History: Highlights 1971-1984

1971: The Peterson Era

  • Corporation election of Thomas Reginald Peterson, O.P., as the 9th President of Providence College.
  • Termination of PC’s National Institutes of Health Training Grants Program.
  • Beginning of the 1st Summer Freshman Orientation Program.
  • First coeds move into Aquinas Hall.
  • PC introduces a two-year, interdisciplinary Development of Western Civilization Program.
  • 1st Oktoberfest (later renamed Harvestfest).


  • First woman receives an undergraduate degree from the day school.
  • The College Corporation elects is first female member.
  • 1st official PC Basketball game in the Providence Civic Center (Fairfield University-57, PC-93).


  • Lady Friars play first intercollegiate basketball game (Southeastern Massachusetts University-41, PC 44).
  • First appearance of the Friars basketball team in the NCAA Final Four.
  • Spring Weekend includes Bruce Springsteen concert.
  • President first notifies a female that she will be tenured.
  • Schneider Memorial Arena opening hockey game (University of Pennsylvania-0, PC-1).


  • School of Continuing Education awards the College’s 1st Associate’s Degrees, in Fire Safety.
  • PC and the University of Notre Dame develop a combination five-year liberal arts and engineering program.
  • PC Cross Country Team wins the first of eleven consecutive New England championships. First female PC student enrolls in the ROTC Program.
  • College purchases the Charles V. Chapin Hospital property from the City of Providence.


  • Beginning of the 1st Upperclassmen Parents’ Weekend.
  • The first coeducational class graduates.
  • First woman receives a Ph.D. from PC.


  • PC graduates its 1st participants in the “Early Identification Program.” ┬áThe program guarantees acceptance to the Brown University Medical School for promising pre-medical students.
  • Providence Civic Center becomes the site for PC Commencement Exercises.


  • Aquinas Hall fire takes the lives of ten female students.


  • Although Providence roads are closed due to the Blizzard of 1978, 7,000 determined fans make their way to the Providence Civic Center to see the Friars defeat the University of North Carolina, 61-59.
  • For the first time, women outnumber men in the freshman class.
  • Delivery of the Thomas McGlynn Collection, including statues of St. Martin and St. Dominic, to the campus.


  • PC Friar, Rudy Williams, sinks an 89-foot shot, the second longest field goal in NCAA basketball history.
  • Formation of the Big East Conference.
  • The majority of incoming freshmen are, for the first time, from outside Rhode Island.
  • PC women participate in their first national championship-the National Cross Country Championships.


  • PC Men’s Cross Country Team finishes 2nd in the nation.


  • Harkins Hall Blackfriars’ Theatre, located in the former Auditorium, opening production “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”


  • Athletic directors at PC and four other New England colleges and universities form Hockey East.


  • First woman inducted into the PC Athletic Hall of Fame.
  • PC Women’s Ice Hockey Team wins first Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference trophy and the nation’s #1 rating.
  • St. Thomas Aquinas Priory-Gragnani Dominican Faculty Residence and Community Center Open House.