BISMARCK, ND — Dr. John Warford, dean of the University of Mary’s Gary Tharaldson School of Business, has announced his retirement. After a long career of public service and active engagement in the civic and educational life of the Bismarck-Mandan community, he is seeking more time to devote to family, his interests as a rancher, and to assist in the flourishing family business, Warford Orthodontics.

Dr. Warford and his wife, Jennifer, moved to Bismarck in 1973 to open Warford Orthodontics. As the community grew and expanded through the years, they proudly raised their family here and were active in community, church, and school.

In 2002, Dr. Warford was elected as mayor of Bismarck and led the city through 12 years of unprecedented growth and prosperity. Under Warford’s leadership, Bismarck was the only metro area in the country not to go into recession in 2008, survived the 2011 Missouri River flood without losing a single home, and added 15,000 jobs, a new airport terminal, a strategic expansion to the Bismarck Event Center, the Northern Plains Commerce Centre, and more than 70 miles of new streets.

After completing three 4-year terms of service as mayor, Warford assumed leadership of the University of Mary’s School of Business, stepping into the role of dean. During his tenure he has worked tirelessly to build a world-class team and to enhance the visibility and reputation of the university’s business programs. The caliber of the speakers hosted on campus at Warford’s invitation has been impressive and memorable, whether through the Lunch and Learn series (hosted in coordination with the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber), the Virtuous Leadership Day of Formation for students and faculty, TEDxUMary, or any number of other new and exciting initiatives. Moreover, Dr. Warford and his faculty have been champions of the university’s innovative Year-Round Campus initiative, already offering increasing numbers of master’s-level classes to recent University of Mary graduates.

Monsignor James Shea, University of Mary president, noted that the relationship of the Warford family to the University of Mary goes back many years, including Jennifer’s service as a trustee from 1987-1996. “We feel blessed to count John and Jennifer as close friends and long-time supporters of the university and the mission of the Benedictine Sisters. John’s presence on campus as our business dean these past years has been a true blessing and honor, and our prayers and gratitude certainly accompany him on the road ahead.”