Since opening its doors 100 years ago, St. Mary’s University (SMU) has been a model institution, honoring diversity, academics, and cultural progress. Within its first 13 years, the university shifted from a junior college to a four-year liberal arts college for men, providing quality education from a highly educated faculty. The Institute of the Brothers of the Christain Schools, an international Catholic teaching order founded in France in 1680 by Saint John Baptist de La Salle, purchased Saint Mary's College from the Diocese of Winona in 1933. By the 1940s, SMU graduated students with advanced degrees in law, medicine, ministry and science. In 1969, SMU began accepting women as students.
Core curriculum changes accommodated the growing number of students who were making their way to campus, and allowed for new degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Today, the university is a dynamic and vibrant establishment holding true to its Lasallian heritage of "meeting the needs of the people of the times."
As the year-long Centennial Celebration continues this weekend, students and their families will be treated to a Family Weekend like no other, filled with special events to commemorate the success of the university.
University timeline unveiling
SMU will kick off the weekend with a public reception Friday, unveiling a timeline wall mural of the university’s history, commissioned from Brother Roderick Robertson, FSC, professor of art and design.
The mural is divided into four segments that illustrate the four major milestones of the university’s history – the early years, beginning of the Lasallian character of the school, arrival of women, and introduction of graduate and international programs into the curriculum.
The colorful timeline includes the prominent "faces" of SMU and pays homage to those who have helped to shape the school into what it is today. The piece also includes the first photograph of the college, taken in 1912 by Florence Curran, who captured the laying of the cornerstone.
The timeline project was funded through the SMU Class of 2011 senior gift.
The time of the unveiling is to yet be determined.
Arts Commission debut
Starting Friday, the campus will be abuzz with theater, music, dance, and visual art during a three-day special event that honors the legacy and history of the university. The Arts Commission has planned a performed narrative titled “Let Us Remember,” which includes many voices from the school’s rich history.
The performance is a look back at the 100-year growth of the university through word, song and photographs. Director of Choirs Dr. Patrick O’Shea, and Director of Jazz Eric Heukeshoven will debut their musical score, performed by the SMU Concert Band and choirs.
Performance times are Friday at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The event takes place in Page Theater in the Performance Art Center. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for students and senior citizens.
Fall Frolic 5k Run/Walk
Autumn in Winona is one of the most spectacular displays of mother nature. The rolling bluffs are ablaze with hues of orange, red and yellow. The crisp air and smell of pine permeates the SMU campus. For 25 years, the Fall Frolic race has drawn more than 500 runners and walkers back to weave through the area’s most beautiful piece of real estate.
Saturday morning, walkers and runners will lace up their shoes, don lightweight jackets, and participate in a race around campus. Registration begins at 8 a.m. in the SMU Toner Student Center and the race begins at the baseball field at 10 a.m.
For just $8, participants get an official race shirt and a chance to enjoy the excellent bluff trails here in Winona. The annual event is free to all SMU students, faculty and staff.
The Centennial Celebration continues with many more events on campus that include parent and faculty receptions, Trester Trolley tours of Winona and an SMU soccer game.
For a complete list of events, visit the SMU website.