BISMARCK, ND — The name Atkinson is synonymous with Bismarck, North Dakota. Generations of Atkinsons have done their part to make this city and this state a much better place to live for all who proudly call it home. Like his father and grandfather before him, the late Myron Atkinson made it his responsibility, and the duty of his children, to be caring and kind public servants. There is no better example of a community-first person than their father, who, as a civic leader, understood the value and importance of a respected university that would help nurture and build character and virtue among its students and graduates.

Atkinson believed deeply in the University of Mary’s mission since its very beginning, in 1959, then Mary College, as he formed relationships with its founders, the Benedictine Sister’s of Annunciation Monastery. From that moment on, he and wife Marjory, understood as stewards the need for support with time and resources.

That lifelong wisdom has come true again today, just weeks after Atkinson’s sudden passing.

“Myron Atkinson continues to bless the University of Mary,” said University of Mary President Monsignor James Shea. “Thanks to the Atkinson family’s commitment to the future of this place, the proceeds of several life insurance policies Myron purchased many years ago in the name of the University of Mary have now made a substantial contribution to the university’s endowment. We at the university are profoundly grateful to the Atkinson family for this thoughtful means of ongoing support.”

From the statues of the Holy Family and St. Benedict, to the Gary Tharaldson School of Business and the Harold Schafer Leadership Center buildings, Myron and Marge’s contributions are seen and felt all over campus—not to mention membership on several influential boards and committees, to include the Board of Trustees. In 2003, the University of Mary awarded him the prestigious honorary doctorate degree. Jerome Richter, vice president for Mary’s Office of Public Affairs, says the impact from past, present and future contributions of Myron, Marge and the entire Atkinson family, are leaving an indelible legacy.

“Through Myron’s selflessness and foresight, he was able to bring support and stability throughout his life, and now through his death he continues to bless our students for many generations to come,” added Richter. “While this is a significant donation to the endowment, that will scholarship thousands of students and help pay their way through college, it is a Christ-like reminder to students and us all of Myron’s belief in Christian education, this university and this community.”

As University of Mary President Emerita Sister Thomas Welder explains, Myron did everything with integrity and a moral compass.

“Myron was an iconic leader. He believed that leadership was about human interaction, about relationships and energies that would get things done through service.”

Atkinson earned a bachelor of science in commerce and a Juris Doctor from the University of North Dakota Law School. During the Korean War, Atkinson served in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of captain in the Judge Advocate General Corps. A partner in the law firm of Cox, Pearce, Engebretson, Murray, Atkinson and Gunness, he went on to serve as general manager of Meyer Broadcasting Co. Atkinson also helped found and was president of the North Dakota Guaranty and Title Company for 36 years. From 1968 to 1976 he served in the North Dakota House of Representatives.

Myron and Marge were married in 1951 and are parents of seven children and 17 grandchildren.