Edgewood College, rooted in the Dominican tradition, engages students within a community of learners committed to building a just and compassionate world. The College educates students for meaningful personal and professional lives of ethical leadership, service, and a lifelong search for truth.
The Edgewood College property was bought in 1855 by Mr. Ashmead from Governor Leonard J. Farwell, and later developed by Samuel Marshall. He beautified the land by planting trees, formal gardens, and climbing grapevines on trellises. Governor Cadwallader Washburn purchased Edgewood villa in 1873, making it his home. Later he donated it to the Dominican Sisters for educational purposes. In 1881, St. Regina Academy, a private boarding school for girls, was opened, and on September 15, the first 16 boarding and day students were welcomed. During the first years of the school, tuition was $165 per year and music lessons an additional $8 to $12 per quarter. In 1893, because of increased growth, construction of a new building was undertaken. It incorporated a granite cornerstone inscribed with the word "Veritas," ("truth"), the motto of the Dominicans. Shortly after its completion, on the night of November 16, a devastating fire took the lives of three of the youngest children attending Regina Academy. The villa and a nearly completed new building were also destroyed. The future of the school was in doubt after this fatal fire, but the Sisters were determined to ï¿½stick and hangï¿½. A benefit concert was quickly organized by friends of the Dominican Sisters at the Fuller Opera House on the Capitol Square the night of November 28; the success of the benefit inspired the Sisters to rebuild at once. Rebuilding started in 1894, at a cost of $36,719. The new school, now called Sacred Heart Academy, admitted its first 40 students on September 5, 1894 (Paynter 1,21,23,26). The campus was subsequently expanded to include a high school and an elementary school. In 1927, Edgewood staff requested support for the academic recognition of a junior college for women in Madison from the President of the University of Wisconsinï¿½Madison. In May, 1927, they received approval for the college. Because student enrollment continued to increase, a new building was completed in 1927.