The Full Wiki

Spring Hill College: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spring Hill College
Motto ''In Colle Exaltatus Fons Sapientae "
"A spring of wisdom is he who was lifted up on the hill"
Established 1830
Type Private
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
President Rev. Richard P. Salmi, S.J.
Faculty 80 full-time
Undergraduates 1,356
Postgraduates 400
Location Mobile, Alabama, USA
Campus Urban, 400 acres (160 ha), 18-hole golf course, 32 buildings
Colors Purple and White          
Mascot Badger

Spring Hill College is a private, Roman Catholic Jesuit liberal arts college in the United States. It was founded in 1830 on the Gulf Coast in Mobile, Alabama, by Most Rev. Michael Portier, Bishop of Mobile, Alabama. It was the first Catholic college in the South, fifth oldest Catholic college in the United States, and third oldest of the 28 member Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. It is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 2010, US News & World Report reported that Spring Hill College ranked 14th among the top colleges in the South offering both bachelor's and master's level degrees. [1]

The Spring Hill academic calendar is divided into two semesters, a fall semester of 15 weeks beginning at the end of August and ending before Christmas, and a spring semester of 15 weeks beginning in early January and ending in early May. There are May and June mini-sessions, and summer school is during June and July.



Spring Hill College was founded by the first bishop of Mobile, Michael Portier. After purchasing a site for the College on a hill near Mobile, Bishop Portier went to France to find teachers and funds for the new college. Portier recruited two priests and four seminarians from France to staff the school. A friend of Portier, Joseph Cardinal Fesch, Archbishop of Lyons, was a major benefactor to the fledgling College, donating his philosophical and theological library and various works of art.

Cardinal Joseph Fesch, an early benefactor of the College.

Pauline Jaricot, founder of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith also donated within three years 38,000 francs, an enormous sum in those days . The bishop himself taught theology to the ecclesiastical students, who numbered six the first year. Upon his return he rented a hotel next to the college grounds and started the first semester on May 1, 1830, with an enrollment of thirty students, making Spring Hill the oldest institution of higher education in Alabama.[2] On July 4 of the same year the bishop laid the cornerstone of the first permanent building. It stood on the site of the present Administration Building and opened for classes in November 1831. Spring Hill thus takes its place among the oldest colleges in the South. It is the third oldest Jesuit college in the United States.

The original main building on the quad, built c.1831 and burned c.1869.

In 1836 the governor of Alabama, Clement C. Clay, signed a legislative act which chartered the College and gave it "full power to grant or confer such degree or degrees in the arts and sciences, or in any art or science as are usually granted or conferred by other seminaries of learning in the United States." This power was used in the following year, 1837, when four graduates received their degrees. The first two presidents of the College were called away to be bishops, one to Dubuque, Iowa (Bishop Mathias Loras), the other to Vincennes, Indiana (Bishop John Stephen Bazin), and the third, Father Mauvernay, died after a brief term of office. Bishop Portier then found it necessary to transfer the College, first to the French Fathers of Mercy, and next to the Society of Jesus and Mary, both of whom lacked teaching and administrative experience. He then persuaded the Fathers of the Lyonnais Province of the Society of Jesus to take possession of the College. The new regime was inaugurated with Father Francis Gautrelet, S.J., as president in September 1847. Since that time the institution has continued under Jesuit direction.

Boys sent to Spring Hill were often separated from their families for the war's duration.[citation needed] Unrest among those who wanted to be part of the war effort was formidable, and eventually the college formed two military companies.[citation needed] Many Jesuit Fathers became chaplains for the Confederacy. A recruiter tried to conscript all forty of the Jesuit brothers at Spring Hill into the Confederate Army.[citation needed] However, College President Francis Gautrelet, S. J., dispatched an urgent message to the assistant secretary of war in Richmond, who granted a temporary reprieve of the brothers' conscription.[citation needed]

In 1869 a fire destroyed the main building and required the removal of students and faculty to St. Charles College, Grand Coteau, Louisiana.

The Second Administration Building, built in 1869

Bishop John Quinlan and other benefactors assisted in rebuilding the College, which reopened at Spring Hill before the year's end.

As the enrollment increased, Quinlan Hall, the College Chapel, the Thomas Byrne Memorial Library, and Mobile Hall were erected. In 1935, the high school, which had been a unit distinct from the College since 1923, was discontinued. In the space vacated by the high school, the Jesuit House of Studies was opened in 1937, and the Scholasticate of the Sacred Heart opened on a site adjoining the College a few years later.

After World War II, a great influx of veterans taxed the facilities of the College, requiring the erection of a number of temporary buildings on the campus. At the request of Archbishop Thomas Joseph Toolen of Mobile, the College became co-educational in 1952. At present the ratio of male to female students is approximately 1:2. Black students were accepted into all departments of the College for the first time in 1954, before desegregation was mandated by the United States government. Mrs. Fannie E. Motley was the first black graduate from the institution in 1956.[3]

Spring Hill College was the leading institution in Alabama to press for racial equality, which received praise from civil rights leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who mentions Spring Hill in his 1963 "Letter from Birmingham Jail," citing the College as one of the first Southern schools to integrate. Spring Hill also received hostility and threats by those opposing integration as exmplified by the KKK incident at the College.

On the night of January 21, 1957, a dozen or more darkened cars eased down the main avenue of the college. Several members of the KKK attempted to set up a kerosene-soaked cross outside Mobile Hall, a dormitory. The Klan made a tactical blunder, however, in visiting the campus during finals week. Most of the white, male residents were still awake, studying for exams, and several heard the hammering. Once alerted, students streamed from both ends of the building carrying whatever items were handy—golf clubs, tennis rackets, bricks, a softball bat—and put the panicked Klansmen to flight. To save face, the KKK returned the next night and succeeded in burning a cross at the gate of the College before students reacted. The following day, however, a group of students—male and female—hanged a Klansman in effigy at the College gate, with a sign reading, "KKKers ARE CHICKEN."[4]

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed most of the surrounding region, but Spring Hill College luckily survived with minor damage. Nearby Loyola University in New Orleans, a brother Jesuit institute, did not fare so well, and Spring Hill College took on some of Loyola's students for the remainder of the year.

A renovation of the historic[citation needed] Administration Building was completed in 2008. The facility was named "The Gregory F. Lucey, S.J. Administration Center", after Spring Hill College's 38th President.[5]

Student body

More than 1400 students study at Spring Hill College each year of which over 70% are from outside Alabama. Student statistics is 38% are male and 62% are female. 90% of the freshman class and 75% of the total student body live on campus. The student-faculty ratio is 13:1, and the average class size is 17. Of faculty members, 87% hold doctorates or the highest degrees in their fields. More than one-third of graduating students continue their education at graduate or professional school.


Spring Hill College academics offer undergraduate students Bachelor's degrees through a variety of majors. The available departments include the Division of Business, the Communications/Arts Division, International Studies, Interdivisional Studies, Language and Literature Division, Nursing, Philosophy and Theology, Sciences Division, Social Sciences Division, Teacher Education Division, and lastly, the Pre-Professional Programs. Each of these divisions offers a variety of concentrations that students can choose majors and minors from.

Areas of concentration in graduate programs include Master of Business Administration, Teacher Education, Master of Liberal Arts, Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Pastoral Studies, and Master of Arts in Theology. Certificate programs are also offered in theology and ministry. While all of the graduate programs are headquartered at the Mobile campus, the programs in theology and ministry also offer classes in Birmingham (AL), Atlanta (GA), and Jackson (MS).

There is a study abroad program for students. Students can go to England, France, Ireland, Italy, Mexico or Spain.[citation needed] A new program has recently been announced for a Spring Hill College program in Bologna, Italy.


The main Spring Hill College campus is located in the Spring Hill neighborhood of Mobile, Alabama. The college has remained on the same campus that Bishop Portier purchased in 1830. The campus includes the Avenue of the Oaks, where graduation traditionally occurs. The college building has been placed on the National Historic Register. There is an 18-hole golf course.

Spring Hill College has a number of structures that are on the National Register of Historic Places. They include the Sodality Chapel, the Spring Hill College Quadrangle, and Stewartfield.

Classes are offered at off-campus locations in three different cities: Atlanta, Georgia, Birmingham, Alabama, and Jackson, Mississippi. These classes, aimed at adult education for either undergraduate or graduate degrees and/or certificates, are solely concentrated in Theology and Ministry. In addition to the main campus and the several off-campus locations, an online master's degree program for a Master of Science in Nursing is offered to combine online and offline nursing experience.

Student life

Clubs and organizations

There are over fifty student-run clubs and organizations at Spring Hill College. There are many community service clubs, ministry organizations, athletic and academic clubs that students can choose to get involved with. For example, academic clubs in the Alpha Sigma Nu club (a Jesuit Honorary club), the English Club, the History Club, the Math Club, the Philosophy Club, and the Sigma Tau Delta club (an English Honorary club), among many other organizations. Involvement in these varying clubs is encouraged by the college, in promoting their mission of fully educating the student's mind, body and soul.

Greek life

Greek Life on Spring Hill College's campus provides students with five national organizations. For men, the fraternities available are Tau Kappa Epsilon and Lambda Chi Alpha. For women, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, and Phi Mu are the present sororities. The Greek organizations present on campus participate in a "deferred recruitment" process, meaning that the formal recruiting activities occur at the beginning of the spring semester, as opposed to the more largely followed practice of recruitment at the beginning of the fall semester.

Intramural sports

Spring Hill College has a student-run intramural program. The following sports are offered:


Spring Hill College competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference as the Spring Hill College Badgers. Men and women Spring Hill College Badgers field teams in baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.

Spring Hill College has maintained a baseball team for much of its history.[citation needed] Currently, the Spring Hill College baseball team plays its home games at Stan Galle Field ("The Pit"), the oldest continually used college baseball field in the country, first intercollegiate play was in 1889.[citation needed] A number of former major league players have used the field including such legends as Babe Ruth[3] and Hank Aaron.[citation needed] Notable baseball alumni include Blake Stein (former pitcher for the Kansas City Royals) and Jim Hendry (general manager of the Chicago Cubs).

In 1900, the Spring Hill football team first played a game. In 1908, the team held its opponents scoreless in every game.[citation needed] The team was disbanded in 1941, so it is commonly said on campus that the Spring Hill College Football Team has been undefeated since 1941.


Marnie & John Burke Memorial Library.

Spring Hill was involved in controversy when on July 27, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald spoke at Spring Hill about life in the Soviet Union, just months before assassinating President John F. Kennedy.[6]




Presidents of the college

St. Joseph's Chapel
  1. Bishop Michael Portier, D.D., first bishop of Mobile, founded Spring Hill College on May 1, 1830.
  2. Bishop Mathias Loras, D.D. 1830-1832
  3. Bishop John Stephen Bazin, D.D. 1832-1836
  4. Peter Mauvernay 1836-1839
  5. Bishop John Stephen Bazin, D.D. 1839-1840
  6. Dominic F. Bach, S.P.M. 1840-1842
  7. Bishop John Stephen Bazin, D.D. 1842-1844
  8. J. P. Bellier, C.J.M. 1844-1845
  9. A. Desgaultieres 1845
  10. Claude Rampoon 1845-1846
  11. Bishop John Stephen Bazin, D.D. 1846-1847
  12. Thomas Rapier 1847
  13. Francis S. Gautrelet, S.J. 1847-1859
  14. Anthony Jourdant, S.J. 1859-1862
  15. Francis S. Gautrelet, S.J. 1863-1865
  16. Aloysius Curioz, S.J. 1865-1868
  17. John Montillot, S.J. 1868-1875
  18. Dominic Beaudequin, S.J. 1875-1880
  19. John Downey, S.J. 1880-1883
  20. David McKiniry, S.J. 1883-1887
  21. James Lonegan, S.J. 1887-1896
  22. Michael S. Moynihan, S.J. 1896-1899
  23. William Tyrrell, S.J. 1899-1907
  24. Francis X. Twellmeyer, S.J. 1907-1913
  25. Edward Cummings, S.J. 1913-1919
  26. Joseph C. Kearns, S.J. 1919-1922
  27. Michael McNally, S.J. 1922-1925
  28. Joseph M. Walsh, S.J. 1925-1931
  29. John J. Druhan, S.J. 1931-1938
  30. W. Doris O'Leary, S.J. 1938-1946
  31. W. Patrick Donnelly, S.J. 1946-1952
  32. Andrew C. Smith, S.J. 1952-1959
  33. A. William Crandell, S.J. 1959-1966
  34. William J. Rimes, S.J. 1966-1972
  35. Paul Smallwood Tipton, S.J. 1972-1989
  36. Donald I. MacLean, S.J. 1989
  37. William J. Rewak, S.J. 1989-1997
  38. Gregory F. Lucey, S.J. 1997-2009
  39. Richard Salmi, S.J. 2009–present


  1. ^
  2. ^ "As the oldest college in Alabama, the first Catholic college in the Southeast, and the third oldest Jesuit college in the United States, Spring Hill's heritage remains vital, its mission constant: to educate students to become responsible leaders in service to others." - Mission Statement of SHC (
  3. ^ a b Boyle, Charles J. (2004). Gleanings from the Spring Hill College Archives. Mobile: Friends of the Spring Hill College Library. ISBN 1-887650-25-5. 
  4. ^ McDermott, Jim S.J. (April 16, 2007), "A Professor, a President and the Klan", America, The National Catholic Weekly (New York), 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Summary of a Speech by Lee Harvey Oswald,Jesuit House of Studies, Spring Hill College Mobile, Alabama, July 27, 1963, 
  7. ^ Thomason, Michael (2001). Mobile : the new history of Alabama's first city. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 0817310657. 

External links

Coordinates: 30°41′39″N 88°08′13″W / 30.69430°N 88.13682°W / 30.69430; -88.13682

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address