University of Mary Launches Book About Gary Tharaldson, the Business School's Namesake

The University of Mary Press recently published Open Secrets of Success: The Gary Tharaldson Story. Please order the book at the University of Mary bookstore or through Amazon.

Gary Tharaldson signing his book for University of Mary student Sophie Korum, the granddaughter of the farmer Gary worked for in high school.

Gary Tharaldson: A Man of Passion

Gary Tharaldson on the cover of Forbes Magazine for opening his 50th Fairfield Inn hotel.“We kept our business real simple. We had four criteria: great location, great people and management, great product, and a great franchisee. Whatever you can conceive and believe—you can achieve. This is only done with retaining great employees,” remarked Gary Tharaldson to University of Mary business students in 2005, after receiving one of University of Mary’s highest honors, the Year of the Entrepreneur Award, from President Sister Thomas Welder, Governor John Hoeven and former Governor Ed Schafer. Gary has been listed as the wealthiest person in North Dakota since the late 1990s and made the Forbes 400 list of America's richest in 1997 and 1998.

Gary has lived by those words throughout his life, becoming the nation’s most successful individual hotel builder and operator, and becoming a billionaire while remaining true to his North Dakota values and roots. These are the words business students at University of Mary take to heart every day at the Gary Tharaldson School of Business.

Today, students in the Gary Tharaldson School of Business continue to welcome the school’s namesake to campus for lectures where Gary enjoys engaging and interacting with faculty and students—whose career dreams span all spectrums of business and management.

Gary Tharaldson: Open Secrets to Success Book CoverStudents learn first-hand from Gary and now also from Open Secrets of Success: The Gary Tharaldson Story, written by award-winning author Patrick McCloskey, the editor-in-chief of 360 Review magazine, which is also published by the University of Mary Press. The book is a great resource for every entrepreneur, business student and teacher. Open Secrets to Success can be purchased at the University of Mary Bookstore and through Amazon.

His work in the hospitality industry didn’t go unnoticed by his peers; in fact, they describe Gary as “a man of great character.” He has earned many awards in business and softball, met U.S. military generals and was featured in a cover story in Forbes Magazine. Perhaps the true indicator that the Gary Tharaldson Express was on the right track and moving full speed ahead was when he drew the attention of Bill Marriott, the owner of Marriott Hotels. Gary was the first franchisee to build Marriott’s Fairfield Inns that would become the industry standard for his innovative ideas, concepts and efficiencies, something that helped expand the brand of the hospitality giant.

Bruce White, founder, chairman and CEO of White Lodging, called Gary a “genius.” Gary is too humble to agree to this label, but as shown in Open Secrets of Success, he has certainly exhibited genius in the hospitality industry. In the book, Gary relates his most important secret: “There are not many people with the passion and the ability to do things. I don’t want to say I’m different: I know I’m different. It’s all about passion.”

As retired Tharaldson executive Doug Dobmeier said, “Gary was a risk-taker, but a very calculated risk-taker who always had faith that he was going to get things done right.”

Gary Tharaldson "In the News"

Advice for Students - "What's on Your Mind" with Scott Hennen

Watch a quick video clip of Gary Tharaldson giving some great advice for students. Look below to hear the full interview with Gary Tharaldson from "What's on Your Mind" with Scott Hennen.

"What's on Your Mind" - Scott Hennen's Interview with Gary Tharaldson


KFYR Radio Interview with Patrick McCloskey on Open Secrets of Success


Prairie Public Radio Interview with Patrick McCloskey on Open Secrets of Success


Fargo Forum Article

'I love what I do:' ND businessman Gary Tharaldson still building hotels at 72