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First Commencement - 1873

Posted 9/30/2018

St. Ursula Academy held the first commencement exercises on July 8, 1873.



The yellowed-with-age records an elaborate concert centering around the coronation of the young graduate, Mary Denniston, who delivered her valedictory, with Bishop Gilmour and his vicar-general, Monsignor Boff, present.

Commencement exercises often lasted an entire day.  the Bishop presented awards for scholastic achievement from kindergarten through the advanced classes. The most coveted award was that for Christian Doctrine. The event of events was the awarding of the crown of honor to each of the graduates.

The program also included many musical numbers and the reading of as many as six essays in English, French, and German.  

It was not only at commencement that music was in the air.  From the very beginning it occupied a prominent place in the Academy curriculum. Mother des Seraphims, Sister Annunciation and Sister Blessed Sacrament taught music as well as other subjects.  They also organized concerts which made Ursuline Convent the recognized musical center of the city.


The material quoted here is taken from A Tree in the Valley by Sr. Lelia Mahoney.