In July 1944 the School Sisters of St. Francis purchased the land on which Alverno
College sits, known then as the Fischer Farm. Until construction on the college began
in 1951, the farm was a place that the sisters and Alverno students would visit for
picnics, to go apple picking (there used to be an orchard), and to collect samples
for science classes such as plants for botany labs.
The white farmhouse in the background of the photograph above and in this photo
below still stands on the Alverno College campus.
Here's a view of the "white house" from fall 2018. it is home to some of the sisters who work
Construction of the original campus buildings, Founders Hall, the gymnasium, the auditorium, and
Corona Hall, occurred between 1951 and 1953. Not shown is the powerhouse building which was
also part of the original construction. The college opened in its current location in September 1953.
Below is an architect's rendering of the original buildings.
Prior to the construction of Austin Hall there was a tennis court on its site. This photo
was taken sometime between 1957 (after Clare Hall was built) and 1964
(when Austin Hall was built.)
Here's a closer view of the tennis court. Students from Miss Shogren's square dancing
classes are pictured dosey doeing on the court in a photo from the October 1955 issue
of Alverno Campus News.
The class of 1957 raised $500 for their class gift and asked Alverno art instructor
and artist Sister Helena Steffens-meier to carve a statue from the Pittsford Valley
marble they purchased. The photo below shows the dedication ceremony for the
statue, “Mary, Queen of the Universe” held on May 28, 1958. When it was dedicated,
the sculpture stood in a grotto in the woods on the Alverno campus grounds.
Here is how the sculpture site appears today. It can be seen not far from the La Verna
Commons patio and Heritage Garden across the road from the athletic fields and
adjacent to Christopher Hall and the Joel Read Center.
The photo below was taken in the 1960's. What used to be called the "North Courtyard"...
...is now known as the "Alumnae Courtyard." The courtyard beautification project was
completed in fall 2005. Found on the north end of the courtyard, but not pictured here is
a Peace Pole which is decorated with the saying “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written
in English as well as French, Spanish, Hindi, Swahili, Korean, Russian, Japanese,
Chinese, Hmong, Arabic, and Ojibway. The languages were chosen to reflect
languages spoken by Alverno students. This photo was taken in fall 2018.
Here is an archery competition from a field day held in 1955.
Here are four golfers practicing their swings in preparation for the field day held on
May 10, 1956. Note the Powerhouse, tennis court, and the "white house" in the background.
Hotdogs were on the menu at the 1955 field day cookout.
In September 1978 a new Alverno Exercise/Nature Trail opened on campus called the Parcours.
Opening festivities were held on September 15, 1978. This article from the September issue of
Alpha (student newspaper) describes the opening events and the trail.
Here is a map of the Parcours that appeared with the above Alpha article. "Loretto Hall" shown
on the map is now known as "Austin Hall" and the "Nursing Education Building" is "Christopher Hall."
This is the ribbon cutting for the new Alverno Exercise/Nature Trail or Parcours.
Here is another photo of the festivities.
In 2006, there was a campus beautification project largely funded by Roy and Bobbi Reiman.
Results of that project included new campus signage, Reiman Plaza (pictured below), a parking
...Gorgeous NCAA-regulation softball and soccer fields! This photo is from the Winter 2007
issue of Alverno Magazine, p. 5.
Spearheaded by Professor Becky Burton, prairie restoration was started
on campus in 2000. This first photo is what the site looked like prior to
the restoration effort.
Here is a view of the prairie site in September 2000.
Here is the prairie in full bloom in July 2001.
Unfortunately, that first prairie restoration effort was thwarted by the construction of Alverno's
parking structure on the site in 2006. This photo was taken in fall 2018.
There is a new prairie restoration effort underway, also spearheaded by Becky Burton.
Wander to the field found on the west side of the "White House" and you can see it!
In 2006, Professor Jennifer Johanson led the Alverno College Rain Garden Demonstration
Project. In collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the United
States Environmental Protection Agency. She worked with students to design and install a rain
garden at the north end of campus in order to decrease storm water runoff from campus and
alleviate water ponding issues happening on the child care playground. It is located on the
east side of Elizabeth Hall .The rain garden has been a work site for Alverno Community Day
several times as shown in this photo from 2013.
Here is a better view of the sign found at the rain garden site.
Take a walk over to the rain garden to see it in full bloom! This photo
is from spring when the columbine blooms.
Two features were added to the Alverno campus as a part of the 2014-2015
Promise and Power expansion and renovation project.
When the Commons addition was built the structure included a green roof.
Take the stairway adjacent to the Inferno Cafe and the roof can easily be seen
from the third floor landing windows. When the sedum is in bloom, it is lovely.
Also in 2014-2015, a bioswale was created to prevent rainwater runoff from the
expanded and reconfigured Parking Lot E adjacent to Alphonsa Hall, Reiman
Gymnasium and Pitman Theatre. It is not only extremely useful, but quite
beautiful when in full bloom.