Holy Family College (Wisconsin)

Holy Family College was a private Catholic liberal arts college in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Founded as an academy in 1885 by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, the college achieved four-year college status in 1935 and was then called Holy Family College. In 1972 the college became separately incorporated from the Franciscan order, and was renamed Silver Lake College of the Holy Family.[4] The college announced it is closing in 2020, with the final classes held through August 2020.[5] The college was connected through the same Franciscan order to Manitowoc's major hospital, Holy Family Memorial.

Holy Family College
Pax huic domui
Seal of Holy Family College
Former name
  • Holy Family College (1935-1972)
  • Silver Lake College of the Holy Family (1972-2019)
Pax huic domui [1]
Motto in English
"Peace to this house"
TypePrivate, Liberal Arts
Active1935 (1935)–2020[2]
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic (Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity)
PresidentRobert B. Callahan
Academic staff
75 full-time faculty and staff
Students500 (2015)[3]
Location, ,
United States

44°04′16″N 87°44′39″W / 44.0710708°N 87.7442676°W / 44.0710708; -87.7442676Coordinates: 44°04′16″N 87°44′39″W / 44.0710708°N 87.7442676°W / 44.0710708; -87.7442676
36 acres (15 ha)
Colors   Blue and white
MascotFreddy the Pheasant
Main Hall
Franciscan Music Center
Nursing Wing


Holy Family College traces its history to 1885 when the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity established Holy Family Academy and Normal School to prepare young women who entered the religious community for teaching. They founded Holy Family College in 1935. The college began admitting lay women in 1957 and became coeducational in 1969.[6]

The college was located in a wing of Holy Family Convent for 25 years. In the late 1950s, a capital campaign was launched to build a new college building on 36 acres adjacent to Holy Family Convent. The new Holy Family College building opened in 1960. In 1972 the college became separately incorporated from the Franciscan order, and was renamed Silver Lake College of the Holy Family.[6]

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Silver Lake College of the Holy Family expanded programs to nontraditional students. Beginning in the mid 1980s, the college also offered degree-completion programs and professional development coursework.[7]: 4 

The St. Joseph Parish church and school, located on campus, added space for meetings, classes and offices. It was named the Generose Enrichment Center for the first college president, Mother M. Generose Cahill, and opened in 2003.[8]

George F. Arnold was appointed the college's first lay president and served from 2004 to 2013.[7]: 4 [9]

Clare Hall was renovated to offer on-campus student housing in 2009.[10]

Dr. Robert B. Callahan became Holy Family College's 11th president in 2018.[11]

In September 2019, Silver Lake College announced that it would be renamed Holy Family College, in a return to its Franciscan roots.[12]

In May 2020, Holy Family College announced it would be closing in late August 2020. The college cited increased expenses and the COVID-19 pandemic's effects on enrollment.[13]


Holy Family College offered 21 undergraduate programs and three graduate programs.[14][15]

Accelerated evening coursework on the main campus in Manitowoc and at outreach sites in the state were offered to those with associate degrees who are pursuing a bachelor's or graduate degree. Programs also include academic counseling and credit for prior learning. Other available coursework included teacher certification and certificate programs ranging from business to ministry to social work.[16]

Four-year nursing programEdit

With a Bachelor of Science in nursing completion program already in place, Silver Lake College opened a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in its renovated, $1.5 million nursing wing in 2016.[17][18]

Work collegeEdit

In 2016 Silver Lake College initiated SLC Works, a program that incorporates jobs into students' schedules in order to give them work experience, build their résumés and apply money earned toward their student debt. In the 2016–17 academic year, all new full-time residential freshmen and transfer students began participating in SLC Works as a condition of enrollment.[19]


HFC athletic teams were known as the Lakers.[2] The college joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 2016.[20] Holy Family College competed in the NAIA as an independent institution.[20] At the time of the campus closure, HFC offered men's basketball, women's basketball, women's volleyball, men's soccer, women's soccer, men's cross country, women's cross country, men's bowling, and women's bowling.[21][22]


Holy Family College was accredited by the Higher Learning Commission,[23] the National Association of Schools of Music,[24] and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.[25]

State of Wisconsin certificationsEdit

The college's certifications included the Wisconsin Board of Nursing, Wisconsin Social Work Certificate, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.[7]: 5 


Silver Lake was a member of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.[7]: 5 


  1. ^ "Silver Lake College Handbook" (PDF). Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Bink, Addy (5 May 2020). "Manitowoc's Holy Family College to cease operations after summer term". WFRV Local 5. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Silver Lake College General Information". Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  4. ^ "Lakeshore college announces name change". FOX 11 News. September 19, 2019.
  5. ^ Meyerhofer, Kelly (May 5, 2020). "As a small Wisconsin college closes its doors, others worry about growing COVID-19 losses". madison.com. Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Kittell, M. Teresita (1979). Refining His Silver: Pioneer Days of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. pp. 115–116.
  7. ^ a b c d Silver Lake College 2016-2017 Academic Bulletin (PDF).
  8. ^ Stone, Cindy (Oct 19, 2003). "Enriching opportunity available at SLC". Lakeshore Chronicle. p. A1.
  9. ^ "Silver Lake College president resigns; plans to spend time traveling". The Compass.
  10. ^ Millard, Sarah (May 9, 2009). "SLC introduces first residence hall". Herald Times Reporter. p. A1.
  11. ^ "Manitowoc's Silver Lake College names Dr. Robert B. Callahan its next president". Herald Times Reporter. Nov 21, 2017.
  12. ^ Weiss, Suzanne. "Silver Lake College in Manitowoc is renamed Holy Family College". The Compass. Catholic Diocese of Green Bay. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  13. ^ Zarling, Patti (5 May 2020). "Holy Family College in Manitowoc closing permanently after summer session". Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Undergraduate Academic Programs". Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  15. ^ "Graduate Degrees Offered". Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  16. ^ "Certifications". Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  17. ^ "Nursing Programs". Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  18. ^ "SLC receives $1 million gift". Herald Times Reporter. 2015-11-06. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  19. ^ Suzanne Weiss (2016). "SLC Works". Silver Lake College Magazine 2016. pp. 3–7. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Staff (April 22, 2016). "Silver Lake College joins NAIA". Manitowoc Herald Times. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  21. ^ "Silver Lake College Athletics Website".
  22. ^ "HOLY FAMILY COLLEGE TO DISCONTINUE ALL OPERATIONS AT THE END OF SUMMER TERM". Holy Family College Athletics. May 4, 2020. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  23. ^ "Higher Learning Commission - Silver Lake College". Retrieved 2016-10-30.
  24. ^ "National Association of Schools of Music - Silver Lake College". Retrieved 2016-10-30.
  25. ^ "CCNE-Accredited Nursing Degree Programs - Wisconsin". Retrieved 2016-10-30.

External linksEdit