College resource applauds the use of high-impact practices in professional undergraduate education

BISMARCK, ND — The University of Mary has earned the prestigious national honor as a College of Distinction. For the fourth straight year, the University of Mary is the only college in North Dakota, and one of only a select handful in the region, to be recognized as one of the nation’s top places of higher learning.

Founded in 2000, Colleges of Distinction has advocated for schools whose undergraduate experiences are grounded in a philosophy of well-rounded, individualized engagement. The past 20 years has since seen the job market and society at large change exponentially, making it even more necessary for graduates to enter the workforce with adaptability and sharp critical thinking skills. Such qualities are best developed through the very kinds of hands-on experiences offered every day at the University of Mary.

Already honored as a College of Distinction for its high-impact approach to education, University of Mary has received specialized recognition in Business, Education, Nursing and Career Development. These additional accolades were borne out of a need for college curricula that are comprehensive not only in course material, but also in practical- and soft-skills development. University of Mary has met these needs with a blend of liberal arts education, program-specific training, and abundant opportunities for real-world application.

“Student success is a given at University of Mary,” said Tyson Schritter, Chief Operating Officer for Colleges of Distinction. “All of its programs are backed with broad perspectives across the liberal arts. Every student is pushed to be inquisitive and active. And with such extensive experiential learning opportunities, it’s no wonder why University of Mary’s graduates feel expertly prepared by their professional education.”

University of Mary students earned college credit and valuable life experience while participating in study abroad programs in several countries, including campuses in Rome and Peru; service learning opportunities in Guatemala and Peru; faculty-led trips to Medjugorje, Israel, China, France and Poland; and a partnership with Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy for business students. Also, one of the most noted new educational paradigms for students at the University of Mary is the groundbreaking Year-Round Campus. This paradigm shift in education gives undergraduate students the option of a full and vibrant campus experience over the summer, allowing them to complete a bachelor’s degree in 2.6 years and a master’s in four. This option is an innovative solution to the rising costs, extended completion times, and skyrocketingdebt loads currently challenging students seeking higher education.

“Not only are we extremely honored by this recognition, but also very proud to be the only College of Distinction in North Dakota and one of only a handful awarded universities in the region,” said University of Mary Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Diane Fladeland. “We have launched some of the most innovative learning initiatives across the U.S.—from our Rome campus, to our Year-Round Campus where students have the option of earning their bachelor’s degree in 2.6 years and then their master’s in four—students come to Mary from around the world experiencing a dynamic and comprehensive learning environment at one of the nation’s most affordable universities.”

University of Mary’s specialized badges represent a curriculum that invest in students’ innovative, critical thinking. Colleges of Distinction grants this further honor after a thorough review on such qualities as accreditation, breadth of program, and a track record for success.

Education:University of Mary’s future educators are bolstered by an enriching liberal arts perspective, allowing them to be empathetic, creative, and efficient mentors for their students. University of Mary’s education programs include biology education, business education, early childhood education, English education, health education, history education, mathematics education, music education, physical education, social studies education, special education, speech education and doctorate of education.

Nursing: The accredited and nation’s number 1 ranked nursing program at University of Mary has enabled its students to take calculated action, even in high-pressure situations. Their well-rounded perspective allows them to think on their feet and care deeply for their patients. Nursing programs include LPN to BSN, RN to BSN, accelerated 2nddegree BSN and doctorate of education. And, academically eligible students also receive their senior year free through the generous CHI St. Alexius Medical Center Scholarship.

Business:The fast-paced, modern world of business requires effective communication and innovative strategies. University of Mary programs in business administration, business communication, sports and leisure management, marketing, and business management keep their future leaders ahead of the curve and ready to grow alongside the industry.

To view University of Mary’s profile or to find more information about the innovative learning experiences it offers, visit

About Colleges of Distinction:Colleges of Distinction has recognized and honored schools throughout the U.S. for excellence in undergraduate-focused higher education for over 15 years. The member schools within the Colleges of Distinction consortium distinguish themselves through their focus on the undergraduate experience. For more information, visit

About the University of Mary:The University of Mary continues to be one of the most affordable Catholic universities in America. Founded in 1959 by the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, Mary offers nearly 60 undergraduate, and 14 master’s degrees, and four doctoral programs in Physical Therapy, Nursing Practice, Education and Occupational Therapy. The University of Mary is also home to the new and innovative Year-Round Campus — where students have the option to earn their degree in 2.6 years and master’s in four years. With over 3,600 students, Mary has locations in North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Kansas, Arizona, Rome, Italy and Arequipa, Peru as well as vibrant online offerings. For more information, visit