the Public Honors College

St. Mary’s College of Maryland:
Since its founding, St. Mary’s has been state-sponsored, publicly funded, administered by an independent Board of Trustees, actively non-sectarian, and devoted to providing an affordable liberal arts education. In 1840, the Maryland legislature authorized a lottery to finance the construction of a “female seminary” (girls’ boarding school) in St. Mary’s City; the school was incorporated by an act of legislation in 1846. In 1927, St. Mary’s became Maryland’s first junior college, and a 1964 name change to St. Mary’s College of Maryland reflected the school’s evolution into a four-year baccalaureate college. The state General Assembly designated the school Maryland’s public honors college in 1992; the state also granted the College an institutional status designed to assure stable public funding.

St. Mary’s City:
Established by English colonists in 1634, St. Mary’s City was the capital of Maryland until 1695. By an Act of Toleration adopted at St. Mary’s City in 1649, Maryland became an early site of religious freedom in the New World. The fourth oldest permanent English colony in North America and the only 17th-century settlement site remaining largely undisturbed by subsequent development, much of St. Mary’s City is now designated a national landmark. Now a public museum of history and archaeology, Historic St. Mary’s City portrays 17th-century America through exhibitions, reconstructed buildings, and interpretation. A unique affiliation between the College and the City facilitates joint programming and collaboration that allows SMCM students a rare opportunity to explore the American past