It started with an on-field ceremony with a few administrators and the rest of the way was punctuated by laughter and cheers from the 1,400 students and alums perched on all levels of Yankee Stadium. It was Manhattan College night and the attendees backed it with pride.
The organized night hosted by the Yankees celebrated the school’s 100 years in the Bronx. As the Jaspers entered through Gate 2, inside waiting for them were hats bearing the school logo on the side. The Yankee emblem on the front was tinged with green to honor the night’s theme and the school’s colors.
Mary Grochowski was in attendance to root on the Yankees while sharing in her pride for being a Jasper. She is part of the class of 1991 and has enjoyed seeing her nephew graduate from Manhattan last year and her son, Anthony, now fully immersed in the school as a sophomore.
The mother and son alumni were joined by father, Tony, as they took in the Yankees 7-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks highlighted by three home runs from Aaron Judge. The Grochowski family was assigned seats in Section 426, one of several in the ballpark where the speciality hats were conspicuous.
“You felt the camaraderie and you felt the energy,” said Mary, who studied accounting at Manhattan. “I haven’t been to an event where I felt that.”
The Jasper spectators only accounted for a hair under 4 percent of the game’s total attendance, but the presence felt larger.
“You sensed the community,” Mary said.
Mary followed the parental guide of not pushing the school on her son when he was going through the college process. He overcame any initial doubts he had when he stepped foot on campus for the first time, Mary said.
“You get on that campus and it’s just a strong connected community,” Mary said. “You feel like you’re not part of just a school environment but a family type of environment.”
There is also the smaller class size which comes from attending the school with just over 3,000 undergraduates. Other perks can include more time for self-discovery when trying to discern a major.
“He is a physical education major but is in the process of changing to the sports media program,” Mary said of her son. “He’s been talking to professors and is pretty energized about it.”
The reputation of the academics and professors purports to be the same from when she attended, she said. But the technological and capital advancements have apparently made a real impression as well.
“Some of the new buildings are phenomenal,” Mary said, referring to the Kelly Student Commons building which opened in 2014 and the Higgins Engineering & Science Center completed in 2021 and located on South Campus.
The ethos the school has captured in Riverdale would seem hard to find anywhere else — even after a World War and a pandemic over the last 100 years. It was exactly what the Brothers of the Christian Schools aimed to capture with Manhattan College, one of six colleges in America founded by the De La Salle Brothers who originated in 17th Century France.
“The core is still there from when I went there,” Mary said. “Your professors are accessible and there is a genuine care about your success.”
Founded in 1853, Manhattan College was stationed at 131st Street and Broadway in a section then known as Manhattanville. In 1923, the school relocated to its current Riverdale campus.