Edward J. Mortola
Homer Pace
Wit & Wisdom
Pace Ny



Uptown, downtown, all around the town, as well as the suburbs, the mid-Hudson Valley and cyberspace, Pace University is a dynamic multi-campus institution which, in keeping with its motto, "Opportunitas ," provides educational opportunities for a diverse student population. From that October day in 1906 when Homer Pace, an accountant from the Midwest, and his attorney brother, Charles Pace, began offering preparation for the C.P.A. examination, motivated students were welcome regardless of sex, race or religion. At a time when higher education was largely reserved for men, Pace Institute's first classrooms, located in the New York Tribune newspaper building, which occupied the site of the Pace Civic Center building in lower Manhattan, included women. Like their male counterparts, they were seeking the very thing to which today's Pace students aspire, namely a rigorous educational experience designed to prepare them for successful corporate and professional careers. This is precisely the sort of education Homer Pace himself had found lacking in New York City at the turn of the twentieth century. Follow the link to Homer Pace to learn more about Homer's odyssey which led to the founding of Pace Institute.

Long before the term multi-tasking was coined, Homer Pace was engaged in a skillful entrepreneurial juggling act. Besides offering the Pace Standardized Course in Accounting, a two-year program in accounting, economics and law, in lower Manhattan, he was making the program available through a series of extension schools and YMCA branches from Boston to Seattle and in so-called private schools owned outright by the Pace brothers. Following World War I, the difficulty of maintaining quality control in such a far-flung operation caused the Pace brothers to divest themselves of everything but the rapidly expanding Pace Institute in lower Manhattan. The Institute, which had relocated from its rented quarters in the Tribune building to the Hudson Terminal Building on Church Street on the eve of the war, moved again in 1927 because of soaring enrollment. The men and women who enrolled during this period and into the 1930s received a first-rate education not only in the classroom but also by absorbing Homer Pace's philosophy, which was dispensed in small but memorable doses in the pages of two magazines which he published: The Pace Student and The American Accountant . Follow the link to the Wit and Wisdom of Homer Pace to learn more about the timeless advice he provided.

After he was forced to discontinue his publishing ventures during the Great Depression and to accept sole responsibility for administering Pace Institute upon Charles Pace's retirement in 1933, Homer Pace managed to chart a successful new course for the Institute despite financial challenges. By forfeiting his salary and signing over his insurance to the school, Homer was able to provide loans to students who otherwise would have been forced to drop out. Flexible scheduling, an effective outreach program and reorganization of the Institute into the School of Accountancy Practice, the School of Marketing, Advertising and Selling and the School of Credit Science all helped keep enrollment up during the depths of the depression. In 1935, the Institute was incorporated as a non-profit institution of higher education in New York State and received a provisional charter from the Board of Regents. Seven years later, the Regents granted the Institute an absolute charter. Sadly, Homer Pace died suddenly the same year and was succeeded by his son Robert Pace.

In 1947, under Robert's leadership, Pace Institute became Pace College, a non-profit, non-stock corporation. That was also the year that Dr. Edward J. Mortola joined Pace as Assistant Dean of Pace Institute. Within a year the Board of Regents approved Pace's application for college status and permitted the awarding of the Bachelor of Business Administration degree. In 1951, Pace College purchased the former New York Times building at 41 Park Row and began renovating the historic structure. Follow the link to learn more about the New York City Campus.

Two years after moving into the refurbished New York Times building, Pace began granting the Bachelor of Arts degree. By this time Pace was approaching the half-century mark and when the fiftieth anniversary rolled around in 1956 the college celebrated by holding a grand convocation which had as its theme "Responsible Participation in an Economy of Free Men." The keynote speaker at the convocation luncheon was Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine. New York Senator Herbert H. Lehman marked the occasion by issuing a statement declaring, "May your next fifty years be as successful as the past fifty have been." His words were prophetic because in the next half century Pace College would become a major force in higher education in New York State. Within two years Pace was authorized to grant the Masters in Business Administration. A full-fledged Graduate School of Business Administration was established in 1964, three years into the presidency of Dr. Edward J. Mortola. Follow the link to learn more about Edward J. Mortola, Ph.D.

Early in the presidency of Dr. Mortola, Pace Institute alumnus Wayne Marks, CEO of the General Foods Corporation, and his wife, Helen, donated their Pleasantville, New York estate to Pace College which soon offered associate degrees at the new location. The college also began awarding the Bachelor of Science degree on the New York campus. Follow the link to learn more about the Pleasantville Campus.

Whether in New York or Pleasantville, bricks and mortar were the tangible symbols of Pace's expansion. To become a full-fledged university, however, Pace had to augment academic programs on both campuses. One way of accomplishing this was to secure State Education Department approval to offer, on the Pleasantville campus, beginning in 1966, such existing degree programs as the Bachelor of Business Administration, already well-established in New York. The Lienhard School of Nursing was also established in 1966. Two years later Pace was authorized to confer the Master of Arts on the New York campus and the Masters in Business Administration in Pleasantville. In 1969, graduate Education degrees were offered on the New York campus. The various master's programs, together with affiliations with New York Medical College and New York Law School, enabled Pace to attain University status in 1973. Within two years of realizing this long sought goal, the affiliation with New York Law School was terminated, by mutual consent, and in 1976 Pace University opened its own law school on the campus of The College of White Plains, which a year earlier had consolidated with the university. In 1977, Pace acquired the assets of Briarcliff College.

Expansion continued during the 1980s. The west wing of the Civic Center building in New York was completed and the new Lubin Graduate Center in downtown White Plains opened while, in Pleasantville, Dyson Hall was expanded and townhouse dormitories were erected. New programs such as the Doctor of Philosophy in School/Community Psychology, the first of its kind in New York State in 1979 when it was established, and the Masters in Publishing attracted students. The Bachelor of Science in Computer Science received full accreditation and a Master of Science in Information Systems was added to the curriculum. Combined degrees such as the Juris Doctorat/Masters in Public Administration were also popular.

Just as programs and campuses evolved, so, too, did upper administration. In 1984 Dr. Edward J. Mortola became Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of the University and was succeeded as President by Dr. William G. Sharwell who, in 1987, assumed the title President and Chief Executive Officer. In 1990, Dr. Patricia O'Donnell Ewers was inaugurated as Pace's fifth President and first female Chief Executive Officer.

The decade of the 1990s was characterized by the establishment of the Midtown Center, accreditation of the Lubin School of Business by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business, a Capital Campaign to increase the University's endowment, and buildings and grounds enhancement in New York and Westchester. This included the Goldstein Center to house Business and Computer Science programs in Pleasantville, and plans for both the Anne and Alfred Goldstein Health, Fitness and Recreation Center, which opened on the Pleasantville campus in 2002, and for the Judicial Institute on the campus of the Law School.

Given the lure of Wall Street, only a stone's throw from Pace's lower Manhattan campus, the University was poised for expansion downtown as the prosperous decade of the 1990s drew to a close. The acquisition of 106 Fulton Street for a new dormitory and the purchase of the World Trade Institute from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey were tangible manifestations of Pace's faith in the future of the oldest part of New York City. The University maintained its belief in the viability of lower Manhattan in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks which demolished the World Trade Center, a few blocks from the campus.

In view of its strategic location near the World Trade Center and across the street from the only hospital in downtown Manhattan, Pace became a triage center in the immediate aftermath of the horrific incident. As the area surrounding Pace struggled to recover physically and emotionally, the University, under the leadership of David A. Caputo, who became President of Pace in 2000, provided ongoing counseling, established the Center for Downtown New York, completed a handsome refurbishing of 163 William Street for Computer Science and Information Systems and other academic and administrative programs, renovated Café 101 on the lower Manhattan campus and created the most modern student dormitory in New York City at 55 John Street. The University also entered into an agreement with the National Actors Theatre for the utilization of a newly refurbished Schimmel Theatre in the Civic Center building for NAT rehearsals and performances. Another important development was the establishment of the Pforzheimer Honors College on both the New York and Pleasantville campuses in 2003.  In 2006 the School of Computer Science and Information systems was renamed the Seidenberg School for alumnus and trustee Ivan G. Seidenberg whose $15 million donation to Pace was the largest gift in the University’s history. 


During the administration of Stephen J. Friedman, who succeeded Dr. David A. Caputo in 2007, a new University Center for Excellence on the Environment was established. The creation of Centers of Excellence within the University is consistent with President Friedman’s goal of establishing liberal learning as a foundation for interdisciplinary, professional education. The University Center for Excellence on the Environment was a logical progression for a university whose law school, where Dr. Friedman had served as Dean prior to becoming President, was a recognized leader in environmental education with an environmental law program that is ranked third in the United States by U.S. News and World Report.  During the administration of Michelle Simon, who succeeded Dr. Friedman as interim Dean of the Law School in 2007, the environmental law program, along with international law, was highlighted in the Princeton Review’s 2009 Best 174 Law Schools.

Like the environmental law program, the Lienhard School’s Family Nurse Practitioner program consistently merited an outstanding rating. In the 2008 U.S. News and World Report’s Guide to the Best Graduate Schools the program was ranked ninth in the country.  Building upon its success, Lienhard, which marked the fortieth anniversary of its founding in 2006, established a clinical Doctor of Nurse Practice program.  In 2008 the Lienhard School created a new Center of Excellence:  Advancing Leadership, Partnership and Scholarship.

Dean Harriet Feldman not only guided the progress of the nursing school during this period but she also served as interim Dean of the School of Education beginning in 2006.  Responding to new challenges and opportunities in public education, the School of Education, which celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2006, introduced new programs. In addition to an MSED in School District Business Leader and a joint MSED/MPA with Dyson College of Arts and Sciences in School District Business Leader and Public Administration, the School of Education began offering Certificates of Advanced Graduate Studies in Adolescent Special Education and Childhood Special Education. At the same time, the School of Education, through its Center for Teaching and Research in Autism (TARA Center), established in 2006 with funding from Michael Koffler, President and CEO of MetSchools, was preparing in excess of one hundred autism specialists to work with students in the New York city public schools.  Within three years of its founding, TARA’s endowment and grants had reached nearly $3 million.  In addition to hosting an inclusion class for New York City District 75 secondary and postsecondary students with autism, TARA created the Build on Special Strengths (BOSS) program in the fall of 2009 to provide support for highly qualified students with a range of autism spectrum disorders who were admitted to the university as matriculated undergraduates.  Prior to 2009 autistic students were enrolled on a non-matriculated basis. Their experiences at the university were the subject of a well-received documentary film that was selected for screening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2008 as part of the Sprout Film Festival.

In addition to its pioneering work in the field of autism education the School of Education forged ahead with other initiatives including the Students as Inquirers Teachers as Inquirers program established in 2009 with a grant from the Teacher/Leader Quality Partnership Programs (TLOP). This initiative, undertaken with Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Peekskill and Sleepy Hollow high schools in Westchester and the Millennium and Pace high schools in New York City, will establish inquiry based instruction on the secondary level. On the technology front Verizon Thinkfinity grants awarded to a number of School of Education faculty members were supporting research on the use of videos and web 2.0 technologies in the classroom.  In the area of curriculum development, in 2009, as it embarked upon a search for a new Dean, the School of Education, at the behest of the Smithsonian Institution, developed a curriculum relating to the quadricentennial of Henry Hudson’s voyage to New York.  Intended for use in New York schools, the curriculum complemented “River of Tides, a play Pace commissioned for the commemoration of Hudson’s 1609 discovery of the river that was officially renamed for him in the early twentieth century. Written by the noted Native American author Joseph Bruchac,  the play, which provided a Native American perspective on Hudson’s discovery, debuted at the Smithsonian’s  National Museum of the American Indian in lower Manhattan before traveling to Poughkeepsie and Troy.

Like the School of Education, the Seidenberg School, whose Dean, Susan Merritt stepped down in 2008 and was succeeded by interim Dean Constance Knapp, introduced  innovative  programs aimed at pre-collegiate populations. One program was designed to acquaint high school students with the field of computing on the college level.   Based on the lower Manhattan campus, the Seidenberg Scholars Summer Experience attracts students from throughout the United States for a fast-paced program that includes robotics, software design and field experiences at sites in New York City and Westchester.  Younger students were afforded an opportunity to visit the Pleasantville campus when the Seidenberg School hosted the Lower Hudson First Lego League tournament in 2007.  That same year the Seidenberg School was instrumental in securing Pace’s redesignation as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education. The National Centers, which are under the auspices of the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, produce professionals capable of lessening the vulnerability of the U.S. information infrastructure. Pace was originally designated as a National Center in 2004. 

The Seidenberg School was recognized for its achievements in another area as well.  In 2006 the school received one of three ABET President’s Awards for Diversity.  Conferred by the professional agency which accredits Seidenberg’s academic programs, the award recognized the school’s inclusiveness and its diverse student body. Additional recognition for Seidenberg resulted from a $250,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to develop partnerships with high schools and community colleges in the New York area. A research program in intergenerational computing, designed and implemented by Seidenberg’s Technical Systems Department, received the  MetLifeFoundation’s MindAlert Award for General Mental Fitness in 2009.  That same year a Seidenberg student/faculty research team received an award from the High Tech Crime Investigation Association for their work on the implications of Microsoft Vista in digital investigations.

Like the Seidenberg School, the Lubin School of Business was recognized for its achievements.  Awarded AACSB international accreditation for its accounting and business programs in 2006, a distinction enjoyed by only three percent of business schools in the world, Lubin was selected for inclusion in U.S. News and World Report’s America’s  Best Graduate Schools in 2007.  U.S. News ranked Lubin’s part-time M.B.A. program twentieth in the U.S. Lubin’s undergraduate business program was also ranked among the top such programs by U.S. News and World Report.  Further proof of Lubin’s success was its inclusion in a Business Week article on earnings potential.  Pace was among the top fifty colleges, many of them Ivy League institutions, in starting, mid-career and top median salaries for individuals possessing an undergraduate degree.  Their earnings potential notwithstanding many Pace graduates go on for advanced degrees and to meet the demand for continuing education Lubin introduced a Masters in Finance for Professionals.  Lubin, in 2007, was also one of the first universities in the country to offer a graduate concentration in Strategic Global Human Resource Management. At the same time Lubin was taking the lead in providing education to accounting professionals in the change from the GAAP system in the U.S. to international accounting standards.

Providing graduate education for business professionals and preparation for professional careers for undergraduates was not limited to Lubin and the other schools of the University. Dyson College was also moving ahead in this area.  Former Dyson faculty member and English Department chairman Geoffrey Brackett, who was appointed Provost in 2007, noted in the University’s 2006-2007 Annual Report: “Pace offers a spectacular mix of traditional programs ensconced in the arts, and our Dyson College of Arts and Sciences is flourishing. …we also have deep roots and real strength in professional development.”  Under the leadership of Nira Herrmann, who was appointed Dean in 2004, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, which celebrated the thirty-fifth anniversary of its naming in 2009, experienced unprecedented growth in the first decade of the new millennium as it introduced new graduate and undergraduate programs.  In addition to the Actors Studio Masters in Fine Arts in acting, playwriting, and directing, Dyson College began offering the New York area’s only Masters in Environmental Science that takes a holistic approach to environmental issues.  An environmental track was also incorporated into the Master of Public Administration program.  This well-established graduate program was enhanced by the addition of a Social Entrepreneurship track.  Another well-established program, the PsyD in School-Clinical Child Psychology, one of only ten such programs in the U.S. recognized by the American Psychological Association (A.P.A.) as a combined professional-scientific program, received seven-year accreditation from the A.P.A. in 2007.  That same year the Pace University-Lenox Hill Hospital Physician Assistant program became a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies.  Other curricular innovations in Dyson included a program in Forensic Science and a Masters in Media and Communication Arts. 

At the same time that it was introducing new graduate programs, Dyson College was attracting students to such well-established programs as the Master of Science in Publishing.  As part of its global initiative, the Pace publishing program co-sponsored the first international publishing conference in the People’s Republic of China and was a founding member of China’s first Publishing Research Center. Beginning in 2006 China’s largest conglomerate, the Phoenix Publishing and Media Group (PPMG), began sending executives to Pace’s graduate publishing program.  In 2009 PPMG became Pace’s commercial partner in helping to underwrite the first university-based Confucius Institute in New York City.  The Institute’s goals include the promotion of interdisciplinary scholarship on China, integration of the study of China into the University’s curriculum and sponsorship of cultural events.

As the first decade of the 21st century neared its end, Pace students were afforded myriad opportunities to explore an increasingly interconnected world. In addition to the activities of the Confucius Institute there were travel-study courses, semester or year abroad experiences and prestigious Fulbright Scholarships won by Pace students. Participation in Dyson College’s Model United Nations was another way to learn about the world. The Model U.N. teams consistently won awards at the National Model U.N. Conference, including a record setting six first-place awards in 2007. 

Simultaneous with its global initiatives, Dyson College introduced Dyson Houses, each with a faculty don and a specific focus  Designed to increase retention, the houses, which made their initial debut on the New York campus in 2008, were teamed with University 101 sections. On the Pleasantville campus, the renovation of the Dyson Hall science laboratories, a project supported by a $7.5 million grant from the Dyson Foundation, commenced in 2009.  Another example of the end-of-decade progress being made by Dyson College and the University was the unprecedented growth of the Dyson Society of Fellows, a community of scholars sponsored by Dyson College but open to all Pace University students and alumni. The Fellows weekend retreats and annual meetings were oversubscribed in the last few years of the decade and the Society’s journal, Transactions, received more submissions than it could publish.

As the first decade of the new millennium drew to a close, Dyson College and the professional schools of Pace University could reflect, with pride, upon their achievements. At the same time the University as a whole, which had been fully reaccredited by Middle States in 2009, was moving ahead with an ambitious and exciting Strategic Plan, completion of the Capital Campaign launched in 2007 and myriad ventures including a partnership with England’s Globe Theatre Company and a clean water initiative undertaken by the Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies. In 2009 Pace also partnered with Amazon to make textbooks available on the Kindle DX digital reader in courses in Biology, Nursing, Publishing and Marketing. Pace, along with  Princeton University, Arizona State, Case Western Reserve, the University of Virginia, the University of Washington and Reed College, was one of only a handful of institutions of higher education chosen for this pilot project.  Looking ahead to the next decade, there was every reason to expect that “Working toward Greatness,” a term that came into use in the last years of the century’s first decade, would become “Greatness Achieved.”