Jun 25, 2024  
2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog 
2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Mission and Traditions

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It is the mission of Saint Michael’s College to contribute through higher education to the enhancement of the human person and to the advancement of human culture in the light of the Catholic faith.


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Saint Michael’s Institute was founded in 1904 at Winooski Park, Vermont, by members of the Society of Saint Edmund. These priests and brothers, known as Edmundites, came to Vermont in the late nineteenth century after having experienced religious persecution in France. The decision to minister to the educational needs of God’s people in the Green Mountain State proved to be most fortunate; the Vermont location, on a plateau just outside the city of Burlington, with views of both the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks across Lake Champlain, has provided a beautiful setting for the development of an attractive campus that has become a distinguishing feature of Saint Michael’s College.

As the Institute developed into an American-style college, the farmland became a campus. Founders Hall (1904), the original building in which everything took place in the early years, was later supplemented by Jeanmarie Hall (1921). The College grew very slowly over its first forty years, reaching only about 250 students by the end of World War II. After the War, however, with the return of military veterans, Saint Michael’s expanded dramatically to 1,145 students. Barracks were acquired from nearby Fort Ethan Allen to serve as classroom buildings, the library and student residences. The College, almost resembling a temporary military installation, was setting the stage for its future development and place among American colleges and universities.

Since the 1950s, the temporary look of the campus has gradually been replaced by an array of fine permanent brick buildings of a consistent style. The integrated intellectual and religious character of the College is symbolized by a center green, anchored by the Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel (1965) at one end and Durick Library (1968) at the other. The pattern of having the academic and activity buildings on the south side of the green continued with the construction of Cheray Science Hall (1949), Ross Sports Center (1973) and McCarthy Arts Center (1975). On the north side are the residential facilities, including Alliot Hall Student Center and dining room (1960), the “Quad” dorms (Ryan, Alumni, Joyce, and Lyons), townhouse residences, Cashman Hall (2002), and Pontigny and Canterbury Halls (2004).

Further development of its academic and student-life programs prompted Saint Michael’s to upgrade facilities to support excellence in all its activities. Saint Edmund’s Hall (1987) is an academic center for classrooms and faculty offices; the renovated and expanded Durick Library (1992) is a first-class, computerized college library; Cheray Science Hall (1993) was modernized and enlarged to provide improved instructional and research facilities; renovations of Alliot Student Center (1992 and 2004) created attractive dining and other spaces; the Tarrant Recreation Center (1995), Duffy Turf Field (2005) and athletic fields added impressive facilities to Ross Sports Center; and networking of the entire campus was done in 1996 for academic and administrative purposes. In 2002, wireless capability was installed in the library and is being extended into other academic buildings and the student center. In recent years, Saint Michael’s has created an exceptional campus environment to foster student learning and development.

Over the past century, Saint Michael’s has developed into a quality, Catholic, residential, liberal arts college, drawing undergraduate students primarily from the New England and Mid-Atlantic states. In the early 1970s, a very important step was taken when Saint Michael’s became fully coeducational. With a full-time undergraduate population of about 2,000 students, Saint Michael’s has reaffirmed its emphasis on the liberal arts and sciences for all students, while offering preprofessional programs in accounting, business, education and journalism as well.


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The shared vision of Saint Michael’s is to be a superior Catholic, liberal arts, undergraduate, residential college, excelling in the preparation of students for lifelong learning in a global society. Saint Michael’s College offers an academic environment where the expertise, talents and energy of its faculty and staff guide students in the pursuit of a liberal education in the Catholic tradition. The residential experience is designed to complement the academic program, enabling students to attain intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual maturity.

This vision is shaped by underlying values embraced by the College community, including the practice of open and civil discourse, respect for the fundamental dignity and value of each human person, and responsibility as citizens in an age of cultural diversity and internationalization. Saint Michael’s is committed to making the education it offers affordable and contemporary, technologically advanced and preparatory to a fulfilling life.

The College seeks to engage the commitment of all its constituencies—faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and benefactors—to an educational environment characterized by critical examination and knowledge of the self and of one’s traditions, resulting in values-directed decision-making.

Saint Michael’s manages the challenges of an age of fundamental transformation in higher education by adhering to values held collectively by its members. These core institutional values are: concern for meeting student needs; expectation of increasingly higher academic standards; appreciation for a sense of family in the community; security in a spiritual bond; commitment to serving others; and advancement of values-based education.

The operational planning and implementation practices to fulfill the Saint Michael’s College vision are governed by the following principles: attention to the changing external environment; definition of a clearly articulated institutional identity; individual and collective responsibility for outcomes; unfailing adherence to ethical practices; results-oriented disposition for systemic analysis and evaluation; cross-functional collaboration in development and implementation; integration of technological innovation; fiscal and managerial accountability; and strategic positioning for competitive advantage. The College’s vision will be attained through five basic institutional strategies:

  1. Foundation and Future in Faith: Saint Michael’s College fulfills its educational mission in an environment faithful to its Catholic tradition, as exemplified in the history and ministries of the Society of Saint Edmund, which was founded in Pontigny, France.
  2. Academic Excellence: Saint Michael’s College is a leader among liberal arts colleges through its dedicated faculty—their commitment to excellence in teaching; openness to pedagogical innovation, inclusive of technology; adherence to rigorous standards in the teaching of liberal arts and preprofessional studies; appropriate contributions to scholarship; and service and leadership in the academic community.
  3. Centrality of Student Learning: The Saint Michael’s experience is grounded in the philosophy of a residential community engaging the whole student, intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually. This guiding principle drives all College plans, initiatives and activities.
  4. Strength in Community: Saint Michael’s College—a community characterized by diversity, open and civil discourse, and a profound respect for the fundamental dignity and value of each human being—is a model of responsibility and citizenship in a global society.
  5. Fiscal Responsibility through Resource Acquisition and Accountability: Saint Michael’s College, under the aegis of the Board of Trustees, works to reduce tuition dependency and increase affordability through aggressive and targeted resource acquisition, and exercises sophisticated management practices in its service to all stakeholders.