Historic image of Sisters and students standing outside Boniface Hall at the Mary College Town Campus

Timeline of the University of Mary

1959 – The Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation open the doors to Mary College, offering 4-year undergraduate degrees in nursing and education. Mother Edane Volk serves as the college’s first president.

1963 – Sister Anne Burns becomes the second president of the college, articulating a vision for "education in the professions with a strong liberal-arts base."

1965 – Father Arno Gustin, who had served as president of Saint John's University in Minnesota, is selected as the third president.

1968 – The heart of north campus is completed, featuring four buildings designed by world-famous architect Marcel Breuer.

1969 – Mary College achieves full accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

1970 –  Dr. Harold Miller becomes fourth president of Mary College. Under his leadership, the college becomes fully coeducational, inaugurates an athletics program, and achieves impressive financial health.

1978 – Sister Thomas Welder is inaugurated as the fifth president of the college and serves in this capacity for 31 years.

1983 – Mary College offers its first graduate program in nursing.

1986 – Mary College achieves university status and is renamed the University of Mary.

The University experienced outstanding growth in enrollment, program offerings, and campus development through the 1980s & 1990s.

1999 – The university grants its first honorary degree.

2001 – Sister Thomas unveils a vision of the University of Mary as America's Leadership University.

2004 – University of Mary President Sister Thomas receives North Dakota’s highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award.

2006 – University of Mary Athletics moves from NAIA to NCAA Division II.

2006 – A doctoral degree, Physical Therapy, is awarded for the first time.

2009 – Monsignor James Shea is inaugurated as the sixth president of the University of Mary.

2010 – Enrollment at the university reaches 3,000.

2010 – The University of Mary opens its first international campus, Rome, Italy.

2010 – University of Mary launches Bishop Paul A. Zipfel Catholic Studies Program and quickly becomes one of the largest and most respected programs in the United States.

2012 – The University of Mary enters into a first-of-its-kind collaborative agreement with Arizona State University (ASU) — the largest public research university in the U.S. — to offer ASU students the unprecedented opportunity to take courses in theological studies and Catholic studies.

2013 – His Eminence, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, visits the University of Mary and receives an honorary degree.

2014 – The Higher Learning Commission awards the University of Mary its second doctoral degree — Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP).

2014 – In partnership with the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC), University of Mary becomes one of a select few Catholic universities in the U.S. to offer a Master of Science in Bioethics and the first in North Dakota.

2015 – The Higher Learning Commission awards the University of Mary its third doctoral degree — Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.).      

2015 – University of Mary announces innovative Year-Round Campus program — where students have the option to get their degree in 2.6 years and master’s in four years.

2015 – University of Mary adds an engineering program.

2015 – University of Mary President Monsignor James P. Shea announces Vision 2030 Capital Campaign to raise $272 million for new programs and facilities.

2016 – University of Mary celebrates its first graduating class for the Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

2016 – University of Mary officially opens Roers Hall, a new residence hall in the center of campus.

2017 – University of Mary selected to lead the March for Life rally in Washington, DC.

2017 – University of Mary opens a new fieldhouse and wellness center.

2017 – University of Mary opens the Lumen Vitae University Center and the Warford Grotto.

2017 – University of Mary's premier occupational therapy program adds a Doctor of Occupational Therapy program.

2018 – University of Mary launches the Marauders Armada to fund athletic scholarships.

2018 – University of Mary unveils a new Marauders logo and brand.

2019 – University of Mary announces the new Greatness through Virtue strategic plan for Marauders Athletics.

2019 – University of Mary announces plans to name its School of Health Sciences after Saint Gianna Beretta Molla.

2020 – University of Mary opens a new state-of-the-art School of Engineering facility.