History: Highlights 1917-1935



  • Governor signs the Bill incorporating Providence College.
  • Master General receives the Blessing of Pope Benedict XV for the “establishment of a House in the City of Providence to educate youth in Religion and letters.”
  • Master General signs the Papal Document permitting the establishment of the College.
  • Bishop Harkins provides approximately seventeen acres of land for Providence College.
  • First Providence College Corporation meeting.
  • Providence Visitor reports on the beginning of construction of Harkins Hall.
  • Groundbreaking for the first campus building, Harkins Hall.

1918: The Casey Era

  • Corporation election of Dennis Albert Casey, O.P., as the 1st President of Providence College.
  • Opening delayed due to WWI; the faculty conducts the 1st PC courses to sisters at local convents.  These sisters were the pioneers in what evolved into the School of Continuing Education.


  • Bishop Harkins Hall dedication.
  • The College opens its doors to 71 male students and nine Dominican faculty.


  • PC (6) plays in its first official Athletic Competition, a baseball game against Rhode Island School of Design (4).
  • College’s 1st theatrical production, “A Thief in the House.”


  • Closing Day exercises include awarding of the 1st Pre-Medical certificates.

1921: The Noon Era

  • William Dominic Noon, O.P., begins his term as the 2nd President of Providence College.


  • Over 3,000 attend the opening football game on Hendricken Field (U.S. Submarine Base- 42, PC-13.)


  • PC holds its first commencement.
  • The Providence College Alumni Association is formed.
  • Approval of the original Alumni Association Constitution, which provides for a Board of Governors.


  • PC athletes gain national attention by playing in and eventually winning the longest (4 hours and 17 minutes) scoreless intercollegiate baseball game (Brown University-0, PC- 1.)
  • The College graduates its first summa cum laude student.
  • First lay faculty member begins teaching.


  • PC wins its first NCAA-recognized basketball game.
  • At the 1st Sisters’ College Commencement, the College graduates its 1st alumnae, 2 Dominican and 9 Mercy Sisters, including several of the pioneering October, 1918, students.
  • After extensive renovations and construction of a 3-story addition, Bradley House, the Italian villa-style residence on the recently purchased Bradley Estate, opens as Guzman Hall, a residence for Dominican Pre-Ecclesiastical students.

1927: The McCarthy Era

  • College confers its first master of arts degree.
  • Corporation election of Lorenzo Cornelius McCarthy, O.P., as the 3rd President of Providence College.


  • Largely through the efforts of John E. Farrell, the Charter Members of the Friars Club, the College’s social representative, hold their organizational meeting.


  • Harkins Hall Addition Dedication Ceremony marks the first expansion of academic and administrative facilities.
  • First appearance of “Friars” as a nickname for the athletic teams. 1930
  • Incorporation of Providence Club of New York, the first Alumni territorial group.
  • Providence College purchases the Wardlaw Avenue Tract, including what became Thomas Hall, or “The Dog House.”


  • College awards its first Ph.D. degree. 1933
  • Providence College admitted to membership in the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.


  • Adoption of a new Alma Mater based on “Finlandia” by Jan Sibelius.


  • PC confers its first masters of science degrees.
  • An Official College Mascot, the Dalmatian “Friar of What-Ho,” makes its 1st campus appearance.
  • Inaugural issue of The Cowl.