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University of Mary

The University of Mary is a four year Catholic university near Bismarck, North Dakota. The university is the largest degree granting institution in Bismarck.



7500 University Dr
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Additional Information

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Religious Affiliation
Roman Catholic Church
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Mission Statement
Blue And Orange
Northern Sun

College History


Since the University of Mary's beginnings as Mary College in the late 1950s, its history has been one of rapid expansion. 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 first Benedictine sisters to arrive in Bismarck, ND 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. Ever mindful of its mission to serve the region's religious, academic, and cultural needs, the University of Mary continues to strive for quality in its academic and co-curricular programs. 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, and went on to add master's programs in business administration, counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, strategic leadership, project management, and most recently human performance. In 2005, the master's degree in physical therapy was replaced by a Doctor of Physical Therapy � the university's first doctorate, which was first awarded to 26 graduates in 2006. 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. The University of Mary also has continued its mission by expanding learning options, making education accessible to working adults and supporting lifelong learning in the region and beyond. The University of Mary Worldwide (formerly known as the Centers for Accelerated and Distance Education) offers accelerated undergraduate and graduate programs for the adult learner. Today, the University of Mary Worldwide has a total of 18 sites in the Upper Midwest and beyond, including the Butler Center in downtown Bismarck, Fargo Center in Fargo, ND, and Billings Center in Billings, MT. In 2005, the University of Mary further extended the accessibility of its programs by launching several of its bachelor's and master's programs online. Today, students can earn graduate and undergraduate degrees online through U-Mary Worldwide. In 2006, U-Mary also launched the Gary Tharaldson School of Business. Named for North Dakota hospitality entrepreneur and industry innovator Gary Tharaldson, the new school � the university's first � is a new model for preparing students for business careers that is uniquely designed to bridge the gap between the academic and business world. The new 29,000-square-foot (2,700 m2), flagship facility that houses the Gary Tharaldson School opened its doors in September 2008. In the fall of 2009 to the Spring of 2010, the University of Mary commenced a search for their new Rome program's campus, finding that space just a ten-minute bus ride from the city center. The first Rome class left America for their classes abroad in the Fall of 2010. In continuity with the University's founding mission to prepare young people for leadership in the service of truth, the Rome program offers students of every major and discipline a unique opportunity for academic growth, personal development, and serious cultural engagement. The Catholic Studies Program, an initiative of U-Mary President Monsignor James P. Shea, was also launched in the fall of 2010. On October 19, 2010, the program was named in honor of Bishop Paul A. Zipfel, sixth bishop of the Diocese of Bismarck, North Dakota. The Catholic Studies program is a new interdisciplinary program that examines the Catholic Church's comprehensive contributions to human thought and culture, past and present. As a sustained, rigorous study of Christian culture, the Program invites students of any faith who wish to deepen their knowledge of Catholicism's rich history and living tradition as found in each age of the Church's mission in the world. Today, with a full-time faculty and staff of more than 200, the University of Mary remains committed to continuing the mission of its founding Sisters: serving the people of the region in a spirit that fosters servant-leadership, preparing leaders in the service of truth.

College Specialty


The University of Mary exists to serve the religious, academic and cultural needs of the people in this region and beyond. It takes its tone from the commitment of the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery. These Sisters founded the University in 1959 and continue to sponsor it today. It is Christian, it is Catholic, and it is Benedictine. We cherish our Christian, Catholic, Benedictine identity; we welcome and serve persons of all faiths.



Suburban / Rural