By Jacob Moberg ’16
It has been nearly four years that I have been attending Saint Joseph’s College. As I prepare for graduation and my journey into adulthood, I cannot help but reflect on certain memories that have helped to shape the kind of person that I have become while attending this college.
I had not heard a great deal about Saint Joseph’s College when I first came to visit in 2012. In fact, I only visited per a recommendation from my high school guidance counselor. I was skeptical, as I knew nothing about the school, but the moment that I first drove through the main entrance of the school, I knew immediately that Saint Joseph’s College was were I needed to be.
I have always enjoyed being surrounded by the sounds and physical features of nature rather than those of cities. On my first visit, I look around and see birds, blue sky, and a small pond. I see a chipmunk chase another chipmunk around the rungs of the fence at the farm across the street. The weather is warm and as soon as I step out of my car, I am welcomed by students already attending the school. This moment leaves me in a state of amazement, as I had not been spoken to by a single person at the other schools that I had already visited, other than the tour guides. With this new interaction occurring, my debate on if Saint Joseph’s College was going to be the right choice for me was quickly settled. I am a quiet person that keeps my head low, but I am welcomed regardless.
I start my freshman year at Saint Joseph’s College, still keeping relatively quiet as I slowly adjust to my new environment. Time passes, and I come to realize that my quiet self has been roomed with the most outgoing and social person that I have ever met. He is always talking to someone whenever I see him outside of class and is always welcoming strangers with open arms. Soon, I find myself starting to open up to people and I begin making friends. I come to realize that everyone I speak to is just as friendly as my roommate or as the person who greeted me when I first came to visit the school. This openness and constant welcoming environment made me love the school even more.
Admiring the View
I could go on to say how the welcoming environment of Saint Joseph’s College has made me the confident and optimistic person that I am today, but I believe that it is more important to address how the little details of this college capture its welcoming spirit throughout the years, proving that Saint Joseph’s College will always be ready to welcome anyone with open arms.
Around the campus, there are structures that are noticeably aged, but these structures, and the historical events that exist with them, immortalize the friendly spirit of Saint Joseph’s College and its students and faculty. The history of the structure that I believe best shows the kind spirit of the school is Stone Pond, and the chimney that resides near it.
Formally known as Lily Pond, due to its abundance of lily pads, Stone Pond had its name established in 1996. After the retirement of Fred Stone, the director of recreational activities at Saint Joseph’s College, the students wanted to commemorate all of Stone’s hard work and dedication to the school, so they had the pond renamed to Stone Pond.
After his retirement, Fred Stone took over as an announcer at the sports games on campus. He has stepped down from doing so, but he can still be seen visiting the campus from time to time.
In the photo above, a chimney can be seen between the trees in the background. In between the campus’s baseball field and Saint Joseph’s Dormitory Hall rests the reminiscences of a chimney used by the Verrill family.
The Verrills were the original owners of the land that Saint Joseph’s College now sits on. No longer a part of the campus is the cabin that the chimney used to be a part of. During the winter, when Stone Pond would freeze over, the cabin and its chimney served as a warming area for later inhabitants of the campus, the Sisters of Mercy, who would spend time ice skating on the frozen Stone Pond.
Around the Lake
Another welcoming feature that resides near the campus is Sebago Lake, which can be accessed via one of the many trails that surround campus. Along these trails, tucked away, lies what looks like a chimney with two large hearths.
In fact, the two large hearths served as a grill pit for the students attending Saint Joseph’s College before 1970. The students wanted a picnic area that would have tables to sit at and open space to relax in. Rather than having just the tables installed, the president of the College at the time had the grill pit installed as a gift to the students, thus proving Saint Joseph’s College’s encouragement of social bonding and spending time with nature.
The grill pit is tucked away as is the chimney, but one structure that truly emphasizes community and the welcoming spirit of Saint Joseph’s College is the observatory that sits on the roof of the Heffernen Hall.
Donated to the school by John Riley in 1980, the observatory used to be the only observatory at a school in Maine, as well as the largest observatory in the state.
Riley considered himself to be an amateur astronomer, as his daily job at the time of the observatory’s installation was a postal service worker. Originally used by Dr. William Hoyt and his astronomy students, the observatory is capable of collecting 2,500 times the light that is collected by the human eye. As well, the telescope in the observatory can magnify objects up to 800 times.
This observatory, while no longer in use, captures the spirit of community. Looking up at the stars often makes people realize that they are a small object in a massive universe. A sense of loneliness may ensue when observing this, but when many students are crowded together, they realize that they might be smaller that the rest of the universe, but at least they are together.
From 2012 and for the rest of my life, I will be forever thankful for the eternal welcoming spirit of Saint Joseph’s College. The people and the environment here have truly made me a better person in many regards. I would like to thank the many students and faculty that have helped me grow during my time here, and I would like to thank Sister Mary George O’Toole, ’51 for her assistance in providing the history and pictures of the structures that I have written about; to Dr. Edward Rielly and David Svenson, I would like to extend my eternal gratitude. Although I may not have expressed it in person to them, these two men have helped guide me in learning where I belong in life and what I want to do for a living after I graduate this coming spring. Thank you both so much!