These very early and deceased pioneers are doubtless the cause of much of Brescia’s present success because of their indefatigable labors and intercession for Brescia.
Sister Hilda Mudd
In 1948, Sister Hilda Mudd became Brescia’s first librarian. She guarded the first tiny library in Brescia Hall, Brescia Auditorium; then she swiftly and gracefully moved to the new and larger library on the second floor when the first brick building was completed in 1952. In 1957, Sister Hilda and her assistant librarian spent many hours visiting the best libraries in other cities.Returning to Brescia, they carefully planned and sketched models for the new commodious building on Seventh and Allen streets. She was known for her knowledge of the best purchase for the library, how many books were in the library, how many pages in each book, and the number of pencil marks inside. Her hard work and dedication made the library a spotless, pleasant place of study and research.
Sister Hilda retired from the library in 1981, but continued as the college archivist until 1990.
Sister Mary Michael Barrow
Sister Mary Michael Barrow, a great educator, saw the urgent need of higher education for youth in Western Kentucky and she labored earnestly, suffered patiently, and prayed daily that Brescia College would become a reality in Owensboro, her hometown.Sister Mary Michael was Registrar for Brescia students at Brescia Hall in 1948. She was in charge of the Veteran’s Administration in Brescia Hall — later at Brescia College.
As a teacher, she was a general favorite. She knew her subject matter and imparted it to others in a witty manner that her students loved. Her favorite areas of study were history and science and a plaque commemorating her love for science hangs in Brescia’s Science Center.
Sister Josephine Pate
Another heroic pioneer at Brescia was Sister Josephine Pate. Her teaching and manual labors contributed much to Brescia’s success in its trying and formative years. She was the mathematics and engineering drawing instructor in 1948. Sister Josephine was also in charge of keeping the campus beautiful by purchasing needs and managing the cleaning staff.Her eye detected any misuse or abuse of building and furniture. Under her supervision, the first brick building was erected in 1950-51. In 1955, it was under her direction that the enlargement of the administration building was added, a $200,000 new front to Brescia College.
She knew business firms in the city and patronized them. They in turn knew and respected her business ability. Her wit and wisdom did much to advance Brescia’s success until ill health forced her retirement.
Sister Angeline Mattingly
Sister Angeline Mattingly delighted in teaching science to youth at Mount Saint Joseph Junior College and at Brescia College starting in 1946. She was happiest in her laboratory mixing chemicals and recording results. She gladly commuted from Mount Saint Joseph to Owensboro before Brescia was transplanted. She taught science extension courses at St. Joseph High School at Fifth and Clay streets, later at Mary Hall.Another of her earthly joys was to teach the nurses in the Nurses’ Training School at Daviess County Hospital during 1949. She trained 23 student nurses while serving there.
Sister Alberta Birkhead
Sister Alberta Birkhead was a truly dedicated instructor at Brescia College from 1946 until her death in 1969. It is safe to state that she trained a very large portion of the commerce to students in the city. After giving thorough business training, she never ceased her efforts to obtain positions for them until they had successfully achieved them.She was a friend to every student who needed her assistance to obtain part-time employment by which they could complete their college education. She always seemed to have wise counsel and witty words of encouragement to help them over the rough spots of college life.
Another outstanding trait of her charity was to seek out her married students around Christmas time, who were in financial binds, and provided Santa Claus for their children.
As a mark of true appreciation of her dedication to her pupils and friends, her former students launched and completed a Sister Alberta Birkhead Memorial Scholarship Fund to perpetuate her memory at Brescia College.