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Mother Mary Hilda Miley papers

Biographical note

Mother Mary Hilda Miley (born Gertrude A. Miley) was born November 15, 1881, in Taunton, Massachusetts. She entered St. Xavier's Convent in Providence, RI, on July 16, 1899 and took her perpetual vows on December 28, 1901. Mother Hilda taught both elementary and high school from 1901 to 1936, during which time she received a degree from Providence College and a Master's and Doctorate in English from Boston College. By 1932, she was named principal of St. Xavier's Academy, and during her time in the position the school made great strides in many areas. In 1936, Mother Hilda became Mother Provincial of the Sisters of Mercy, Province of Providence. This role enabled her involvement in Catholic education in Rhode Island.

She became involved in securing a charter for Salve Regina and in fact gave the college its name, after a prayer she recited daily. Once the charter was passed by the Rhode Island legislature, Mother Hilda was elected to its first Board of Directors. Her involvement in Salve Regina continued to grow, and she was the school's first Vice President. When Mother Mary Matthew Doyle stepped down as President after the school's initial year, Mother Hilda became Salve Regina's second President.

During the many years she held this position, the college grew in many ways. She oversaw the expansion of the nursing program, began holding an annual Ring Ceremony and Sapphire Ball beginning in 1949, and gave scholarships to international students as a way of global outreach. The college also grew physically, through newly acquired facilities, increased library holdings, more teachers, and finally the ever-important accreditation (on a 10 year basis) by the New England Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1961. It should be noted that Mother Hilda's accomplishments with Salve Regina earned her honorary degrees from Rhode Island College, Providence College and the University of Rhode Island.

Mother Hilda retired from the post in July 1964 and became President Emerita. After holding this position for several years, she died on February 12, 1966 at St. Xavier's Convent.