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Catholic Education Daily


The Rise and Fall of Utah's Only Catholic College

Intermountain Catholic has the history on the rise and fall of Utah's only Catholic college - All Hallows College. Opened in 1886, the prep school and college operated until 1918.

Writer, Gary Topping describes how the project was undertaken by Bishop Lawrence Scanlan, the first bishop of Salt Lake.

"Bishop Scanlan... believed that a full range of Catholic education ought to be available even in Utah," writes Topping.

By 1887-89, the Bishop persuaded the Marist Fathers to purchase and take over the administration of the school, which drew students from as far away as California, Nebraska, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. At its height, the college had an enrollment of 200 students.

But according to Topping, Bishop Scanlan was at odds with the Marianists:

His ongoing feud with the Marists ranged over issues from the reasonable to the trivial. For one thing, he suspected the college’s beautiful chapel of siphoning parishioners from the Cathedral. Accordingly, he refused diocesan faculties to the priests and demanded that they administer the sacraments only to the students. He condemned athletic competition with other schools, repeatedly accused the fathers of deficient academic standards, and even exploded at the proposal for a dance ("Cadet Hop") at the school.

The demise of the college, though, came from forces mostly outside its control. By the early twentieth century, the proliferation of other Catholic colleges in the West rendered Salt Lake City a less desirable educational destination than Seattle, Portland or San Francisco, so the student population dwindled, as did tuition revenues. Most of the remaining students were Utahns, yet Bishop Scanlan refused diocesan financial support, nor would he turn over a parish to the Marists to help support themselves. Finding their position untenable, the Marists pulled out of Utah in 1918. The college buildings were leased to the Utah National Guard, then sold to the state for use as an armory. They were eventually torn down in 1941.

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