Marygrove College

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Marygrove College
Marygrove College logo.png
Former names
St. Mary's College
TypePrivate graduate college
Active1905–December 17, 2019
AffiliationRoman Catholic
(Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary)
Academic affiliations
PresidentElizabeth A. Burns, MD
Location, ,
CampusUrban/city 1,250 acres (5.1 km2)
Colors   Gold & green

Marygrove College was a Catholic tertiary educational institution in Detroit, sponsored by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It announced its closure on December 17, 2019, at end of the fall semester.


Liberal Arts Building

The college grew out of a postgraduate tutorial offered to one young woman graduate of St. Mary's Academy in Monroe, Michigan, in 1899. By 1905 it had grown to a two-year college for women and in 1910 it was a four-year college chartered to grant degrees.[2] It was then known as St. Mary's College. The college moved to its current location in Detroit in 1927, and at that time became known as Marygrove College.[2] When it moved to Detroit its president was George Hermann Derry, who was the first lay person to serve as a president of a Catholic women's college in the United States.[3]

In the decades after World War I, Marygrove College was an important local center of Catholic social action. Faculty members were chosen for their education, character, and faith, and President Derry encouraged each student to look beyond the prospect of eventual marriage and to become capable of "doing her part in the world's work in whatever sphere of life she may be placed". By 1936, the college catalog spoke in far more emphatic terms of female independence. In 1937, Sister Honora Jack became the college's first woman president.[4] The college accepted its first black student in 1938.[5]

Marygrove College was originally a women's college. It became co-educational in about 1970 during the presidency of Arthur Brown.

Glenda D. Price was appointed as the college's first African-American woman president in 1988.[3] Dr. Price retired in 2006 and continues to be active in Detroit's community revival, most recently with her appointment to the city's financial advisory board.[6][7]

In the final years several controversial events on campus occurred, including protests over the use of college facilities by the LGBT group Dignity USA,[8][9] and the opening of a Muslim prayer room.[10]

The final president, beginning in 2016, was Marygrove alumna Dr. Elizabeth Burns.

The college closed all undergraduate programs at the end of the Fall 2017 semester ostensibly to focus exclusively on graduate programs with a reduced staff and faculty.[11] It had around 1,000 undergraduates in the college at the time. On June 7, 2019, the school administration announced it would cease operation the fall 2019 semester.[12]

The contents of the library were transferred to the Internet Archive,[13] which imported the catalog into and had over 50 thousand scanned books online by March 2020.[14]

The school's chapel is now used by St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, a nearby parish whose building collapsed in 2018.


Madame Cadillac Hall

The current college encompasses a 53-acre (21 ha) campus. There are large lawns and mature trees. The Madame Cadillac and Liberal Arts buildings, by architect D.A. Bohlen & Son, are Tudor Gothic structures with stained glass windows, wrought iron gates, carved wood decorations, high ceilings, arched doorways, and carved stonework.


With the August 2017 announcement of the closing of the school's undergraduate programs, the school also announced that all athletics would cease after Fall 2017.[15] Marygrove College teams were known as the Mustangs. The college was a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing in the Wolverine–Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC).[16] The Mustangs also competed as a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA). Prior to joining the WHAC, Marygrove competed in the NAIA through the Association of Independent Institutions (AII). Men's sports included basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse (2013-14), soccer, baseball, and track & field; while women's sports included basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, track & field and volleyball. The college added golf to its list of athletic programs with the installation of a new golf practice facility in the fall of 2010. Marygrove's golf practice facility, designed by world-renowned golf course architect Tom Doak, offered a leading urban land use plan, incorporating golf practice and other athletic facilities on a small urban land tract. In addition to the unique use of urban land for golf, the Golf Practice Facility incorporated environment-friendly land use and techniques, including minimal disruption to current trees, and used recycled water for irrigation and natural pesticides.[17]

Accreditation history[edit]

Marygrove was first accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1926.[18]

Marygrove is accredited by NCA's (North Central Association) Higher Learning Commission,[19] the Michigan State Department of Education and the Council of Social Work and Education.



  1. ^ "NAICU - Membership". Archived from the original on November 9, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Tentler, Leslie Woodcock (1990). Seasons of Grace: A History of the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit. Wayne State University Press. p. 253. ISBN 978-0-8143-2106-5.
  3. ^ a b "History of Marygrove". Marygrove College. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  4. ^ Tentler 1990, p. 462.
  5. ^ Tentler 1990, p. 512.
  6. ^ Lessenberry, Jack. "Digital response to Detroit's blight problem". Traverse City Record-Eagle. Archived from the original on 2014-02-17. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  7. ^ Welch, Sherri (May 30, 2012). "Retired Marygrove president's career advanced - with a bit of a nudge". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  8. ^ Drake, Tim (May 2, 2013). "Family Group Asks Archbishop to Ban Homosexual Activists Mass at Marygrove College". Catholic Education Daily. Archived from the original on 2014-02-17.
  9. ^ Duddy-Burke, Marianne (February 22, 2014). "Dignity/Detroit's 39th Anniversary: Pride and Protest". Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  10. ^ Archbold, Matthew (January 20, 2014). "Marygrove College Adds Muslim Prayer Room to Campus". Catholic Education Daily. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22.
  11. ^ "Marygrove College to Transition to a Graduate Educational Institution in 2018" (Press release). Marygrove College. August 9, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  12. ^ Haddad, Ken (June 12, 2019). "Marygrove College to close in December after 92 years in Detroit". WDIV News. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  13. ^ "Preserving the legacy of a library when a college closes". Internet Archive Blogs. Retrieved 2020-03-26.
  14. ^ "Marygrove College Library Donation".
  15. ^ McDonald, Mara (August 16, 2017). "Marygrove College athletics shut down after decision to drop undergraduate programs". WDIV News.
  16. ^ "Marygrove Joins the WHAC" (Press release). Marygrove College. October 18, 2011. Archived from the original on October 21, 2011. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  17. ^ Lang, Tom (October 5, 2011). "Marygrove College in Detroit Debuts Golf Practice Facility". Detroit's Premier Business Journal. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
  18. ^ Tentler 1990, p. 569.
  19. ^ "HLC Accreditation". Marygrove College. Retrieved 2019-07-31.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°24′56.2″N 83°9′20.5″W / 42.415611°N 83.155694°W / 42.415611; -83.155694