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The LIU Post Campus. Image via LIU

Founded in Brooklyn in 1926, Long Island University (LIU) has since grown into one of the nation’s largest private universities with two main campuses (LIU Brooklyn and LIU Post), and a study abroad programs that allows students to spend the entirety of their college careers traveling the world. Today, it serves a student body of over 18,000 people (as of 2014-15).

In the 90+ years following its establishment, the university unsurprisingly boasts an interesting history dealing with amazing artifacts and more than a few colorful characters. Check them out in our list of the top 10 secrets of Long Island University:

10. LIU Brooklyn Gym Used to be the Paramount Theater

Image via NYCAGO

You might be surprised walking into the Long Island University’s Brooklyn’s Athletic Center. It isn’t your normal gym: the ornate ceiling — one of the most beautiful you’ll ever see in New York — hints back to the building’s past as the Paramount theater.

The theater opened in 1928 and played host to some notable characters, such as American jazz singer, Ella Fitzgerald, and composer, Duke Ellington. It quickly became a live jazz hub and was the first theatre designed for movies with sound (or talking pictures). Sadly, the theater shuttered in 1962, following a period of financial instability after the Depression. Before too long, however, LIU stepped in and turned the site into a basketball court and a common area for campus activities. While the exterior and much of the interior are vastly different from the original Paramount Theater, two things remain: the gym’s gorgeous ceiling and one very special instrument (read more below).

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