moyne.  

At the same time, Le Moyne is also a progressive institution, growing and developing in the Ignatian spirit of adaptation to current needs. It provides educational opportunities for commuter and residential students, and older students eager to continue their education study alongside their traditional college-age peers.

Today, approximately 2,800 undergraduate students and 600 graduate students are enrolled in Le Moyne. More than 700 courses are offered, leading to Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees in more than 30 different majors, or master’s degrees in nursing, business administration, physician assistant studies and education.

To date, Le Moyne has been guided by 14 presidents. Its current president, Linda LeMura, Ph.D., is the first laywoman to serve as the president at any Jesuit college or university in the world.

The College Seal

(excerpted from Le Moyne's 50-year history book "Against the Sky")

Five arrowheads are displayed to represent the Hodenosaunee, the People of the Long House, whose central fireplace is located near where Syracuse now stands. Here Father Simon Le Moyne labored and earned from these people the title "Ondessonk" (Chief). The arrowheads are reversed to commemorate the reputation of Father Le Moyne as a peacemaker among the People of the Long House and the Great Peace established by these people through the confederacy. A cross forms a background for these instruments of warfare, since this apostle was ever willing to sacrifice his life for his Master. The circular object in the first quarter is known in heraldry as a fountain, representing the salt springs discovered by Father Le Moyne, and symbolizing the saving waters of Baptism which he brought to the Indians. The second quarter displays a fleur-de-lys for Beauvais, in the ancient province of Ile-de-France, to honor the birthplace of the titular of the college. The insignia of the Society of Jesus is the central motif of the chief (upper compartment) and is inscribed on a book to designate that Le Moyne is a Jesuit institution of learning.

The College colors, green and gold, are the tinctures of the seal. The cross and upper bar on the shield are green and the four fields formed by the cross on the shield are gold. The device of the fleur-de-lys is green, the fountain green and white, the arrowheads gold, and the book and scroll white with green lettering for the motto. "TOTUS IN DOMINO JESU" [Everything in the Lord Jesus], is a phrase which Simon Le Moyne customarily used at the end of his letters to his superiors.

College Presidents

Anthony J. Bleicher, S.J. (1946-1947)
Willam Schlaerth, S.J. (1947-1954)
Robert F. Grewen, S.J. (1954-1961)
Nicholas J. Sullivan, S.J. (1961-1964)
William L. Reilly, S.J. (1964-1975)
William J. O’Halloran, S.J. (1976-1981)
Frank R. Haig, S.J. (1981-1987)
James C. Finlay, S.J. (1988, interim)
Kevin G. O’Connell, S.J. (1988-1993)
Robert A. Mitchell, S.J. (1993-2000)
Charles J. Beirne, S.J. (2000-2007)
John Smarrelli Jr., Ph.D. ’75 (2007-2008, interim)
Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D. (2008-2014)
Linda LeMura, Ph.D. (2014-present)

Video: The Class of 1951



Watch a video about Le Moyne's inaugural class -- the class of 1951 -- and their recollection of the first few years of the College.