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Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College
MottoVirtus cum Scientia (Virtue and Knowledge United)
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Established1840; 182 years ago (1840)
Religious affiliation
Catholic Church (Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods)
Endowment$9.5 million (2013)[1]
PresidentDottie L. King, Ph.D.

39°30′31″N 87°27′59″W / 39.5087°N 87.4665°W / 39.5087; -87.4665Coordinates: 39°30′31″N 87°27′59″W / 39.5087°N 87.4665°W / 39.5087; -87.4665
CampusRural, 67 acres (27 ha)
Pomeroy blue and white
Sporting affiliations
MascotOnyx (known as the Pomeroys)

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) is a private Roman Catholic liberal arts college in Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. Originally a college exclusively for women, it is now coeducational. It is the oldest Catholic college in Indiana and is known for the Mari Hulman George School of Equine Studies.


Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College was founded as an academy for young women by Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, who reached the site on October 22, 1840, after three months of travel. She led five Sisters of Providence, who had traveled from their convent in Ruillé-sur-Loir, France.

Mother Theodore had not been the first to step forward when the Bishop of Vincennes asked the Sisters of Providence to establish an academy for young women in Indiana. Although she had been decorated by the French Board of Education as a highly gifted and efficient teacher, Mother Theodore felt unworthy of the task of founding an institution of learning. Her superiors convinced her to accept the assignment.[2][3] Saint Mother Theodore Guerin was canonized on October 15, 2006, by Pope Benedict XVI, and is Indiana's first saint.[4]

In 1846, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College was granted the first charter for the higher education of women in the state of Indiana. SMWC conferred its first Bachelor of Arts degree in 1899. It was the first women's college to offer journalism courses and the first to offer degree work in secondary education, home economic, and secretarial science. As the careers open to women expanded, the college expanded into areas such as business, computer information systems, equine studies, psychology and nursing. SMWC now offers associate and bachelor's degrees in over 30 majors on campus and online. In 2015, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College announced that the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to become fully coeducational at its May 1, 2015 meeting.[5]

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is recognized as a pioneer in the area of distance education. In 1973, the college introduced one of the first independent study programs in the nation, the Women's External Degree (WED) program. This program served adult women who needed flexible schedules to earn a degree while balancing important family and job responsibilities. In 2005, the college expanded access to its undergraduate distance and adult programs to men, while maintaining its longstanding mission for the advancement of women's education. Today, through the renamed Woods Online program, women and men can earn a college degree in a wide variety of majors. In August 2012, the Indianapolis Business Journal recognized SMWC as having one of the largest online degree programs in the state. More than 800 are currently enrolled in the program from 33 states and all across the globe, including England, Greece, Hong Kong and Jamaica. In 2015, all programs, including the campus-based resident undergraduate degree program, were opened to both men and women.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College also offers three master's degree programs, open to both women and men, in the hybrid format. In 2000, the college created the Master of Arts in Art Therapy (MAAT) program, designed for persons who use or plan to use art in therapy or art as therapy, and the Master of Arts in Music Therapy (MAMT) program, which welcomes qualified music therapists seeking an advanced understanding of the therapeutic uses of music. In 2007, the college introduced the Master of Leadership Development (MLD) program. This program explores culture and creativity, leadership identity, ethical decision-making and critical analysis of research. All three master's degree programs use distance learning and intensive campus-based residencies.


"Virtus cum Scientia," translated as "Virtue with Knowledge United," appears on the SMWC seal and/or coat of arms.

Coat of arms

The college's coat of arms is a shield divided vertically in halves. The left field is blue, showing in the center a poplar tree on a hill or terrace in natural colors, with the first letter of the name of Mary; these latter devices are in gold. The right field is gold and shows three eaglets with open wings in blue, and beak and talons in red. The right half of the shield shows the arms of Madame du Roscoat, the foundress of the Sisters of Providence at Ruille-sur-Loir, France. The three eaglets are emblematic of the Holy Trinity, the motto of the du Roscoat family being "Trino Soli sit honor et gloria" ("To the Triune God alone honor and glory").

The left field is charged with devices symbolic or significant of some fact connected with the history of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The rayed star, charged with the letter "M" in blue, is an emblem of Mary Mother of God, the Stella Matutina, under whose protection Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, represented by a tree, places all its hopes for growth and life. The Latin crosses are emblems of Redemption and Catholicity. The crest is the count's coronet of the du Roscoat family and the motto "Virtus cum Scientia," is the one chosen by Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence in America.


The curriculum of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is based on a traditional liberal arts education. All campus students are required to complete an extensive curriculum of general studies in addition to their major(s) and/or minor(s).

SMWC is a member of the College Consortium of Western Indiana. This membership allows students who are full-time at their home institution to take one class at the other member institutions of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Indiana State University without additional tuition.


Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College teams are the Pomeroys. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the River States Conference (RSC; formerly known as the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) until after the 2015–16 academic year) since the 2021–22 academic year. The Pomeroys are also a member of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) and the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA).[6]

SMWC athletes make up nearly 30 percent of all campus students. The college currently competes in 16 intercollegiate varsity teams: Men's sports include basketball, cross country, equestrian, golf, soccer, sprint football, track & field and volleyball; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, equestrian, golf, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball; as well as hunt seat.

On March 16, 2021, after serving as SMWC's Athletic Director for 30 years, Deanna Bradley announced her retirement. Todd E. McIntyre, the current Assistant Athletic Director, will serve as the Interim Athletic Director beginning on July 1, 2021.[7]

SMWC will add sprint football, a weight-restricted form of American football that is not governed by the NAIA, USCAA, or NCAA, in 2022. It is one of six charter members of the Midwest Sprint Football League.[8]

Crosstown Classic

The Crosstown Classic is a hometown rivalry winter basketball game between SMWC and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. This annual competition has resulted in a 13–7 record favoring the Pomeroys. Prior to 2016, the game was known as the "Clabber Girl Classic", named for the famed Clabber Girl trophy presented by the Clabber Girl of Hulman and Company. The college announced a partnership with local automotive retailer Dorsett Automotive, changing the name to the "Dorsett Automotive Crosstown Classic".[9]

USCAA National Championships

The SMWC softball team boasts 12 National Championships including four consecutive USCAA National Softball Championships (2002–2005). The SMWC Equestrian Team competes throughout the year in both Western and English, traveling to about 20 shows per season. SMWC has been the site for regional horse shows, managed by the SMWC equestrian team members. In 2007, the SMWC Western Team was named IHSA Reserve National Champions.

In 2009, the Pomeroy soccer team experienced a "Cinderella" season, in which they entered the USCAA National Championship Tournament as the eighth seed (the lowest seed) and advanced all the way to the national championship before being defeated by Marygrove College. Just days before the soccer team brought home the silver cup from Burlington, Vermont, the first-year cross-country squad won the USCAA National Championship in New Hampshire. Also in fall 2010, the cross-country team won a second USCAA National Championship.

National champions

Softball (12) - 1997¹, 2000¹, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019 [10]

Women's Cross Country (3) - 2009, 2010, 2019[11]

Men's Golf (2) - 2018, 2019[12]

National runners-up

Softball (6) - 1997¹, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2017

Women's Soccer (1) - 2009[13]

Women's Cross Country (1) - 2012[11]

Men's Golf (1) - 2017[12]

Women's Basketball (1) - 2000[14]

Volleyball (3) - 2015, 2016, 2017[15]



On October 7, 2020, SMWC announced that they had been accepted as members of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and would become provisional members of the River States Conference (RSC) starting July 1, 2021. The college will be eligible for postseason competition during the 2020–2021 academic year and is scheduled to become full members of the NAIA on July 1, 2022.[16]

Club and intramural sports

The department currently offers seven non-scholarship club sport options; Competitive Cheer, Cycling, Dance, eSports, Powerlifting, Rowing, and Tennis. Each sport is guided by a head coach or instructor and some clubs may require try-outs for participation while others may have open membership.[17]

Intramurals offer both competitive and non-competitive options through both the fall and spring semesters. Students are able to participate in "one-off" events on and off-campus and "season-long" team events including laser tag, mini-golf, cornhole, pickleball, basketball, volleyball, kickball, home run derby, capture the flag, video game tournaments, and bowling.

Historic architecture

In addition to other structures, the campus includes six historic buildings owned by the college that date from 1913 to 1969: Guerin Hall (1913), Conservatory of Music (1913), Le Fer Hall (1924), Owens Hall (1960), Rooney Library (1964), and Hulman Hall (1969). The campus's 67 acres (27 hectares) are also home to the motherhouse of the Sisters of Providence of Saint-Mary-of-the Woods, whose buildings date from the 19th and 20th Centuries.[18]

The Indianapolis architectural firm of D. A. Bohlen, Architect, and its successors, D. A. Bohlen and Son; Bohlen and Burns; and Bohlen, Meyer, Gibson and Associates, completed "more than sixty projects" for the Sisters of Providence, including all six of the historic buildings.[19] More than twenty of the firm's projects, including Foley Hall (1860, 1897) at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Foley Hall was demolished in 1989.[20][21]

Campus architects retained its pastoral setting, while a "French influence reminiscent of Georges-Eugène Haussmann" is visible in the "straight walkways and open views".[18] The historic buildings on campus were representative of popular architectural styles at the time of their construction. From 1894 until the 1970s, three generations of the Joseph Bisch family supervised maintenance of the campus.[18]

Guerin Hall (1913)

Anne Therese Guérin Hall, designed by Oscar D. Bohlen in a Renaissance Revival style, is named in honor of the foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. Construction for the four-story brick building began in 1911; it was dedicated on October 12, 1913. Guerin Hall was the college's first residence for students. Its lower floor contained offices, classrooms, and a chapel, while its upper floors offered semi-private rooms, a new trend in student housing at that time.[22] The ornate front entrance features heavily carved Corinthian capitals on pilasters, made of Indiana limestone. Guerin Hall surrounds an open courtyard and a veranda extends across the front of the building.[23]

Conservatory of Music (1913)

Saint Cecilia Conservatory of Music was designed by Oscar D. Bohlen and constructed between 1911 and 1913, the same time as Guerin Hall. The Conservatory is located "on the site of the second Saint Mary-of-the-Woods village church and cemetery."[24] The three-story, Italian Renaissance Revival-style Conservatory was constructed of light brick and Bedford limestone. It has Ionic details and Beaux-Arts influences.[24] The Conservatory was dedicated along with Guerin Hall on October 12, 1913, and contained music studios, practice rooms, classrooms, and offices.[25] Cecilian Auditorium, which "seats up to 720 people on the main floor and balcony", provides a theatrical space that includes a proscenium stage and theatrical lighting.[26]

Le Fer Hall (1924)

Le Fer Hall, named in honor of Sisters Saint Francis Xavier and Mary Joseph Le Fer, two of Saint Mother Théodore Guérin's companions, serves as a residence hall for students. The Indianapolis architectural firm of D. A. Bohlen and Son designed the four-story, French Renaissance Revival-style building. Construction began in 1921. The yellow brick residence hall contains classical balustrades on its stone and decorative metal balconies; its twin towers and tile roof reflects the Spanish Revival architectural style.[27] Le Fer Hall's main floor initially included classrooms, offices, and a social hall/ballroom; rooms for students were on the upper floors.[28] Residence hall rooms contain large windows and hardwood floors; more than 75 percent of them are suites with a connecting bathrooms.[citation needed]

Owens Hall (1960)

Robert Bohlen, the last of D. A. Bohlen's descendants, designed Owens Hall in 1960 as a novitiate building for the Sisters of Providence.[29] Its modern design includes "spandrel panels of brushed aluminum" between the windows of its "vertical central bay".[30]

Rooney Library (1964)

The Mary and Andy Rooney Library, a contemporary structure built at a cost of $1.28 million, was designed in 1961 by Indianapolis architects August C. Bohlen and Melvin B. G. Meyer of Bohlen and Burns. This modern interpretation of a Classical-style building includes an offset entrance with a vertical bay.[31][32]

Hulman Hall (1969)

Mary Fendrich Hulman Hall, was designed by Melvin B. G. Meyers, president of Bohlen, Meyer, Gibson and Associates, in a Mid-century modern style. Its design is similar to Owens Hall and Rooney Library. The building's vertical design includes "spandrel panels and use of aluminum." The exterior's rough-cut stone in spandrel panels is classically inspired.[33]


Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and approved for teacher training by the Indiana Department of Education and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Additionally, many individual programs of various departments are certified by their professional associations.

Programs of various departments are certified by their professional associations, including American Art Therapy Association, American Bar Association, American Music Therapy Association, Institute for the Certification of Computer Professionals (ICCP), National Association of Schools of Music, and Society for Human Resource Management.

Notable alumni

Kathryn A. Martin, Chancellor, University of Minnesota Duluth


  1. ^ "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2013 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2012 to FY 2013" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. January 23, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 1, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  2. ^ "Sisters of Providence - Leaving France". Archived from the original on 2007-06-24. Retrieved Aug 17, 2020.
  3. ^ "Sisters of Providence - Landing on U.S. soil". Archived from the original on 2007-06-24. Retrieved Aug 17, 2020.
  4. ^ "Patron Saints Index: Saint Mother Theodore Guerin". Archived from the original on Oct 19, 2007. Retrieved Aug 17, 2020.
  5. ^ "SMWC makes coed decision - SMWC". May 19, 2015. Retrieved Aug 17, 2020.
  6. ^ IHSA
  7. ^ "Deanna Bradley to Retire from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College After 30 Years".
  8. ^ "New Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Forms for Sprint Football" (Press release). Midwest Sprint Football League. June 21, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  9. ^
  10. ^[bare URL PDF]
  11. ^ a b[bare URL PDF]
  12. ^ a b[bare URL PDF]
  13. ^[bare URL PDF]
  14. ^[bare URL PDF]
  15. ^[bare URL PDF]
  16. ^ "NAIA Accepts Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Membership".
  17. ^ "Club Sports". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ a b c "Historic Architecture of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods". Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  19. ^ Four successive generations of Bohlen architects worked at the Indianapolis firm (Diedrich A. Bohlen, its founder; Oscar D. Bohlen, D. A.'s son; August C. Bohlen, Oscar's son; and Robert L. Bohlen, August's son). See Lloyd B. Walton (1978-06-11). "Past Masters of Mortar". Indianapolis Star Magazine. Indianapolis, IN: 42, 44–45.
  20. ^ Sister Ann Kathleen Brawley (1981-01-05). "National Registration of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form: Foley Hall" (PDF). U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  21. ^ Mary Roger Madden, ed. (1989). A Journey of Love, Mercy, and Justice: A Pictorial History of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Celebrating 150 Years of Service Among the People of God. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN: The Sisters of Providence. p. 15.
  22. ^ Mary Roger Madden (1991). The Path Marked Out. Sisters of Providence History Series. Vol. III. Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN: Sisters of Providence. pp. 383–84. OCLC 27393597.
  23. ^ "Guerin Hall". Saint Mary-of-the-Woods-College. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  24. ^ a b "Conservatory of Music". Saint Mary-of-the-Woods-College. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  25. ^ Madden, The Path Marked Out, pp. 384–85.
  26. ^ "Cecelian Auditorium". Saint Mary-of-the-Woods-College. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  27. ^ "Le Fer Hall". Saint Mary-of-the-Woods-College. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  28. ^ Madden, The Path Marked Out, p. 519.
  29. ^ Madden, The Path Marked Out, pp. 573 and 583.
  30. ^ "Owens Hall". Saint Mary-of-the-Woods-College. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  31. ^ "Rooney Library". Saint Mary-of-the-Woods-College. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  32. ^ "Architect Melvin B. G. Meyer, 75, Designed Numerous Local Buildings". Indianapolis Star. Indianapolis, IN. 1995-12-20. p. E10.
  33. ^ "Hulman Hall". Saint Mary-of-the-Woods-College. 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-30.