One experience that unites every student who ever spent time at the College of Santa Fe is the sound of doors opening and closing when no one is around. It’s believed to be caused by the ghost of Nurse Medina, who during World War II supposedly worked at Bruns Army Hospital, then on the edge of town, at a site that was later transformed into a college. Legend holds that Nurse Medina was murdered by a mentally unstable patient, who cut off her head. No historical record confirms Nurse Medina’s existence, yet the ghost story persisted through 62 years of students. Her legacy and many other tales are related in No Halls of Ivy: The Gritty Story of the College of Santa Fe 1947–2009, written by Richard McCord, a local historian and founder of the Santa Fe Reporter. McCord compiled the history of CSF (formerly St. Michael’s College) using college and newspaper archives. The book was commissioned and printed by De La Salle Christian Brothers, founders of the college and of St. Michael’s High School. (The institutions were considered the same entity until St. Michael’s College changed its name to the College of Santa Fe in 1966.) No Halls of Ivy does not dig into the controversy surrounding the college’s 2009 closure, but it does detail the school’s financial struggles and how, despite plan after plan to stabilize it, in the end nothing could keep CSF solvent. Now the campus is home to the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, where McCord reads from his book on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 5:30 p.m. in the Fogelson Library. Santa Fe University of Art and Design is at 1600 St. Michael’s Drive. For information, call 505-473-6011.
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