Hofstra University’s pride in the Dutch heritage of its founders, lumber millionaires Kate and William Hofstra, is apparent on the campus itself. One of the residence halls is called the Netherlands; there is a Dutch Festival the first weekend in May every year showcasing over 80,000 tulips (including a special breed of tulip named after the school); and the school’s seal is based on the seal of the royal Dutch House of Orange.
Once a college within New York University, Hofstra became an independent coed commuter school after the death of its founders in the 1930s. Although enrollment dipped during World War II, it rebounded in the days of the G.I. Bill, and Hofstra officially became Long Island’s first private university in 1963. In the decade that followed, the first dorms went up for residential students. Currently 47% of the undergraduate student body lives on campus.
In contrast to the surrounding run-down area, Hofstra’s 240-acre campus is colorful, well-organized, and well-maintained. Crime does occasionally spill over, but the school’s gates are locked every night and students are encouraged to remain alert while walking around.
Kate and William Hofstra’s house, which once contained the entire school, now functions as an administrative building. Other older buildings on campus tend to be uniform, made of a light-colored brick, and the newer buildings are generally made of pale stone to match. Memorial Hall at the heart of campus mixes administration, advising, and cafés--one of which, Bits ‘n’ Bytes, is a popular hangout. Nearby Calkins Quad also attracts students between classes, as does the Labyrinth on South Campus, which is a replica of the one at Chartres Cathedral in France. The school also features an arboretum, a sculpture garden, and a museum.
Hofstra University is located in Hempstead, NY, which has a seedy reputation.
I would never go there alone at night. But just a few minutes away is Garden City, one of the most affluent towns on Long Island. The homes are absolutely gorgeous. Sometimes it’s fun to drive down Stewart Ave. just to look at the homes.
Also just a few minutes away from Hofstra is Roosevelt Field Mall, the 11th-largest mall in the country. It has Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, Tiffany's, JC Penny, Abercrombie…and there are two train stations within a 5 minute drive from campus. Those trains take you to Penn Station in the heart of Manhattan in 35-50 minutes. The school’s proximity to New York City is definitely a selling point, allowing students to take advantage of internships as well as its cultural and social opportunities.
Dutch Festival is a daylong springtime celebration of the University’s heritage with tulips, face-painting, music, dancing, and food.
At Pre-Homecoming Bonfire, the various floats built for the Homecoming parade are broken down and used to create a bonfire outside the Student Center.
Freak Formal is a Halloween party with prizes for the best costumes.
The Hofstra Film Festival shows off the work of students, family, and alums.
Kick-Off Week occurs at the beginning of the Fall semester and helps draw first-years into campus life with carnival games, a barbecue, and movie screenings.
Summerfest and Winterfest help distract the students on campus with scheduled activities, including dance parties and trips to sports games, theaters, and concerts.
James Caan (attended) received an Academy Award nomination for his role in The Godfather.
Wayne Chrebet (1994) was a wide receiver for the New York Jets.
Francis Ford Coppola (1960) directed the Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now.
Madeline Kahn (1964) was best known for her roles in Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.
Phil Rosenthal (1981) was the executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond.
Leslie Segrete (1997) hosts TLC’s While You Were Out.
Christopher Walken (attended) is the “more cowbell” guy.
Hofstra University is a Division I school that offers men's baseball, cross country, football, lacrosse, tennis, golf, wrestling, basketball and soccer; and women's softball, volleyball, basketball, soccer, field hockey, cross country, golf, tennis, and lacrosse. Neither the varsity nor the intramurals or club teams are particularly popular on campus, despite the fact that the school’s official mascot is The Pride, as in the lions (Kate and Willy) on the Hofstra logo. The football stadium is named after alum and football player Dr. James M. Shuart, under whose leadership Hofstra rebounded after a financial crisis in the 1970s.
When Wayne Chrebet became a New York Jet in 1995, he was the first Hofstra football player to go pro since John Schmitt in 1964.
Students claim the school has its own variety of herpes called the “Hofstra Red” as well as an unusually high rate of sexually transmitted infections. The Health and Wellness Center confirms that both rumors are untrue.
Christopher Walken originally enrolled to study dance, and Madeline Kahn graduated with a degree in Speech Therapy.
William Hofstra was booked to travel on the Titanic in 1912 but instead had to sail to Halifax on business – a change of direction that not only saved his life but ensured the creation of the University.
The all-first-year residence halls, the Netherlands and New Complex, are the newest housing option on campus. The Netherlands is a suite-style residence hall where each suite has four or five residents, a common room, and a private bathroom. New Complex, which will open for freshmen in the fall, has doubles and bathrooms common to the hall.
The other suite-style dorms are the Nassau-Suffolk dorms (for upperclassmen only) and Colonial Square. The other traditional hall-style dorms, which include singles, doubles, triples, and quads, are the towers (Bill of Rights, Alliance, Esterbrook, Constitution, Enterprise, and Vanderpoel) and Liberty/Republic (Honors housing). These dorms house all classes and every one has a wireless lounge with television and a kitchen.
Hofstra also offers Living/Learning Communities in various residence halls. Each is centered on a different theme, including Presidential Politics, Drama/Dance, Political Science, Science, Women in Engineering, and Honors College.