St. Mary's College of Maryland
photo by Jay Fleming '09

Previous Issue

View the archives!

Contact Us

Lee Capristo, editor
The Mulberry Tree
Phone: (240) 895-4795
18952 East Fisher Road
St. Mary's City, MD 20686

A Monument School of the People

Written by Lee Capristo

When Maggie came to St. Mary's she was already interested in its "monument school" historic legacy, a part of its history that the previous two presidents (Renwick Jackson and Ted Lewis) had set aside while they focused on making St. Mary's College of Maryland a viable four-year institution. Maggie stated that the "monument school" legacy would be a central theme of her presidency. Coincidental with the start of her presidency, Historic St. Mary's City (HSMC) desired to be freed from the bureaucracy of the state agency it was under. In 1997, noting the willingness of both the College and HSMC to form new alliances, Governor Glendening appointed a special commission under Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. From that commission came the collaboration which led to the articulation of the joint Maryland Heritage Project, the development of a museum studies program, and the launchof the Center for the Study of Democracy. We ask President O'Brien about the partnernship.


I was drawn to St. Mary's because people like Ben Bradlee, Shep McKenney and J. Frank Raley were determined to wrap together a college and a 17th-century city. Students were to benefit, as were visitors young and old, and all of us who identify as citizens or students in a state with a rich and illustrious history. On the day I interviewed at St. Mary's, I met a student wearing overalls, just having come from an archaeological dig. What a lasting impression for me! Faculty and students and Historic St. Mary's City staff have contributed with the development of the SlackWater project, museum studies and democracy studies, the Center for the Study of Democracy, and the many new courses and independent studies and St. Mary's Projects giving curricular depth to the affiliation.