A Note From the Cloakroom: An Avenue for the Arts
BY RICHARD BAXTER
Director, Campus and Community Events
Saint Mary’s College has two entrances on the east side of campus. The road that enters the campus by the Inn at Saint Mary’s is Brother Andre Drive. The main entrance, a little further to the south, is a tree lined road known simply as The Avenue. It is a polite nod to the history of the College and a view that carries meaning, memory and sentiment for most alumnae.
A patron recently called for directions and complained about the name of this entrance. She said, “I don’t know why you call it ‘The Avenue’. It should be named Avenue ‘so and so” or ‘such and such’. Why do you call it THE Avenue.” I asked her if she had ever driven into the campus that way. . .perhaps that experience would answer her question. I explained a little of the history and the impact this location has for our students—but she was unimpressed. I assumed correctly that she had not attended college at Saint Mary’s.
First Year Students at Saint Mary’s take their first walk down the Avenue in an informal ceremony during Orientation. Family, friends, staff, and faculty line the Avenue and cheer on the new class. In May, during Senior Week, our graduating class takes their final walk down the Avenue when they have completed the Opening of the Circle Ceremony, commemorating their upcoming departure from Saint Mary’s. They are reminded of their welcoming arrival and their bittersweet departure. During their time here, students use this route to walk to ND football games and the Grotto, or perhaps, on their way home between semesters. Alumnae returning to campus are reminded of the experiences that helped them through their formative years.
The Moreau Center for Arts now features a version of the Avenue in O’Laughlin Auditorium. Our resident set designer, Michaela Duffy has created a set of six panels to line the auditorium with a representation of the famous sycamore-lined path. This interior avenue serves as our personal entrance into experiencing the arts at Saint Mary’s College. Against the blue walls of the auditorium, these trees point us toward memorable lectures and enthralling performance—toward our own transformative time at the Moreau Center.