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SMC celebrates Heritage Week

| Monday, January 18, 2016

Saint Mary’s will celebrate numerous traditions central to the formation of the roots of the College during Heritage Week through a series of events prepared by the Student Government Association (SGA) Mission Committee and Alumni Relations Committee.

This year’s theme emphasizes the word “her” within heritage because of the College’s heritage as an all-women institution, SGA Alumni Relations co-chair Megan Carswell said.

The Heritage Dinner on Monday night is one of the most traditional events of Heritage Week, SGA Mission Committee co-chair Rachel Stolz said. The dinner includes a presentation on the history of the College and is only open to juniors and seniors, she said.

“The dinner is reminiscent of the way the meal used to be served at Saint Mary’s,” she said. “It was a right of passage and honor to be invited. Typically there would be [first years] and sophomores acting as student waiters at the event. [First years] and sophomores can look forward to having that special event just for them when it’s their time.”

Archive tours led by College archivist John Kovach at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday in the basement of Madeleva Hall will give students a chance to learn about historical College artifacts.

“I never took full advantage of Heritage Week before,” Carswell said. “I’m excited to go to the Archive Room because there are so many interesting facts about Saint Mary’s that you don’t really realize. There are actually stories behind certain trees that were planted on campus, and some trees that Sister Madeleva intentionally wanted there.

“There are stories about the fifth annex in Le Mans Hall and the maids who used to live there. Maids used to come with students and clean their student’s room. It’s all so interesting,” Carswell said.

Tuesday tea will be served in Riedinger House at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m., Stolz said. Students are also invited to attend the Father Moreau dinner Wednesday. The feast day celebration is not an official part of Heritage Week, but it is a great way to honor the heritage of the College, she said.

A poetry reading in Haggar Parlor on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. will allow students a chance to enter the beautiful building and see the product of a recent floor renovation that kept it closed for a while, Carswell said.

“I don’t know if many students are aware of how pretty Haggar is,” she said. “The College actually used to have dances there. Students submitted poems about Saint Mary’s that will be read at the poetry reading, and we also have some poems from past students in the 1800s and 1900s about Saint Mary’s. Students will have a chance to write and share poetry.”

Heritage Week is a time to remember the past and also to think about how our actions today will be remembered hundreds of years from now, Stolz said. One story that has been shared for generations highlights the historical significance of the College’s nursing program, she said.

“During the Civil War, a Union general wrote to Father Sorin asking for nurses, so Mother Angela took a group of nurses to the Union hospitals, and they were some of the first nurses active during the Civil War,” she said. “The nurses also worked on a boat which took them up and down the Mississippi River transferring soldiers to different hospitals, and now they are honored at a war memorial in Washington, D.C. for their work.

“There are a variety of stories you learn about by going to the Heritage Week events, such as what is was like when the sisters first came over and the construction of Le Mans,” Stolz said.

Lunchtime trivia on Friday gives students a final chance to test their Heritage Week knowledge and win prizes, she said.

“There’s no greater opportunity than this week to learn about Saint Mary’s,” Carswell said. “We don’t have a ‘History of Saint Mary’s Class,’ so this is a really good time to learn more about this beautiful campus and beautiful school, to embrace Saint Mary’s heritage and the graduates who went before us.”

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About Kathryn Marshall

Kathryn Marshall, Saint Mary's College '17, is a Biology and Humanistic Studies double major. Follow Kathryn on Twitter @kmarshallSMC

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