Mary continues to be one of the top military-friendly universities in the  United States

BISMARCK, ND — The University of Mary’s outstanding reputation as a leader in helping active serving military, veterans and their spouses further their education extends from North Dakota and stretches to all corners of the United States. Most recently, the ND National Guard presented University of Mary President Monsignor James Shea, on behalf of the university, with the Bridge Builder Award at the 2021 Joint Leaders Conference (JLC) in Bismarck.

Brenda Nagel
VP, Public Affairs, University of Mary

The Bridge Builder Award comes from the World War II-era Bailey bridge. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, commander of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, considered the Bailey bridge one of the three most important developments of World War II, along with radar and the heavy bomber. The Bailey was a portable bridge whose components were light enough to be easily transported and hand carried, but able to span obstacles supporting the weight of a main battle tank and other key equipment needed by the Allies in the fight. The panels are held together by the Bailey bridge panel pin. This pin, represents the bonds between the North Dakota National Guard and the supporting organization or agency, exemplifying the bridges built together and obstacles overcome. This award is given to an organization who enhances readiness and enduring success of the North Dakota National Guard.

“It’s a tremendous honor to receive this recognition from the North Dakota National Guard,” said Brenda Nagel, vice president for the Office of Public Affairs at the University of Mary. “As a higher learning institution, it’s our duty to equip our active military, veterans and their spouses with the tools to further their education during their civilian careers — and do it seamlessly and hassle free. It’s the least we can do for those who put on the uniform and bravely serve our country and allow us the everyday freedoms everyone enjoys.”

Retired Brigadier General Dave Anderson, coordinator of Military Student Services at the University of Mary

The award was presented in recognition of the university’s partnership and continued support which strengthens the educational environment in the North Dakota National Guard. The partnership created with the University of Mary provides scholarships to service members to reduce the cost of tuition for undergraduate and graduate programs. Additionally, the University of Mary continues to support the Devil Lake-based 164th Regional Training Institute instructors by enhancing their teaching skills in educating soldiers and creating positive impacts nationwide.

Retired Brigadier General Dave Anderson, coordinator of Military Student Services at the University of Mary, says the university takes great pride in the attention-to-detail the administration and faculty give to the success of military families.

“Several veterans with many years of military experience actually teach graduate courses at the University of Mary,” added Anderson. “They served their country, then earned their doctorate degrees, and are now faculty. These instructors’ first-hand knowledge of the requirements and day-to-day demands of the actively serving military is helpful to their success as students.”

Active serving military, veterans and their families interested in enrolling at University of Mary can email Anderson at, call (701) 355-8339, or visit