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Panzer College of Physical Education and Hygiene

East Orange, New Jersey



I was able to purchase a copy of the 1950 Olympia on e-bay.  Later I discovered that Harry A. Sprague Library of Montclair State University had made digital copies of other years, available on Internet Archive. 


During conscription for World War I many young men were deemed physically unfit to serve the country.  As a result, Newark Normal School of Physical Education and Hygiene was founded by Matthias Machery and Randall D. Warden in 1917.  Its purpose was to train physical education instructors for grades 1-12.  The original program was for two years.  In 1920 Machery and Warden withdrew interest in the school in favor of the director, Charles Panzer, a Swiss-born gymnast.  In 1925 the school moved to East Orange, and the program was extended to three-years.  In 1928 the program was extended to four years, and the school was able to offer a Bachelor of Physical Education degree.  The name was then changed to Panzer College of Physical Education and Hygiene.


In 1939 the school offered the first Bachelor of Science in Education degree, replacing the old Bachelor of Physical Education.


The 1950 Olympia shows a faculty of 16.  In addition to seven instructors of physical education, health education and gymnastics, the faculty included instructors in the disciplines to prepare students for the B.S. in Education degree—English, history, social science, psychology, chemistry and biological science. That same yearbook shows 36 graduates and a student body of around 200.


One of the earlier yearbooks noted that while some students were nine-to-three o'clock people at the school, many others wanted all that college had to offer in terms of organizations, activities, and social life.  For these students, Panzer sponsored a number of activities.  The nature of the curriculum suggested that many these tended toward dance, gymnastics, music, and athletics.  Also, many of the students were members of one of the professional fraternities for physical education teachers.


After more than 40 years as a stand-alone college of physical education, Panzer College merged with Montclair State University in 1958. 


Bricks and Mortar

In 1925 Panzer College purchased property at 139 Glenwood Avenue in East Orange.  Until the gymnasium was completed, students shared a facility with Upsala College.  The main campus building is featured in every yearbook.


After Panzer College closed, the Archdiocese of Newark purchased the campus, and it became the home of the East Orange Catholic High School for girls.  Today it is the Early Childhood Department of the East Orange School District.


This spliced photo from the 1950 Olympia shows the signature gate posts at the campus entry.  The administration building is to the right.


      Team name: Panthers

      Colors: Maroon and White


Despite a relatively modest enrollment, Panzer College sponsored teams in football, soccer, cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, track and field, fencing, badminton, bowling, archery, and women field hockey.  The school did not recruit athletes, priding itself on using only bona fide students on its teams.


Panzer fielded football teams between 1931 and 1950.  Located in the metropolitan New York City area, Panzer had little difficulty in finding opponents.  College of New Jersey and East Stroudsburg (PA) appeared on the schedule 12 times each, followed by Wagner (NY), Upsala (NJ), Montclair State (NJ), U-Mass-Lowell, Ithaca (NY) and Brooklyn College (NY).  However, Panzer had difficulty in winning games, suffering losing records in 11 of 15 seasons.


The 1942-43 field hockey team (Olympia,                     < accessed 10-27-2017

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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