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  • Just Visiting: A Trip Back To Nazareth College
  • Liz Lenz

Just Visiting: A Trip Back To Nazareth College

Written by: Elizabeth Lenz

Back in May, I walked the stage at Blue Cross Arena after completing my degree at Nazareth College in communications and rhetoric. Recently my social media feed has been flooded with back to school posts, whether by old college classmates that are still enrolled, friends with school aged children, or teachers. But it is finally starting to sink in that I am not going back to school.

Nazareth College will always hold a special place in my heart, so I took a trip back a few weeks ago to visit. I wandered the halls where I got lost as a freshman, past my go-to on campus homework spots, and took in the views that I took for granted. The buildings filled with the history of women that came before me and made it possible for me to climb mountains (metaphorically speaking, my asthma wouldn’t allow that).

Nazareth College started out with 25 girls in downtown Rochester in 1924. As interest grew, expansion became unavoidable. After relocating twice, once from Lake Avenue to Augustine Street, then finally to East Avenue, Nazareth and it’s students found their permanent home. They started their East Avenue location with one academic building, a few residence halls and a couple of trees. Now those trees have grown along with the number of buildings on campus.

One day in my senior year, I went to the basement of the library and sifted through the archived photos. It was fascinating to see how this college has grown- especially since it’s still growing. My freshman year was the year that Peckham Hall, the integrated math and science building, opened. That was also the first year of the Nazareth’s Men’s Ice Hockey team. My senior year, I saw the completion of the York Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute, a huge step forward for the colleges ever-growing physical therapy program.

On my trip back to campus, I brought along some copies of the photos that stood out to me in the archive. I tried to recreate them, to show how the place that helped me grow has grown.



An entrance off of East Ave, the trees lush in the summer welcoming students, staff (and me) back to campus. The first photo was taken back around the time that the school relocated to East Avenue. The buildings are still there, just hidden behind the trees. Smyth Hall (right) still bears the same "Hogwarts-esque" shell as it does in the first picture, but it's hallways have been receiving a few facelifts. The library (left) , which has gone through two expansions and dedication, is now known as the Lorette Wilmot Library.


Linehan Chapel is a guaranteed stop on any campus tour. The building that houses the chapel used to be the mother house for the Sisters of Saint Joseph. Classrooms and offices were bedrooms for nuns even. The Chapel also served as the host for Nazareth's graduations, before the classes outgrew the pews. 



Opened in 1967, and renovated 2009, the Nazareth College Arts Center has gone through its share of changes. The Wegman Family Sculpture Garden was one of the areas that was installed during that renovation. The garden is filled with work by Nazareth faculty and during the school year, filled with students.  



Expanded in 1978, 1996 and followed by a renovation in 2010, the Lorette Wilmot Library has stayed on top of technological advances to help students. Students fill the seats as semesters go on, studying and tutoring.

Now that school is back in session, it is odd to think that I'm not walking to class right now. It's a feeling that I think many post college graduates experience. However, this was meant to happen; you were meant to graduate, to leave, to move on to bigger things. I won't forget what this college has taught me, inside and outside of the classroom. 

Comments on this post (2)

  • Sep 15, 2016

    good morning Liz,
    what a great artikel you wrote about your college years we are very very proud of you love omie and opa XXXX

    — Omie and Opa

  • Sep 14, 2016

    What a nice way to remember the beautiful places from your college life, you will always look back with such fond memories :)

    — Katie

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