Dr. Edward J. Mortola and the Promotion of Pace History


This prefatory document introduces 2 parts of the presentation held in Gottesman Room, Pleasantville Campus, Pace University on March 8, 2006 to celebrate and commemorate the life and times of Dr. Edward J. Mortola, president of Pace University from 1961 to 1984.

The first part of this presentation provides for a compilation of photographs celebrating various events at Pace.

See: http://www.pace.edu/library/pages/links/mortola.htm

The second is part of Pace University Oral History Project containing interviews from various people who at one time or another were involved with Pace life in the various phases of its history.

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The career of Dr. Edward J. Mortola spanned four decades – a time period of incredible growth and expansion, when Pace Institute became Pace College and then Pace University. For an article reviewing his illustrious career that appeared in the Winter 1985 issue of Pace Magazine, Dr. Mortola was asked how he would wish to be remembered. He responded as follows: “When I look down the road traveled and the road ahead, I suppose that, most importantly, I would like to be remembered as someone who cared, someone who felt that he had many friends at Pace, someone who spent his life on behalf of this institution and felt that every moment of it was worthwhile.”

These are modest words from a man whose career was anything but! Yet, despite his personal modesty, Dr. Mortola felt very strongly about the importance of preserving and promoting Pace history. To this end, he was responsible for three important initiatives/innovations that enable us to document our Centennial today. The first was the establishment of the Pace University Archives as part of the Pace University Libraries in 1981 in conjunction with the celebration of Pace’s 75th Anniversary. Although there was no established archive prior to l981, many historic documents, photos and other materials had been kept by Pace through the years, and served as the foundation for the present collections.

The second was in supporting the Pace University Oral History Project. This project, which spanned four years from 1982 to 1986, produced a total of 26 interviews with many significant Pace personalities, many who are, sadly, no longer with us today. Among those interviewed were Charles Dyson, Joseph Lubin, Gustav Lienhard, Alfreda Geiger, Jack Schiff, George and Helen Pace Bowen, William McAloon, William Sharwell, and Dr. Mortola himself. Thanks to this project, which produced both audio-taped interviews and typewritten transcripts, we are able to hear each these individuals speak about their experience at Pace in their own words, with their own voice.

The third historical initiative was Dr. Mortola’s support for the writing of Opportunitas: The History of Pace University by Dr. Marilyn Weigold, which begins with the founding of Pace in 1906 and ends with the administration of Dr. William Sharwell, who succeeded Dr. Mortola as the fourth president of Pace.

This multimedia presentation combines photographs from the Pace Archives with excerpts from Dr. Mortola’s own oral history interview tapes. There is perhaps no better way to review Dr. Mortola’s tenure in office than to hear him describe it in his own words.

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