University of Mary students marching at the 2018 March for Life in Washington D.C.

BISMARCK, ND — Today, 20 University of Mary students from Bismarck, ND, will be special guests of the president of the United States in the Rose Garden—the traditional staging ground for major policy announcements and diplomatic receptions—as he addresses, via satellite, hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers at the March for Life event in D.C.

Testament to their courage and devotion to this movement, this is the third year in a row that the University of Mary in Bismarck has garnered the national spotlight at the world’s largest pro-life event that gives witness to and celebrates the dignity of human life. In 2016, after the march, the country watched as Mary’s buses were among the many vehicles stranded for 24 hours on the Pennsylvania Turnpike after a semi jackknifed in the blizzard. Last year, over 600 students, faculty and staff led the March for Life after the rally in which University of Mary marketing student Katrina Gallic represented thousands of youth around the world when she gave a powerful and passionate speech on national TV.

And now they’re on the biggest stage ever for one of America’s history-making moments as it’s the first time a sitting president has made a public appearance at the March for Life event in 45 years.

Hailey Hilzendeger, a junior respiratory therapy major invited to the Rose Garden as special guest of the President of the United States during 2018 March for Life

University of Mary students learned of their front row seat near the president’s podium immediately following this morning’s Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, just down the street from the White House. After celebrating the news with screams, hugs and photos, the students processed down the street chanting and praying spontaneously creating their own mini March for Life — punctuated by their unmistakably bright, school-colored, blue and orange stocking caps that read, “University of Mary For Life.”

“We’re so honored to be at this famous place for this historic moment in our country, representing our state and our Catholic university,” said University of Mary junior, Hailey Hilzendeger (Hills-an-deg-er), a respiratory therapy major from Avon, SD, and who is president of the school’s Collegians for Life on campus. “I can speak for my classmates and say how proud we are to be students at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, where we stand for the life and dignity of all, and cherish the numerous opportunities we are blessed with, like this one, in order to make a positive and profound impact on American culture and be part of the Pro-life Generation.”

University of Mary senior Katrina Gallic (right), with Vice President Mike Pence (left), and his wife Karen (middle), at the pre-March for Life Reception in the Eisenhower Building Thursday, January 18, 2018

From there, Hilzendeger and her classmates plan to meet up with the rest of the University of Mary students at the March for Life—who are part of a contingent of over 600 North Dakotan’s in a convoy of 12 buses that made the trek east for 30-hours to represent Catholic education from the Peace Garden State.

Yesterday, University of Mary’s Gallic, now a senior, along with other invitees, was a guest of honor at the pre-March for Life reception with Vice President Mike Pence and numerous dignitaries.

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University of Mary Students Special Guests of the President of the United States at the Rose Garden

Hannah Christian, Sioux Falls, SD

Ally Dion, Jamestown, ND

Michaela Granger, Forest Lake, MN

Hailey Hilzendeger, Avon, SD

Anna Schmitz, Sauk Rapids, MN

Izabella Frederiksen, Sun City, CA

Lily Weber, Beaverton, OR

Mallory Sharp, Savage, MN

Colleen Ford, Napa, CA

Rachel Uhlir, Menomonie, WI

Raymond Young, Littleton, CO

Jack Boeser, New Brighton, MN

Vlod Collins, Bismarck, ND

John Davies, Bloomington, MN

Remi Garza, Corpus Christi, TX,

Michael Illenberger, Alamosa, CO

Cody Klamm, Crookston, MN

Luke Odegard, Wilton, ND

Jacob O’Meara, Harris, MN

Victor Pilon, St. Paul, MN


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