History: Marywood Rotunda Murals

Rotunda Murals
liberal arts center 1979

A Brief History

Marywood College was founded in 1915 and chartered under the laws of the state of Pennsylvania in 1917 as a Catholic College for the higher education of women. It was the first Catholic college for women in the state.

What would become the first college building was constructed between 1900 and 1902. The Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary occupied it as the motherhouse of the community, though the foundations of their college work were laid in 1845 when the Sisterhood was formed.

In the early 20th century, the Sisters developed the actual foundation of Marywood College that has been the ideal of the institution ever since.

Artistic appreciation is not the least of the abundant fruits of Catholic training. Galleries and exhibits, paintings, etchings, sculpture, music, literature, all the fine arts are in their true home at Marywood, for it is a well-known fact that Catholic culture is a gracious fostering mother of art.

Many treasures were transferred from the motherhouse when the Liberal Arts building, the first of the college group, was opened. In the 1930s, work was finally completed on the most breathtaking addition to the campus during this period—the Rotunda interior—a task which had been deferred since 1924. Artist Gonippo Raggi was commissioned to paint the murals of the Rotunda. The ambitious effort artistically synthesized the religious and educational mission of the IHM Congregation and of Marywood.