Timeline of University History

1885    Opened as St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary

1885    Rev. Thomas O’Gorman named rector

1887    Rev. Edward McSweeney named rector

1888    Rev. James J. Keane named rector

1892    Rev. James C. Byrne named rector

1893    A Commercial Course added to the curriculum

1894     St. Paul Seminary established through a gift from James J. Hill

1894    Incorporated as the College of St. Thomas.  

1899     Rev. John F. Dolphin named president

1903    Military program established on campus

1903    Alumni Association organized

1903    Father Humphrey Moynihan named president

1904    Intercollegiate athletics formed

1905     Infirmary Building (later Catholic Digest and now Alumni Relations) constructed.

1905    The St. Thomas Collegian first published

1906    The U.S. War Department approves St. Thomas as a military school; by 1912 it is the largest private military academy in the country

1907    College designates a military college by the War Department

1909    General Education Board, funded by John D. Rockefeller, gives St. Thomas $75,000 for endowment purposes. The college matches it 3-1.

1911    First athletic field constructed near Cretin Avenue (ran east-west)

1912    Ireland Hall, the New Residence Hall, opened

1912    The Purple and Gray Magazine first published

1914    The Armory and what later became known as Foley Theater opened

1915*    First academic degrees (B.A.) awarded to graduates who followed regular baccalaureate program on campus (note: the two BA’s given in 1910 were to instructors at the College who did not complete their degrees in the normal course of instruction)

1915    The college and the military academy separate into two distinct institutions

1915    The “Gas House Tigers” (later Tiger Club) organize as an academy intramural basketball team

1916    The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges

1917    The Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas opened

1918    Students’ Army Training Corps (SATC) unit is established on campus

1918    The Kaydet, a combined college and academy yearbook, first published

1918    May 21, first Homecoming day celebrated

1921    Rev. Thomas Cullen named president

1921     The Purple and Gray student newspaper first published

1921    First “Tiger Homecoming” presented

1922    Military training became optional for college students

1927    Rev. John P. Foley named president

1928    The Holy Cross Fathers assume administration for the College and Father Matthew Schumacher is named president

1930    Lights are installed on athletic field and St. Thomas plays the first night football game in Twin Cities history

1931    Aquinas Hall opens

1931    First Mr. Tommy (now Tommie of the Year) award given

1931     Aquinas college yearbook first published

1933    The college newspaper is renamed the Aquin

1933    Archdiocese retakes control of the college and Father James Moynihan becomes president

1936    The debate team of Robert Sheran and Abraham Kaplan win the national championship sponsored by Pi Kappa Delta.

1938    All College Council organized

1939    O’Shaughnessy Hall opens

1942    Navy V-5 unit established on campus

1943    Navy V-12 unit established on campus

1944    Rev. Vincent Flynn named president

1947    Three Army barracks are installed in the area now occupied by Murray Hall and the lower quadrangle, serving as classrooms, the student union, and the student cafeteria and grill

1947    Tom Town, made up of 20 double-dwelling huts, opens for families of faculty and staff on what now is the site of the library and OEC; Robert Fogerty is the first mayor

1947    Albertus Magnus Hall opens as a new home for the sciences and mathematics

1948     Mary Keefe is appointed the first full-time female faculty member.

1949    The football team plays in the Cigar Bowl, its only New Year’s Day bowl game

1949    President Harry Truman visits campus

1950    Graduate Program in Education established

1951    First female receives an MA degree from College (Sr. Mary Stephen Lamm)

1956    Rev. James Shannon named president

1957     Management Center established

1957    William Mitchell College of Laws opens at 2100 Summit Avenue, and the college uses the classrooms during the day and purchases the building in 1977 when the law school moves

1959    O’Shaughnessy Library opens

1959    Dowling Hall opens

1960    Murray Hall opens as a student center

1965    St. Thomas Military Academy moves to Mendota Heights

1966    Rev. Terrence Murphy named president

1966    Brady Residence Hall opens

1970    O’Shaughnessy Educational Center opens

1972    St. John Vianney Seminary moves to St. Thomas (Brady Hall)

1974    MBA program established

1974    Center for Senior Citizens Education opens (check date)

1975    New College established

1976    Pauline Lambert named first female dean

1977    First women admitted as undergraduate students

1978    John Paul II Residence Hall opens for women

1981    Schoenecker Arena and Coughlan Field House open

1982    Gainey Conference Center opens on Owatonna campus

1982     Women’s cross country team wins the college’s first national title in sports

1982    St. John Vianney Seminary moves into new building

1985    Master’s program established in software design and development

1986    Master’s program established in manufacturing engineering

1987    Business courses offered for the first time downtown Minneapolis (Powers Building)

1987    St. Paul Seminary affiliates with the College of St. Thomas

1990    College of St. Thomas becomes the University of St. Thomas

1991    Rev. Dennis Dease named president

1991    Frey Memorial Library addition opens; complex now known as the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center

1991    St. Thomas concludes the Century II campaign, which raised $83 million (original goal was $35 million)

1992    Minneapolis Campus Building (now Terrence Murphy Hall) opens as first building on the Minneapolis campus.

1992    LuAnn Dummer Center for Women opened

1996    Center for Catholic Studies opens; its Catholic Studies major is among the first in the country

1996    Center for Irish Studies opens

1997    St. Thomas opens the Frey Science and Engineering Center, comprised of O’Shaughnessy and Owens science halls, three years after receiving $15.5 million in federal funds

1998    Morrison Hall, including the first underground parking ramp, opens and is connected by skyway to Koch Commons, which also opens and is linked with Brady and Dowling halls

1998    Child Development Center opens in Christ Child Hall

1998    St. Thomas establishes a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering; is the only private college or university in Minnesota with undergraduate engineering programs

1999    Opus Hall opens on the Minneapolis campus for the School of Education

2000    Bernardi Campus in Rome opens

2001     School of Law opens (and moves into its Minneapolis campus building in 2003)

2001    St. Thomas concludes the Ever Press Forward campaign, an eight-year effort that raised $250 million (more than twice the goal of $120 million)

2001    St. Thomas establishes a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering

2004    St. Thomas reaches agreement with the City of St. Paul and neighborhood organizations on the redevelopment of two blocks bounded by Summit, Cleveland, Grand and Cretin avenues

2004    School of Engineering formed and undergraduate and graduate programs are integrated

2005    Selby Residence Hall opens, and includes underground parking.

2005    Child Development Center moves into new building at Grand and Finn

2005    Schulze Hall opens in Minneapolis as the home for the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship

2006    McNeely Hall opens for business programs, and includes underground parking

2006    St. Thomas names its business programs the Opus College of Business

2007    St. Thomas launches the Opening Doors campaign, an eight-year effort to raise $500 million

2007    The College of Applied Professional Studies is formed, integrating the School of Education and the Graduate School of Professional Psychology

2007    Old McNeely Hall is renovated and renamed the Summit Avenue Classroom Building as the home for the School of Social Work

2009    St. Thomas opens the Anderson Parking Facility, a 725-car ramp on the south campus

2009    St. Thomas begins the celebration of its 125th anniversary (known as its quasquicentennial)

2010    Anderson Athletic and Recreation Center opened.

2012    Anderson Student Center opened.

2013     Julie Sullivan named first layperson and first female president

2014    Facilities and Design Center opens

2017       Dougherty Family College opens

2018       College of Health created (renamed Morrison Family College of Health in 2019)

2019       St. Thomas voted out of the MIAC effective Fall 2021

2020       Center for Well-Being opens

2020            Tommie North and Tommie East residence halls open

2020            Iversen Center for Faith opens