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Timeline of Alverno College History



In June 2010, the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Walmart Foundation selected Alverno College to receive a $100,000 CIC/Walmart College Success Award. The funds were used to create the Promise Scholars Program for first generation student support.


Two new programs of undergraduate study were added, an Asian Studies minor and a minor in Chinese Language and Culture in 2010.


Also in 2010, two new specialties in Alverno's Master of Arts program were launched: a Special Education Licensure-to-Masters program and a World Humanities specialization. Calandra Lockhart was hired as program coordinator for Special Education.

New Special Ed Masters program, 2010
 Alverno Magazine Spring/Summer 2010, p. 13




Women and Gender Studies Flyer, p.1


Alverno's weekday major and minor in Women's and Gender Studies began in Fall 2010. The program integrated multiple disciplinary perspectives with feminist theory to explore issues such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, class and religion. Courses were drawn from a variety of disciplines such as psychology, history, philosophy, and art.



In 2011, Tim Riordan stepped down from his position and Jeana Abromeit became an Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs.


Tim Riordan           Jeana Abromeit
Tim Riordan and Jeana Abromeit


Alverno began offering a new Master of Science in Community Psychology and Counseling in 2011.

Learn more about this program...



New Family Nurse Practioner Program


A new specialty in the Master of Science in Nursing Program: Family Nurse Practitioner also was launched in 2011.




This is a photo and brief article from Alverno Magazine about Rhonda Matthews Ware's Fall 2011 appointment as Executive Director of Alverno's Reseach Center for Women and Girls

From p. 6 of the Spring 2012 issue of Alverno Magazine


In Fall 2011, Rhonda Matthews Ware was appointed Executive Director of Alverno's Research Center for Women and Girls. She served in that position until August 2015.

Click here to learn more about Alverno's Research Center for Women and Girls.




Alverno 125th Anniversary Logo


In 2012, Alverno College celebrated it's 125th anniversary.



Photo of Newly renamed Joel Read Center


Alverno College renamed the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center the Sister Joel Read Center in 2012 honoring its longest-serving president, Sister Joel Read (1968-2003.) The renaming ceremony took place on Saturday, October 6, 2012 as part of the college’s 125th anniversary Homecoming celebration.




Graduation photo of JoAnn Resch McGrath   


Alverno’s School of Nursing received a very generous gift from JoAnn Resch McGrath, a 1957 alumna of the nursing school. To recognize her vision and loyalty to the nursing program at Alverno, the college renamed the School of Nursing the JoAnn McGrath School of Nursing on October 6, 2012 during the college’s 125th anniversary Homecoming celebration.  A panel of distinguished nursing alumnae spoke during a special luncheon honoring JoAnn McGrath. The alumnae panel included: Jean Bartels ’81, Vivien De Back’54, Norma Lang ’61, Cathy Rick ’71.



Also in 2012, the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs (NAC) announced that Alverno Early Learning Center had been awarded accreditation. As a NAC accredited center, Alverno Early Learning Center was recognized as an early care and education program that exemplifies excellence in the care of young children.  

Learn more about the Alverno Early Learning Center...


Sister Joelo Read and Howard Gardner

On April 18, 2013  Harvard's Dr. Howard Gardner received the inaugural "Sister Joel Read Outstanding Educator Award."


Alverno College launched a redesigned RN to BSN program in June of 2013. The 18-month program, a blend of online and in-classroom learning, is structured so that working registered nurses can earn their Bachelor’s degree.


The Master of Science in Nursing program was expanded with a new Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track in fall 2013.


Alverno College began a new BA in management completion program in October of 2013. The program was flexible, blending online and in-classroom learning so that women with an Associate Degree could complete their Bachelor’s degree in 18 months.The curriculum included: Innovative Business Development, Global Business Environment & Strategy, Sustainability & Technology in a Changing World, Marketing, Branding & Customer Relationships and Financial Analysis & Decision-Making, among others.



This is a color photo of Brad Duckworth and Nursing Student Devon Gorman on the golf course.

In fall 2013, golf was added as a seventh sport to the Alverno Inferno Athletics program. Depicted above are Brad Duckworth and nursing student Devon Gorman on the golf course.



Promise & Piower Announcement p.1

Promise & Power Announcement, p.2


On December 10, 2013, Alverno College announced a $30 million expansion and renovation project. Called Promise & Power, it was the largest in the college's history.




On March 18, 2014 a ground breaking ceremony was held for the Promise & Power expansion and renovation project. Below is a photograph taken in March 2014 of early project construction.

This is a color photo of Promise & Power Early Construction from March 2014




New Alverno Logo- 2014


In spring 2014, the college rebranding initiative was launched.



The end of phase 1 of the Promise & Power expansion and renovation project was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the new La Verna Commons on August 25, 2014.


Photo of the Heritage Garden under construction, 2014

The Heritage Garden located outside the new LaVerna Commons and created to honor the School Sisters of St. Francis who have served Alverno, although not yet completed, was dedicated on October 3, 2014 during Homecoming.





Promise & Power Accomplishments, part 1 Promise & Power Accomplishments, part 2


In January 2015, construction was completed on the $30 million Promise & Power expansion and renovation project, the largest in Alverno's history.


Alexia Hall Mother Alexia Hoell


Alexia Hall, named for School Sisters of St. Francis Foundress, Mother Alexia Hoell, opened its doors in January 2015. Take a Virtual Tour!


Visit the exhibit, What's in a Name? The Names and Places of Alverno College [PDF]
to learn more about places and spaces on campus.



Sister Austin Doherty


Sister Austin Doherty, SSSF, passed away on February 8, 2015. A former Vice president of Academic Affairs, Doherty left an indelible mark on the College in her 46 years of service. She played a crucial role in the development of Alverno’s world-renowned ability-based curriculum and student assessment model in the early 1970's. More than 40 years later, students continue to demonstrate a mastery of eight core abilities before graduation, and educators from around the world come to Alverno to learn its teaching methods.


Visit the exhibit,  Sister Austin Doherty, SSSF: A Life of Service and Education, August 10, 1927 - February 8, 2015 [PDF]  to learn more about her life.



Cover of the first College Bulletin for the new flexible Adult Evening and Online Degree Program

In June 2015, Alverno announced a new flexible Adult Evening and Online degree program to be launched in Fall. Above is the cover of the first College Bulletin for the new program.


Also in June, Telesis, Alverno's non-credit enrichment program closed its doors after 35 years.


A new Communication degree program that combines communication strategy with emerging technology was launched in Fall 2015.



Sister Kathleen O'Brien Kathy Lake

Sister Kathleen O'Brien and Kathy Lake


In December 2015, Sister Kathleen O'Brien retired as Vice President of Academic Affairs after 15 years of service. Kathy Lake was appointed Acting Vice President.




Logo for Alverno Presents, a performing arts series Alverno College used to sponsor

In May 2016, Alverno Presents (formerly Society of Fine Arts), a performing arts series Alverno used to sponsor, closed its doors after 56 seasons.



Dr. Mary Meehan
 Dr. Mary J. Meehan

Dr. Mary J. Meehan, Alverno's seventh President and the first lay person to hold that title, retired in June 2016.

Click here to learn more about Alverno College Presidents.


Also in June 2016, Alverno announced the launching of two new degree programs in Fall, one in Health Education and another in Kinesiology.




Dr. Andrea Lee, IHM
Dr. Andrea Lee, IHM


Announced in a February 23, 2016 press release, Dr. Andrea Lee, IHM, a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, was unanimously elected the eighth president of Alverno College by the College’s Board of Trustees. She succeeded President Mary J. Meehan, Ph.D., taking office on July 5, 2016.


Click here to learn more about Alverno College Presidents.



Andrea Lee’s continued work to advance awareness of the legacy and contributions of Catholic women religious prompted the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to award Alverno College a $2.7 million grant in October 2016. The grant will be used to expand upon work Lee began in 2013 while president of St. Catherine University. The Hilton Sisters’ Project will extend its geographic reach, placing new emphasis on young women in Latino communities.





In 2017, Alverno celebrated its 130th Anniversary. Learn more about Alverno's rich history by visiting the exhibit, 130 Years and Counting.



OB Students

Alverno's first doctorate offering, a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) was announced in October 2016. It launched in January 2017.



As announced in a March 17, 2017 press release, a $1 million gift from Marianne and Sheldon Lubar will allow Alverno College to prepare more future teachers and help them reach graduation. The scholarship is for juniors and seniors majoring in elementary or secondary education, and is awarded to students who not only have financial need, but who are also recognized by the Alverno College School of Education as very strong students with a high aptitude for a career in education.



Faculty member Justin La Manna with Girls in Science

Pictured is faculty member Justin La Manna with girls participating in Alverno's Girls Academy of Science & Mathematics


On April 6, 2017  the Wisconsin Campus Compact (WiCC) recognized Alverno College’s Girls’ Academy of Science & Mathematics with the Esther Letvin Community-Campus Partnership Award at their Annual Civic Engagement Institute Awards Banquet. The award recognizes outstanding partnerships between colleges and universities and the communities they serve that produce measurable community impact as well as student growth and learning.



A new teacher licensure program for paraprofessionals was announced in May and launched in August 2017.




This is a black and white photo of Sister Joel Read from 1984

Sister Joel Read (1925-2017)

On May 25, 2017 President Emerita, Sister Joel Read passed away at the age of 91.
Learn more about her life... [PDF]




This is a color photo of Carole Chabries

Carole Chabries

Carole Chabries was appointed dean of Alverno's newly formed School of Adult Learning and New Initiatives in August 2017.



This is a color photo of Jodi Eastberg

Jodi Eastberg

Also in August, Jodi Eastberg was named executive director of the Center for Academic Excellence.




This is a color photo of Scott Zeman

Scott Zeman

Scott Zeman began his appointment as Vice President for Academic Affairs on November 1, 2017.



Alverno's Hispanic enrollment surpassed 25% in November 2017 and Alverno was designated as the first Hispanic Serving Institution in Wisconsin by the U.S. Department of Education.  Learn more...



In April 2018, Alverno College received the inaugural Latino Spirit award from Marcus Theaters.



This is a color photo of a music therapy session

Because of growing demand, Alverno College launched Wisconsin's first Master in Music Therapy (MMT) program in the fall of 2018. Alverno's undergraduate music therapy program is the nation's third oldest and celebrated its 70th anniversary this year. Learn more...



In July 2018 it was announced that Alverno College had partnered with the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee to create a dual licensure program that integrates a Bachelor of Arts in Education with a Montessori teacher preparation program.




This is a color photo of a school psychologist at work

To help fill a growing need, Alverno College launched a new School Psychology graduate program in Fall. Learn more...



This is a color photo of faculty member Angela Frey in the lab with a student

In September 2018 it was announced that Alverno College was awarded a $974,698 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund and support the college's New Futures in Science and Mathematics Program, which is designed to help high-achieving, low-income women graduate with a degree in a STEM discipline. The photo above is of faculty member Angela Frey in the lab with a student.



In November 2018, for the first time since its debut on the Alverno stage 50 years ago, Alverno mounted a production of "I Never Saw Another Butterfly."  Visit the exhibit,
130 Years and Counting and click on the link, "1960-1968" to learn more.




This is a color photo of the cover of the fourth edition of the Status of Girls in Wisconsin Report

The fourth report on the status of girls in Wisconsin was released in 2019 as part of Alverno's continued commitment to raise awareness regarding issues and challenges that impact girls in our state. Data drawn from various sources were compiled and analyzed by researchers affiliated with the Alverno College Research Center for Women and Girls.


In February 2019 Alverno College and the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) established a formal partnership that streamlines the transfer process for female students who want to become social workers, allowing them to complete their associate degree in human services at MATC and transfer to Alverno to complete their Bachelor of Social Work.



This is a photo of the cover for the flyer promoting the first annual State of Wisconsin Girls Sunnit held at Alverno on March 23, 2019.

The  first State of Wisconsin Girls Summit was held at Alverno College on March 23, 2019. The summit, created for girls in 5th grade and older, featured a panel of girls discussing their experiences. The event held smaller break-out sessions ranging from identity formation, the power of words, forms of self-expression, healthy relationships, and how to nurture oneself physically, mentally and financially.‚Äč The featured keynote speaker for 2019 was 14-year-old Marley Dias. Dias is the founder of #1000blackgirlbooks and author of Marley Dias Gets it Done and so Can You!



In August 2019 Alverno's partnership with Arizona-based premiere service provider Synergis Education to launch a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) degree and a Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing (DEMSN) degree was announced. Both programs began enrolling students in January 2020.



This is a color photo of a new Montessori classroom in the basement of Clare Hall

To strengthen the existing collaboration in the shared goal of educating Montessori-prepared teachers, the Montessori Institute of Milwaukee  relocated to Alverno College effective September 1, 2019. Pictured above is one of the new Montessori classrooms found in the basement of Clare Hall.



On November 12, 2019 Alverno College was honored at the 2019 All In Challenge Awards Ceremony with a platinum seal for achieving a student voting rate above 50%.




This is a color photo of Kente Cloth

Alverno College's Bestowing of the Kente is one of the oldest ceremonies of its kind in Wisconsin, and celebrated its 25th anniversary on December 8.The Bestowing of the Kente is a rite of passage recognizing African American students who are graduating seniors, earning a master's degree, or completing a certification program. Each honoree is presented with a Kente cloth - a hand-woven ceremonial stole featuring bright colors that honor West African heritage. Alverno is one of only a handful of colleges in the U.S. that recognize African American graduates with the Bestowing of the Kente ceremony separate from graduation.