Membership donations go exclusively to athletics with the goal to supply each sport with the full allotment of scholarships  

As part of its ongoing successful and record-breaking Vision 2030 Capital Campaign,the University of Mary today announced the Marauders Armada—its new primary fundraising arm for its athletic scholarships. Fans and supporters of University of Mary athletics, its mission, and its 17 NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division II sports teams, can be members of the Marauders Armada at various financial levels.

“All gifts donated to the University of Mary will go directly to athletic scholarships,” said Dale Lennon, director of athletics at the University of Mary, a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) member university. “Armada scholarship funding will benefit University of Mary student-athletes as they compete at the highest level while receiving a world-class education. The Marauders Armada will strengthen our athletics programs by creating more scholarship opportunities within many of our programs.”

University of Mary
Athletic Director, Dale Lennon

The new Marauders Armada now takes the place of the old Varsity Club. By dissolving the Varsity Club, an exciting new ticket option will be forthcoming that will be sold separately online, through the mail or at the gate, whatever method is most convenient for the fan. Marauders fans will now have various game-day options when it comes to customizing their ticket selection and are urged to stay tuned to learn more in the coming weeks.

While Lennon helps navigate the Marauders Armada in the right direction, giving this worthy cause even stronger wind in its sails are relatively new but critical policy changes at the NCAA and NSIC levels:

One revision allows its member schools to fully fund each of its sports. While the NCAA has permitted its members to max out its number of scholarships, the NSIC has only recently allowed its colleges and universities to participate in the maximum. Also, this year, the NCAA is giving the go-ahead for its schools to stack athletic and academic scholarships without restrictions when offered to the same athlete. And finally, the NCAA ruled specifically in favor of the University of Mary’s new one-of-a-kind Year-Round Campus (YRC) initiative—a decision that allows Mary student-athletes the option of completing their degree in 2.6 years or getting their master’s degree in four years without negatively impacting their eligibility.

The new Marauders Armada allows the University of Mary to take full advantage of these new policies, be more flexible with its individual scholarship allotment, and ultimately continue to recruit the best and brightest student-athletes.

“With the new legislative changes, in both the NCAA and NSIC, we realized it was time to kick off the Marauders Armada,” added Lennon. “The University of Mary now has the opportunity to recruit even more top-caliber athletes. This means we can be competitive on the national scene by providing each sport with the full allotment of scholarships allowed by the NCAA.”

One of the many successful University of Mary athletes is three-time NCAA Division II track and field and cross country champion Lexi Zeis. The senior athletic training major from Bismarck had an eye on the University of Mary her senior year in high school. Once she knew of Mary’s academic options and scholarship offerings, she chose Mary. Like many athletes today, with some financial help Mary gave her the best chance to fulfill her academic and career goals while also chasing school records with the Marauders—one of the best cross country and track and field programs in the country.

“Scholarships allowed me to train hard and pursue my athletic and academic dreams,” said Zeis. “A lot of student-athletes are talented and willing to work hard for success, but need scholarships to help them reach their potential.”

 Zeis, and Marauders athletes who have come before her, believe future student-athletes that attend Mary will have a distinct advantage and ultimately give the university and its sports teams a competitive edge.

“The key to every successful athletic program is financial support from those who love sports and want to see young athletes reach their highest potential,” said Tim Miles, a 1989 University of Mary basketball alum and the current head men’s basketball coach at the University of Nebraska.

“My four years at the University of Mary helped prepare me for a life and career that I love. I wouldn’t trade my time as a Marauder for anything,” said Marney Gellner, a 1996 graduate of Mary who played volleyball and softball for the Marauders and is now a Fox Sports North sideline reporter in the Twin Cities.

“My athletic and coaching career in the NFL would never have happened if not for the scholarship I received from the University of Mary,” said Marquice Williams, a 2008 graduate who played defensive back for the Marauders and is now a defensive assistant coach for the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers.

The first year fundraising goal for the new Marauders Armada is $790,000, with incremental increases the following years. There are four inaugural annual fundraising events associated with the Armada: A spring event that roasts a distinguished Marauder; Marauders Fest (June 21-23) showcasing a variety of community events; Fins & Feathers in the fall for the many who enjoy the outdoors; and a winter athletic celebration that will be determined at a later date.

Each sport at the University of Mary is represented in the newly formed Armada cabinet—a board that promotes the general success and advancement of the university’s Department of Athletics through fundraising strategies, special event coordination, general public relations outreach and the promotion of alumni involvement.

Membership into and fundraising for Marauders Armada has already begun. The first scholarships are being awarded now for the upcoming fall 2018 recruiting class. To learn more about Marauders Armada contact the Director of Athletic Development Kevin Becker at (701) 355-8170, or to make a contribution go to or text MARAUDERS to 71777.