Designed by internationally recognized architect, Marcel Breuer, and originally known as Annunciation Priory, this building served as the monastic home of the Benedictine Sisters, founders and sponsors of the University of Mary, from 1959 until 2000. In 1999-2000, the year the University of Mary acquired the building, it became known as the Benedictine Center for Servant Leadership. This Marcel Breuer building was dedicated to the Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation by Bismarck Catholic leaders and benefactors, Myron and Marjory Atkinson.
The Benedictine Center has the capacity to accommodate the administrative and service areas of academic affairs, financial affairs, public affairs, student development, the Centers for Accelerated and Distance Education, and Upward Bound. The complex also includes a the Benedictine Dining Center, classrooms, meeting rooms, Boniface Hall and Riverview student residences, Our Lady of the Annunciation Chapel, Our Lady of the Word Chapel, and the Harold Schafer Leadership Center. The Benedictine Center is linked to the Gary Tharaldson School of Business.
The statue of St. Benedict (the founder of the Benedictine Order, 480-520), standing at the entrance of the Benedictine Center since September, 2005, is the University's first outdoor sculpture. Commissioned by the University of Mary through the generosity of Myron and Marjory Atkinson, this bronze statue of St. Benedict by sculptor Greg Mueller is unique in that Benedict is holding a ladder representing the 12 steps of humility described in chapter 7 of The Rule of St. Benedict.
The Annunciation Monastery bell banner, completed in 1963, soars 100 feet above the rolling countryside and stands between the Benedictine Center and Annunciation Monastery (to the south). An architectural masterpiece designed by world-renowned architect Marcel Breuer , the poured concrete banner consists of two-way hyperbolic paraboloids intersected by flat surfaces and reflects Breuer's mastery of concrete as a material that is both fluid yet strong and extremely durable against the prairie wind. The bell banner stands as a symbol of strength, stability, vision and faithful presence in the prairie soil; deeply rooted as are the Sisters of the Annunciation. The three bells in the banner faithfully call the Benedictine Sisters to prayer each day and are named Hilary, in honor of Bismarck Bishop Hilary Hacker; Joseph, in memory of Monsignor Joseph Raith who, after forty years as pastor of St. Leo's Parish in Minot, North Dakota, retired to St. Alexius Hospital where he served for a number of years as chaplain for the Benedictine Sisters who served there; and Mary, the community patron. The open cross near the top of the bell banner was designed to represent the risen Christ and let the North Dakota winds sail through. During the winter solstice, the sun shining through the bell banner casts an image of a cross in light upon Our Lady of the Annunciation Chapel.