The early years

After years of educating their members within the walls of the motherhouse on Convent Avenue in Rutland, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rutland purchased the campus of Rutland Junior College to establish a training center for their young novices and continue their education in the sisters’ normal school.

In 1956, a core group of courageous women lead by Sr. Mary Matthew McDevitt, the college’s first president, formed St. Joseph’s Teacher’s College. To foster the growth of the fledgling college, she formed an affiliation with Catholic University of America.

First president – Sr. Mary Matthew McDevitt

In 1960, the college was approved by the State of Vermont to confer the bachelor of science in education, and the college name was changed to College of St. Joseph the Provider.

  • 1960: First graduation is held, and three sisters received a bachelor of science degrees in education.
  • 1962: Because of a teacher shortage, the congregation decided to admit laywomen. Nine brave laywomen enroll in the fall.
  • 1964:  A double trailer was purchased and placed near the school building as a residence hall for 8 freshmen.
  • 1965: The first lay students, Michelle Anne Ford and Marita Lillian Peters, graduated from the college.

Second president – Sr. Mary Imelda Welch

In the fall of 1965, Sr. Mary Imelda Welch became the second president of the college. The rapid growth of the college resulted in a critical need for both dormitory and classroom space. In the late 60s, the college gained candidacy in the New England Association of Schools and College Inc., New England’s regional accrediting body.

  • 1967: CSJ’s first dormitory, Roncalli Hall, is completed.
  • 1968: St. Joseph Hall was completed with eight classrooms, two science laboratories, a language laboratory and an auditorium/gymnasium.
  • 1969: Medaille Hall was completed after continued growth resulted in the need for a second dormitory.
  • 1971: CSJ becomes co-ed college when it enrolls six male students.
  • 1972: School introduces men’s basketball to student services.
  • 1972: Educational programs move forward to include special education, early childhood education, library science and a master’s degree in education. And, the college becomes a full member of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.

Third president – Sr. Mary Polworth

On June 1, 1974, Sr. Mary Polworth, a Burlington, Vermont native and former executive vice-president of CSJP, became the third president. Her focus was on promoting the college within the community to increase its visibility.

  • 1974: College introduces programs in business administration, human services, and liberal studies.
  • 1974: The women’s basketball team, called the Saintinettes, makes its official debut.
  • 1976: About half of the faculty were Sisters of St. Joseph, half were lay faculty, and there were two priests on the staff.

Fourth president – Frank Miglorie

In 1983, the board of trustees appointed the first lay president in the history of the college, Frank Miglorie. Miglorie served as a full-time faculty member at the college for nine years and as its Academic Dean for four years under Sr. Mary Polworth. Under Miglorie’s leadership, the curriculum expanded to 32 majors, with special emphasis on programs for adult learners and graduate students. Miglorie retired in 2012 after 28 years as president.

  • 1987: St. Joseph Hall undergoes a major redesign changing it from a one-story modern structure to two-story traditional building.
  • 1993: Campaign for CSJ is launched. This ambitious 5-year capital campaign transformed the campus with the addition of two new buildings and the relocation of the library.
  • 1995: CSJ Athletic Center is completed.
  • 1998: Tuttle Hall is completed.
  • 2006: Giorgetti Library completed.
  • 2008: College forms an alliance with Vermont Student Assistance Corporation and the Vermont Department for Children and Families to offer a unique program to assist foster youth in the transition to college.