Five Towns College, is home to the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center.

Five Towns College’s Moving Story

Five Towns College, whose Dix Hills campus  is home to the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center,  is fascinating not just for what it is, but also for its history.

FTC, as it’s commonly known, is a distinctive, highly-specialized higher education enterprise with roughly 30 undergraduate and graduate programs.  It’s relatively-narrow-but-deep -focus centers on music, video, theater arts, education, mass communications and business relating specifically to several of those disciplines. High-strivers among its 1000 or so students can carry on from bachelors programs through masters and even doctorate levels. Those in need of less but still highly specialized training can achieve associates certificates then move directly into the work force.

As you’d expect, many of FTC’s students are from Long Island. But the college’s specialties and educators with practical as well as theoretical experience attract aspiring actors, musicians and video artists from much further afield, too.  (There are, in fact, few colleges in the entire country as well equipped to turn out top class graduates in a so-clearly-delineated spectrum of subjects.)

There is tremendous synergy between FTC and DHPAC, as the latter’s stage is used for plays and musical performances by the former’s students – many of whose names can be expected to show up, sooner or later, on Broadway cast lists and major orchestra’s rosters. Others undoubtedly will become known for their behind-the-camera work in television and films.

FTC’s technical facilities are remarkable. They include film, video and television studios, MIDI, MAC and PC labs, three audio studios used for filming, musical recordings and “other artistic works,” in the words of Roger H. Sherman, PhD, (,  the dean of the college and its provost.  His Welcome message clearly indicates how justifiably proud he is of his organization and all who are a part of it.

If you are familiar with Long Island, you probably know there is a geographic region in the southwestern corner of Nassau County commonly known as the Five Towns area. That is where, in 1972, Five Towns College was born.  But while the education side got up and running quickly, the home-making side had, for lack of a better term, some ‘growth issues’:  The college’s initial home was in Lynbrook, from which, rather quickly, in moved to Baldwin and on to Merrick, where the Grand Opening took place in 1974. It was during its ten years at that location that FTC’s emphasis shifted from business to music. Its faculty then first included a number of well-known, highly gifted musicians, too.

A growing student body and range of courses caused the college to move again in 1982, to Seaford. But the college continued to ‘grow’ its offerings, while at Seaford, to include baccalaureate and then masters degrees – factors that attracted still more students, and forced yet another change of location. After considering a number of other spots, the college eventually moved – hopefully for the last time – to the Dix Hills campus, formerly the site of the original Half Hollow Hills high school. In the twenty years since settling here, FTC has completely rebuilt its physical plant, and regularly updated state-of-the-art facilities as the ‘state-of’ itself has improved.

And the range of curricula offerings has grown, too, to include childhood education (1-6) and music education (K-12), something few other institutions in New York are able to claim.

And none, of course, can claim to have at its disposal such grand facilities as those comprising the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center.

Despite being far removed from its original home, Five Towns College continues to fulfill – and exceed – its original mission: to serve Long Islanders (and others) in what’s come to be a world-class way.

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