Time Line of
Alverno College History

 1874
The School Sisters of St. Francis arrived in Wisconsin.
 
Co-Foundresses of the
School Sisters of
St. Francis
 
 
Small Photo: Mother M. Alexia Small Photo: Mother M. Alfons
Mother M. Alexia | Mother M. Alfons
 
  This was the first Motherhouse of the School Sisters of St. Francis at New Cassel (now Campbellsport), WI.

 
Small Photo: Campbellsport Motherhouse
 1887 St. Joseph's Normal School, the precursor of Alverno College was founded to teach School Sisters of St. Francis to be parish teachers.  
 1890
A charter was received from the State of Wisconsin to grant degrees.
 
These are the ruins of the first Motherhouse of the School Sisters of St. Francis on Layton Blvd. in Milwaukee. It was destroyed by fire.

 
Small Photo: After 1890 Fire
 
This is the present Motherhouse of the School Sisters of St. Francis, known as St. Joseph Convent. It was built on the site of the old Motherhouse. The facility also housed Alverno College from its beginnings until the present campus was built and ready for occupancy in September 1953.


 
Small Photo: School Sisters of St. Francis Motherhouse
School Sisters of St. Francis Motherhouse
 
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1924  St. Joseph Convent Conservatory of Music opened.  
1930  Sacred Heart School of Nursing opened.


Small Photo: Old Sacred Heart Building
Sacred Heart Sanitarium &
School of Nursing
1933  St. Joseph Convent Conservatory of Music began offering a two-year program and was renamed the St. Joseph Convent College of Music.  
1936   St. Joseph Normal School became Alverno Teachers College.

 

Small Cover Image: First Alverno Teacher's College Bulletin
Cover of First Bulletin for
Alverno Teacher's College
St. Joseph Convent College of Music became a four-year program and was renamed again: Alverno College of Music.  
1946  Alverno Teachers College became Alverno College, a four-year liberal arts college.



 Small Cover Image: First Alverno College Bulletin
First Bulletin with the name
Alverno College on it
 1948 In January, Alverno College officially opened to lay women (except lay Music students who had been attending since 1937.)

 

Small Photo: Lay Women at Old Alverno Campus
Lay Women at Alverno
   
 1950

Alverno College of Music merged with Alverno College becoming a department of the College.

 
 
 1951 



Sacred Heart School of Nursing merged with and became a department of Alverno College.

Sister Augustine Scheele became the first President of the newly merged institution and Sister Jutta Hollenbeck became its first Vice President of Academic Affairs/Academic Dean.

For more information about Alverno Presidents,
click here.

Small Photo: Sister Augustine Scheele Small Photo: Sister Jutta Hollenbeck
Sister Augustine and Sister Jutta

Construction of the present Alverno College campus was begun on the site of the former Fischer Farm. The School Sisters of St. Francis purchased the land on S. 39th Street (in July 1944) in anticipation of the College outgrowing the facilities at St. Joseph Convent.



 Small Photo: Fischer Farm
Fischer Farm
1952 
The statue of St. Francis of Assisi was moved into place over the former main entrance on October 2, 1952. The cornerstone of Alverno College was laid on Sunday, October 19, 1952.



 Small Photo: Laying of the Cornerstone
Laying of the Cornerstone
  Work in progress on the chapel at Alverno College.

 
Small Photo: Chapel Under Construction
1953 
Alverno College moved to its present location. The original Alverno College campus consisted of the main administration building with its classrooms, chapel, cafeteria and kitchen; the auditorium and gym on the south; and Corona Hall (dormitory) on the north. All these buildings were interconnected.

 Small Photo: Architects' Rendering of Alverno Campus

 1954 
 
The new Alverno College Campus was dedicated on April 21, 1954.


Small Image: Dedication Dinner Menu
This is the menu and program for the Dedication dinner
Alverno Elementary School, a laboratory school, where elementary education majors would observe teaching at its best, was the next building to be built. It is now called Elizabeth Hall.



Small Photo:  Lab School Construction
Construction of Lab School
1956  A need for more practice rooms, music faculty offices, and a music recital hall triggered the building of the music wing including Alphonsa Hall.



 Small Photo: Architects' Drawing of Music Wing
Music Wing Drawing
As the resident population outgrew Corona Hall, the construction of Clare Hall was also begun in 1956.



 Small Photo: Clare Hall Construction
 
 
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1960 

 
Sister J. Dolores Brunner (then known as Sister M. Providencia) became Alverno's second Vice President of Academic Affairs/Academic Dean.

The Society of Fine Arts (SOFA), now called Alverno Presents, was founded by Sister Laura Lampe. It is the longest running performing arts series in Milwaukee.

 

Small Photo: Sr. J. Dolores Brunner
Sister J. Dolores Brunner
( Sister M. Providencia)
1965  Taking two years to construct, Loretto Hall, now called Austin Hall, was opened.



 Small Article Image: Announcing Loretto Hall (now: Campus Center)
Article from Alverno Alumnae Contact, October 1964
1966  Construction of the Nursing Education Building (now known as Christopher Hall) was begun. The building opened in September 1967.

 

Small Photo: Aerial View  Nursing Building Construction
Aerial view of Nursing Education Building Construction
1968  The School Sisters of St. Francis transferred leadership of Alverno to the first Lay Board of Trustees. Sister Joel Read became Alverno's sixth President.

For more information about Alverno Presidents,
click here.


 
Small Photo: First Lay Board of Trustees
First Lay Board of Trustees
1969 
The "September '69" program came about as a forum for discussion between students, faculty and administration to effect beneficial changes in the Alverno learning process. Ideas that sprang forth from these dialogues eventually became the framework for the Alverno Ability- Based Curriculum. Learn More...

 

Small Article Image: "September '69" Program
Alverno Today article on Sept. '69
 

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1970 


The Research Center on Women (RCW) was established.
Visit the RCW Exhibit to learn more.


Babysitting Service, (renamed Childcare and now known as Alverno Early Learning Center,) began operating.

The Career Services/Placement Office, now the Career Education Center, opened.

Sister Bernarda Handrup became Alverno's third Vice President of Academic Affairs/Academic Dean.



 Small Photo: Sister Marian Schreiner in RCW
Sister Marian Schreiner in the RCW

Small Photo: Sister Bernarda Handrup
Sister Bernarda Handrup
1971  Alverno's internship program, known in its early years as Off-Campus Experiential Learning (OCEL), started.
Learn More...
 
1973
Alverno's unique Ability-Based Curriculum was instituted. The Assessment Center opened. The first Visitation Day was held for educators to learn about Alverno's teaching methods. Visitation days are now held semiannually.

Visit the exhibit, "Unfolding Understandings a History of the Alverno Learning Process" to learn more.

 

Small Article Image: New Ability-based Curriculum
Alverno Today,
September/October 1973
1974  Robert G. Pitman became Alverno's fourth Vice President of Academic Affairs/Academic Dean.


 
Small Photo: Robert G. Pitman
Robert G. Pitman
1975 

The Alverno College Archives was created. Sister Joanne Barras was appointed as the first archivist.



 Small Photo: Sister Joanne Barras
Sister Joanne Barras,
First College Archivist
1976  

The Center for Instructional Communication (CIC), now known as the Media Hub, opened. Learn More...

 

The Business/Management Department was established.



 Small Photo: Early CIC
Early Days of CIC

1977 


Weekend College, now known as Alverno on the Weekend, was launched to reach out to working women who could not take time out to earn their degrees.

 

The Professional Communication (PCM) Department was established.


Small Image: Weekend College Press Release
February 25, 1977 Press Release
1978 


The Alverno College Auditorium was renamed in memory of Robert Pitman. Sister Austin Doherty became Alverno's fifth Vice President of Academic Affairs/Academic Dean.

 

Instructional Services began operation with Marlene Neises as director; one reading and one writing class taught by Sue Witkowski.



 Small Photo: Pitman Theatre
Pitman Theatre

Small Article Image: New Dean Sister Austin Doherty

Alverno Today, Winter 1978-79
 
 
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 1980

 
 
Alverno Institute (now known as the Alverno Institute for Educatiuonal Outreach), which enables the college to support and share at the national level, the teaching and scholarship of its faculty, was established. Learn More...
 
Telesis Institute, Alverno's non-degree program of continuing education, opened.



Small Image: Telesis Press Release
Press Release announcing Telesis
November 24, 1980

Small Cover Image: First Telesis Catalog 
Cover of the first Telesis Catalog

 1984

Nijenrode University, the Business School of the Netherlands, formed a connection with Alverno.




 
Small Article Image: Alverno-Nijenrode Connection
Alverno Today, November 1984

 

Virginia Wagner was named Dean of Students.
Small Photo of Virginia Wagner, Dean of Students
Virginia Wagner, Dean of Students

 1986
 
Carnegie Institute for Advancement of Teaching named Alverno's general education program one of the top 3 in the nation.

 

Small Image: Carnegie Press Release
Press Release from April 29, 1987

 1987

 


U.S. News and World Report ranked Alverno number one.


Money Magazine designated Alverno a "best buy".

 

Alverno College celebrated its Centennial.


 
Small Cover Image: Alverno Centennial Celebration
Alverno Magazine, April/May 1987

 1989
 
The 100th Commencement was held.


 
Small Article Image: Alverno's 100th Commencement
Alverno Today, February 1990

 
 
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 1990
 
An annual survey revealed that over 90% of Alverno graduates were employed within 6 months of graduation.



 Small Image: Press Release on Student Placement
Press Release on Student Placement
January 3, 1990

 1991
 
Enrollment topped 2500; 21% were minority students.
 

 1992
 
With the growing workload, the position of Vice President of Academic Affairs/Academic Dean was split in two. Sister Kathleen O'Brien became Alverno's sixth Academic Dean and Sister Austin Doherty remained as Vice President of Academic Affairs.



 Sister Kathleen O'Brien
Sister Kathleen O'Brien

 1994

 
Alverno earned the prestigious Hesburgh Award for faculty development to enhance undergraduate teaching.

The Alverno Commission on Education in the 21st Century delivered its final report, to be used in future planning for the college, to the Board of Trustees.



 Small Article Image: Hesburgh Award
Alverno Today, March 1994

 1996


Alverno's first Masters program-a Master of Arts for teachers/trainers, was approved, as well as a new major in Weekend College, Community Leadership and Development.

 

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded a grant of $750,000 to Alverno College for its "distinctive approach to liberal arts education."



 Small Cover Image: First Masters Bulletin
First College Bulletin for the
Master of Arts Program



Alverno cited as "A National Resource and Model"
Alverno Magazine
, June 1996

 1997
 
Alverno broke ground on October 15, 1997 for the construction of the new Teaching, Learning & Technology Center (now known as the Sister Joel Read Center).



 Small Photo: Teaching, Learning and Technology Center Construction
Teaching, Learning & Technology Center
Under Construction
January 1998

 1998
 
The Communication, Management and Technology (CMT) major was approved for Weekend College and the Environmental Science major was approved for Weekday College.


 
Small Article Image: New Communication, Management and Technolgy Major
Real Life (Student Magazine)
May 1999

 1999

 
The Teaching, Learning & Technology Center (now known as the Sister Joel Read Center), which includes science, computer, and multimedia labs, and a conference center, opened in January and was dedicated with grand opening festivities on April 17, 1999.

 

Small Cover Image: Opening of Teaching, Learning and Technology  Center (TLTC)
Alverno Magazine,
Spring 1999

Small Cover Image: TLTC Grand Opening Program
Program for TLTC Grand Opening

In September, Sister Austin Doherty left her position as Vice President of Academic Affairs to become Director of the Alverno Institute; Sister Kathleen O'Brien became the new Vice President. Zohreh Emami and Tim Riordan became Associate Vice Presidents.

 

The Alverno Diagnostic Digital Portfolio (DDP), a web-based electronic tool that allows a student to save and access selected key performances related to her learning as well as internships and volunteer work, was introduced in Fall 1999. Learn More...

 

  Small Photo: Zoreh Emami Small Photo: Tim Riordan
Zohreh Emami and Tim Riordan










 

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 2000

Alverno's Athletic program was officially re-initiated with the creation of the Alverno Inferno. Volleyball and basketball have been planned for the 2000-2001 school year. Soccer, softball, and cross-country running will be added later.

Global Studies was approved as a major.

The School Sisters of St. Francis, the College's founding Order, celebrated its 125th Anniversary.

 
Small Image: First Inferno Schedule
Alverno Inferno first season schedules
for volleyball and basketball
2001



The Alverno Archives Web Page was launched.

Computer Studies became a major area of study.


 


2002

Marketing Management and International Business were approved as new major areas of study.

"The Mug" coffeehouse opened in the Campus Center.

The International and Intercultural Center opened.



 

Small Photo: Opening of "The Mug"
"The Mug"
Alverno Magazine
,
Summer 2002

2003

Sister Joel Read, President of Alverno College for 35 years, retired.


For more information about Alverno Presidents,
click here.





Sister Kathleen O'Brien was named Interim President.

 


Sr. Joel Read at her Retirement
Sister Joel Read at her retirement,
May 2003

Small Photo: Kathleen O'Brien, Interim President
Sister Kathleen O'Brien

2004

Dr. Mary J. Meehan became Alverno's seventh President.
Her inauguration was on October 8, 2004.

For more information about Alverno Presidents,
click here.
 



Small Photo:  Dr. Mary Meehan

Dr. Mary J. Meehan, PhD.
2005

In Fall 2005 Alverno began offering a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).



Small Image: Quote by Judeen Schulte on MSN Program

Alverno's New MSN Program
Alverno Magazine
Winter/Spring 2005


Zohreh Emami stepped down from her position as an Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Zohreh Emami
Zohreh Emami


On November 8, 2005 the Campus Center was renamed Austin Hall in honor of Sister Austin Doherty for her service and dedication to Alverno.

Small Image: Alpha Clip on Austin Hall

Alverno Alpha
November 2005


2006

In Fall 2006, Alverno began offering a Master of Business Administration.

 

 

The Alverno College Campus received a facelift. The six month beautification project culminated with a dedication ceremony during homecoming on October 7, 2006.


Small Image: Alverno Magazine on New MBA
The MBA
Alverno Magazine
Spring 2006

Small Image: Alverno Campus Beautification

The campus beautification project included landscaping, signs, new athletic fields and a parking garage.



2007

The George Lucas Foundation named Alverno College one of the nation's ten leading schools for teacher education.


Kathy Lake
became an Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs.


Kathy Lake
Kathy Lake
2008
Clare Hall (student residence) was renovated during the summer of 2008. There was a dedication ceremony on October 4, 2008 during Homecoming.

 

Small Image: Clare Hall Renovation pictured in Alverno Magazine

Clare Hall renovation was described in the Summer 2008 issue of Alverno Magazine

Small Image: November 2008 issue of Alpha article on Clare Hall Dedication

The Clare Hall dedication was featured in the November 2008 issue of Alverno Alpha (Student Newspaper)

 

2009

On March 11, College President Mary Meehan received the Sacagawea Award from Professional Dimensions.


President Meehan receives Sacagawea Award
President Meehan receives
Sacagawea Award

 

Alverno's Research Center for Women and Girls (RCWG) was opened in Fall 2009 and Kate Masley was hired as its first director. Click here to learn more about Alverno's Research Center for Women and Girls.

 



Announcing Alverno's new Research Center for Women and Girls


Announcement of Alverno's new
Research Center for Women and Girls


A sixth sport, tennis, was added to the Alverno Inferno Athletics program.  
In October Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education,"singled out Alverno College as a shining star; a school that does an exemplary job in training and preparing teachers for the classroom.
Learn More...
 
The Alverno Childcare Center was renamed the Alverno Early Learning Center.

Alverno Early Learning Center

Alverno Early Learning Center


   

2010

 

In June, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Walmart Foundation selected Alverno College to receive a $100,000 CIC/Walmart College Success Award. The funds were used to create the promise Scholars program for first generation student support.


Two new programs of undergraduate study were added, an Asian Studies minor and a minor in Chinese Language and Culture.

 
Two new specialties in Alverno's Master of Arts program were launched: a Special Education Licensure-to-Masters program and a World Humanities specialization. Calandra Lockhart was hired as program coordinator for Special Education.

Calendra Lockhart and Alverno's Special Education Program
Calandra Lockhart and Alverno's
Special Education Program


Alverno began offering a new Weekday major and minor in Women's and Gender Studies.

A new Women's and Gender Studies Major
Alverno's Weekday
Women's and Gender Studies major and minor



2011
Rhonda Matthews Ware was appointed Executive Director of the Research Center for Women and Girls. Click here to learn more about Alverno's Research Center for Women and Girls.

Rhonda Ware  Executive Direct. of RCWG
Rhonda Matthews Ware in the Spring 2012
Issue of Alverno Magazine


Tim Riordan stepped down from his position and Jeana Abromeit became an Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Tim RiordanJeana Abromeit
Tim Riordan and Jeana Abromeit


Alverno began offering a new Master of Science in Community Psychology and Counseling.

A new specialty in the Master of Science in Nursing program: Family Nurse Practitioner was launched.
Learn More...

 
2012

Alverno celebrated its 125th Anniversary.



Alverno's 125th Logo

Celebrating 125 years of innovation in education




The Mug Coffeehouse received a needed makeover.

Mug Makeover in the Spring 2012 issue of Alverno Magazine
The Mug makeover in the Spring 2012
issue of Alverno Magazine

The National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs (NAC) announced that Alverno Early Learning Center has been awarded accreditation. As a NAC accredited center, Alverno Early Learning Center has been recognized as an early care and education program that exemplifies excellence in the care of young children.



 


In October, during Alverno's 125th anniversary Homecoming celebration, the Teaching Learning and Technology Center (TLTC) was renamed the Sister Joel Read Center (RC) in honor of Sister Joel Read.
Learn More...

 

 


October 2012 the TLTC was renamed the Sister Joel REad Center
The Teaching Learning and Technology Center (TLTC) was renamed the Sister Joel Read Center

Alverno's School of Nursing received a very generous donation from JoAnn Resch McGrath, a 1957 alumna of the nursing school. To recognize her vision and loyalty to the nursing program at Alverno, the college renamed the School of Nursing the JoAnn McGrath School of Nursing on October 6th during Homecoming.


 

2013

On April 18, Harvard's Dr. Howard Gardner received the inaugural "Sister Joel Read Outstanding Educator Award"
Learn More...

Sister Joel Read & Howard Gardner
Sister Joel Read and Dr. Howard Gardner. Gardner
received the inaugural "Sister Joel Read Outstanding Educator Award."



Alverno launched a newly-designed RN to BSN program in June 2013.
Learn More...
 


The Master of Science in Nursing program was expanded with a new Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track in Fall 2013.


 
In fall, golf was added as a seventh sport to the Alverno Inferno Athletics program.


Golf was added as a seventh varsity sport.
Brad Duckworth and Nursing
Student, Devon Gorman
on the golf course.


In October 2013 a BA in Management Completion program was begun.
Learn More...
 


On December 10, Alverno College announced a $30 million expansion and renovation project. Called Promise & Power, it is the largest in the college's history.
Learn More...



Promise & Power Project Overview
Promise & Power Project Overview


   

2014

On March 18 a ground breaking ceremony was held for the Promise & Power expansion and renovation project.
Learn More...


Early Construction of Alexia Hall
Promise & Power Early Construction -
March 2014

 

In Spring, the college rebranding initiative was launched.


Alverno's new logo 2014



The end of phase 1 of the Promise & Power expansion and renovation project was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the new La Verna Commons on August 25.
Learn More...

 

 


The Heritage Garden located outside the new LaVerna Commons and created to honor the School Sisters of St. Francis who have served Alverno, although not yet completed, was dedicated on October 3 during Homecoming.


 





© 2000 Alverno College -- All Rights Reserved.
Last edited on 12/18/14