In 1881, Governor Cadwallader C. Washburn gave his Edgewood Villa and 55-acre wooded estate on the shore of Lake Wingra to the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa. They moved St. Regina Academy, which had been located in downtown Madison, to the Edgewood site and, after a tragic fire in 1893, rebuilt the school as Sacred Heart Academy, which was later separated into Edgewood High School and Edgewood Campus School.
In 1927, Edgewood College was founded as a junior college for women with a two-year liberal arts curriculum, housed in the same building as the high school. The senior college developed in 1940, focusing on the preparation of teachers, and the first Bachelor of Science degrees in education were awarded in 1942. Marshall Hall, originally built in 1864, was converted for use as a college residence hall in 1941–42, becoming the first distinctively collegiate building separate from the high school facilities.
The North Central Association of Schools and Colleges first accredited Edgewood College as a senior college in 1958; its most recent ten-year NCA reaccreditation was completed in 2008. Mazzuchelli Biological Station, Regina Hall, DeRicci Hall, the Todd Wehr Edgedome, and Weber Hall were built as Edgewood College flourished through the 1950s and 60s.
Male students began arriving on campus from Holy Name Seminary in the mid-1960s, and in 1970 the campus became officially coeducational.
The Oscar Rennebohm Library was completed and opened for use in January 1991, and the Sister Marie Stephen Reges Hall was ready for occupancy by resident students in fall 1994. The Sonderegger Science Center opened in January 1999. Its opening marked the completion of Phase 1 of the Campus Master Plan which included a new entrance from Monroe Street and a multi-level parking structure. The Sonderegger Science Center is the home for the nation’s first “Kindergarten through College” science education model.
Groundbreaking for the Henry J. Predolin Humanities Center took place in June 1999, and the building opened in August 2000. The beautiful, welcoming entrance functions as the “front door” of the College. The Predolin Center houses the Campus Assistance Center, the Anderson Auditorium, Wingra Café and other College offices and resources for students.
In 1979, the College introduced the undergraduate Weekend Degree Program. In 2002, the Returning Adult Accelerated Degree Program was launched with a program in business administration. Accredited master’s degree programs in business administration, education, and religious studies were introduced in 1985. Since then, graduate programs in nursing, accountancy, and marriage and family therapy have been added. A doctoral program in education was added in 2001–02, and in 2011 the College began offering online courses in select graduate-level programs. The Doctor of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership program was added in 2013-2014.
In the Fall of 2007, the first students moved into Dominican Hall, the largest residence hall on campus, which has received LEED certification for its design, construction, and operation. The start of the Fall semester of 2012 saw the dedication of The Stream, the College’s visual and theatre arts center, which has also received LEED certification.
Edgewood College’s 3,000 students pursue degrees in the arts and sciences, the humanities, business, education, and nursing. As we proudly celebrate our 90th anniversary, Edgewood College continues to grow and prosper, and we remain true to our Dominican Mission as a community of learners “committed to building a just and compassionate world.”