Nazareth College was a
Catholic college in Kalamazoo, Michigan that operated from 1924 until 1992.
Under the auspices of the Most Reverend Michael James Gallagher,
Bishop of Detroit
College was chartered in 1924 at Nazareth, Michigan by the Sisters of St. Joseph
. At that time the college was granted its
Articles of Incorporation
by the State of
Michigan as a four
year liberal arts college.
Although the college traces its
founding to this date, it is necessary to go back to 1897 to find
the college’s roots.
Nazareth Academy opened in 1897 and based on the charter that was
issued, it provided for the future extension of the school to the
collegiate level. On May 7, 1913, Monsignor
O’Brien announced the formation of the
O’Brien scholarship and the opening of Nazareth College. In 1914,
Margaret Packard became the first recipient of the O’Brien
scholarship and Nazareth’s first graduate in 1918 with a Bachelor
of Arts degree. Sister
Mary Celestine Connors
served as Acting Dean of the college from 1918 – 1932 when she
became the college’s first President, a post she held until
A seven million dollar campus construction project was begun in the
1950’s. In 1959, groundbreaking began on Albers Hall, named after
Joseph Albers of the Lansing Diocese
. Also in 1959, construction
began on Connors Hall. Originally named Immaculata Hall, it was
renamed in honor of Sister Mary Celestine Connors. In 1962, the
Administration building was begun closely followed by Dooley Hall
in 1963. Dooley Hall was initially called Madonna Hall
. The name change was to
honor Dr. Thomas Dooley. He served in Laos during the
Vietnam War and later returned to help
the people there.
received a Congressional Gold Medal
work in that country. Work
on Dillon Hall and the library was completed in 1967.
In 1971 the decision was made to admit men to the college, thus
changing the campus culture forever. By the late 1980s,
two graduate programs
offered. Nazareth College was also noted for its night and weekend
classes designed to meet the needs working adult students.
programs were located at Glen Oaks Community College in
Centerville, Lake Michigan
College in Benton
Harbor, and Kellogg
Community College in Battle Creek.
The next major addition to the physical campus
was the completion of the Athletic Center in
1989, though it was never truly finished. This provided the
students with a much needed outlet for physical fitness and
activities as well as contributing to the college sponsored varsity
sports for men in soccer, basketball and baseball; and for women in
It surly also contributed to the victory of the women’s volleyball
team in 1991 at nationals
The Nazareth College Board of
announced their decision to close the college in April
1991. The college closed slowly and gracefully over the course of
the next 18 months, allowing many students to finish their degrees.
Ownership of the physical college campus reverted back to the
Sisters of Saint Joseph. The Sisters wanted to find a purpose for
the buildings that fit with their mission of service. Connors,
Dooley and Albers Halls have been leased to Kalamazoo County Human Services
Department. Borgess Medical
Center purchased the athletic center and has converted it into
Borgess Health and Fitness Center. Unfortunately a purpose for the
administration building and the library could not be found and they
were torn down in 1995 and 1996, respectively.
The college seal
, that was inlaid in
the main floor of the administration building, was saved and is now
on display on the grounds of former campus. It is located on the
west side of the main entrance road to Nazareth, close to where the
administration building was.
In 1987 it
offered bachelor degree programs in: accounting, America studies,
biology, business administration, computer information management, elementary education, English, fine
arts, fine arts management, human services, learning disabilities, liberal studies, medical technology, natural science, nursing, pharmaceutical and medical services representative, pre-medical pre-dental and
pre-veterinary, secondary education, social psychology, and social work.