General Information

Mission Statement

Founded by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1844, Saint Mary’s College promotes a life of intellectual vigor, aesthetic appreciation, religious sensibility, and social responsibility. Saint Mary’s is a Catholic, residential, women’s, liberal arts college offering undergraduate degrees and co-educational graduate programs.

A pioneer in the education of women, the College fosters an inclusive, academic community where students discover and develop their talents as they prepare to make a difference in the world. All members of the College contribute to this mission in their response to the complex needs and challenges of contemporary life.

Statement of Philosophy and Purpose

As a center of higher education, Saint Mary’s fosters an academic climate of scholarship and learning for faculty and students alike. Through excellence in teaching and the example of its own active scholarship, the faculty challenges students to expand their horizons and supports them in their intellectual pursuits. A broad-based course of study invites students to think critically and creatively about the natural world and human culture. Acknowledging the need to prepare women for an array of careers, the College insists on a liberal arts foundation for all its students. Through their years at Saint Mary’s, students acquire depth and breadth of knowledge, competence in quantitative skills and modern languages, the ability to think clearly about complex problems, and the capacity to communicate with precision and style.

As a Catholic college, Saint Mary’s cultivates a community of intellectual inquiry, liturgical prayer, and social action. The College creates an open forum in which students freely and critically study the rich heritage of the Catholic tradition, raising the questions necessary to develop a mature religious life. The celebration of liturgy encourages students to explore the fullness of life and its mysteries. The College nurtures awareness and compassion for a troubled world and challenges students to promote human dignity throughout their lives. In preparing women for roles of leadership and action, Saint Mary’s pays particular attention to the rights and responsibilities of women in the worlds of work, church, community, and family.

Dedicated to the personal and social growth of its students, Saint Mary’s cultivates a community of students, faculty, and staff, which responds to the needs of women. In order to offer the richest educational experience possible, the College strives to bring together women of different nations, cultures, and races. It provides a residential environment where women grow in their appreciation of the strengths and needs of others. Through a host of co-curricular programs on campus and in the local com­munity, Saint Mary’s initiates students in the habits of civic responsibility. Engaging in all aspects of the college experience, students acquire the hallmarks of a liberally educated woman: keen self-knowledge, lively imagination, lifelong intellectual and cultural interests, and the ability to make socially responsible choices about the future.

History of the College

Saint Mary’s College has maintained a steadfast commitment to the education of women since its founding by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in the mid-19th century. In 1843, University of Notre Dame founder Father Edward Sorin wrote to his superior, Father Basil Anthony Moreau, to request that he send sisters to a new mission in the wilderness of northern Indiana “to look after the laundry and the infirmary…and also to conduct a school, perhaps even a boarding school.” Four Holy Cross sisters answered the call and, after a 40-day voyage from Le Mans, France, they arrived on May 30, 1843. They established the first school and novitiate in 1844. To establish an institution of higher learning for women was visionary. Today Saint Mary’s remains unique among institutions of higher education, as a distinguished four-year, residential, Catholic college that focuses on the education of women at the undergraduate level, and offers co-educational graduate programs.


Saint Mary’s College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). It is accredited, or approved, by the following organizations:

  • American Chemical Society
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)
  • Indiana State Board of Education
  • Indiana State Board of Nursing
  • National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)
  • Office of Educator Licensing and Development


Among others, the College holds membership in the following organizations:

  • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)
  • American Speech Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • Association of American College and Universities (AAC&U)
  • Association of Catholic College and Universities (ACCU)
  • Campus Compact
  • College Board
  • Council of Independent Colleges (CIC)
  • Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI)
  • Indiana Campus Compact (ICC)
  • Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA)
  • National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU)
  • National Catholic Education Association (NCEA)
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
  • Women’s College Coalition (WCC)

Undergraduate Graduation Rate

The average 4 year graduation rate of the last 5 graduating cohorts is 73 percent. The average 6 year graduation rate of the last 5 graduating cohorts is 79 percent. The complete IPEDS Graduation Rate Survey may be found in the Office of Institutional Research.