Hofstra University is a private university in Hempstead, New York. It is Long Island’s largest private university, Hofstra originated in 1935 as an extension of New York University (NYU) under the name Nassau College – Hofstra Memorial of New York University at Hempstead, Long Island. It became an independent Hofstra College in 1939 and gained university status in 1963. Comprising ten schools, including the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and Deane School of Law, Hofstra has hosted a series of prominent presidential conferences and several United States presidential debates.
The college – established as an extension of New York University (NYU) – was founded on the estate of a wealthy couple, a lumber entrepreneur of Dutch ancestry, William S. Hofstra (1861–1932) and his second wife, Kate Mason (1854–1933). The extension had been proposed by a Hempstead resident, Truesdel Peck Calkins, who had been superintendent of schools for Hempstead. In her will, Kate Mason provided the bulk of their property and estate to be used for a charitable, scientific or humanitarian purpose, to be named in honor of her husband. In the spring of 1934, the estate was offered to be converted into a sanitarium for those suffering with polio by the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation, specifically offering to President Franklin Roosevelt, but nothing had materialized from it. Two friends, Howard Brower and James Barnard, were asked to decide what to do with the estate. Calkins remarked to Brower that he had been looking for a site to start an institution of higher education, and the three men agreed it would be an appropriate use of the estate. Calkins approached the administration at New York University, and they expressed interest.