The Ancient Order of Hibernians of Ramsey & Hennepin County Field Day, Aug. 17, 1913. (St. Thomas Archives)

Tales from the Archives: Summer Programs on Campus

After a year’s hiatus, campus has been buzzing again this summer with groups attending athletic camps, conferences and workshops. Here's a look back at some summer programs that St. Thomas hosted in previous decades.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians of Ramsey and Hennepin County staged their Annual Field Days on the athletic grounds of the College of St. Thomas throughout the 1910s. Attracting crowds of around 5,000 people, the daylong event included a track and field competition, a tug of war contest, a sack race, a three-legged race and a “Married Women’s Race.” Exhibitions of Irish dancing and music were also a huge part of the day’s festivities.

Ancient Order of Hibernians Field Day in 1913.
The Ancient Order of Hibernians of Ramsey & Hennepin County Field Day, Aug. 17, 1913.

During the 1920s, the Catholic Hospital Association hosted several of their annual conventions at St. Thomas. The conventions drew over 1,500 doctors, nurses and hospital administrators from across the United States and Canada. Educational programs were offered in the classroom buildings and the old Armory featured exhibits of the latest medical equipment and devices.

Catholic Hospital Association Convention in 1929.
The Catholic Hospital Association Convention on the grounds of the College of St. Thomas, 1929.

St. Thomas sponsored several National Science Foundation (NSF) Institutes for Secondary School Teachers from 1958-70. These six-week-long institutes sought to provide additional subject training to high school teachers areas such as mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics. Taught by St. Thomas professors, the institutes featured both classroom and laboratory instruction. Through the program, the attendees increased their capacity to educate and motivate their students to pursue careers in science.

A group of participants in the National Science Foundation Summer Institute, 1961.

From 1961 through the late 1980s, the Summer Sports Program was offered by the St. Thomas Athletic Department. Open to children from 6 to 16 years of age, the program provided instruction and participation in a variety of activities including football, golf, basketball, wrestling, baseball, tennis, track and field, gymnastics, volleyball, and soccer. The highlight for the children was the free swim in the O’Shaughnessy Hall pool at the end of each day. During its first few years, the program was offered only to boys, but by the mid-1960s it was opened up to allow for co-ed and girls-only sessions.