St Mary’s University in North Dakota

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St Mary’s University in North Dakota

St Mary’s University in North Dakota, The University of Mary (abbreviated U-Mary or simply Mary) is a private, Catholic and leadership university near Bismarck, North Dakota, originally known as Mary College, established in 1959.

The university is the largest degree-granting institution in Bismarck. It has campuses in Rome and Peru, and also operates academic programs at satellite locations in North Dakota (Fargo, downtown Bismarck, Watford City, Grand Forks), Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, and Arizona. It is endorsed by The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. It was recognized as a College of Distinction (2015–2016), the only such institution in North Dakota.


Since the University of Mary’s beginnings as Mary College in the late 1950s, it has rapidly expanded. Founded in 1959 by The Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery as a women’s college, it became fully co-educational in the 1960s. It achieved university status — becoming the University of Mary — in 1986.

The University of Mary is the only private Catholic university in North Dakota. It has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1969. Since its incorporation in 1959, the university’s enrollment has grown from 69 to more than 3,000. Its undergraduate programs have grown from nursing and education to 52 majors, ranging from accounting to theology.

In 1986, the university began offering master’s degrees in nursing, management, and education. It has added master’s programs in business administration, counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, strategic leadership, project management, human performance, and bioethics. In 2001, the University of Mary unveiled its vision as “America’s Leadership University.” In this role, the university is committed to providing leadership experiences for every student. In 2005, the master’s degree in physical therapy was replaced by a Doctor of Physical Therapy — the university’s first doctorate. The first 26 candidates in this program received their PhDs in 2006.