The 2020 University of Mary Giving Day is November 17.

Sister Thomas Welder, University of Mary President emerita

BISMARCK, ND — The legacy of Sister Thomas Welder (OSB) will live on for generations to come thanks to friends of the University of Mary that have come forward to provide matching dollars for the upcoming University of Mary Giving Day celebration. Because of them, friends, family, faculty, and alumni of the University of Mary who donate, now have the opportunity to double their impact on the thousands of young lives as students begin pursuing their educational and career dreams on campus.

The 2020 University of Mary Giving Day is November 17. Every dollar that the public gives, up to the fundraising goal of $75,000, will be matched — that’s $150,000 of financial aid to deserving students. At Mary, 99 percent of students receive some form of scholarship to help fund their education.

Brenda Nagel
VP, Public Affairs, University of Mary

“Scholarships are the lifeblood of our students at this university,” said Brenda Nagel, vice president for the Office of Public Affairs at Mary. “Giving to student scholarships to form compassionate men and women with moral character is an exciting way to transform the future. Scholarships are paramount to these students at a critical time in their lives. Your donation helps us educate great young leaders and is an investment that impacts each one of their lives for a lifetime. On behalf of each student, and their families, our deepest and heartfelt thank you for your contribution to these student scholarships.”

During this year’s Giving Day, donations can be made to three specific funds: the Sister Thomas Welder Scholarship, the School of Health Sciences, and the Marauders Armada.

The Sister Thomas Welder Leadership Scholarship honors the legacy of the late Sister Thomas Welder (OSB), president emerita of the University of Mary. This is an academic scholarship awarded to full-time undergraduate students based on prior academic standing. At the time of her retirement, in 2009, she became the longest serving college president in America. A video tribute to Sister Thomas was made public when she passed away on June 22 in her Annunciation Monastery home. A recent story published in University of Mary’s alumni publication, Momentum, highlights her selfless life, her treasured presence, and her love for all.

Left, MacKenzie Houston; center, Tony Tibbetts; right, Maura Stevenson

“The Sister Thomas Scholarship has provided me with the opportunity to grow in my faith while growing in my academic career here at the University of Mary,” said freshman Tony Tibbets, a Sioux Falls, SD, native who’s double majoring in history education and pre-law. “Without this generous scholarship, I would never have had the chance to pursue my dream of becoming a history professor. I will forever be grateful to this university and especially the Sister Thomas Scholarship.”

“The Sister Thomas Welder Scholarship has given me the opportunity to have a continual desire to learn and advance in my studies with the great education that is provided here at the University of Mary,” said senior Maura Stevenson, a business administration major from Woodbury, MN. “Most especially, it has allowed me to grow in servant leadership through the example of Sister Thomas. She has allowed me to recognize the God-given gifts that are within each and every one of us, and that we are called for so much more through Christ. I am beyond grateful for the University of Mary, and am honored to be given this scholarship named after a woman that resembled endless joy in her vocation.”

By earmarking donations to the soon-to-be-named St. Gianna School of Health Sciences, this money supports scholarships for America’s future health care leaders at Mary. Now, more than ever, the world is in need of ethical, courageous, and well-educated health care professionals — healers who are grounded in moral courage and respect the sanctity of life just like its namesake, St. Gianna. St. Gianna gave up her own life, in love, to save her newborn daughter. Pope St. John Paul II canonized her a saint on May 16, 2004, and she is a model of virtue, holiness, motherhood, professionalism, and devotion to Mary students and alumni in the health care profession.

Clare Wilmes

“Nurses see the best days, worst days, last days, and first days of our lives,” said junior Clare Wilmes, a nursing major from Colorado Springs, CO. “The School of Health Sciences has given me the gift of a quality education that equips me to give quality care. It does not matter who you are or what happened to you. Nurses will take care of you. We pause our lives to dive headfirst into the challenges, pain, successes, and joys of others. I have witnessed women give birth to new life, and I have held the hand of the dying. I have found meaning with the rejected, and joy with the abused. I have looked loneliness in the eyes. These moments are gifts that have been given to me because of your generosity. Health professionals devote their lives to you because you are worth it. You have dignity, and you are loved.”

The Marauders Armada helps University of Mary Marauders teams compete at the highest levels by raising funds for student-athlete scholarships. The Armada supports the University of Mary Athletic Department’s mission to create a department-wide culture committed to individual and collective greatness through virtuous leadership. As the primary fundraising arm for University of Mary Athletics, the Marauders Armada generates financial support for athletic scholarships through contributions from individuals, businesses, and corporations.

“The Armada Scholarship provided me with a chance to grow academically and athletically at an institution that strives for success,” said Mackenzie Houston, a senior on the Marauders swim team and an English major from Almonte, Ontario, Canada. “Without it, I would have never had the opportunities to race in a recognized conference, nor would I have been pushed to reach my full potential. I am forever thankful for the Armada Scholarship.”

Last year, the University of Mary raised approximately $60,000 on Giving Day.

True to its motto “lumen vitae”—The Light of Life—the University of Mary offers education for the whole of life through cutting-edge professional programs and graduate programs animated by moral courage and leadership in chosen professions and service to the community. A private, co-educational Catholic institution, the University of Mary welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.

A Christian, Catholic, Benedictine institution founded in 1959 by the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, Mary offers nearly 60 bachelor’s, 15 master’s, and four doctoral programs—in Education, Nursing Practice, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. The 19-sport Athletic Department adheres to its Greatness Through Virtue mission under the governance of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) conferences. With more than 3,800 students, Mary has locations in North Dakota, Montana, Kansas, Arizona, Rome, Italy, as well as vibrant online offerings. For more information, visit