Woodstock College

Woodstock College was a Jesuit seminary that existed from 1869 to 1974. It was the oldest Jesuit seminary in the United States.[2] The school was located in Woodstock, Maryland, west of Baltimore, from its establishment until 1969, when it moved to New York City, where it operated in cooperation with the Union Theological Seminary and the Jewish Theological Seminary. The school closed in 1974.[3] It was survived by the Woodstock Theological Center, an independent, nonprofit Catholic research institute located at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Woodstock College
Drawing of Woodstock College in 1871
FounderAngelo Paresce
Location, ,
39°20′08″N 76°52′12″W[1]


Cemetery and sepulchral chapel at the college

Woodstock College was originally located along the Patapsco River in Woodstock, Maryland, west of Baltimore. It incorporated in 1867, and opened on September 22, 1869.[4]

In the 1960s, the college began considering affiliating with an urban university.[5][6]

The argument to move the school into a city and place it in affiliation with broader network of institutions of higher learning received decisive support from the newest ideas of theological education and priestly formation emerging from the Second Vatican Council and the Jesuits' own Thirty-First General Congregation. In consequence, the college closed its original campus and moved to New York City, New York in 1969[7] where it operated in cooperation with the Union Theological Seminary[8] and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Controversies over the merits of the move into the city, specific controversies arising over the life style of the Jesuits in training in New York, and a general desire of the order to consolidate their theology schools nationally led to the school's closure in 1974.[3]

It was survived until 2013 by the Woodstock Theological Center,[9] an independent, nonprofit Catholic research institute located at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The theological library retains its independence through an affiliation with the library at Georgetown University, where it is still housed.


The original campus buildings in Woodstock, Maryland are now used as a Job Corps Center, while the campus grounds are part of Patapsco Valley State Park.

Rectors and Presidents of Woodstock College

  • Angelo Paresce, S.J. (1869-1875)
  • James Perron, S.J. (1875-1881)
  • Joseph E. Keller, S.J. (1881-1883)
  • Pierre O. Racicot, S.J. (1883-1890)
  • Edward V. Boursand, S.J. (1893)[10]
  • Joseph Jerge, S.J. (1893-1897)
  • Burchard Villiger, S.J. (1897-1901)[11]
  • William P. Brett, S.J. (1901-1907)
  • Anthony Maas, S.J. (1907-1912)
  • Joseph F. Hanselman, S.J. (1912- 1918)[12]
  • William Clark, S.J. (1918-1921)
  • Theodore Daigler (1934)[13]
  • Edward J. Sponga (1957-1960)[14]
  • Michael F. Maher (1963)
  • Felix Cardegna (1965-1970)[15]
  • Christopher F. Mooney (1969-1974)[16][17]

Noted people

See List of people associated with Woodstock College

See also


  1. "Feature Detail Report: Woodstock College". Geographic Names Information System. U.S. Geological Survey. 1979-09-12. Retrieved 2008-04-05.
  2. "A Death in the Family". TIME. 1973-01-22.
  3. Blau, Eleanor (1973-01-09). "Woodstock Jesuit College Here, Experimental Seminary, to Shut". New York Times. p. 1.
  4. "Leading Catholic Seminary". The Times (Ellicott City). 31 March 1965.
  5. Fiske, Edward B. (1966-12-16). "Jesuit Seminary Weighs Urban Tie". New York Times. p. 52.
  6. Doty, Robert C. (1967-09-02). "Jesuit Seminary May Move to City". New York Times. p. 15.
  7. Fiske, Edward B. (1968-02-28). "Jesuit Seminary From Maryland To Move to Morningside Heights". New York Times. p. 16.
  8. Lissner, Will (1969-10-23). "Protestants Greet Jesuits Here". New York Times. p. 49.
  9. "Jesuit College Plans Transfer". New York Times. 1973-12-02. p. 105. Woodstock College, the Jesuit theology school being phased out here, will transfer some of its resources and assets to a new Jesuit research center to be established in Washington.
  10. "BUILT BY MRS. DAHLGREN.; Dedication of the Chapel of the Sacred Heart at Washington". New York Times. 1893-04-17. p. 2.
  11. "PROMINENT JESUIT VERY ILL.; The Rev. Burchard Villiger of Philadelphia Not Expected to Recover". New York Times. 1902-11-04. p. 1.
  12. "Presidents - Hanselman". College of the Holy Cross.
  13. "Archbishop v. Sun". TIME. 1934-07-23.
  14. "What I Wanted as a Person". TIME. 1968-07-26.
  15. "The Jesuits' Search For a New Identity". TIME. 1973-04-23.
  16. "Mooney Is New Head Of Woodstock College". New York Times. 1969-10-18. p. 9.
  17. Saxon, Wolfgang (1993-09-28). "C. F. Mooney, 68, Religion Professor And Noted Author". New York Times.