A brief history of Marywood

Patrick Kernan and Lindsey Matylewicz


In 1915, the United States was still two years shy of its involvement in World War I. Women would not have the right to vote for another five years. Women, such as the Sisters of IHM were fighting for the oppotunity to better themselves through education. It was in this United States that a small college opened in Scranton, and it called itself Marywood College. 

According to “Marywood University, the First 75 Years: A Retrospective,” by Margaret Yarina, Marywood’s history did not actually start in Scranton. Instead, the idea began to germinate in Baltimore, Md. There, Sister Theresa Maxis Duchemin, Sister Ann Schaaf, and Father Louis Florent Gillet worked together to form the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, (IHM).

The organization quickly began to work mostly on education, particularly when it came to that of women. The I.H.M. opened schools in Michigan, Philadelphia, and, in 1915, Scranton.

In that year, Mother Germaine O’Neil drew the first catalog for available classes of the school, and accepted thirty-four young women to make up the first class of the school.

In the early 1900s, a time in which women were not even allowed to vote, let alone be involved in other aspects of society, a college that was only for women would be incredibly helpful. Education would help young women to take certain opportunities, like a profession to support their families, would not exist otherwise.

Over the next hundred years, much has changed at Marywood University.  It went from being a college to a university in 1997, and men were eventually allowed resident housing on-campus in 1964.

Make sure to check back every issue of The Wood Word for the rest of Marywood’s Centennial year, as we go in depth into some of the changes that have taken place at Marywood over the past 100 years.