When the University of Mary confers the title of “teacher,” it does so with a full understanding of the power and responsibility of that word.

When the University of Mary confers the title “teacher,” it looks first, always, to the example of Christ.

Around the flickering light of ancient campfires, in medieval monasteries, country schoolhouses and modern universities, learning has been the cradle and conveyance of culture and a powerful, binding agent of human community.

When the Benedictine Sisters founded Mary College in 1959, education was one of two inaugural academic programs. We have been teaching teachers from the very beginning.

When the University of Mary confers the title of “teacher,” it does so with a full understanding of the power and responsibility of that word. When the University of Mary confers the title “teacher,” it looks first, always, to the example of Christ.

Throughout his ministry on earth, Jesus taught. He taught in homes and on hillsides, in fields and on dusty roads. When strangers or followers, the sly or the seeking, asked profound questions, they would often address Jesus as “teacher.” The Gospels tell us that Jesus could illuminate the dim interiors of theological thickets by plucking and holding up a story about the humble thing, the daily task, the ordinary person.

Jesus’s profoundest lessons often began with the words, “The kingdom of heaven is ….”

… tenderness for a single sparrow, beautiful as a lily of the field, humble as a widow’s penny, faithful as a steward of a vineyard, to be found in the compassion of a stranger, the forgiveness of a father, like seed on fertile ground, a healthy fig tree, salt, light, a pearl of great price.

In story, Jesus taught his listeners that the true neighbor is the stranger who tends the wounded. That God’s love is deep enough to joyfully accept back the foolish, broken, repentant. To a rich young man, he teaches that to be saved means to give all.

Jesus’ stories asked his listeners to consider each other mutual children of God and brothers and sisters to one another. Multitudes, the Gospels say, followed Jesus on his itinerant ministry, absorbed his stories, let them gestate, transforming their hearts and elevating their understanding. And such were the power of those parables, that 2,000 years later, his teaching has lost none of its potency.

This is the ideal of education — transformation, elevation and blossoming of understanding, making the connection of what is now with what is eternal. In the University of Mary’s Liffrig Family School of Education and Behavioral Sciences, top-quality faculty and staff work rigorously to educate ongoing generations of educators who are eager to unfold for their students a universe pulsing with possibilities. Because beyond the practical uses of education, Jesus’ way of reaching and teaching reveals the way we are imbedded in creation, interwoven within the elegant inventiveness of God that spans the unimaginably vast to the infinitesimally small.

Emulating Jesus’ story of the Good Steward of the Vineyard, our university believes that education is a vocation of nourishment, of cultivation and tending, for a sacred purpose — the flourishing of all the generations to come.