Sancta Sophia College, University of Sydney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sancta Sophia College
Sancta crest.png
University University of Sydney
Location University of Sydney, F1
8 Missenden Road, Camperdown NSW, 2050
Coordinates 33°53′14.15″S 151°10′50.45″E / 33.8872639°S 151.1806806°E / -33.8872639; 151.1806806Coordinates: 33°53′14.15″S 151°10′50.45″E / 33.8872639°S 151.1806806°E / -33.8872639; 151.1806806
Full name Sancta Sophia College
Motto In sapienta ambulate (Latin)
Motto in English Walk in wisdom
Established 1925
Named for Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat, founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart
Principal Dr Marie Leech
Undergraduates 170
Postgraduates 128
Website Homepage
Alumni Homepage

Sancta Sophia College, or simply Sancta, is a Catholic residential college at the University of Sydney. The college admits female undergraduate and male and female postgraduate students. Dr Marie Leech has been the Principal of the College since 2008.


Sancta Sophia shortly after its opening in the late 1920s.

Sancta Sophia College was founded in 1925 as a residential college for Catholic Women.

The first steps to establish a residential college for Catholic women at the University of Sydney were begun as early as 1910 when social changes meant it was expected that more women would enrol at the university. In November 1923 the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Michael Kelly and the Bishops of New South Wales issued a pastoral letter that drew attention to the advantages of university education for the Catholic community and announced that a Catholic Women’s College would be built. The College was to be administered by nuns from the order of the Religious of the Sacred Heart, which had been founded in France in 1800.

The foundation stone of the Hall of Residence was laid on 26 March 1925, and the name ‘Sancta Sophia’ was chosen. Archbishop Michael Kelly was appointed Visitor of the College and, in due course, the newly elected Council of eighteen members appointed Reverend Mother Margaret MacRory (sister of Joseph MacRory) as the first Principal.

The first students moved into the Hall in its current location on Missenden Road, on 15 March 1926. Three years later, in 1929, the Hall was raised by Act of Parliament to the status of a College within the University of Sydney. It remained under the administration of the Religious of the Sacred Heart until December 1991 when the first lay Principal, Mrs. Janice Raggio, was appointed.[1]

The College opened Sancta Sophia Graduate House officially in March 2014, with 128 ensuite bedrooms - the largest single expansion in the College's history.


Sancta Sophia is a combination of Latin and Greek words meaning "holy wisdom" and also commemorates the founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart, Madeleine Sophie Barat, who was canonised in 1925. The College logo 'In Sapientia Ambulate' translates to 'Walk in Wisdom' which is the guiding principle for the College.

Student life[edit]

The College's Quadrangle


Being a University College academia is the main focus of Sancta Sophia. A program of organised tutorials exists for undergraduate students. These are organised within the College and undergraduate students can also attend tutorials at the other colleges.

The Chancellor's Dinner is an auspicious annual event at which the College community recognises the academic excellence of College scholars of high achievement. Prizes are awarded.


Each year the college holds an Informal and a Formal event as well as events for each year group. The Formal is a black-tie event held in second semester. It is common for college students to attend the Informal and Formal events of other colleges.


Students can participate in the college's choir or perform at after formal dinner performances. Sancta also competes in the Intercol Performing Arts Challenge (also known as the Palladian Cup) in the fields of instrumental, vocal, drama, art, debating and public speaking.


Sancta's undergraduates compete in the wide range of Sydney University Intercollegiate sporting events, which for the women is the Rosebowl Cup. The Rosebowl sports are played throughout the year amongst the colleges and include: rowing, swimming, netball, hockey, tennis, basketball, softball and athletics. There are also social soccer and social touch football competitions.


During semester time, Sunday Mass is celebrated in the College Chapel at 5:30pm. Students of the College are regularly involved in the Masses as readers, musicians, sacristans and altar servers. During the week, there is a scheduled Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration on Tuesdays at 6:30. A group also meet for Christian meditation on Thursdays at 4:30pm. Sancta Sophia's Chaplain is Fr. Thomas Azzi OP. All students of the College are encouraged to worship as a community and it is kept open at all times for prayer and personal reflection.

Formal dinners[edit]

Each Monday evening the College celebrates Formal Dinner. The dinner is a two course meal followed with a speech by the guest speaker. After dinner there are after dinner drinks and a musical performance in the Lower Common Room. Traditional formalities are observed and the students wear academic dress which comprises formal shoes, a skirt and an academic gown.

Each year an Archbishop's Mass and Dinner is held at the College. Every second year the successful candidate of the Archbishop's Scholarship is announced. The scholarship is granted to a Sancta Sophia College undergraduate student displaying outstanding academic achievement and involvement within the Catholic Church.

Other special occasion dinners include the Commencement Dinner, Alumni Dinner and the Mothers and Fathers dinners.

College Governance[edit]

Council and Principal[edit]

The Council of the College consists of the Chairman, the Principal and 14 other Councillors, of whom 3 must be priests.[2] The Council is responsible for governance of the College.

The Principal is responsible for the management of the College.

Student Committees[edit]

Every undergraduate student of the College is a member of the Sancta Sophia Students' Club. The Students' Club is run by a student-elected House Committee. The House Committee is responsible for planning activities on behalf of the undergraduate students. It is also responsible for liaising with the other colleges and carrying out general activities and business of the Students' Club. The members of the House Committee convene each week to discuss student matters of the College.

Graduate students belong to the Senior Common Room, which is run by the elected Executive. The SCR is responsible for the organisation of events and activities specific to graduate students.

Notable alumnae[edit]


  1. ^ "The Principal – Dr Elizabeth Hepburn IBVM". Sancta Sophia College web site. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 
  2. ^ Sancta Sophia College Incorporation Act 1926 (NSW)
  3. ^ News and Events, Sancta Sophia College, November 2009