Oral History

Memories of Sister Mary Constantine Polubinski, OSF

Sister Constantine recalls her early days at Alvernia College as the first Dean of Women.  “I was the first Dean of Women at Alvernia when the first incoming students occupied Francis Hall, during the time the residence hall (now Veronica Hall) was under construction.  In Francis Hall, two large dormitories formerly used by the orphan children were converted into private double rooms.  These fourteen rooms accommodated twenty-eight resident students.  Each room was furnished with closets, twin beds, night tables and large spacious desks.  The rooms were attractive, homelike and cozy.  The boy’s dormitory on the lower level was also transformed into a lounge for the girls.  Next to the lounge a new kitchenette and snack area were available for the residents.  Here they frequently gathered to chat and enjoy some snacks.  Since Alvernia was an all girls’ college, the resident students communicated with young men from Albright College.  These young men knew that the college was staffed by religious and they called my attention to a particular TV program which they had been watching.  It was about a nun leaving the convent and they told me to be careful and not do likewise.  However, this incident made me smile because I knew that they were concerned and wanted to protect me.

When President J. Kennedy was assassinated, one of the students on hearing the announcement ran up the stairs where a group of girls were gathered shouting.  The President was shot.  The girls became disturbed because they thought that it was Sister Zygmunta, the president of the college.  What a relief!  This serious incident saddened the whole world.

There was only one store within walking distance where resident students would go for goodies and treats.  They went there so often they would remark over and over again, “if we keep this up we will soon own the place.”

Money was needed, when isn’t it?  We, as religious and faculty tried to help and it wasn’t long before the sisters came up with some fine ideas.  We began designing Christmas items using Styrofoam and other Christmas decorations.  Soon many friends were interested in not only purchasing Christmas items but they willingly helped to sell them.  The different ornaments were reasonably priced, attractive and long-lasting.  Soon Easter items were on the list.  The urge for creativity led to many more designs.  The financial returns were gratifying.

Interviewed by: Sister M. Alodia  Podczasy, April 20, 1999

Contact Information

The University Archives are located at the 951 Morgantown Offices on the first floor. Please contact Sharon Neal, Library Director to schedule an appointment.


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