Stockton to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Teaching

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Galloway, N.J. - In September 1971, a group of 1,000 students and 55 faculty members arrived at the aging Mayflower Hotel in Atlantic City for the very first classes at the brand new Stockton State College.

Construction delays prevented the 1,600-acre Galloway campus from opening until January 1972.  But the faculty and students, prepared for what was intended to be a non-traditional college experience, took it in stride and set the tone for a college that took pride in thinking outside the box.  Who needed traditional classrooms when there was a beach just steps away?

In September 2021, Stockton will begin a yearlong celebration of its first 50 years of teaching. The 50th Anniversary year will provide opportunities to reflect on the past, celebrate Stockton today and share plans for the future.

The small “college in the pines” is now a full-service university of almost 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 60,000 alumni. Stockton’s 1,600-acre wooded campus, now a part of the Pinelands National Reserve, is a classroom in its own right, inspiring events ranging from the Fred Fest Folk Festival to a naturally-grown farm, forest management plan, and maple syrup production project.

And there is, once again, housing on the beach at the Stockton Atlantic City campus.

“After an extraordinary pandemic year, we are more than excited to celebrate our return to a more traditional campus life with a year of 50th anniversary projects and events,” said President Harvey Kesselman, who was a student in that very first class in 1971. “Stockton is such a special place of very special people who have embraced the mission of putting students first and making a quality education available to all. I can’t wait to share their stories.”

Plans are still evolving and will include special exhibits and events at both the Galloway and Atlantic City campuses.  A special 50th Anniversary website,, has been set up where visitors can reminisce, learn more about Stockton’s history, and share their own memories and photos.

“As an alumnus myself, I have watched Stockton grow and am excited about its future,” said Board of Trustees president Raymond Ciccone, Class of 1979. “I invite students, faculty, staff, alumni and our community supporters, who have played such an important role in Stockton’s success of its first 50 years, to join us in this celebration.”

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Diane D’Amico
Director of News and Media Relations
Galloway, N.J. 08205
Stockton University