SAINT MARY-OF-THE-WOODS, Ind. (WTHI) – Saint Mary-Of-The-Woods College introduced a big change last year. They admitted male students for the first time.
Now as the fall semester wraps up, it marks the first time male students were able live on campus.
As Jessica Pitts reflects back on her four years at Saint Mary-Of-The-Woods, she can’t help but remember the day her college became co-ed.
“When it was first announced it was very shocking and upsetting,” said senior Jessica Pitts. “Just the way it all came across and not having any idea before but since then I think it’s been very positive.”
She appreciates a new perspective on campus, but she says some of the students are still getting adjusted to the change.
“Yes, they have accepted the males and have become friends with them but the overall feeling of losing that tradition is still there,” said Pitts.
In May of 2015, the college announced it would welcome male students for the first time in 175 years.
Just one year later, 20 male students call this campus their own.
“It feels normal. It almost feels like they’ve always kind of been here,” said Dean of Students, Jeff Malloy.
Malloy was a part of an implementation team that adjusted campus culture for the male students. The college updated its organizations and clubs, its marketing approach, and its residence hall at Le Fer Hall.
“It was neat to see all these men blended around the other students and totally bought into what was going on at the time,” said Malloy.
This semester marks the first term male students could live on campus. What used to be an all-female dorm, is now filled with seven male students.
“I think we grew stronger as a community,” said Malloy.
Pitts believes the decision helps attract more males as well as female students who may have been detoured from an all-female campus.
Before Pitts crosses the commencement stage Saturday, she has one message to her fellow students.
“No matter what our gender is or where we come from, we’re all here for the same purpose,” said Pitts.
Next semester, Saint Mary-Of-The-Woods College will have one more male student living on campus, increasing on campus residents to 8 male students.