Hofstra University is located in Hempstead, New York. The nonsectarian, private institution was established as an extension to New York University. The founders, William S. Hofstra and Kate Mason, established the university on their estate. Kate Mason left the majority of the couple’s property to charity in the name of her husband. Two individuals by the name of James Barnard and Howard Brower looked at turning the site into and institution of higher learning and approached New York University with the proposal. The university started as a coeducational, community university that offered day and evening classes. The first official day of classes was September 23, 1935. Hofstra separated from New York University in 1939, and on February 16, 1940, the university was granted absolute charter.
The first four-year commencement took place in 1939. This school received recognition from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools on November 22, 1940, and in 1941, the university became a member of the American Association of Colleges. The university was privileged to host the 1950 Shakespeare Festival in The Calkins Gymnasium.
This university became the first private university on Long Island. The Board of Trustees decided to make the university barrier-free for those with disabilities with the belief that all should have access to a higher education. The university became a pioneer for this movement.
The university was granted 110 acres of land when the Mitchel Air Force Base closed in 1963. The concrete runways presently serve as parking lots.
HU began recognizing its “divisions” as “schools” during the 1960s. The university offered its first doctoral degree in 1966. The site of the 2008 Presidential debate on October 15 was held here. It has been the site of several Presidential conferences and international conferences over the years.