The First 300

Rosemont College

First building, Rathalla, former mansion of Joseph F.Sinnott.

Rosemont College was opened by the Sisters of the Holy Child in 1921 as a Catholic liberal arts college for women. The nuns had purchased the 32-room mansion of Joseph Sinnott for $250,000. At first the renovated mansion composed the whole college: dormitory space for students, a convent for the nuns, a chapel, classrooms, eating facilities, and offices. There were seven students in Rosemont’s first class…two were in the first graduating class in 1924. By 1931, the college had six buildings and 160 students. Rosemont still retains its original commitment to the education of women in its undergraduate liberal arts college. Beginning in the 1980s the first of six graduate programs, opened to both men and women, was introduced and in the 1990s an accelerated undergraduate program, also coeducational, was initiated.

Some founding nuns posed: Mother Dolores Brady, Rosemont‘s first president, is second seated nun from the left; Mother Mary Lawrence, who had a long and illustrious career on the history faculty, is forth standing nun from the left. Her public lectures attracted a wide audience to the college. She brought to his country the English love of landscape gardening and the beauty of the campus was the result of that avocation. The original estate also contained a huge stable. The nuns converted it and created additional classrooms, science labs, and an art studio.
Mayfield Hall dorm replaced the stables in 1929.
The Gertrude Kistler Library was erected in 1924, a memorial to a prospective student who had drowned in a swimming accident. Enlarged in 1934 and the 1990s, it retains its Gothic exterior yet provides a state of the art electronic learning and library system inside.
The photo, taken in the late 50s or early 60s, illustrates the then typical dress at Rosemont and the traditional habit of a Holy Child nun. Student dress codes underwent radical modification in the 1960s while, at about the same time, the nuns, influenced by the reform trends in the Catholic church, turned to conventional street clothes.
A member of Rosemont’s language faculty instructs a student on the use of computer software in Lawrence Hall’s Conwell Learning Center. Opened in 1993, the Center provides equipment to enable students to work independently on course assignments and other projects. Although the Sisters of the Holy Child stand in a special relationship to the College, the overwhelming majority of faculty and adminsitrators are now lay men and women.
Some recent Rosemont students exchanging thoughts just outside Rathalla, still the architectural center of the campus.