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130 Years & Counting! Highlights from Alverno's History

Birthing a Liberal Arts College

Mother Corona Wirfs
“It is to your advantage to use the minutes, the hours, the days that
are at your disposal now to prepare yourself for the great work ahead.”

-Mother Corona Wirfs


Upon the passing of Mother Stanislaus in 1942, Mother M. Corona Wirfs became the fourth Superior General of the School Sisters of Saint Francis. She also served as Alverno’s fourth president from 1942-1948.  It was during her administration that plans were formulated to merge the three separate schools into a four year, liberal arts college.

To facilitate the change, Alverno Teachers College was first reorganized as a liberal arts college and renamed Alverno College.  Plans were then made to bring Alverno College of Music and Sacred Heart School of Nursing under the umbrella of Alverno College.  Her vision for the future of the college also included a plan to purchase land that would serve as a new campus location based on her projections for the growth of the college and its enrollment.



Corona Hall exterior
Corona Hall, originally built as the first residence
hall on the 39th Street campus, was named to
honor Mother Corona.

Alverno College of Music welcomed lay students as early as 1937 and conferred degrees
upon Dolores Alferi and Bertha Kwoh in 1943.

1943 Music Grad Dolores Alferi & well wishers
One of the first two lay student graduates, Dolores Alferi is shown posing with
faculty and family in the convent courtyard.

Bertha Kwoh 1943 music grad
Bertha Kwoh, 1943


Based on Mother Corona's projections for future growth of the college and its enrollment,
July 1944 Fischer Farm was purchased by the School Sisters of St. Francis to become Alverno College.

Fischer Farm
Fischer Farm prior to the construction of Alverno College. Note the white farmhouse in the
background; it still stands today.


In 1946 Alverno Teachers College was reorganized as a liberal arts college and renamed Alverno College.

First Alverno College Bulletin
This General Bulletin for 1946-1948 is the first
that  bears the name Alverno College

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