In 1958, the Religious Sisters of Mercy founded Maria as a Sister Formation and Liberal Arts college with a student body of 52. Today, we serve just over 1,000 students, men and women, who attend our day, evening and weekend classes, and are enrolled in our online course offerings. From its founding, the mission of the College has been to educate for service—service to the greater Capital Region and to the communities in which its graduates live and work. Although Maria was established to educate the Sisters of Mercy, the vision soon broadened with the College’s first degree program with enrollment open to the community : Early Childhood Education. All degree programs were opened to coeducational enrollment in 1971, and today male enrollment accounts for more than 20% of Maria’s student body. The library has a special collection of historical titles aimed at supporting research, learning and teaching by collecting, cataloging and preserving unique titles of interest to Maria College, The Sisters of Mercy and the broader academic community. These fiction and non-fiction titles are classified as “Special Collection” because of their research potential, uniqueness, rarity, early printing, limited availability, autographed editions and/or physical fragility. Items vary considerably, with a concentration on, but not limited to, early American history, children’s literature and Catholicism, with the oldest title dating back to 1686. Also included are black and white photographs, documents, correspondence, publications and newspaper articles pertaining to the history of the College. The digital collection contains a selection of these archival materials depicting Maria’s early days, including the groundbreaking ceremony and blessing of the College, as well as historical photographs of faculty, students, board members, presidents, and local religious community leaders and politicians.
Maria College is a member of the Capital District Library Council.