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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Coordinates: 35°39′25″N 105°58′37″W / 35.657°N 105.977°W / 35.657; -105.977
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Santa Fe University of Art and Design
Former names
St. Michael's College (1859–1966)
College of Santa Fe (1966–2009)
TypePrivate for-profit art school
Active1859 (1859) (St. Michael's College)
1966 (College of Santa Fe)
2009 (Santa Fe University of Art and Design)
1859–2018 (2018)
PresidentMaria Puziferro [1]
Location, ,
United States
AffiliationsLaureate International Universities, the Lasallian Brothers[2]

Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD) was a private for-profit art school in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The university was built from the non-profit College of Santa Fe (CSF),[3][4] a Catholic facility founded as St. Michael's College in 1859, and renamed the College of Santa Fe in 1966. After financial difficulties in 2009, the college closed and the campus was purchased by the City of Santa Fe, the State of New Mexico, and Laureate Education, and reopened with a narrowed focus on film, theater, graphic design, and fine arts. As Santa Fe University of Art and Design it became a secular college of 950 students.[1] The university closed in May 2018 due to significant ongoing financial challenges.[5]


St. Michael's College was established at the behest of Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy, who had arrived in New Mexico in 1851 to find that formal schooling in the territory was nonexistent. After establishing the Loretto Academy for girls in 1852, Lamy recruited the De La Salle Christian Brothers to open a similar school for boys, and St. Michael's held its first classes in the fall of 1859. In the 1870s, the school appointed a new leader, Brother Botulph, who oversaw its growth into an institution of higher learning. Under Botulph, St. Michael's began offering high school diplomas, and later, teaching certificates.[6] In 1874 it received a charter from the territorial legislature, making it the oldest chartered college in New Mexico.[7] In 1878, the school completed a new main building which still stands in altered form on Old Santa Fe Trail.

The 1878 Lamy Building originally housed St. Michael's College

Eventually, with different types of educational institutions becoming more sharply delineated, St. Michael's phased out its post-secondary courses by the end of World War I to operate strictly as St. Michael's High School. However, in the 1940s, the school's former principal Brother Benildus of Mary decided to re-establish St. Michael's College as an institution of higher learning. In 1944 he launched a fundraiser to build a new college on the existing campus which fell short of the goal. However, he got a second chance when the former Bruns Army General Hospital on Cerrillos Road was declared surplus property at the end of World War II. In 1947, Benildus managed to secure a portion of the hospital complex totaling 125 acres (51 ha) and 39 semi-permanent wooden buildings for the new college, which was ready to begin classes in the fall. By 1949 the college had over 200 students, and in 1961 it completed its first permanent building, Brother Benildus Hall.[8]

In 1966, the Christian Brothers changed the name of the school to the College of Santa Fe.[7]

In February 2009, the College of Santa Fe declared a state of financial emergency.[9] Attempts to merge with Highlands University faltered due to funding concerns, and the school nearly closed.[10] In September 2009, a public-private partnership that included the City of Santa Fe, the New Mexico State Governor's Office and Laureate Education (a for-profit corporation) purchased the campus, reopening the school as The College of Santa Fe, under different leadership.[11][12][13]

The name changed to Santa Fe University of Art and Design on August 30, 2010 after the school decided to narrow its focus on art and design.[14][15] There is no longer an affiliation with the Lasallian Brothers or the alumni of College of Santa Fe.

On May 18, 2016 the school announced that it would be acquired by Raffles Education, a Singapore-based private company.[16] However, the deal fell through, leaving ownership of the school with Laureate Education.[17] Citing "significant ongoing financial challenges," the university closed after the 2017-2018 school year.[18]


Campus with Fogelson Library Center

The Santa Fe University of Art and Design was housed on 60-acres.[19] Approximately 70% of its student body lived in college-owned housing.[20]


The campus is the location of the Greer Garson Theatre Center, which includes the Weckesser Studio Theatre, a black-box performance space, a dance studio, the Claire Stewart Williamson Acting Lab, practice rooms and costume shops.[21][22][citation needed]

Visual Arts Center designed by Ricardo Legorreta

The Visual Arts Center houses the art and photography departments. The facility is a series of interconnected buildings designed by Ricardo Legorreta.[23][24][25]

Garson Studios is a 27,000-square-foot motion picture soundstage facility connected to the university's Film School.[26] It has the largest permanent green screen in the state of New Mexico.[27] The facility was founded in 1989 by actress and College of Santa Fe patron Greer Garson. According to the school, Garson Studios has been the filming location of over 30 films, which collectively have been nominated for 20 Academy Awards, with 5 wins.[28][29][30] Students from all programs are eligible to intern on films produced at Garson Studios.[31]

The Screen is a cinematheque with seating for 165. It screens international, artistic, and independent films, and also streams performances of operas, ballets, and plays via satellite. The theater is open to the public.

Post-closure redevelopment plans[edit]

In late November 2022 the Santa Fe Mayor and City Council approved a legislative package that would rezone the campus to mixed use and adopted a master plan that includes 1,100 housing units.[32]


Santa Fe University of Art and Design was accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.[33]

The college offered degrees in arts management, contemporary music, creative writing, digital arts, film, graphic design, performing arts, photography, and studio art.

In 2012 the school began collaborating with actor Robert Redford to offer a full-ride Unique Voice scholarship for indigenous people, as well as several Emerging Artist Scholarships.[34][35][36][37]

Notable alumni[edit]

St. Michael's College[edit]

College of Santa Fe[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

  • Matt Donovan, Chair, Creative Writing and Literature. Recipient of the 2010 Whiting Writers’ Award.[55]
  • Chris Eyre, Chair, The Film School. Recipient of Peabody and Emmy awards for his work as a filmmaker.[56][57]
  • Jon Jory, President's Chair, Performing Arts Department. Member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame; recipient of the National Theatre Conference Award and the American Theatre Association's Distinguished Career Award.[citation needed]
  • Tony O'Brien, Chair, Marion Center of Photographic Arts. Photojournalist. In 1990, O'Brien won the first Eliot Porter Foundation Grant.
  • Anne Valente, Creative Writing and Literature. Recipient of the 2011 Dzanc Books Short Story Prize
  • Susan York, Installation art and Ceramics. Sculptor.[58]
  • Horace Alexander Young, Chair, Contemporary Music Program. saxophonist and flute player


  1. ^ Source says Lujan graduated from the College of Santa Fe in 1950, which at that time was known as St. Michael's College


  1. ^ a b "Santa Fe University of Art and Design". Peterson's. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  2. ^ Sharpe, Tom (13 December 2009). "For Christian Brothers, it's the end of an era at College of Santa Fe". New Mexican. Archived from the original on 3 August 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  3. ^ Levin, Jennifer (May 4, 2018). "CSF is dead. Long live CSF". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved 16 July 2019. I chose CSF because it offered a bachelor's degree in creative writing and it was far away.
  4. ^ "College of Santa Fe Deal Falls Through". Santa Fe Reporter. November 29, 2008. Retrieved 16 July 2019. Negotiations have been contractually exlusive [sic] with Laureate during an extended period of due diligence making it unlikely that CSF has other courters waiting in the wings.
  5. ^ "Official Statement - Santa Fe University of Art and Design" (PDF). Santa Fe University of Art and Design. 2017. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  6. ^ "Mission and History". St. Michael's High School. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Colleges and Universities, City of Santa Fe Economic Development
  8. ^ "St. Michael's College Steeped in SF History". Santa Fe New Mexican. May 28, 1961. Retrieved March 15, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "College of Santa Fe Declares Financial Emergency - Graduate Students - The Chronicle of Higher Education". Chronicle.com. 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  10. ^ "College of Santa Fe Says It Will Close - Graduate Students - The Chronicle of Higher Education". Chronicle.com. 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  11. ^ Hay, Kiera (26 November 2012). "College of Santa Fe Deferred Maintenance Fund Depleted". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  12. ^ College of Santa Fe Saved by City Deal With Laureate Education, The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 30, 2009
  13. ^ An update/correction on the College of Santa Fe, Changing Higher Education, Feb 10, 2010
  14. ^ O'Donnell, Bill. "History of the College of Santa Fe - Featuring Christian Brother Luke Roney, FSC, Ph.d". Documentary, Interview. Santa Fe Institute for Spirituality TV. Archived from the original on 10 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  15. ^ Richardson to welcome CSF students Archived 2012-03-19 at the Wayback Machine, Associated Press, Sept. 21, 2009
  16. ^ "Agreement with Raffles Education Corporation Limited to Become Part of its Global Network Announced (press release)". Santa Fe University of Art and Design. Retrieved 2016-05-23.
  17. ^ "SFUAD students shocked at news of school closure". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 2017-04-16.
  18. ^ Santa Fe University of Art and Design (2017). "Transfer/Teach Out Information". Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  19. ^ "Santa Fe University of Art and Design". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  20. ^ "Santa Fe University of Art and Design". Peterson's. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  21. ^ "Greer Garson Theatre : Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau". Santafe.org. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
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  23. ^ Villela, Khristaan. "Ricardo Legorreta". Adobeairstream.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  24. ^ "'Ricardo Legorreta and Santa Fe' Tribute Event". ArchDaily. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  25. ^ ""Ricardo Legorreta and Santa Fe" Weekend". Sfai.org. Archived from the original on 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  26. ^ "Film & TV - Garson Studios". Garson Studios. 10 January 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  27. ^ Bunish, Christine (September 3, 2013). "Studios and Soundstages". Markee Magazine.
  28. ^ "New A&E TV Series Filmed at SFUAD's Garson Studios - Santa Fe - Live, Work, Play, Stay". Santa Fe. 2012-02-23. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  29. ^ "Garson Studios". Garson Studios. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  30. ^ "Garson Studios lands '2 Guns' production work - Albuquerque Business First". Bizjournals.com. 2012-08-09. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  31. ^ Students in All Departments Are Now Eligible to Intern on Film Productions, Press release, February 15, 2011
  32. ^ Oxford, Andrew (December 1, 2022). "Midtown Movement". Santa Fe Reporter. Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  33. ^ "The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association". Ncahlc.org. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
  34. ^ "Robert Redford sponsors Santa Fe U. scholarships". Variety. 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  35. ^ "Robert Redford Launches Scholarship Program with Santa Fe University of Art and Design - BWWVisual ArtsWorld". Art.broadwayworld.com. 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  36. ^ "Robert Redford teams up with Santa Fe school on scholarships". KOB.com. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  37. ^ Lehman, Daniel (2012-12-05). "Robert Redford Supporting New N.M. Scholarships". Backstage. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  38. ^ "LARRAZOLO, Octaviano Ambrosio, (1859 - 1930)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. United States Government. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  39. ^ Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. "LUJÁN, Manuel, Jr., (1928 - )". Government online publication. U.S. Congress. Retrieved 11 March 2014. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  40. ^ O'Leary, Devin (June 7, 2018). "Film Interview: From Here to Hereditary". Alibi. Archived from the original on June 14, 2018.
  41. ^ Wloszczyna, Susan (June 7, 2018). "Writer/Director Ari Aster on his Terrifying Debut Hereditary". Motion Picture Association of America. Archived from the original on July 4, 2018.
  42. ^ "Q&A with Soul Food's Rockmond Dunbar". City Alert. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  43. ^ "Full Biography". Huelskamp.house.gov. Archived from the original on September 4, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  44. ^ "Annie Lederman's troubled past has helped her forge a great stand-up career". Irish Examiner. July 26, 2016. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  45. ^ Gomez, Adrian. "Back where it started: Former College of Santa Fe student and Grammy-winning rapper back in the 505". www.abqjournal.com. Retrieved 2018-05-20.
  46. ^ "Alissa Moreno". IAC Music. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  47. ^ "Roxy Paine". National Gallery of Art. Archived from the original on August 13, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  48. ^ Pfeifle, Sam (December 2, 2005). "Catching up with the original voice of Aeon Flux". Portland Phoenix. Archived from the original on March 16, 2006. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  49. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart.
  50. ^ Young, David. "Oscar-nominated Homewood alumnus shares story". The Homewood Tricorne. Retrieved 2023-03-13.
  51. ^ "2023 | Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences". www.oscars.org. Retrieved 2023-03-13.
  52. ^ Eggler, Bruce (18 August 2007). "Oliver Thomas remains more than a crook, many say". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  53. ^ "Michael Tyburski". IMDb. Retrieved 2019-07-01.
  54. ^ Chacón, Daniel J. (July 18, 2017). "City Hall fresco cover-up blamed on poor communication". Santa Fe New Mexican. The New Mexican. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  55. ^ "MATT DONOVAN". Whiting Foundation. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  56. ^ "The Work is the Reward: Chris Eyre on Hide Away". Filmmaker Magazine. 12 July 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  57. ^ "Episode 2: Tecumseh's Vision". PBS. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
  58. ^ "NM artist displays minimal sculptures alongside Georgia O'Keeffe masterpieces". Albuquerque Journal. 2017-09-01.

External links[edit]

35°39′25″N 105°58′37″W / 35.657°N 105.977°W / 35.657; -105.977