New engineering program moving full steam ahead

BISMARCK, ND — The University of Mary’s record-breaking Vision 2030 Capital Campaign continues its steady climb. The fundraising campaign just reached the $75 million mark, moving closer to its Phase I goal of $96 million, and the funding of a facility for the popular new School of Engineering launched three years ago.

Jerome Richter
Vice President for Public Affairs

“We’re excited to announce, through the generosity of many people and businesses locally, regionally and nationally, we’re on track for the future refurbishing of the former University Dining Center (UDC) space on north campus that will transform into a fully equipped, 18,200-square-foot engineering facility,” said Jerome Richter, vice president for the Office of Public Affairs and the person spearheading the Vision 2030 fundraising campaign. “More naming opportunities exist within the engineering facility, and other buildings on campus, for friends and donors of the University of Mary.”

Even more remarkable, while Mary is still months away from any brick and mortar work, the engineering program is already growing at a rapid pace—a level that even surprises the university. According to Vice President for Enrollment Management Michael McMahon, in just its second year, Mary currently has over 60 freshmen and sophomores in its popular civil, electrical and mechanical engineering programs.

McMahon says this is only the beginning of the engineering program’s growth at the University of Mary.

“We expect another 40 freshmen engineering students this fall that will put Mary’s number in that field of study over 100. So interest in and demand for our real-world programs, like engineering, continues to be through the roof. Engineering is one of the many reasons for our projected record enrollment growth this fall. At this time, we’re on pace for a record-shattering freshman class, well beyond even last year’s banner year.”

Mary’s founders, the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, took a calculated risk, and with some thrift, started a college. Richter believes the University of Mary is at a monumental time in its history since being founded by the sisters nearly 60 years ago, and it is beginning to show with its projected boom in enrollment this fall.

“Our founders, the sisters, who continue to provide advice and counsel to us to this very day, were masters at this then and we learn from them now, that we always listen to what the needs are of the people in this region and beyond,” added Richter. “Adding an engineering program with state-of-the-art facilities and with input from firms across the region, is a microcosm of fulfilling that need. Providing premier programs like the accredited schools of health sciences, business, education, the arts and sciences, is responding to a need. Our students wanted an experience that allowed them 24 hours a day, seven days a week dining access—something totally unheard of in North Dakota and at most universities around the country—and now it’s available here at our campus Crow’s Nest Campus Restaurant. And parents and grandparents were tired of mortgaging their retirement and savings accounts to pay for their children and grandchildren’s college education, so we introduced the innovative, one-of-a-kind Year-Round Campus program that allows students to graduate in 2.6 years and provides for them a bachelor’s degree with a lifetime financial benefit of over $300,000, and over $600,000 for those pursuing a master’s degree in four years. So, all of this synergy is sparking more and more excitement with donors interested in giving, and demand among high school students who want to attend the University of Mary. It’s truly unprecedented at Mary.”

Beyond enrollment growth, students and faculty, the surrounding communities of Bismarck, Mandan and Lincoln, and friends of the university, have already seen the fruits of a very successful Vision 2030 Capital Campaign that includes over 200,000 square feet of new space. Roers Hall, a new women’s residence with 276 beds and chapel, opened nearly two years ago. A year and a half ago an 80,000 square-foot fieldhouse for NCAA indoor athletics and wellness activities opened. And this last September, the new Lumen Vitae University Center at the heart of campus opened its doors. This 80,000-square-foot facility features the Founders Hall stateroom that seats over 600 guests, the 24/7 Crow’s Nest Campus Restaurant, American Bank Center branch, CHI St. Alexius Clinic, living room and game areas, Marauders Hall of Fame, Student Involvement Center, meeting and conference rooms, coffee shop and more.

Another wish of the student body, and included in the recent growth on campus from Vision 2030, is one of the region’s only Marian Grottos next to LVUC—a pilgrimage place honoring the Blessed Mother, where students and people from North Dakota, across the country and around the world come for prayer, reflection and silence. This is patterned after the famous grotto at Our Lady of Lourdes in France.

About the University of Mary

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 grounded in a solid liberal arts tradition.

A Christian, Catholic, Benedictine institution founded in 1959 by the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, Mary offers over 60 undergraduate degrees, 14 master’s degrees, and four doctoral programs in Occupational Therapy, Education, Nursing Practice and Physical Therapy. With over 3,000 students, Mary has locations in North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Arizona, Rome and Milan, Italy and Arequipa, Peru as well as vibrant online offerings. For more information, visit