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  St. Mary's Academy & College

The History of St. Mary's Academy & College

 

Timeline: 1869 - 1831

1869

Seeing the Indians gradually disappearing from the area before the flood of new white immigrants, the Jesuit superiors realize that St. Mary's Mission must change its orientation and prepare for its next great work. It's location in the very center of the country along the transcontinental railroad makes it an ideal location for an accessible boys' college, while its rural location would promote innocence in morals and stimulate religious vocations. Word reaches the priests here that St. Mary's is to become a college. Fr. Gailland writes prophetically: "Wherefore, Mary Immaculate, through the medium of the college which is to be built and the patronage of which she has undertaken, will undoubtedly through a long succession of years be the glory of the region and the honor of the Christian people, an issue which is the object of our prayers and hopes in God."

1870

First built as the Girls' Academy of the Sisters, it is presently the College and Administration buildingApril - Work is begun on the brick building that will house the Girls' Academy of the Sisters. This is the present College Building. The woodwork is ornate, the molded metal ceilings high. The roof bristles with chimneys from the many fireplaces. [The former locations of the fireplaces can still be discerned on some of the inside walls today.] Present use: SMC College and Administration building.

 

May - A charter is granted by the Kansas State Legislature empowering St. Mary's College to confer degrees and academic honors in all the learned professions.

 

May 31 - Work is begun on the building later known as "the Old College" [which used to be at the foot of the long staircase up to Loyola Hall].

 

October - Final payment is made to the Indians for their lands, a total of $525,000. It was a sad day for those Indians who did not bank their funds and were exploited by white opportunists, thieves, and gamblers. Fr. Gailland wrote, "It is the gloomiest page in the story of the Potawatomi."

1871

January 26 - The new College Building opens. The central block has been completed, a four story structure 80 feet long; plans call for other wings to be added (they never were). At this early date, there are 150 boarders, 20 day scholars, 4 Fathers, 1 Jesuit scholastic, and 17 lay brothers at the institution, and the campus embraces 1,334 acres (about triple the amount it covers today). Boarders are housed in wooden dormitory buildings (which no longer exist). As we will see, great things will come from small beginnings.

1873 - 1874

St. Mary's is a thriving college, but is still a mission school in many ways; just about anything and does happen. IN these years some of the wooden buildings are destroyed by fire and rebuilt - and the College goes on.

1874 - 1875

The first stone church is built on the south side of Bertrand Street, a little east of College Street - directly across the tracks from the present Library building. The treasures of the old log chapel are transferred to the new church, including the highly-prized altars made by Br. Mazella with ordinary carpentry tools from crude logs brought to him by the Indians on horseback. Farmers bring their best-grained logs to make a beautiful wood ceiling for God's house. The new church has zinc Stations of the Cross and a zinc baptismal font - and parishioners makes sacrifices to pay for a new organ costing $700.00.

1879

February 3 - Fire! The College Building is destroyed by fire. The Sisters come to the aid of the Fathers and let them use part of their Academy building. The entire College building is destroyed on Tuesday, and classes resume on Friday. Soon, the nuns move the girls' academy into town, entirely giving over the buildings to the Jesuits. The foundation of the old College Building will later be converted into a swimming pool (see entry under 1886)

1880

Erection of the Van der Eerden building; a native stone building, named for the St. Mary's Rector of 1878 - 1881, containing classrooms, refectory, dormitory, and the college chapel. [It was located in the area of the present row of buildings behind or north of the present College Building. After the building of the Immaculata Chapel, this Van der Eerden Buiding would be torn down and replaced with the present Canisius Hall as refectory - where, in our time, the chapel is once again located.]

 

December 27 - Fire! Beginning in the sacristy, fire completed guys the new stone church. Some sacred vessels and Benitos's painting of the Immaculate Conception are saved. [The painting belongs to the present parish church of the Immaculate Conception in town.]

1881

Fr. Finn and the Dial Staff in 1894February - Arrival at St. Mary's of Francis Finn, S.J., Jesuit Scholastic, to teach in the boys' school. He will draw ideas for stories from his experiences here and use them in many books he will write for and about young people - the first Catholic fiction for American youth. In Tom Playfair, published in 1891, and other volumes that followed it, he would immortalize St. Mary's by using it as the setting for the story. Fr. Finn's books would be translated into many languages and St. Mary's would become known worldwide as "Tom Playfair's School." (Read more about Tom Playfair's school here.) One SMC student during Francis Finn's time here was Gutzon Borglum, the future designer / sculptor of Mount Rushmore.

1882

April 2 - Dedication of the present parish church in town, Immaculate Conception.

 

St. Mary's College grants its first Academic Degrees (A.B.) to three young men: Richard Dunne, John B. Cunningham, and Horace H. Hagan; four others are awarded Commercial Certificates.

1882 - 1883

In this year there were 242 boarders at the College - 130 in the Senior Division, 112 in the Junior Division. Tuition is $30.00. Frances Finn, S.J., was in charge of the Junior Sodality.

1883

Erection of the "Classroom Building" (Coppens Hall). It is built of native stone at the cost of $16,000. Referred to in past literature as "the Old Classroom Building," it is later named for Fr. Charles Coppens, Rector of SMC 1881 - 1884. [Second oldest existing building on campus, it was used as a "Library Building" during the Seminary years and also as the "Museum Building." The heavy north and south doors survived the 1879 fire that destroyed the original College Building.] Present use: Boys' School.

 

A steam heating plant is built costing $6,000.

1884

Under the direction of Rev. Daniel M. McErlane, S.J., (Rector from 1884 - 1886) construction and improvements continue at a good pace. Another building, called "The Flats," is erected between the College Building and the Van der Eerden building. [Both "The Flats" and the Van der Eerden building stood where Canisius is today. The Flats contained the small boys' dormitory upstairs, the "Philosophers' Rooms," and a kitchen / scullery below. Along with the Van der Eerden, the Flats would be replaced in 1920 with the present Canisius Hall.] You can read more about the history and present use of Canisius and Suarez here.

1885

Improvements and expansions are constantly being made on the campus: reservoir, windmills, sidewalks, landscaping, etc. Old structures are torn down; many minor structures, no longer in existence, are built. In '84-'85, stone sidewalks are laid, an improvement over the muddy conditions once described by Fr. Finn. The Reservoir on the hill is constructed and pipelines laid to conduct water to the buildings; two windmills are erected to pump water from the wells to the Reservoir. [We wonder if this is the same reservoir - or cistern - which was discovered in 1991 when excavations were begun behind the Immaculata Chapel walls, and which proved so indestructible that it was converted into a workshop.]

 

Further material progress during this time includes the purchase of a field containing a stone quarry; from now on the Jesuits can quarry their own stone for future buildings. A steam laundry and ice house are put into service. An outdoor gymnasium is constructed immediately north of Coppens Hall; it is an iron shed furnished with parallel bars and trapezes.

1886

The foundation of the original College Building that had been destroyed by fire in 1879 is made into a "Natatorium" (swimming pool), and will be a boon to generations of boarding boys on hot Kansas days. [When the SSPX acquired the campus, boys working as summer volunteers did use it, but it needed extensive repairs to be water-tight; these were not made, and during the mid-1990's it was gradually filled in and grass sown; today a square of trees and an extensive playground at the foot of Loyola steps marks its former location.]

 

The old log church of Bishop Miége has to be torn down. [Nothing was built in its place, for at this time the College had a chapel in the Van der Eerden building.]

1886 - 1887

Erection of the McErland Building named for the Rector of 1884 - 1886, and later renamed Suarez Hall, after the famous Jesuit theologians, the name it still bears today. This building contained dormitories, senior reading room, science room, and later, commercial classrooms. You can read about the history and present use of this building here.

1887 - 1888

Erection of the first floor of McCabe Building, later named for 1897 - 1907 Rector. It is attached to McErlane (Suarez) on the north end. This building was used as a gymnasium and had a moveable stage for plays and commencement exercises. During many years it was the Senior Gymnasium until the big gym was built in 1910. Later its east room was the Senior Billiard Room. You can read more about the history and present use of this building here.

1889

August 28 - Work is begun on the construction of the Infirmary (presently the Convent) and is completed by March 28, 1890. The 81 x 44 foot building with two stories cost $15,000, including furnishing. In it are wards, recreation rooms, pharmacy, kitchen and refectory, office for attending physician and dentist, and eight private rooms. In the heyday of the College there were resident nurses, and a student could get dental work done without even leaving campus. The original main entrance was on the north side; later this was reworked, becoming an elevator shaft - over the years, the Jesuits installed elevators in at least five of the campus buildings. You can view pictures and read about the history and present use of this building here.

1889 - 1890

A grandstand is built on the athletic field.  Baseball was in vogue at St. Mary's as early as 1871; "Father of American Baseball," Charles Cominskey, founder of the Chicago White Sox, was an SMC alumnus. In 1890, the Athletic Association was organized. Eventually the athletic field was 400 feet wide and one-third mile long, and included two baseball diamonds, two football fields, and a 440-yard cinder track, all surrounded by a bridle path. Tennis courts and a nine-hole golf course (now the city golf course) would also be part of the campus. Basketball, boxing, wrestling, handball, track, and billiards would all flourish at SMC, but football, introduced in in 1890, was "King of Sports."

1890

The Dial, a student publication, is launched, containing poetry, essays, and articles about the College, alumni, and faculty.

1890 - 1891

"Juniorate" building (present Library)A building called the "Juniorate" is constructed (present Library). It will later be called "Votel" in honor of the 1888 - 1894 Rector. Constructed of elegant pressed brick, building it cost $31,561.75. This edifice was first called the "Juniorate" because it was used by the younger boys. It contained a playroom, 120-basin lavatory, and lockers on the first floor. On second floor was a general clothes room as well as a Junior study hall. Third floor was classrooms and the Junior Library. The fourth floor, which no longer exists, was the College Hall, an auditorium with a stage, and later a Junior dormitory. In 1892, an ornate stone stairway matching the one on the College building was added to the front at a cost of $1,450. (It no longer exists.) You can view pictures and read about the history and present use of this building here.

 

Electric lamps are installed in study halls and a private telephone line is run from the College to the railroad depot in town, a real convenience! Boys arrive and depart on the train, which makes a special stop at the main gates of the College. The main entrance was located where the Memorial Arch is located now. You can  view pictures and read about this part of campus here.

1892 - 1893

Music HallA row of brick buildings are built running north / south approximately through the middle of the present quadrangle. These house a barber shop, shoe store, candy store, biology laboratory, Junior reading room and library, Senior billiard room, and music hall. Handball courts were also located in this area - perhaps the ones Fr. Finn mentions in Tom Playfair. The main - music - building of this group was distinguished by its round tower. All of these buildings are gone, apparently torn down some time in the early 1920's; the outline of their foundations can still be seen in variations in the grass extending from the sidewalk in front of the new auditorium (old gym) southward across the quadrangle. The handball courts remained until the 1930's when there was a tennis court located just north of McCabe Theater; at some point the handball courts were rebuilt north of McCabe, where they remained until the early 1980's.

 

Much is done to beautify the campus: walks and drives are laid out, flowers and bushes are plated, the dilapidated old houses used for the workmen are demolished and a statue of St. Joseph is placed on a pedestal between Coppens and the Juniorate. [Note: This statue of St. Joseph appears often in campus photos published during the Seminary years of the 1940's. When and why was he replaced by Our Lady of Lourdes?]

1893

A lake is excavated on the north side of the Quadrangle, adding beauty to the campus. [This lake would have been to the north of the present auditorium / gymnasium.]

1896

The Alumni Association is formed. There have been few alumni associations that could equal that of St. Mary's College. Numbers of her graduates had gone into professional fields or had become leaders in American industry; they used their funds to help endow their beloved Alma Mater.

1898

Second and third floors are added to the McCabe Building. The buildings in this area of campus (west side of the quadrangle) are called "Senior" buildings. The lower floor of McCabe [present Maintenance Department] was a gymnasium at old SMC, and later, in part, a Senior Billiard Room. The west side contained a senior lavatory with rows of sinks - at least 150 - a sink for each boy. The second floor of this building was a study hall with over 200 desks. Later this floor was converted into a theater with stage. In the 1920's or before, a movie projection room, with the most advanced equipment for the times, was added. As protection against fire danger from the hot projection lamp, the little room was entirely metal-lined, and vented with a stove pipe. The third floor, originally used as an open dormitory in the growing school, slept at least 80 boys in long rows of beds. Much later, it was divided into the tiny cell-like rooms found there in 1978. You may read more about the history and present use of this building here.

 

Note: At this time (late 1800's), St. Mary's educated boys from grade school through college. The whole complex was called St. Mary's College, but it had "Junior" and "Senior" divisions corresponding to the younger and older boys. As we have already seen, the "Juniorate" was on the other side of the quad.

 

The PowerhouseThe Powerhouse is built just west of College Creek. Its 100-foot-tall smokestack will come later. The building's curving west side conforms to the curve of the railroad tracks by which coal is delivered. Later, the plant was fueled by oil or natural gas. The boilers and engine of the steam heating system were enlarged several times, the last boilers getting so large that a man could stand up in them. In the Jesuit days of old SMC, when they generated their own power, steam heat was piped underground to all parts of the campus. When the SSPX acquired St. Mary's in 1978, it was not economically feasible to repair the rusted peps and fun the two giant boilers (which required astronomical amounts of natural gas), nor to pipe steam heat through the old underground tunnels; instead, individual boilers were installed in the buildings. See 1990 entry for demolition of the Powerhouse; bricks made there and stamped "St. Mary's, KS" were found when the Powerhouse was demolished.

1899

An observatory is built on "the hill." This building, no longer in existence, was in the area of the present water tower; in the 1930's there were also tennis courts just behind the water tower.

1901 - 1902

The number of students passes the 300 mark.

1903

April - The whistle of the train announces an important visitor: U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. The train stops at the College gates where a crowd of 2,000 have gathered; from the rear platform of the car, Mr. Roosevelt is introduced to Fr. James McCabe, Rector of SMC, and speaks to the crowd; the train pulls away amid deafening cheers.

 

May - Torrential rains create an historic flood on Kansas rivers and tributaries. The valley is under water five miles wide so no trains can come through. The creek flooding affects the College so much that the damage to the campus amounts to over $8,200 - a great deal of money at that time.

1906

December 8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception - At a mass meeting of the Sodality, Fr. C.J. Shyne, S.J., presents his plan: the students should endeavor to obtain funds from the alumni to build a fitting chapel in honor of the Immaculate Conception. The plan was to find 300 subscribers of $100 or more. It was entirely successful. [Fr. Cornelius Shyne (1861-1943) is buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in the Jesuit section east of the center circle.]

1907

May 1 - The rapidly expanding College needs another dorm; today on "Observatory Hill" the cornerstone of Loyola Hall is laid. The original four-story east-west wing with 100 private rooms is completed by October 7th. Three years later, a 60-room annex is added (north wing). Total area is 41,458 square feet. Named for the founder of the Society of Jesus, St. Ignatius of Loyola, it has always been called "Loyola Hall." You may read more about Loyola Hall's history a present use here.

 

December 9 - On a cold winter's day, the cornerstone is laid for Immaculata Chapel by Right Reverend Thomas F. Lillis, Bishop of Leavenworth, one of Bishop Miége's successors.

1908

October 18 - Permission is given for Holy Mass to be celebrated in the still unfinished chapel; Fr. Kuhlman, S.J., stresses in his sermon the necessity of building an Immaculata in the heart, one that would last for all eternity.

1909

May 23 - Immaculata Chapel is dedicated. It is built of native grey limestone, a jewel of Gothic architecture. The main altar of Italian Carrara marble is the work of the Joseph Sibbel Studio of New York as are the six-foot ivory and white Stations of the Cross. The Immaculate Conception statue is from Genoa, Italy. The magnificent stained glass windows are from the Franz Meyer Glass Company in Munich, Germany, produced by old glassmaking methods lost for centuries and rediscovered in the 1850's. [Note: The Immaculata was not a parish church; as the private chapel of a men's college (and later a seminary), parish functions such as marriages rarely took place there and only with special permission. Instead, the Immculata became known as "Mother of Priests" of which 1,000 would be ordained within her walls.]

 

RetreatantsJuly 25 - With the help of the Alumni, the zealous Fr. Kuhlman begins the important new work of lay summer retreats at St. Mary's, which until now have not been available between the Mississippi and the Pacific. Thirty-four men from diverse walks of life meet at St. Mary's College for the first laymen's retreat in July. From 1909-1923, 3200 laymen will make retreats at St. Mary's. (Note that the Jesuits had conducted the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius among the Potawatomi at Sugar Creek as early as the 1840's.)

 

Fall - Work is begun on the construction of the Big Gym (presently the newly refurbished auditorium), which will be completed by June, 1910. When completed, the Big Gym, with a clear space of 150 x 75 feet, can be divided into three basketball courts for intramural play, and features a fast stage for college theatricals. Magnificent doors, flanked by stone lions bearing the Loyola heraldic emblems, are hung in the main entrance in the great stone tower. Inside the tower are located the athletic manager's offices. Inside the tower are located the athletic managers' offices.

1910

Summer - Ninety-three men take part in the retreats at St. Mary's; the Knights of Columbus in their State Convention pass a resolution recommending the practice.

1911

Sunday, February 26 - The Papal Delegate to the United States, Most Reverend Archbishop Diomede Falconio, visits St. Mary's. As many as 2,000 persons, coming even from Topeka, gather at the College Auditorium in the afternoon to pay their respects to Pope St. Pius X's representative.

 

 

We pause here to summarize some activities and expansions of SMC during these great years:

The self-sufficient College had its own Infirmary Building (present Convent) with resident nurses; dentistry was done right on campus. The creamery was located in one of the stone buildings just behind the Powerhouse.

In the areas of academics and sports, St. Mary's College had an excellent reputation. College life featured Literary Societies, Philalethic (oratorical) Society, College Band, Glee Club, College Orchestra, Debating Society, Drama Clubs.

Acolythical SocietyOf course, spiritual organizations played a prominent role in college life. As in all Jesuit institutions, the Sodality of Our Lady was very important at SMC (75% of the student body belonged). Founded by the Society of Jesus and approved by the Holy See, it aimed at fostering an ardent devotion, reverence, and filial love towards the Blessed Virgin Mary, and under her protection, its members strove to be good Catholics, sanctifying themselves according to their state in life, zealous to save and sanctify their neighbor, do works of charity, and defend the Church against the attacks of the wicked. Sodalists' spiritual life included Mass, mental prayer, Rosary, and daily examination of conscience. Their apostolate included the teaching of catechism, visiting the sick and the imprisoned, organizing Catholic activities for children and encouraging a deeper Catholic life among their friends and family. At meetings they studied their Faith, especially the Gospels.

Other spiritual organizations were the League of the Sacred Heart (a reparation society), the Visit-a-Day Club (that encouraged prayer before the Blessed Sacrament), the Mission Society (aiding alumni who worked in the missions), the "Guard of Honor" or "Acolythical" Society (Mass servers), Knights of Columbus, and College Choir. Retreats were given to the students and photos show them walking quietly about campus after a conference, just as they do today; and breaking out into talk and smiles at the end of their days of disciplined silence.

The curriculum of St. Mary's College -- then as now -- was the liberal arts. It was laid upon the principles of the "Ratio Studiorum," the body of rules, elaborated by centuries of experience. To quote the Dial publication concerning the studies pursued in the College, "It is not the object of the College to train specialists, but to develop all the mental and moral facilities of the students by means of a liberal [arts] education." This goal of a liberal arts education was attained by the reading and study of the classics. As stated in the Dial, "It has been found by long experience that this is the only course that fully develops all the faculties, forms a correct taste, teaches the student how to use all his powers to the best of advantage, and prepares him to excel in any pursuit, whether professional or commercial." At SMC, the whole man was formed - intellect, character, and body - by the studies, the sacraments, discipline, and sports.

When the College was at its height in 1930, Bachelor degrees were given for Arts, Science, and Philosophy. Curricula were offered for teaching, journalism, and business. St. Mary's also offered pre-legal, pre-medical, pre-dental, and pre-engineering curricula for students who would finish preparing for these professions in other institutions. Sons of old SMC went on to become successful and well-known doctors, lawyers, teachers, businessmen, and most important of all, priests. This large body of alumni gave tremendous support to the school, enabling SMC to erect many of the buildings that make up the present campus.
 


   

1914

The Small Gym is erected. It has a clear space of 90 x 75 feet. The building between the Gyms is one story at first, and later expanded to three stories. In 1930 - by then the old Music Hall in the quad was gone - this building between the gyms was the Music Hall for the Department of Music. It contained offices for the professors of music and practice rooms for individual applied music. The Gymnasium Complex contained lavatories, shower rooms, and locker rooms for the entire student body, a large dressing room, and apartments used to lodge visiting teams. You can read more about the history and present use of the gyms here.

1916

Summer - Attendance at the retreats is about 320. (This number is duplicated in 1920.)

1917

Early Spring - Work begins on construction of the west wing of the Faculty / College Building. It is completed by the opening of the fall term. On the second floor (actually the third story in the European numbering system of this building) was the "domestic chapel" with stained glass window inserts and molded walls made of copper sheeting; the room to the north of it was used as a sacristy. The ceilings in the new wing were of molded metal as in the old wing.

 

During the 1920's era, this building was also known as the "Administration Building." On the ground floor, southwest corner, was the accounting office. The building housed the offices of the President, the Dean of Discipline, the Registrar, the Treasurer, the Bursar, and the Business Manager, and provided living quarters for many of the Jesuit faculty members, as well as a special research library for professors on the third floor. So it came to be called the "Faculty Building" - a name that stuck even after the arrival of the SSPX to St. Mary's. You may read more about the history and present use of this building here.

1920

Once the refectory, now Assumption ChapelSpring - the old "Flats" and Van der Eerden buildings are torn down and work begins on a new Refectory and Science Hall - the present Canisius Hall. It is finished in time for the fall term. It is a three story edifice with a facade of irregular native stone, a frontage of 107 feet, and a depth of 130 feet. The Gothic architecture harmonizes with the Immaculata Chapel and the Gym. You may read more about the history and present use of this building here.

1923

The Memorial Arch is dedicated, "To the Sons of St. Mary's College who Served their Country in the World War, the Alumni Have Built this Memorial." During the Great War, World War I, the Student Army Training Corps was established at St. Mary's and the campus was crowded with students in STAC uniforms. Over 700 of St. Mary's "old boys" (alumni) served in the War, and no less than 19 paid with the supreme sacrifice of their lives. One of these, Lieutenant William T. Fitzsimons, of the Medical Corps (SMC class of '60) was the first American officer to die in France, September 7, 1917. On Memorial day of 1922, a fountain honoring him was dedicated in Kansas City, Missouri, which can still be seen on the Paseo, a short distance from Interstate 70. Meanwhile at St. Mary's, a magnificent Memorial Arch, gift of the College Alumni, was constructed at the main gateway of the College to honor Lt. Fitzsimons and all St. Mary's sons who fought in the War. Dedicated during the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of St. Mary's in 1923, with Kansas Governor Jonathan M. Davis as a special guest, the Arch is surmounted by the Cross, and bears on either side of the inscription the old SMC seal, one commemorating the founding of the Society of Jesus in 1540, the other the founding of St. Mary's in 1848.

 

During the Diamond Jubilee Celebration is held the largest meeting every of the very active Alumni Association of St. Mary's who are asked to help St. Mary's generate badly needed funds through an endowment campaign. The goal of this ambitious drive, of which Alumnus Charles Comiskey, founder of the Chicago White Sox, is honorary president, is to raise $750,000. These funds will help St. Mary's meet the requirements of the North Central Association of Colleges (to which SMC was admitted June 17, 1922; St. Mary's was also fully accredited to KU), to transform the old "classroom building" (Coppens Hall) into a central library, to set up scholarships for worthy and needy boys, and to build two new major buildings: a science hall and a classroom building. The 1923 Dial Annual predicts: "The next 75 years will see her [SMC] ranked among the highest institutions of learning in the country."

 

At this point, 3211 Catholic (and non-Catholic) laymen from 170 towns in 14 states have attended retreats at SMC since 1909, using this opportunity to balance their accounts in light of eternity.

1925

A group shot of retreatantsA report states that 59 retreats for laymen have now been given at St. Mary's with a total attendance of 3,570. The question is raised of setting up a retreat house which could function year-round, but this idea does not materialize. (A list drawn up in 1928 showed that one man had attended 19 retreats; three had attended 17 times; and two others, 16 times.)

1926

April 6 - Dedication of the magnificent new "Recitation Hall" (Bellarmine), construction of which was begun in 1925. Built in the place of the two structures proposed in 1922, it is situated between the Immaculata and Loyola Hall. Later named "Rodman Hall" for Rev. Benedict J. Rodman, S.J., Rector from 1922-1928 and the first SMC Alumnus to President of St. Mary's, it would, still later, be renamed "Bellarmine" after the great theologian St. Robert Bellarmine. You can read more about the history and present use of this building here.

 

The marble Sacred Heart and St. Joseph's altars are added to the Immaculata Chapel, the gift of friends and alumni of St. Mary's, as is the Father Shyne Organ, built by the Wicks Organ Company and installed in the Immaculata choir loft just below the Rose window. "Given in 1926 in honor of the B.V.M. and in grateful remembrance of Rev. C. A. Shyne, S.J., and the College Sodalists who built the Immaculata."

1931

With permanent retreat centers having sprung up in the area, the number of summer retreats given at SMC has dropped. Now, with the news that the College is to become a Seminary, two planned retreats are canceled, and only one last retreat is given in the summer of 1931. As a seminary, the buildings will now be used for training priests to give further retreats.

1930 - 1931

In the dark days of the great economic Depression, St. Mary's finds it necessary to close her doors as a college at the end of the 1930-1931 scholastic year when she is at her peak. An alumnus of these last years in Kenton Kilmer, son of Joyce Kilmer, the well-known American poet killed in World War I.

 

At the end of this last school year for SMC, there were 30 College graduates and 41 high school graduates. The College had 80 freshmen, 43 sophomores, 27 juniors, and 30 seniors, adding up to 180 students. The high school had 34 freshmen, 47 sophomores, 45 juniors, and 41 seniors, which amounts to 167 students.

 

It must have been with infinite sadness and deep regret that students and professors saw St. Mary's great work as a college for lay youth to come to a close. One of her alumni would reminisce, "The world will not see soon again a school like St. Mary's. As a school like St. Mary's. As a school she was sui generis."

Prologue: Early Threads in the History of St. Mary's
Time Line: 1827 - 1847
Time Line: 1848 - 1869
Time Line: 1869 - 1931
Time Line: 1931 - 1967
Time Line: 1967 - 1978

 

 

 
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