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130 Years & Counting! Highlights from Alverno's History

Mother Alfons Schmid
“Let us start anew as if we had not done anything heretofore.”
-Mother Alfons Schmid


Mother M. Alfons Schmid, co-foundress of the School Sisters of St. Francis became the second Superior General of the School Sisters of Saint Francis in 1907.  She is also considered the second president of Alverno College.  Mother Alfons  brought music and art into the world of the sisters. She guided the 1924 conversion of the convent school of music into St. Joseph Convent Conservatory of Music. The conservatory continued the Sisters’ mission of educating those who educate others. The conservatory would later become Alverno College of Music. Mother Alfons served the Milwaukee Province of the School Sisters of St. Francis until her death on April 5, 1929.


Alphonsa Hall (also known as the "Music Wing") which opened in 1957, was named to honor Mother Alfons.

Alphonsa Hall Architect's rendering

A major curricular change came in 1912 when both the graduation requirements and the number of courses offered were greatly expanded at St. Joseph's Normal School.

In 1920, St. Joseph's was expanded to a two year program. The expansion was spearheaded by Sister Jutta Hollenbeck, who later would become Alverno's first Academic Dean.

Sister Jutta Hollenbeck
Sister Jutta Hollenbeck


On August 11, 1924 St. Joseph Convent Conservatory of Music (which eventually became Alverno College of Music) under the direction of Sister Cherubim Schafer, a well-known liturgical musician,  opened its doors. Although music had been taught all along to the sisters, Mother Alfons foresaw a need to formally train School Sisters to serve as music teachers, liturgical musicians, and choir directors at many of the same parishes where School Sisters taught.

Sister Cherubim Schafer

Sister Cherubim Schafer


           This is a black and white photo of a music class, Me 115, held in a room of St. Joseph's Convent                               

Student musicians in one of the music classrooms at St. Joseph Convent. The class, Me 115, Instrumental Technique, was one of many music classes offered at the Alverno College of Music during the 1930's and 1940's.