Adonna Thompson

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Original Campus Construction Photos

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Oct 022014

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These photos were recently shared with us by 1964 alum, Janet Schmitz. She was editor and photographer for the student newspaper, the Teresian.  And she brought a number of her photos to share with classmates at their 50th reunion last week. Janet appears in both of these photos of the Avila campus under construction (around 1963). Her class was the first to graduate from the new campus and under the new college name in 1964.

Thank you Janet Schmitz!

Welcome Back Alums!

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Sep 252014

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This TBT is dedicated to our returning alumni. We’re glad you’ve decided to party with us this weekend!

Sep 182014


Avila University (formerly the College of St. Teresa) was originally housed in this building that still stands on the campus of the all girls Catholic high school, St. Teresa’s Academy. Avila grew out of St. Teresa’s Academy, which was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1866. The College of St. Teresa began as a two-year women’s college in 1916 and remained so until 1940.

What I did This Summer…

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Sep 082014

exhibitwall_finalThis Summer while we were in our temporary digs in Avila Hall, I kept busy by working with a committee to create the exhibit you see here. This exhibit focuses on the history of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was co-curated by myself and Dr. Carol Coburn. I was responsible for tracking down all of the content we wanted to include in this exhibit and that entailed searching extensively through our archival collection of the U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph for images as well as factual information for the descriptive text. As a committee we decided that this exhibit should tell the story of all Sisters of St. Joseph, so I also contacted numerous congregational archives across the U.S. to obtain photos and images that would help us create a well-balanced exhibit. The responses I received were overwhelmingly positive and the archivists for each congregation were quite generous with their contributions. Dr. Coburn served as the subject specialist for this exhibit and we worked closely to create a cohesive story line that highlights significant historical facts and guides the viewer through the timeline of events. The exhibit begins with the foundation of the order in Le Puy, France, in 1650, and leads the viewer through the sisters’ immigration to the United States in 1836. Also, we felt it was important to introduce our viewers to the process and commitment involved in becoming a Sister of St. Joseph. And since we had a fixed amount of space for our exhibit, we decided to select a few important stories to help illustrate the mission and great works the sisters have orchestrated since coming to America. In addition, we wanted to convey to the viewer that these sisters’ imbue everything they do with the “dear neighbor” in mind. To this end, their vocations are dedicated to issues of healthcare, education, social welfare, and social justice. They have been pioneers and leaders in these fields since their arrival in America and our exhibit helps to illustrate the spread of their influence, both locally and globally.

Our committee began work on this exhibit in February, 2014 and the completed exhibit was unveiled to the public at our open house on August 25, 2014. I would like to acknowledge the many hours of hard work that the committee put in to make this exhibit happen. Committee members were: Adonna Thompson, Carol Coburn, Sue King, Ann O’Mera, Angie Heer, Kathleen Finegan, Dave Armstrong, Mike Stuckey, Maureen Reardon, and exhibit designer Connie Fey, from Madden-McFarland Interiors. I would also like to thank Bob Luder for proof reading our copy, Phil Stewart for this photo and his digital work on the exhibit and all of the congregational archivists (as well as several individual sisters) for their time and generous photographic contributions.

An Homage to College Freshemen Through the Decades

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Sep 042014

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Being a college freshman today has its own set of challenges. And so I wanted to pay tribute to our hard working new students by dedicating this TBT to all of our incoming freshmen. This is the front page of The Teresian, the student newspaper for the College of St. Teresa (now Avila), from sixty years ago. This, and other newspapers like it can be found in the University Archives Collection in the Martha Smith, CSJ, Ph.D., Archives and Research Center located in the Learning Commons. Please feel free to stop by and peruse the fascinating collection!

Go Fly a Kite!

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Jul 242014

I thought this was a great pic from the 70s for today’s TBT. I haven’t discovered any details about this photo so far, but I am now on the lookout. When I locate additional information I’ll post it here.


Moving, Moving, Moving: Part III – Summer Interlude in Avila Hall

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Jul 162014

My summer interlude in Avila Hall is almost over, as we plan to move the archival collections sometime this week. But before the chaos of moving begins, here are some photos of the Archives’ summer digs.

Moving, Moving, Moving: Part II – The Heavy Lifting

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Jul 142014
Entrance to the Archives

I had fantastic help with moving the Archives to Avila Hall in April. Mark, one of our contract employees and Anthony, one of our senior students who works for campus safety and our facilities office did the heavy lifting. They also disassembled and re-assembled shelving in both locations. Though, in order to use existing library shelving for the temporary  location I had to juggle collections so the guys could take apart my shelving units. To do this I moved the St. Paul School of Theology collections (being temporarily housed with us) to a locking study room elsewhere in the library. It was a tight fit, but doable since it was a very temporary fix. The whole move took about two weeks, with the guys occasionally being pulled away to work on other projects across campus.

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