In the Past…

During the years of its existence, more than 12,000 women and more than 800 men attended the College of Saint Teresa and were influenced by the Franciscan ideals of service and scholarship.

In 1989, the College closed; however, through the formation of the Alumnae Association of the College of Saint Teresa, successor organization to the Teresan Alumnae Association, the Teresan influence in higher education begun in 1907 by the Franciscan Sisters lives on.

In the Present

We are composed of former faculty, staff, students and alumnae of the College of Saint Teresa, and we seek additional members who share the goals of the Alumnae Association. Since 1989, we have moved from being primarily a social organization to a group dedicated to preserving the Teresan traditions.

  • The Alumnae Association works to achieve a variety of goals. We are proud to have:
  • established and maintained the Alumnae Office;
  • managed the Teresan Scholarship Fund;
  • enrolled almost 1,200 active members each year;
  • continued the Teresan News publication and the Memorial/Memento programs;
  • advised and facilitated chapter formation and events;
  • hosted annual reunions;
  • published alumnae directories to keep alumnae connected to one another;
  • trademarked the Rose Window.

The gift of the Teresan Scholarship Fund signaled what a portion of that new mission would be. The principal amount of $722,444.70 was invested in a variety of conservative stocks and bonds. Since our first scholarship was given in 1992, we are pleased to have awarded over $1,200,000! Over 2,000 scholarships have been awarded to alumnae members and their family members for Teresan enrichment, undergraduate education, and graduate studies.

In the Future…

Our responsibility to Teresan ideals continues. Having accepted the duty to continue to foster these ideals, the Alumnae Association strives to promote a sense of community by bringing Teresans together at reunions and chapter events. We continue to promote the higher education of women and of those who hold our Teresan values dear, especially through administration of the Teresan Scholarship.

Our challenge lies in identifying and welcoming new members to our organization who, while they may not be graduates of the College of Saint Teresa, value excellence in education. The ideals of Purity, Loyalty and Truth remain in evidence not only in the past, but in the present and future of the Alumnae Association of the College of Saint Teresa.


Historical Background

The College of Saint Teresa, a Catholic college of the liberal arts and the professions, was founded in 1907 as a residential college for women by the Sisters of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes, Rochester, Minnesota.

In March 1894, Sisters Leo Tracy and Dominic Mahl, Rochester Franciscans, journeyed to Winona, Minnesota, to begin the venture. They arrived with meager monetary means, just $4.28 between them, but with a strong faith and dedication to their mission; they took possession of a building previously used as a hospital. The Congregation had obtained the property earlier in the year from Bishop Joseph B. Cotter for a cash payment of $1,000 plus a $29,000 mortgage. Immediately, the Sisters began plans for renovation of the building and the opening of the Winona Seminary for Young Ladies.

In the first class that fall fifty-nine students were enrolled. The initial faculty included six Sisters and four lay persons. The curriculum – in addition to secondary academic subjects – consisted of the following offerings: piano, mandolin, guitar, violin, voice, elocution, business, art, Latin, and gymnastics. Father John Cummiskey of the Winona Diocese was the first chaplain.

Dr. Mary A. Molloy, a Cornell graduate, began college level courses under the tutorial system in 1907. In 1912 the college was fully established and the name changed to the College of Saint Teresa. The faith and dedication of the Franciscan Sisters had resulted in the fulfillment of a dream. The College of Saint Teresa became the teaching-learning-living community envisioned by its early leaders.

From one building, Saint Mary’s Hall, the campus expanded to eleven buildings spread across seventy acres. Aware that environment exerts a strong influence on both cognitive and affective learning, those in charge provided surroundings conducive to the ideals established years before.

From its founding, the College of Saint Teresa was committed to the education of young women in two specific areas, academic excellence and service. These goals were achieved throughout the entire life of the College through adherence to strict academic standards as well as to the development of the spiritual and personal dimensions of the individual.

Throughout its history, the College of Saint Teresa has been a “contemporary” college responding to the needs of each new generation of students without compromising those values that give purpose and strength to the institution… the entire collegiate life at the College is built upon the nature and dignity of the human person.
– Mission and Identity of the College of Saint Teresa, pp. 5-6

Following the closing of the College of Saint Teresa in 1989, the Alumnae Association was determined to continue the Teresan traditions and values inherent to the institution. The Association fosters friendship and communication among the alumnae, assists in the establishment of alumnae chapters, and promotes the cause of higher education.

Office Staff

Colleen Kocer Peplinski ’87
Executive Director

Read Bio

Amy Rubie
Administrative Assistant

Read Bio

Lisa Wantock
Administrative Assistant

Read Bio

College of Saint Teresa Past Presidents