Excerpted from 1955 Year Book

1880 - 1905

John Lawler's dreams are realized as Campion rises

Brisbois House (built 1857) had run its course as a hospital (Civil War), a State Normal school, Prairie du Chien College, and St. John's College. In 1880 John Lawler deeded the property to the Jesuits of the Buffalo Mission and a great venture was launched. On the opening day 61 students were enrolled. In 1898, after having served as a novitiate from 1888-1898, classes were once more formed. Thirty eager pupils from surrounding territory made up the roster of this second opening. The same strict Spartan schedule that had stunned the students in 1889 was put into operation, and campus life had come to stay. This was the era of the wing collar and the high button shoe, of hiking in the bluffs and consorting with John the Snakekiller. Here were the germs of many activities we know in 1955.


1905 - 1930

Fifty blest years pass, and college doors are closed

Changes innumerable took place in this second quarter century. New buildings (Campion Hall in 1907, Marquette Hall in 1915, the Chapel in 1925) were erected to house the growing campus family. Athletics passed from the intramural stage to intra-school competition. Military training made its entrance in 1918 under the guise of the SATC, and, in 1919, of the ROTC. In 1930 the golden jubilee was celebrated with fanfare and flourish. But things really had not changed at all. The same shrill enthusiasm, the same tribal chant bounced off the same old bluffs as students goaded athletes to give their all. The wing collar and the button shoe passed only to be replaced by the raccoon coat and the pork pie hat. In this era of jazz bands and the wise-crack, loyalties remained the same. And so to the 3rd quarter.


1930 - 1955

The modern era emerges; another milestone passed

With an enrollment now eight times the original, Campion continues her march of progress. Yet to the boarder of 1880 the changes of 1955 would not be too bewildering. Some new buildings, the gym, Loyola Hall, the new Lawler Hall, crowd the campus a bit more. But the spirit is much the same. Classes are as popular today as those of yesterday; Monday remains the bane of peace-loving citizens. Ma Selch's emporium, (next to the Metro and the Regent) still tops the list of places to visit. A renovated Campus Theatre (1951) helps make Sunday afternoons and evenings somewhat more palatable. But underneath it all beat the same hearts. Occasional flurries of breath-taking devotion to study baffle teachers, but excuses remain the same, and the same old tricks are tried. Campion never changes.


1953 - 1955

A new addition is built Lawler's vision is enlarged

Building at Campion had stopped once the new dining hall had been erected. Vague future plans without doubt at one time or other raised tentative heads in the minds of the various rectors. Definite plans started to take form in 1945 but shortages due to wartime economies doomed any fulfillment until better times. Once, however, (in 1953) the blue-print stage had been reached, action became the word of the day. Maguolo & Quick, architects and engineers of St. Louis, were employed to plan the building. Cullen & Son of Janesville was the general contractor. Equipped with the finest furnishings the new Lawler Hall should fulfill its purpose for many years to come. Good weather was an invaluable ally during the actual construction period only a few days having been lost to rain or snow and, in one case, heat.