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Bede Hall, situated atop a hill to be known as Mount Marty and overlooking the city of Yankton just to its east, was completed in 1935 and welcomed its first students in September 1936. The building was the first of several structures that were the dream of Mother Jerome Schmitt, first president of Mount Marty College, who was determined to provide a college education for young women of this rural area. She overcame enormous financial challenges to bring the building to completion during the midst of the Great Depression. The four story brick structure is strong and fortress-like today, far sturdier than other more recent buildings on campus. Its thick walls, terrazzo floors, and dark wood doors are still in prime condition. The building has been well maintained through the decades as it has shifted from originally housing both an academy for girls and a junior college for women to today serving as the co-educational liberal arts college's administration building. Over the years additional wings have been added to form a square around an enclosed courtyard. A classroom and natural science wing was completed in 1948, and in the following few years few years a dormitory wing and an auditorium completed the square.
For many people from the Yankton community, Bede Hall has become almost synonymous with Mount Marty College, even though the college campus today includes a number of other buildings. For many Bede stands as a symbol of Mother Jerome Schmitt's determination to provide a college education for young women of the area despite the financial and cultural constraints of the 1930s. The building's current physical connection to Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel by way of an overhead passageway also is seen by some as symbolic of the strong linkage between religion and education on this hill. Greeting visitors as they approach the main entrance to Bede Hall is a life-size statue of Bishop Martin Marty for whom the college is named.
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Duratschek, Claudia. Under the Shadow of His Wings. Aberdeen, SD: North Plains Press, 1971.
Karolevitz, Robert F. Bishop Martin Marty: The Black Robe Lean Chief. Yankton, SD: Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Convent, 1980.
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