BISMARCK, ND—North Dakota media mogul and philanthropist, William C. Marcil, and his wife, Jane, have gifted $1.5 million to the University of Mary’s record-setting Vision 2030 Capital Campaign.

Bill Marcil Sr. is chairman of Forum Communications Company and the former publisher and CEO of The Forum—a multimedia news company headquartered in Fargo, ND, with over 1,700 employees in locations across North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Marcil Sr. served as publisher for 41 years before stepping aside and turning over the reins to his son, Bill Marcil Jr., in 2010.

Architectural rendering of Founders Hall inside the new Lumen Vitae University Center

Bill and Jane are lead donors to Founders Hall—a new preeminent community gathering space and stateroom that seats over 600 banquet guests and over 1,000 people for special events with the best Lewis-and-Clark-view in North Dakota overlooking the Missouri River Valley. Founders Hall is inside on the upper level of the state-of-the-art 80,000-square-foot Lumen Vitae University Center—a new, soon-to-be-opened campus centerpiece and student hub for activity and social gatherings.

“For us and our family it’s all about building community,” said Marcil Sr. “We’ve spent our entire lives helping bring people together in their town’s stores and coffee shops with our papers and communications business—it started in North Dakota and expanded across the region as we’ve grown as a company. Founders Hall and the Lumen Vitae University Center truly represent a gathering space where students from all walks of life, faculty, alum, people from across the state and region can come and enjoy each other’s company at one of the premier hospitality venues. And, personally, it’s one more way for Jane, Bill Jr. and myself to say thank you to the people of this great state and give our warmest gratitude to the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery and Sr. Thomas—a special North Dakotan who brings grace and hospitality to whomever she encounters.”

Marcil Sr’s impact is far reaching. He is the recipient of North Dakota’s highest honor, the Rough Rider Award. On a national level, he became the first North Dakotan to be elected chair of the American Newspaper Publishers Association, now known as the Newspaper Association of America and served as chairman on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Marcil Sr. earned the Schafer Excellence in Enterprise Award in 2003 from the University of Mary, and in 2005, inducted into the North Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame. Through seats on the boards of national organizations it enabled him opportunities at all levels: he introduced Ronald Reagan at a luncheon and traveled abroad visiting with the premier of China representing the nation’s newspaper publishers.

Sister Thomas Welder

Sister Thomas Welder

“Locally, nationally and internationally, Bill and Jane are recognized and honored as North Dakota’s best of leaders and finest ambassadors,” said Sister Thomas. “Their hearts embody the University of Mary’s endeavor to prepare its students for a life of service and purpose. We are deeply grateful for their gift, for their commitment to create a place where all are welcome: a place of hospitality, a place of community, a place of kindred spirit, a place of light that nourishes life.”

The Marcil gift and another major impactful contribution from Steve and Eileen Scheel pushes the three-phased $272 million Vision 2030 Capital Campaign total over the $70-million threshold, and is the single largest fundraising mark ever at the University of Mary. That number will continue to climb as it reaches its Phase 1 target of $96 million, with future capital earmarked for endowment scholarships, the innovative new Year-Round Campus initiative and the new School of Engineering infrastructure—an already very popular program on campus that has taken off in only its first year of existence thanks to the field’s high-demand and high wages in western North Dakota and across the country.

In just a year and a half, Phase 1 of the campaign has already seen the completion of a new 276-bed residence hall for women, named Roers Hall, and an 80,000-square- foot Fieldhouse and Wellness Center.

The media is invited to the grand opening celebration featuring a ribbon cutting, speakers and tours of the new facilities Friday, September 8, at 4:30 p.m. on the north side of the Lumen Vitae University Center.

The public is encouraged to attend an open house the following day on Saturday, September 9, 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to see and tour the new Lumen Vitae University Center, the Marian Grotto and the Gift Hill Memorial. Bring your appetite as free food will be served.