St. Mary's College of Maryland

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St. Mary's College of Maryland
Former names
 • St. Mary's Female Seminary (1840 - 1927)
 • St. Mary's Female Seminary Junior College (1927–1949)
 • St. Mary's Seminary Junior College (1949–1968)
Established 1840; 175 years ago (1840)
Type Public coeducational liberal arts college[1][2]
Endowment U.S. $30.3 million
President Tuajuanda C. Jordan
Academic staff
Undergraduates 1,901[2]
Postgraduates 32[2]
Location St. Mary's City[2], Maryland, United States
38°11′12″N 76°25′51″W / 38.18666°N 76.43094°W / 38.18666; -76.43094Coordinates: 38°11′12″N 76°25′51″W / 38.18666°N 76.43094°W / 38.18666; -76.43094
Campus Rural, waterfront on St. Mary's River, near the Chesapeake Bay, 319 acres (approximately 1.3 km²), Located on site of first Maryland Colony, St. Mary's City, Maryland
Colors Navy and white[3]
Athletics NCAA Division IIICAC
Sports 13 varsity teams
Nickname Seahawks
Affiliations CPLAC

St. Mary's College of Maryland, established in 1840, is an American public,[1][4][5] secular (non-religious) and co-educational four-year liberal arts college[1] located in St. Mary's City, Maryland.[2]

It is a public honors college,[5] and is one of only two colleges with this designation in the United States.[6] With about 2,000 enrolled students, the institution offers bachelor's degrees in 24 disciplines.[2] as well as a master's program and numerous certification programs.[7]

The college is located in St. Mary's City, Maryland[1][2] and shares much of its campus with Historic St. Mary's City, the site of Maryland's first colony and first capital. It is also the site of the fourth colony in British North America.

St. Mary's City is also considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in America[8][9][10] because of the unique mandates establishing and governing the British colony that once stood there,[9][10] requiring religious tolerance.[9][10]

The internationally recognized Historic Archeology Field School[11][12] is jointly operated by St. Mary's College of Maryland and Historic St. Mary's City.[11][12] The campus and the rest of St. Mary's City combined are considered to be one of the premier archaeological sites in the United States.[11]

Calvert Hall, St. Mary's College of Maryland, the public honors college.


National rankings[edit]

In 2014, U.S. News and World Report, in its annual "Best College and Universities" report, ranked St. Marys College as "6th" in the nation under the category "Top Liberal Arts Public Schools" in the "Colleges" ranking (6th in the nation for Public Liberal Arts Colleges).[13]

In the same report, St. Marys College of Maryland was ranked 4th in the nation[14] under the category "Best Colleges for Veterans".[13]

31 degree programs and minors[edit]

St. Mary's College of Maryland offers over 31 different undergraduate degrees and minors, and it has a masters program in education.

See Academics (Modern day college)

School's role in researching and interpreting Maryland's founding history[edit]

However, in addition to this, since 1840, the school has been charged by the state in various capacities in researching,[15] interpreting and memorializing Maryland history at the site of Maryland's first colony and capitol,[15] St. Mary's City, Maryland,[15] which is also where the college is located.[15]

Historic Archeology Field School[edit]

In this capacity St. Mary's College of Maryland, in partnership with Historic St. Mary's City,[12][16][17] also runs the Historic Archeology Field School[12][16] which is an internationally recognized institution.[12] The field school has worked on over 300 archeological dig sites in the St. Mary's City area over the last 40 years.[12]

Special areas of archeological research and historical study[edit]

The school has a deep and multilayered relationship to the St. Mary's City area and it's historic landscape.

In its special role as a historical and archeological research institution charged with studying the founding history of Maryland, and charged by the State of Maryland with researching the history of the emergence of Democracy in Maryland, St. Mary's College of Maryland studies the following historic events that occurred in the area of St. Mary's City, Maryland and the periods in which they occurred.

This also includes premier museums on and near campus, highlighting archeology and area history related to all of the above.

School's inspirational historic grounding[edit]

This research also includes a special focus and draws inspiration from local milestone historical events related to the struggle for establishment of democracy in Maryland,[15] in many of its aspects,[15] including:

  • The early development of representative legislature in Maryland.[15]
  • The historic struggle for the establishment of religious freedom in America.[15]
  • The historic beginnings of the quest for Women's suffrage in America[15]
  • The historic struggle for minority rights in America[15]
  • The beginnings of freedom of the press in the Southern colonies[15]


The first Lord Baltimore, George Calvert, a Catholic during a time of persecution of Catholics who won the original grant for the Maryland Colony and who also envisioned it as a place of religious tolerance.[9]
Small painted icon, dating to between circa 1615 and circa 1620, Walters Museum, Baltimore.

St. Mary's College of Maryland is located on the original site of Maryland's first colony, St. Mary's City,[12] which was also the first capital of Maryland[18] and is considered to be the birthplace of religious freedom in America.[8][10]

Colonial St. Mary's City was actually only a town and at its peak had between 500 and 600 residents. However as the colony quickly expanded and settlements spread throughout the Eastern part of what is now Maryland, the town remained the capitol and representatives would travel from all over the colony to participate in the Maryland General Assembly, the colony's first legislative body.

The Colony was founded under a mandate by the colonial proprietor, Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore of England, that the new settlers engage in religious tolerance of each other.[9][10][19] The first settlers were both Protestant and Catholic during a time of persecution of Catholics.[19] This mandate was unprecedented at the time, as England had been wracked by religious conflict for centuries.

The following history passed through times of new ideas, times of setbacks, long periods of oppression and times of hope, liberation and renewal; beginning in the 1600s and running through the Civil War period through the 20th Century and up to present days.

The school evolved in response to many milestone events, and in some cases the school contributed to history as well as being influenced by it:

To learn more see the History of St. Mary's College of Maryland

Academics (modern day college)[edit]

Goodpaster and Schafer Halls on the campus of St. Mary's College of Maryland. They are named, respectively, after General Andrew J. Goodpaster, the former Superintendent of West Point Military Academy and William Donald Schafer, the former Governor of Maryland. Both men were very involved in the ongoing development of St. Mary's College of Maryland and each served on its Board of Trustees for years.

Public honors college core curriculum[edit]

St. Mary's College is a public honors college.[5][20] It is one of only two such Public Honors Colleges in the United States. As a part of this, it maintains a core honors-level curriculum that all of its students, regardless of major, must complete.

Non-religious and coeducational[edit]

The school is non-religious (secular) and has been since it was started in 1840 (The name St. Mary's commemorates Maryland's first colony, "St. Mary's City", which once stood where the college stands now).

The school has been coeducational (both male and female students) since 1949.

The St. Mary's Way[edit]

The college community is guided by a set of principles called "The St. Mary's Way".[21][22] These principles set a tone for a supportive, caring environment where a passion for curiosity, knowledge and discovery can occur.[21][22] It also talks about the importance of making a difference in the world, informed by the natural beauty and historic meaning of the St. Mary's City area.[21][22] The St. Mary's Way also sets a tone for integrity and tolerance of differences in viewpoint, background and experience.[21][22]

The text of the St. Mary's Way is as follows:[22][21]

The St. Mary's Way

St. Mary's College of Maryland lies in a setting of natural beauty and historic meaning which enhances our ability to reflect on our lives in an increasingly complex, technological, and interdependent world. As a member of St. Mary's College of Maryland, I accept the St. Mary's Way and agree to join in working with others to develop this College as a community:

  • Where people respect the natural environment and the tradition of tolerance which is the heritage of this place
  • Where people cultivate a life-long quest for disciplined learning and creativity
  • Where people take individual responsibility for their work and actions
  • Where people foster relationships based upon mutual respect, honesty, integrity, and trust
  • Where people are engaged in an ongoing dialogue that values differences and the unique contributions of others' talents, backgrounds, customs, and world views
  • Where people are committed to examining and shaping the functional, ethical values of our changing world
  • Where people contribute to a spirit of caring and an ethic of service.

By choosing to join this community, I accept the responsibility of helping to build on its past heritage, of living its ideals, and contributing to its future.[21][22]


According to the Maryland Higher Education Commission, St. Mary's College of Maryland, despite being a public institution, competes mostly with elite private colleges.[23] The commission reported in 2014 that the cost of obtaining a degree at St. Mary's College is $30,000 less when compared to the average costs of the elite private colleges that it competes with.[23]


Undergraduate degrees[edit]

The college has 31 undergraduate programs that allow a choice of 24 majors,[2] leading to a Bachelor of Arts (BA),[2] and 26 minors.[1]

69% of St. Mary’s students major or minor in a second academic discipline.

Popular degree programs: biology, economics, English, history, political science, psychology.[2]

Graduate study[edit]

The college offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT).[2] including teacher certification[1][2]

Honors organizations[edit]

Graduation rates[edit]

Freedom of conscience statue on the campus of St. Mary's College. Completed in 1934 for the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Maryland colony and the birth of religious freedom in America.

81% overall graduation rate (including longer than four years)[2]

70% four-year graduation rate,[2] highest of any public institution in Maryland[2] and third highest in the United States among public colleges.[33]
(69% of students pursue dual concurrent degrees or dual minors, which may take longer than four years, in some cases).

10% transfer out rate (students who transfer out of St. Mary's to other undergrad schools)[2]

First year retention rate[edit]

87% of students enroll for a second year[2]

Financial aid[edit]

79% of students are receiving financial aid[2]

66% of students are receiving grants or scholarships.[2]

Institutional honors society membership[edit]

The school is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.[29]

Overseas programs[edit]

The Institute of International Education has recognized St. Mary's College of Maryland as being 17th in the nation (public and private schools combined) for the percentage of its undergraduate students who study abroad for at least one semester.[34]

Approximately 60% of St. Mary's students study abroad, half of them for a full semester or more.

Fulbright program[edit]

Student Fulbrights: second in the nation among public colleges[edit]

St. Mary's College has had many students and faculty win Fulbright awards.[35][36] In the 2009-2010 academic year, the college had the second highest number of student Fulbright winners of any public liberal arts college in the nation.[36]

Faculty Fulbrights: third in the nation among public and private colleges[edit]

In the 2011-2012 academic year, it had the 3rd highest number of faculty Fulbright winners in the United States among nation among public and private baccalaureate colleges (undergraduate colleges).[35]

Music program[edit]

Since 2003, the Fiske Guide to Colleges has ranked St. Mary's College of Maryland as one of the best small universities/colleges in the U.S. for music study. St. Mary's College of Maryland is the only public liberal arts college listed.

Leadership development programs[edit]

There are many opportunities for leadership development on campus, including positions as a resident assistant (RA), as an orientation leader (OL), on the school's student Judicial Board, as a Multicultural Academic Peer Program (MAPP) mentor, within the active Student Government Association (SGA), and among the various programs boards.

General student services[edit]

  • Academic counseling service[2]
  • Career counseling service[14]
  • Employment search services for students[14]
  • Navigator programs,[37] in all departments (guidance, support and advocacy in staying on track academically)
  • Emerging Scholars Programs (ESP)s in science, technology, engineering, math and computer science[37]
  • Psychological counseling and life counseling (confidential, available through health center)
  • Support groups (confidential, sponsored by health center)
  • St. Mary's College Office of Financial Aid, assistance in accessing financial assistance for tuition and living expenses

Disabled students[edit]

The school also has an office of disability services.[14]

Programs for minority and economically disadvantaged students[edit]

Prince George's Hall, campus of St. Mary's College of Maryland.
  • Office of Student Development[38] provides support and advocacy for minority and economically disadvantaged students.[38]
  • Multicultural Achievement Peer Program (MAPP)[38] peer support for minority and other multicultural students[38]
  • H. Thomas Waring Scholarship Fund[39]
  • DeSousa-Brent Scholars Program, for any of the following: economically disadvantaged students, minority students, or first generation-in-family attending college (by generation, not just individuals: siblings may apply)[40][41]
  • Access Student Ambassadors[38] outreach to top minority students in Maryland high schools[38]
  • St. Mary's College Office of Financial Aid, assistance in accessing many minority and need-based scholarships and grants
  • College Bound Foundation (assists disadvantaged students from the city of Baltimore)[38]
  • Many scholarships for minority students, first generation to college students and students with disabilities.

African-American student enrollment[edit]

African-American student enrollment at St. Mary's College dropped in recent years. Rising tuition and need for more state funding for first generation to college students has been cited as a key reason. This includes a drop from 14% African American student enrollment in 1992[42] to just 7% African-American student enrollment in 2013[43]

The school has been working in many areas to improve enrollment and has numerous financial aid programs for minorities, and is reaching out to African-American communities across the state. The schools goal is to greatly increase African-American student enrollment.

In the spring of 2014 a report shows the African-American student population having increased to 8%.

Increase in African-American faculty[edit]

At one point in the early 1980s, there were no African-American faculty at the school.

  • As of 2010 there were 69 African-American faculty at the school,[44] including 57 full-time and 12 part-time professors and instructors.[44]

2014: New President[edit]

The school's new President, Doctor Tuajuanda Jordan, is also a person of African-American heritage.

Effort to increase African-American student enrollment[edit]

Research has shown that, due to the relatively recent history of segregation in the United States, available funding for "first generation to college" students affects African-American populations disproportionally—Many news sources mention that adequate funding for first generation college students is actually one of the very biggest issues behind lagging African-American enrollment—elite liberal arts college's which are viewed by the state of Maryland as St. Mary's College's competitors, have been described in the news media as having traditionally had bigger endowments and could offer more scholarships.

In response to this concern, the school has been doing considerable work to increase African-American enrollment at St. Mary's College:

  • The school has worked to improve its outreach to minority students throughout the state.
  • Numerous financial aid programs are available through the financial aid office regardless of student background as well as information on accessing minority scholarships and grants.[45]
  • First generation students of all backgrounds have numerous funding options available through the college.[45] The college also has information on additional sources.[45]
  • The school just received a top national ranking for on-campus race and class relations. It has been ranked 12th in he Nation for positive race and class relations on campus. This is based on student reporting that shows their feelings about relationships between student on campus of different races and economic classes (family of origin income).
  • News articles report that African-American students on campus have a strong, active and supportive community.
  • The school has several programs that can assist minority students seeking support.
  • To be generally more competitive, the school secured a lowering of its tuition from the state in 2014.

Cost of school[edit]

St. Mary's College of Maryland, which is public, is unusual in that it competes mostly with elite private colleges. The state of Maryland reported this year that St. Mary's College of Maryland costs $30,000 less as compared to the average cost of elite private colleges in obtaining a college degree.

Looking at tuition in March 2014, Kiplinger ranked St. Mary's College of Maryland as one of the "Best Values in Colleges".[46]

The school provides millions of dollars in financial aid and extensive help to students in securing financial assistance.

National ranking for "Best schools for veterans"[edit]

In 2014, U.S. News and World Report, in its annual "Best College and Universities" report, ranked St. Marys College 4th in the nation[14] under the category "Best Colleges for Veterans" in the "Colleges" ranking[13]

Special programs[edit]

  • Archaeology Field School[11][12]
  • Dual Degree Engineering Program[37]
  • 3:2 Engineering program
  • Robotics lab
  • St. Mary's College Jazz Ensemble[47]
  • Tidewater Music Festival[48]
  • Summer Music Camp[48]
  • International Education and Study Abroad Program
  • Emerging Scholars Program
  • Weitzel Research Award
  • H. Thomas Waring World Fund (study abroad in Gambia Africa for Master of Teaching students)[39]
  • FOM (Foundations of Mathematics) projects
  • Writing and Speaking Center
  • NAWCAD / AMOTL (Atomic Magneto-Optical Trapping Laboratory) program,[49][50] partnership with Navy particle physics laboratory[49][50]
  • Pre-Health Science program (forms personal pre-health science advisory committees for matriculating students)
  • SMURF (St. Mary’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship program)
  • Center for the Study of Democracy[51][52]
  • The Gambia PEACE Program[53]
  • Teacher Certification Program[1][54]
  • Overseas teaching program (teaching students may spend a semester teaching overseas)
  • Pre-Law program
  • Student Designed Major Program
  • Desousa-Brent Scholars[41][40]
  • Navigatiors Program[37]
  • Nitze Scholars[55]
  • STEM Navigators[37] Further supported by Emerging Scholars Programs (ESP)s in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Science[37]
  • CSM/SMCM Computer Science Co-op Program
  • Putnam Math Team
  • Eco-Reps[56]
  • Campus community farm
  • DOD (Department of Defense) Systems Acquisition Certification Program[57]
  • Project Management Certification Program[57]
  • Charlotte Hall Fellows, high school advanced studies program and scholarship for selected exceptional St. Mary's County high school students
  • Computer Science Co-operative Education Program (CSCEP)[58]
  • ESP-REU program (special six week program for students of math)
  • Center for talented youth St. Mary's College of Maryland is a participating institution


The school is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.[2][4]

School President[edit]

St. Mary's College's new President, Tuajuanda Jordan, was appointed in 2014. She is the former dean of two other colleges and holds a PhD in biochemistry.


The school has 150 full-time faculty,[2] 14 are current Fulbright scholars (the college faculty has earned 30 Fulbright research awards in the past 20 years).

There is a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio,[2] one of the lowest in the nation.

Notable faculty[edit]

  • Lucille Clifton – former Poet Laureate of Maryland; two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist
  • Michael Glaser – former Poet Laureate of Maryland
  • Todd Eberly – Political analyst and commentator[59] often quoted in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and the Washington Times,[60] also heard on radio stations WYPR and WBAL.[60] Author of American Government and Popular Discontent: Stability without Success. Was named One of the Most Influential Voices in Maryland Politics by Campaigns and Elections magazine.[60]
  • Charles Adler – Professor of Physics and author of "Wizards, Aliens, and Starships: Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction".[61][62][63]
  • Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, author, Director of the nonprofit organization, American Bridge
  • Jane Margaret O'Brien – the St. Mary's College of Maryland's college's first female president (after it became a four-year college) and its fifth president overall (1996–2009); also Dean of Faculty, 1989–91, Middlebury College; President, Hollins College (now Hollins University), 1991–96; since retiring from the presidency she is now a faculty member in St. Mary's College overseas programs and an overseas center director
  • Gary Denny – speechwriter for Nelson Mandela, writer, historian[64]
  • The Honorable James A. Kenney, III – judge of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals (1997 - 2007),[65] Assistant State's Attorney in St. Mary's County, Maryland (1964–67).[65] Won the Maryland Leadership in Law Award in 2003[65]
  • M. Elizabeth Osborn, playwright, author, theater director, actress, theater critic, editor, and educator, in whose honor the annual M. Elizabeth Osborn award for an emerging American playwright is granted.[66][67]
  • David Froom – composer, Guggenheim Fellow,[68] twice honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Ives Scholarship,[69] Academy Award for lifetime achievement[70]), first prize in the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards,[71] commissioned by the Fromm Foundation of Harvard[72] and the Koussevitzky Foundation of the Library of Congress,[73] published by ACA.[74]
  • Michael Bunn – musician, Principal Tubist of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, and Filene Center Orchestra at Wolf Trap Farm Park.
  • David Kung – professor for How Music and Mathematics Relate[75] from The Great Courses
  • Henry Rosemont Jr. – One of the world's top Confucian scholars,[76] author of "A Chinese Mirror; Rationality and Religious Experience";[76] "Radical Confucianism and The Chinese Classic Of Family Reverence: A Philosophical Translation Of The Xiaojing".[76]
  • Katherine Socha – winner, 2008 Alder Award[77] from the Mathematical Association of America
  • Jeffrey J. Byrd – microbiologist, science editor, author. Editor for the The Complete Idiot's Guide to Microbiology, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education, formerly called the Journal of Microbiology Education.
  • Mary Adele France the first president of the junior college, in response to women gaining the right to vote in America, she is credited with convincing the Maryland legislature to expand the former St. Mary's Female seminary into a Junior College in 1927 (the school, now called St. Mary's College of Maryland, is now a coeducational 4 year college, and has been for over 50 years). She was also a science and math teacher at the school.
  • Andrea Hammar, founder and first editor of the Slackwater Journal[78]
  • Juliana Geran Pilon – author of many books, including Notes from the other side of night,[79] The UN: assessing Soviet abuses,[80] The Bloody Flag: Post-Communist Nationalism in Eastern Europe : Spotlight on Romania,[81] Why America Is Such a Hard Sell: Beyond Pride and Prejudice,[82] Cultural Intelligence for Winning the Peace,[83] Soulmates: Resurrecting Eve[84] She is also Director of the Center for Culture and Security at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C.[85]
  • Norton Dodge – Economist, collector of dissident Soviet era art. Smuggled thousands of Soviet dissident paintings, prints & sculptures out of communist Russia over a series of years and at great risk to his own life. Amassed one of the largest collections of Soviet-era art outside the Soviet Union. Now on permanent display at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University.
  • Zach P. Messitte,[86] political analyst in radio, television and print media,[86] political scientist,[86]
  • Earl Hofmann – painter, sculptor, educator. Part of Baltimore's 20th century realist art school, studied with and assisted Jacques Maroger at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Considered a major part of the 20th century Baltimore art scene before relocating to Southern Maryland.
  • Luis Enrique Sam Colop – Guatemalan/Native American linguist,[87] lawyer, poet, writer, newspaper columnist,[88] promoter of the K'iche' language, and social activist.[89]

Notable trustees[edit]

Nitze fellows[edit]

Kent Hall, Social Sciences building on the campus of St. Mary's College of Maryland.

Nitze senior fellows visit St. Mary's College several times throughout their assigned year to give lectures and meet with Nitze scholars and other St. Mary's students.

Previous Nitze fellows include:

Notable alumni[edit]

Congressman Steny Hoyer – House Majority Leader U.S. House of Representatives, Congress, (2007–2011); U.S. Representative for Maryland's 5th congressional district (since 1981); and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley at the St Mary's College Commencement Ceremony in 2013


The Center for the Study of Democracy[edit]

Margaret Brent Hall on the campus of St. Mary's College of Maryland. Named for Margaret Brent who, on the site of what is now the college, was the first woman to petition for the right to vote in America (in the Maryland Assembly in 1648).

The Center for the Study of Democracy is an interdisciplinary joint initiative of St. Mary's College of Maryland and Historic St. Mary's City.[114][17] It explores historical and contemporary issues related to democracy and also provides presentations by government officials and other leaders from both developed and developing countries[115] and notable scholars.[114][115] The Center also offers a Democracy Studies minor through St. Mary's College of Maryland.

Colonial St. Mary's City, which was on the site where St. Mary's College of Maryland is located today, was a place where struggles over 'Liberty of conscience' in religion,[10] representative political practices,[19][116] freedom of the press, and minority rights all came to the fore at various times. Utilizing early Maryland as a case study in "emerging democracy," the foundation works to apply the lessons of the region's history to a domestic and international discussion of democracy's role in the modern world.[114][17] The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) We the People initiative awarded the Center a $500,000 challenge grant in September 2004.[117]

Notable advisory board members include:

The James P. Muldoon River Center[edit]

Side of the Muldoon River Center on the campus of St. Mary's College of Maryland. The center is a 13,000 square foot eco-friendly facility[119] that houses the marine biology laboratories of the St. Mary's River Project which is run by the college,[56] and studies the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers.[56]

The St. Mary's River Project/marine biology research[edit]

The St. Mary's River Project, which is a part of the Muldoon River Center, is a state and federally funded marine biology research program,[56] administered through St. Mary's College of Maryland.[56]

Using the St. Mary's River and other nearby waters as field laboratories, the project investigates and monitors the water quality and the ecological health of both the St. Mary's River[56] and the Chesapeake Bay. The project also promotes environment awareness and stewardship in Chesapeake Bay communities.[56] Students work and study in all aspects of the programs activities, including classroom and hands-on field and laboratory learning.

The laboratories and offices of the project are located in the Muldoon River Center, a geothermally heated and cooled building on the campus waterfront.

Geothermal project at the Muldoon River Center[edit]

The Muldoon River Center has a geothermal heating and cooling system,[120] with special pipes running 300 feet down into the ground, to tap the deep soil's energy management potential.[120] The system cools the building in the summer[119] and warms it in the wintertime[119] with an extremely low impact on the environment.

Display diagramming geothermal energy system underneath the Muldoon River Center[120] on the campus of St. Mary's College of Maryland.[120] The building houses marine biology labs and also the college sailing team.

The Slackwater Center[edit]

The Slackwater Center studies the current events, culture and history of St. Mary's County and other rural Chesapeake bay and Southern Maryland communities.[78][121] Its focus is interdisciplinary and it studies the region from both an historical and contemporary point of view.[78][122]

The center studies, records and documents as well as interprets and reports on current and historical life in Chesapeake Bay communities.[78][122] The center also has a public education mission. Students engage in historical research and historical interpretation as well as documenting oral histories[78][123] of living residents.[78] The center utilizes interdisciplinary collaboration[78] and also fosters public education and debate.

It also publishes the Slackwater Journal[122] and maintains an extensive archive.[78][17]

The center's mission statement says: "We aim to offer a closer look at the rich and complicated legacies of the past, at the social and environmental challenges facing the present, and at our collective visions for the future."[124]

Slackwater Archives[edit]

Preservational and curatorial roles are also played by the Slackwater Center, primarily through the Slackwater Archives and the Slackwater Southern Maryland Documentation Project.[78]

The mission of the archives includes preserving, transcribing, analyzing and interpreting:[78]

  • Southern Maryland Documentation Project (The only work and collection of its kind in the region that includes extensive oral history's of the region, preserving local history and documenting community issues still unfolding as current events in Southern Maryland).[78]

The project includes:

    • Oral folk life (folk culture) and oral history interviews of the people of St. Mary's County, Maryland and other Southern Maryland communities.[78][78][125] Includes an oral history collection of more than 2,000 folk life and oral life history taped & transcribed interviews, documenting the traditional Chesapeake Bay Tidewater cultures of Southern Maryland.[78]
    • Oral histories documenting the transition to modern St. Mary's County.[78][78][125] Uses oral histories of key historical witnesses and participants to document St. Mary's County's transition to its modern era.[17]
    • The Slackwater Journal.[78][122] The archive is also a repository for issues of the Slackwater Journal,[17] which has articles and interviews about the history, culture and people of Southern Maryland, past and present.[78][122][17]
    • St. Mary's College of Maryland oral histories.[78][125] Documents the growth and history of St. Mary's College of Maryland.[78][125]

Historic St. Mary's City Commission[edit]

The St. John's Site[126][127] (on the campus of St. Mary's College of Maryland):[127] One of the most historic spots in Maryland[128] and possibly North America.[128][127] The first Maryland General Assembly (the Maryland colony's first legislative body) met here,[128] one of the earliest laws protecting religious freedom was written and passed here,[127] possibly the first African American to serve in a legislative body in American history[129] served and voted here,[128] the first demand in America for a women's right to vote occurred here,[128] an early colonial governor lived here[128] and the first treaties between the Maryland colonists and the Susquehanna Indian Nation where ironed out here as well.[128]
Archeology museum[127] at the St. John's-Site on campus of St.Mary's College of Maryland.[127] With over 200 archeological sites within 2 miles of the campus,[130] St. Mary's College students of history, archeology, American politics, African American studies and also students in the Museum Curator Degree Program can take hands-on courses in archeological excavation (taking part in real life archeological digs),[12] as well as hands on experience with artifact analysis[12] and preservation[12] as well as museum curator work and historic interpretation. The Baltimore Sun has called the area around St. Mary's College "an archeological jewel."[12]

Historic St. Mary's City, which sits next to the college, is a State-run archeological research, historical research, preservation and interpretation center and an indoor and outdoor museum complex.[17] The area managed by the commission also includes a reconstructed colonial town and sailing ship, located on the historic site of Maryland's first colony.[17]

St. Mary's College and Historic St. Mary's City jointly coordinate programs of study[17] in archeology, history, museum studies, African American studies, political science and theater. This includes both classroom and also hands-on opportunities in archeological excavations, museums, and historic interpretation work.[131] including museums,[12]

The commission and its grounds are considered to be is a major center for colonial archeological research and historical research in the United States.[132] There have been over 200 archeological digs in St. Marys city worked on by the school over the last 30 years.[12]

All St. Mary's Students may also attend St. Mary's City's public access historical sites and all of its museums for free, year round.[133]

The Maryland Heritage Project[edit]

The Maryland Heritage Project is also a collaboration between St. Mary's College of Maryland and Historic St. Mary's City.[17] It focuses on the reconstruction of colonial buildings in the Historic St. Mary's City living history area,[17] ongoing development of St. Mary's museum exhibits[17] and also indoor and outdoor historic interpretation.[17]

This involves ongoing projects in archeological research[17] (including working on active archeological excavations),[17] historical research as well as management, preservation and analysis and interpretation of period artifacts and documents. The project also provides hands-on as well as classroom studies in archeology, anthropology, democracy studies, history, international languages and cultures, and museum studies.

The Historical Archaeology Field School[edit]

Archeology student working on an archeological excavation on the campus of St. Mary's College of Maryland. The college has an internationally recognized archeology program,[11][12] which it operates jointly with Historic St. Mary's City.[11][12]

St. Mary's College of Maryland and Historic St. Mary's Commission also jointly run the Historic Archeological Field School every summer[12][134] It hosts collection-based courses, beginner to advanced level archeological field training and also summer institutes.[135] The school is attended by students from all over the United States and other countries as well.[11][12] Many of its graduates now hold prominent positions in the field.[11]

The students not only study, but also work in many of the active archeological dig sites in St. Mary's City.[12] Providing extensive hands-on experience, the school teaches all aspects of professional archeological work, including working in real archeological digs, analyzing and conserving artifacts,[12] as well as cataloging, archiving and related historical research. The school has been in existence for more than 40 years.[11][12]

New Leadership for the Chesapeake[edit]

The New Leadership for the Chesapeake program trains student's in environmental leadership and advocacy as it relates to the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to leadership and advocacy training, classes and field work also focus on the biological and resource management issues affecting the Bay. The program leads to a certificate.

Chesapeake Writers' Conference[edit]

St. Mary's College of Maryland, May Russell Hall. May Russel was the second president of St. Mary's College, she served from 1948-1969.

A summer program that brings together notable authors, writers and educators to foster writers of novels, poetry and other venues.[136] Workshops in writing, classes, lectures, mentoring by notable authors and faculty; creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry are offered.[136]

Rising Tide[edit]

Journal of educational studies written by student interns and faculty of the Master of Education program at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Named after the adage "A rising tide lifts all boats."

The Boyden Gallery and Collection[edit]

The Boyden Collection is a 2,000 piece art collection on the campus.

The Boyden Gallery sponsors a series of year-round shows and exhibits showcasing student, visiting art and artist, faculty and also community works featuring a diverse range of themes and media.

Notable artworks[edit]

Some notable items in the collection include works of art by: Alexander Calder, Louise Nevelson, William Merritt Chase, Buckminster Fuller, Marc Chagall, Thomas Hart Benton, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, and Ad Reinhardt.

Art shows and exhibitions[edit]

The Boyden Gallery rotates between in-house, visiting and community art shows.

Student programs[edit]

St. Mary's College art students receive training and assist in curatorial management, planning and design of gallery shows and special programs.[137] The gallery also hosts all-student shows.

Young at Art program and exhibitions[edit]

Starting in 2014 the Boyden Gallery and the St. Mary's College of Maryland Masters in Teaching program entered into a partnership with St. Mary's County schools to foster and display works by promising local students.[138] The program involves St. Mary's College of Maryland faculty and students in working with talented local young artists. The program also sponsors a professionally juried competition and a special yearly exhibitions.[138]

St. Mary's College Archives[edit]

Baltimore Hall Library[edit]

St. Mary's Baltimore Hall Library subscribes to 1,000 periodicals in print and has access to around 20,000 in electronic format. Furthermore, the school participates in the consortium of Maryland public colleges and universities (USMAI), through which library materials from 15 other institutes in the University of Maryland System are accessible.[139]

Arts Alliance[edit]

Funds grants for faculty and guest artists during the year, gives annual cash award to students in the arts, furthers outreach on the college campus and within the outstanding community, and works on the development of the college's art collection.[140] The Arts Alliance of St. Mary's College of Maryland is also sponsors of the summer River Concert Series.

Athletic programs[edit]

St. Mary's College of Maryland has the highest percentage of student-athletes on Capital Athletic Conference's All-Academic team for 6 years in a row.

St. Mary's College teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Seahawks are a member of the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC). In St. Mary's College, there are 15 varsity sports:

St. Mary's Seahawks varsity lacrosse player in motion.
Varsity Teams
  • Fall Sports:

Field Hockey, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Men's and Women's Cross Country, and Volleyball

  • Winter Sports:

Men’s and Women’s Swimming, Men’s and Women’s Basketball

  • Spring Sports:

Baseball, Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse, Men’s and Women’s Tennis

Sailing program[edit]

Part of the Sailing Team fleet at St. Mary's College of Maryland.

St. Mary's College has three different sailing teams on campus, as well as a sailing club, and a windsurfing club. The Varsity Sailing Team and Offshore Sailing Team both compete in intercollegiate events around the country and occasionally in international regattas held in venues such as Europe. The Keelboat Sailing Team competes in racing events held by One Design or PHRF (Handicap) organizations in the Chesapeake Bay and other East Coast locations.

The college sailing fleet



Wind surfing The college has many racing-outfitted windsurfers.

Sports accomplishments[edit]

St. Mary's College of Maryland Sailing Team drills. The St. Mary’s College of Maryland sailing team currently holds 15 national titles[119] and the school has produced more than 135 ICSA All-American sailors[119][141][142] and also four Olympic sailors,[143] one of whom earned a silver medal at the Olympics.[144] The co-ed and the women's teams have been ranked first in the nation two years in a row.[145]


Drawing on students from many Chesapeake Bay communities, St. Mary's College of Maryland is one of the top-ranked varsity sailing schools in the nation.[119]

Awards and titles include:


  • 17 NCAA Division III athletic teams (9 in women's sports, 8 in men's sports).
  • The St. Mary's College Men's basketball team has been a notable team since the 2007–08 season, winning the Capitol Athletic Conference title 5 times, and making 5 NCAA Division III tournament appearances, including reaching the Sweet 16 in 2008 and 2010, and the Elite 8 in 2011 and 2013.
  • In the spring of 2008, St. Mary's Men's Basketball team was ranked 24th in the nation after making an appearance at the 2007-2008 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament.[146]


St. Mary's athletics are also recognized for its storied varsity baseball team.

Student life[edit]

Student body[edit]

The school has 1,901 undergraduate students[4] and 32 graduate students[2][4]

More than 1,600 students live on campus and in traditional-style residence halls and about 300 students commute


On campus living includes dorms. suites, apartments, and townhouses. Within the residences there are four living-learning centers on campus: an International Languages & Cultures (ILC) House; a Women In Science House (WISH); a Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSX) House and an Eco-House. Furthermore, there are nine Substance and Alcohol Free Environment (SAFE) suites and apartments on campus, as well as floor of a residence hall. Other students join the IBA.

Student townhouses on campus

Student participation in governance[edit]

The Student Trustee, a voting member of the Board of Trustees, is chosen from among the students to act as a direct link between the Student Body and the Board of Trustees.[147] Aside from the Student Trustee position, students also participate in numerous other committees with faculty and other members of the administration.

Student data[edit]

As of fall 2013

  • the college had 1,901 undergraduate students.[2][4]
  • There were 32 graduate students[2][4]

As of fall 2012 (the following data runs on a different reporting cycle than the data above)--

  • 59% of students were female, 41% male.[2]
    • 12% of students were from out of state.[2]
    • 97% of undergraduate students attended full-time.[2]
    • 76% of students were Caucasian, 7% were African-American, 4% were biracial or multiracial, 5% were Hispanic, 2% were Asian, 3% were of undetermined ethnicity, 0% were American Indian or Alaskan Native, and 2% were nonresident international students.[2]
    • 19% of students were of minority heritage from any group,[2] not including the percentage of nonresident international students who may also be minorities in the United States.[2]
    • Thirty-seven countries are represented among the students.
  • The student:faculty ratio was 10 to 1[2] one of the lowest student faculty ratios for a public college in the United States.[2] It is also among the lowest when compared to private colleges.[2]

Student clubs[edit]

St. Mary's College hosts more than 100 student-run, SGA-sponsored clubs.[148]

Residence organizations[edit]

Campus commons, St. Mary's College of Maryland.

The majority of the on-campus student population lives in traditional college dormitories, group suite apartments and townhouses; 85% of students live on campus.

St. Mary's does not have any social sororities or fraternities. Instead, part of its student residences run on a house system. Each house has its own educational theme, so residents may form community around shared interests.

Campus residence houses include:

  • International Languages & Cultures (ILC) House
  • Women In Science House (WISH)
  • Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSX) House
  • Eco-House
  • Furthermore, there are nine Substance and Alcohol-Free Environment (SAFE) suites and apartments on campus, as well as the entire floor of a residence hall.

On-campus traditions and events[edit]

  • Signing of the book: New students attend a convocation ceremony at the State House of 1634 in Historic St. Mary's City. Afterwards students are invited to sign the President's book.
  • Hallow-Greens, which takes place on a weekend near Halloween, is an annual all-student costume event.
  • Mardi-Greens, occurs the weekend near Mardi Gras, is an annual all-student celebration.
  • The Great Bamboo Boat Race takes place during Homecoming/Parent's Weekend. Teams must make a boat entirely out of materials provided for them (bamboo, sheet plastic, twine, and duct tape) and race it in a small loop on the St. Mary's River by the college boathouse and docks. The bamboo is harvested from the campus bamboo forest, where it is considered an invasive species. There are cash prizes for the winners. This event replaced The Great Cardboard Boat Race (an earlier incarnation using cardboard instead of bamboo) in 2010.
  • The Mardi Gras Parade, a senior tradition, where students parade around campus on the night of Mardi Gras to the beat of pots and pans.
  • World Carnival Weekend takes place late in the Spring semester. Clubs across campus are invited to participate in this event which celebrates diversity in music, food, and culture.
  • The Frisbee Golf Dorchester Open is held in the Spring (held for 37 consecutive years, a big alumni event, current students play as well).
  • Midnight breakfast is held during finals week each semester. Admission is free, and many students participate in karaoke during the night.
  • Black Student Union Fashion Show: is held yearly.
  • River Concert series: During the summer months the college hosts an event attended by thousands of people each year.
  • The Dance Club holds a Dance Show once per semester.
  • The Christmas in April Auction is an annual fund-raiser in which students, faculty, and staff bid for humorous items such as singing telegrams or cooked dinners from the Admissions staff.
  • Polar Bear Splash: an annual effort to raise awareness for Global Warming. More than one hundred students take a swim in the freezing St. Mary's River during this mid-winter event.[149]
  • Shoe Tree: For a lot of students, throwing a pair of shoes or flip-flops tied together into the shoe tree marks a memorable "first time" on the college campus—i.e. losing one's virginity.[150]
  • Natty Boh Hunt: On Easter, the upperclassmen prepare the Natty Boh Hunt by buying large quantities of National Bohemian and spray painting them and hiding them all around campus for the freshmen to find. An Occasional 40 will be bought and spray painted gold, known as a Golden 40.
  • May Day Bicycle Streak: On May 1 (May Day) students streak through campus on bicycles. This represents freedom, especially for seniors. Clothed students stand on the sidelines and "offer support".
  • Friction Fest: Every April the SMCM Rock Climbing Club sponsors a huge Bouldering (rock climbing) competition called "Friction Fest" which is free and open to both students, staff, faculty, community and the local Navy Base members.

Seven Wonders

Black-eyed Susans, the state flower of Maryland.[151] Seed packets of black eyed Susans are given out at some St. Mary's College ceremonies and students are encouraged to plant them around the campus.

The Seven Wonders are seven notable campus landmarks. New students are inducted into the traditions of SMCM by orientation leaders in a tour of the Seven Wonders during orientation and it is a graduation tradition for the departing class to tour the seven wonders and recount stories the evening before graduation. Thus a student's time at SMCM begins and ends with tours of the Seven Wonders.
The seven "wonders" are:

  1. The Shoe Tree (see above)
  2. The Bell Tower
  3. St. John's Pond (see above)
  4. Maryland Freedom of Conscience Statue on Route 5 (a.k.a. The Naked Man)
  5. Garden of Remembrance Fountain
  6. 'Hidden' Grave
  7. Church Point
The Garden of Remembrance, one of the campus "Seven Wonders" and a popular spot for weddings as well as for students to study.

General information[edit]

Public charter within the State of Maryland[edit]

St. Mary's, although a state-operated institution, is independent of the University System of Maryland; it opted out of the system in 1992. However, in early 2006, St. Mary's joined the University of Maryland Academic Telecommunications System (UMATS), which interconnects the University System of Maryland with several other networks, including the Internet and Internet2 networks.[152]

School mascot[edit]

St. Mary's mascot is the Seahawk, which is a nickname for the osprey. These birds are native to St. Mary's City and sometimes they can be seen diving from great heights into St. Johns Pond, in order to catch fish.

Green initiatives[edit]

Goodpaster Hall[edit]

Goodpaster Hall, an academic building devoted to chemistry, psychology, and educational studies that opened in January 2008, was built to a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating of Silver.[153] It is one of few "green" buildings in the state of Maryland.[154]

Energy conservation[edit]

By upgrading fixtures, adjusting campus facilities operations and raising the campus community awareness about wasteful energy usage, St. Mary’s College is making progress in using energy more efficiently, containing energy expenditures and reducing its impact on the environment.[153]

Geothermal system at the Muldoon River Center[edit]

St Mary's Crossroads Path on St. John's Pond.
See Geothermal project at the Muldoon River Center above.

Green Energy Fund/student energy referendum[edit]

St. Mary’s College students voted to create a Green Energy Fund by raising student fees $25 per year.[153] The purpose of the Green Energy Fund is to purchase Renewable Energy Credits to offset 100% of the College’s electricity use and fund renewable energy projects on campus.[153] St. Mary’s College received the 2008 EPA Green Power Leadership Club award for their efforts.[153]

Recycling and composting programs[edit]

St. Mary’s College is expanding its recycling and composting programs.[153] Student volunteers have been collecting recyclable and compostable material from the residences.[153] Compostable bins will soon be available all across campus.[153] The College is looking into partnering up with local farms to develop a larger scale composting facility that can accommodate the significant quantities of compostable food waste from the cafeteria.[153]

Green cleaning products[edit]

St. Mary’s College is transitioning to 100% environmentally responsible Green Seal certified cleaning products.[153]

Sustainable groundskeeping[edit]

St. Mary’s College’s groundskeeping crews are at the forefront of environmental stewardship by implementing sustainable practices.[153] Their efforts include protecting the St. Mary’s River by developing green buffer areas, creating green spaces and wildlife habitat, using integrated past management and minimizing the usage of synthetic fertilizers.[153] SMCM has applied to the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.[153]

Campus composting[edit]

The college runs a composting system to handle the majority of its biodegradable waste.[153]

External links[edit]


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