Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Memorial Commons

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Institution Name: Marywood University
Original/Historic Place Name: Memorial Commons
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
1975original construction
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: culture, history, landscape
Narrative: see below
References: see below
1975-present (2006)outdoor space

Marywood University (then College) opened on September 8, 1915 and was housed in the Motherhouse of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Scranton, PA, for nine years. Enrollment outgrew the space in the Motherhouse, which led to the construction of the Liberal Arts Center in 1924, the first of the college's buildings wholly dedicated to higher education. The Motherhouse Chapel continued as the College chapel, some classes continued to be held in the building for many years, and Sisters who served on the college faculty continued to reside there.

The Motherhouse burned to the ground in a devastating fire in 1971, and Memorial Commons was constructed on the site in 1974. A granite monument was erected at the front of the Commons, in which are etched symbols of the various groups of people and activities that were housed in the Motherhouse from 1902 to 1971.

In 1976, the 200th birthday of the United States, Marywood College was officially designated a Bicentennial College. One of the memorable commemorative activities was the burial of a time capsule in a shaft in the ground, thirteen feet behind the Memorial Commons monument. Historical documents and mementos of the year 1976 were placed in a red, white, and blue canister, along with a letter from the President of Marywood College to the future President of Marywood, who, it was hoped, would open the capsule in 2076.


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Last update: November 2006