Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

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For Saint Mary-of-the-Woods (the town), see Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
SaintMaryOfTheWoodsLogo.jpg
Motto Virtus cum Scientia (Virtue and Knowledge United)
Established 1840
Type private liberal arts women's college
Religious affiliation Catholic Church (Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods)
Endowment $9.5 million (2013)[1]
President Dottie L. King, Phd.
Students 1,703
Undergraduates 1,577
Postgraduates 126
Location Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN, USA
Campus suburban: 67 acres (0.27 km2)
Athletics four USCAA and IHSA teams,
called Pomeroys
Colors
  
Pomeroy Blue and White
Mascot in honor of Sister Mary Joseph Pomeroy, SP (SMWC, B.A. 1921)
Website www.smwc.edu

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), is a Roman Catholic, four-year liberal arts women's college located in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, in the U.S. state of Indiana, northwest of Terre Haute, between the Wabash River and the Illinois state line. It is the oldest Catholic liberal arts college for women in the United States.

The College is known for the Mari Hulman George School of Equine Studies, which houses 50 horses on campus, as well as its pre-professional programs such as pre-veterinarian, pre-law, pre-medicine, pre-dentistry and several niche programs in leadership development, art therapy and music therapy.

History[edit]

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is the nation's oldest Catholic liberal arts college for women and one of the oldest institutions of higher education for women in the United States. It was founded as an academy for young women by Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, who located at the site in October 1840. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin was canonized on October 15, 2006, by Pope Benedict XVI, and became Indiana's first saint.[2]

In 1840, six Sisters of Providence left their convent in Ruillé-sur-Loir, France, on a journey to the wilderness of Indiana. Mother Theodore Guerin led the sisters on their journey.[3]

Mother Theodore was not the first to step forward when the Bishop of Vincennes asked the Sisters of Providence to establish an academy for young women in Indiana. Although she had been decorated by the French Board of Education for being a highly gifted and efficient teacher, Mother Theodore felt unworthy of the task of founding an institution of learning, but her superiors convinced Mother Theodore to accept the assignment.[4] Mother Theodore and five other nuns arrived on October 22, 1840, more than three months after leaving France.[5]

In 1846, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College was granted the first charter for the higher education of women in the state of Indiana. SMWC conferred its first bachelor of arts degree in 1899. It was the first women's college to offer journalism courses and the first to offer degree work in secondary education, home economic, and secretarial science. As the careers open to women have expanded, the College has moved ahead in areas such as business, computer information systems, equine studies, psychology and nursing. SMWC now offers associate and bachelor degrees in over 30 majors on campus and online.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is also recognized as a pioneer in the area of distance education. In 1973, the College introduced one of the first independent study programs in the nation, the Women's External Degree (WED) program. This program served adult women who needed flexible schedules to earn a degree while balancing important family and job responsibilities. In 2005, the College expanded access to its undergraduate distance and adult programs to men while maintaining its longstanding mission to the advancement of women's education and firm commitment to preserving its campus-based resident undergraduate degree program for women only. Today, through the renamed Woods Online program, women and men can earn a college degree in a wide variety of majors. In August 2012, the Indianapolis Business Journal recognized SMWC as having one of the largest online degree programs in the state. More than 800 are currently enrolled in the program from 33 states and all across the globe, including England, Greece, Hong Kong and Jamaica.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College also offers three master's degree programs, open to both women and men, in the hybrid format. In 2000, the College created the Master of Arts in Art Therapy (MAAT) program, designed for persons who utilize or plan to utilize art in therapy or art as therapy, and the Master of Arts in Music Therapy (MAMT) program, which welcomes qualified music therapists seeking an advanced understanding of the therapeutic uses of music. In 2007, the College introduced the Master of Leadership Development (MLD) program. This program explores culture and creativity, leadership identity, ethical decision-making and critical analysis of research. All three master's degree programs utilize distance learning and intensive campus-based residencies.

College Motto[edit]

"Virtus cum Scientia," translated as "Virtue with Knowledge United," appears on the SMWC seal or coat of arms.

College Coat of Arms[edit]

The College's coat of arms is a shield divided vertically in halves. The left field is blue, showing in the center a poplar tree on a hill or terrace in natural colors, with the first letter of the name of Mary; these latter devices are in gold. The right field is gold and shows three eaglets with open wings in blue, and beak and talons in red. The right half of the shield shows the arms of Madame du Roscoat, the foundress of the Sisters of Providence at Ruille-sur-Loir, France. The three eaglets are emblematic of the Holy Trinity, the motto of the du Roscoat family being "Trino Soli sit honor et gloria" ("To the Triune God alone honor and glory").

The left field is charged with devices symbolic or significant of some fact connected with the history of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The rayed star, charged with the letter "M" in blue, is an emblem of Mary Mother of God, the Stella Matutina, under whose protection Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, represented by a tree, places all its hopes for growth and life. The Latin crosses are emblems of Redemption and Catholicity. The crest is the count's coronet of the du Roscoat family and the motto "Virtus cum Scientia," is the one chosen by Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence in America.

Aspire Higher[edit]

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College launched its new brand initiative focused on advancing the image and reputation of the College on October 18, 2013. The brand will launch with the important strategic goals of enhancing student recruitment, fundraising and overall brand awareness.

The initiative, Aspire Higher, is a clear and distinctive message that’s congruent with the College’s mission and values but is also reflective of its advances and vision. The initiative speaks to every aspect of the College – academics, campus life, athletics, community and faith. Whether traditional, online or graduate, all students seek to direct their passion, attain goals, improve their lives, stretch themselves beyond what they had imagined - to Aspire Higher.

For 173 years, the College has delivered a unique and powerful brand experience than melds intellect and spirituality. The effort is aimed at expanding awareness and understanding of this experience.

Academics[edit]

For seven consecutive years, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has been ranked as one of the Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest according to the U.S. News & World Report's Best Colleges guidebook.[6] Ranked 16 among the 71 top Midwest colleges, SMWC was recognized for having one of the highest percentages of classes under 20 students at 92 percent, an average graduation rate of 49 percent, and 41 percent of the freshmen were in the top 25 percent of their high school class.

The curriculum of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is based on a traditional liberal arts education; therefore, all campus students are required to complete an extensive curriculum of general studies in addition to their major(s) and/or minor(s). The required courses include but are not limited to: Theology, Philosophy, French or Spanish, History, Math, Biology or Chemistry, Psychology, Sociology, English, Physical Fitness, Statistics, Art and Music.

Majors include 3+1 Business, Leadership Development, Accounting, Art and Design, Biology, Business Administration, Computer Information Systems (CIS), Education majors (7), English, Equine Studies, Equine Business Management, Equine Training and Instruction, Equine Assisted Therapy, History/Political Science/Pre-Law, Human Resource Management, Human Services, Humanities, Journalism and Media Studies, Marketing, Mathematics, Medical Technology, Music, Music Therapy, Art Therapy, Pre-Professional Studies, and Psychology.

SMWC is a member of the College Consortium of Western Indiana. This membership allows students who are full-time at their home institution to take one class at the other member institutions of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Indiana State University without additional tuition.

Athletics[edit]

Saint Mary-of-the- Woods College is a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) and the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).[7] SMWC athletes make up nearly 30 percent of all campus students. The College currently offers seven sports: basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, hunt seat and western equestrian teams. With the hiring of a new coach in January 2014, SMWC will reinstate it's volleyball program beginning Fall 2015. Recruiting is actively underway.

Pomeroy Pride[edit]

The athletic teams of SMWC bear the title of "Pomeroys." The name was chosen in memory of Mary Joseph Pomeroy, SP, an alumna and faculty member at SMWC who advocated athletics and physical fitness.

In addition to the reference to general school spirit, Pomeroy Pride is the name of the College's capital campaign, launched in 2012, to build a new sports and recreation center on campus. On Dec. 3, 2013, the decade-long vision of the College came to tuition at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center. The building site is located at the west edge of campus, behind the Mary and Andy Rooney Library. The estimated 45,000 square foot facility will include a NCAA regulation-sized gym seating approximately 1,000 spectators, a practice gym for auxiliary revenue and intramural sports, a 2,000 square foot lobby, locker rooms, a training room, a fitness room, offices and storage space.

Clabber Girl Classic[edit]

The Clabber Girl Classic, named for the famed Clabber Girl trophy presented by the Clabber Girl of Hulman and Company, is a hometown rivalry winter basketball game between SMWC and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. This annual competition has resulted in a 13-7 record favoring the Pomeroys.

USCAA National Championships[edit]

The SMWC softball team won four consecutive USCAA National Softball Championships (2002–2005). The SMWC Equestrian Team competes throughout the year in both Western and English, traveling to about 20 shows per season. SMWC has been the site for regional horse shows, managed by the SMWC equestrian team members. In 2007, the SMWC Western Team was named IHSA Reserve National Champions.

In 2009, the Pomeroy soccer team experienced a "Cinderella" season, in which they entered the USCAA National Championship Tournament as the 8th seed (the lowest seed) and advanced all the way to the national championship before being defeated by Marygrove College. Just days before the soccer team brought home the silver cup from Burlington, Vermont, the first-year cross-country squad won the USCAA National Championship in New Hampshire. Also in fall 2010, the cross-country team won a second USCAA National Championship.

National Champions

Softball (8) - 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008

Cross Country (2) - 2009, 2010

National Runners-Up

Softball (3) - 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014

Soccer (1) - 2009

Cross Country (1) - 2012

Basketball (1) - 2000

Traditions[edit]

The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Ring[edit]

The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Ring is the single, most recognizable image of the College. It is an enduring symbol that honors academic success and sacrifice while demonstrating the pride and loyalty all Woods alums share. This distinctive ring is a captivating reminder of personal growth and unforgettable friendships. It represents a tangible bond linking generations of alumnae and students to The Woods.

The top of the ring displays a deep black onyx and gold. On the rectangular onyx stone is carved an SMW emblem. Along its side of the gold is an oak leaf base, six acorns representing the College's founders, and the class year. The oak represents strength, knowledge and durability of character. When one receives the ring as an undergraduate, it is worn with the logo facing the heart to inspire and motivate continued academic achievement. Upon graduation, rings are turned so that the SMW faces outward. The ring then becomes visible for the world to see the SMW and that the wearer of the ring is forever connected to The Woods.

Students Margaret Williams Mead '22 and Dorothy Helm Geisel '23 designed the ring in 1922. They worked with Herff Jones Jewelers to create the ring. It was first given to the seniors in 1922. Since the ring was intertwined with academic achievement, students wore caps and gowns to receive their rings during a special ceremony. They continue to do so during this day. Through 1928, only seniors were eligible to receive the ring. However, in 1929, juniors were granted the opportunity to receive the ring as long as they met the academic requirement. Ever since, it has evolved into a cherished tradition for the junior class.

Ring Day[edit]

Today students receive their Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Ring through a special ceremony held each year in March. Students earn their participation in the ceremony through academic success in their junior year at SMWC, or for graduate students, when they are three-quarters of the way toward completion of their degrees.

While most students purchase their rings new, all students have the opportunity to apply for a Legacy Ring, a ring donated back to The Woods by its previous owner. Recipients are chosen, based on academic standing and financial need, by a selection committee.

Wearing caps and gowns, each student receives a ring from the president of the College during the Ring Day ceremony. To students at SMWC, Ring Day is the most highly anticipated day of their college career, even above graduation for most, because of the significance and symbolism of the ring.

A popular tradition associated with Ring Day is called "pounding" in which the current junior class counts down to their own Ring Day ceremony. In this tradition, a group of students will pound on a table in the dining hall while chanting a count down. This typically occurs several times throughout the year leading up to Ring Day.

The Ring Song[edit]

Whose Woods these are, I think I know.
Her love will always be with us below.
Her ring we take, of us a part,
Encircling fingers young 'round her heart.
I pledge to her, a ring to keep,
Like Woods is lovely, dark and deep.
And I have promises and miles to go.
And I have promises and miles to go.

The bells of Saint Mary's I hear they are calling,
The young loves, the true loves that come from the sea.
And so my beloved, when red leaves are falling,
the love bells shall ring out, ring out for you and me.

Oakleaf Ceremony[edit]

The Oakleaf ceremony is a tradition between faculty and campus seniors. During this commemoration, seniors are inducted into the alumnae association, by turning their rings around. This is an eloquent symbol of growing from an acorn into an oak tree.

Big Sis/Little Sis[edit]

Through this thriving custom, freshmen are taken under the wing of a member of the junior class. They are taught the values and traditions of the College and are guided through their first two years. This mentorship gives new students a sense of empowerment, community and pride. Big Sisters are traditionally revealed to their Little Sisters either on the marble steps of Le Fer Hall, or in a creative way, such as a scavenger hunt or at a secret meeting place.

Campus Folklore[edit]

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has its share of ghostly and urban legends. The most famous is the Faceless Nun.[8] It is said that one of the Sisters had a talent for painting portraits. Her method of painting was to always paint every detail of the portrait, taking her time for days and weeks, and saving the face for last. She always insisted that the face was the most important part and required the most attention. She would spend countless hours working on every detail of the face of her subject. Once she started on the portrait's face, she would devote her entire time to it until perfection was reached.

The time came when she chose to do a self-portrait. Again, she took her time working on every detail but the face. Just before the time arrived for her to begin working on the face of her self-portrait, she fell ill. She was rushed to the infirmary, but they could find nothing wrong with her. She mysteriously died with her portrait unfinished. Not long after her death, the sightings began. Another Sister heard sobbing coming from the room that held the unfinished painting. Curious, the Sister entered the room and saw the back of a nun crying in front of the portrait. When the Sister went to comfort the sobbing nun, she turned and saw there was nothing but darkness where the woman's face should have been. Sightings persisted time and again from a number of different sources.

Lesser known stories include The Black Bird, The Dark Angel of Guerin Hall and the ghosts of Le Fer.

Historic Architecture[edit]

The College campus consists of six historic buildings dating from 1913 to 1969. The 67-acre campus is also home to the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Providence, whose buildings date from the 19th and 20th Centuries. Four generations of Bohlen and Son architectural firm of Indianapolis (D.A. Bohlen, Oscar Bohlen, August Bohlen, Robert Bohlen) completed more than sixty projects for the Sisters of Providence from 1858 to 1967, including all six of the historic College buildings. More than 20 Bohlen projects are listed by the National Register of Historic Places.

In designing the campus, the architects intentionally maintained a pastoral, bucolic setting. A French influence reminiscent of Georges-Eugene Haussmann is seen in the picturesque landscape with straight walkways and open views to points of interests. The buildings are representative of popular styles of architecture at the time they were built, yet are connected by a Classical inspiration that is evident even in the more modern styles. Interestingly, maintenance of the campus was supervised by three generations of the Joseph Bisch family from 1894 until the 1970s.

Le Fer Hall[edit]

Le Fer Hall is the historic residence hall and home to all students living on campus. Construction on this palatial building lasted from 1921 to 1923. Primarily French Renaissance revival in its warm brick, it contains the classical balustrades of the balconies and decorative metal balconies on the inset. Touches of Spanish revival show in the pair of towers and tile roof. Le Fer Hall was named after two of Saint Mother Theodore’s companions, and it reflects a greater French influence in its Renaissance style architecture. Unlike a lot of other schools, our residence hall rooms are spacious with large windows, ceiling fans and hardwood floors. Over 75 percent of the rooms are suites with a connecting bath.

Guerin Hall[edit]

Anne Therese Guerin Hall is built in a Renaissance Revival style, with an ornate front entrance featuring heavily carved Indiana limestone Corinthian capitals on pilasters. The contrast between brick and stone makes the pilasters more prominent. It features a lovely open-air atrium in the center and a grand veranda on the front of the building. Construction lasted from 1911 to 1913.

Conservatory of Music[edit]

Conservatory of Music was constructed at the same time as Guerin Hall (1911 to 1913) and was built on the site of the second Saint Mary-of-the-Woods village church and cemetery. The Conservatory is a three-story structure of white brick and Bedford limestone, in the Italian Renaissance style with classical Ionic details and Beaux-Arts classical influences. Located in the Conservatory, Cecilian Auditorium seats up to 720 people on the main floor and balcony. Cecilian is a beautiful theatre with proscenium stage, stage curtains, and spot and stage lighting.

Rooney Library[edit]

Mary and Andy Rooney Library is an excellent example of contemporary design, built in 1964 at a cost of $1,279,000. It was designed in 1961 by August Bohlen and Mel Meyer of Bohlen & Burns, Indianapolis. This modern take on a classical building has an offset entrance with the feel of centrality due to its vertical, central bay.

Hulman Hall[edit]

Mary Fendrich Hulman Hall, completed in 1969, is a Mid-Century Modern style bearing similarity to Owens Hall and Rooney Library in its verticality of design, spandrel panels and use of aluminum. The rough-cut stone in spandrel panels on the exterior is classically inspired.

Military[edit]

From 2010 to 2013, SMWC has been named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media, a media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life. The 2013 Military Friendly Schools list [9] honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are embracing America's military service members, veterans and spouses, ensuring their success in higher education. The 1,739 institutions on the list exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience.

SMWC provides scholarships for up to 50 percent of the cost of tuition and fees that exceed the standard education benefit. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs will match the amount of the scholarship - completely covering tuition for qualified veterans.

Accreditation[edit]

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and approved for teacher training by the Indiana Department of Education and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Additionally, many individual programs of various departments are certified by their professional associations.

Programs of various departments are certified by their professional associations, including American Art Therapy Association, American Bar Association, American Music Therapy Association, Institute for the Certification of Computer Professionals (ICCP), National Association of Schools of Music, and Society for Human Resource Management.

Notable alumnae[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  1. New President "Saint Mary of the Woods names Behrs as 15th President". Saint Mary of the Woods College News and Events. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  2. endowment "2005 NACUBO endowment study" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved 2006-02-25. 
  3. History of the Sisters of Providence History of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods by Sister Eugenia Logan, S.P. Moore-Langan Printing Company. 
  4. IHSA "Intercollegiate Horse Show Association". Retrieved 2007-11-09.