Saint Michael’s was founded in 1904 by a small group of French priests of the Society of Saint Edmund who were devoted to Catholic education, the enhancement of the human person, the advancement of culture, and social justice. Taking their name from a 13th-century English saint, Edmund of Canterbury, the Edmundites shaped the mission and identity of Saint Michael’s as a residential liberal arts college in the Catholic intellectual tradition, with a strong commitment to social justice.
Faithful to its Catholic, Edmundite heritage, Saint Michael’s is committed to the development of the whole person as an individual and as a member of a larger community; high academic standards; advancement of values-based education; the practice of open and civil discourse; respect for the fundamental dignity and worth of each person; and fulfillment of the responsibility of good citizens in an age of cultural diversity and internationalization.
The founding values of the Edmundites are exemplified in some of the major events of the College’s history. In 1911, Saint Michael’s admitted its first African-American student. In 1926, it added its first graduate program. In 1947, Saint Michael’s Playhouse was opened, bringing the first professional summer theater to Vermont. In 1954, the College began a program to teach English to international students, which has become one of its signature programs.
In 1970, Saint Michael’s admitted women and became fully coeducational. And in the 1980s the College continued to build on its commitment to education and social justice by establishing the Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts (MOVE), which was founded as a way to expand the concept of community service and emphasize the College’s connectedness to the world.
In more recent years, the College increased its commitment to the environment by taking action to reduce its carbon footprint and enhance its “green” standing. Recent buildings have met LEED Certification standards or use geothermal heating and cooling to reduce energy usage. The school has also established an organic garden, used for education and service, and in 2015 a new array of solar panels came online.