Mission & Identity

Closeup of crucifix in front of gold-leafed wall.

The University of Mary Mission

The University of Mary exists to serve the religious, academic, and cultural needs of the people in this region and beyond. It takes its tone from the commitment of the Sisters of Annunciation Monastery. These Sisters founded the university in 1959 and continue to sponsor it today. It is Christian, it is Catholic, and it is Benedictine.

The University of Mary Identity

Founded to prepare leaders in the service of Truth, the University of Mary is distinctive in our education and formation of servant leaders with moral courage, global understanding, and commitment to the common good. As America's Leadership University, we are deeply devoted to our mission.

We cherish our Christian, Catholic, Benedictine identity; we welcome and serve persons of all faiths.

We Are Faithfully Christian

Two female volunteers in Peru delivering bags of rice.

As a Christian university, we strive to accomplish our mission in faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We regard each human person as created in the image and likeness of God, gifted with life and dignity. We seek to be agents of cultural renewal in our time and place – courageous advocates for justice and peace. 

Our Christian commitment is born from and sustained by the encounter of the Risen Lord, who came not to be served but to serve. As He humbly washed the feet of His disciples on the night before He died, so we seek to serve one another. We are faithfully Christian.

We Are Joyfully Catholic

Young people following a Palm Sunday processional at sunset.

As a Catholic university, we joyfully draw our life from the heart of the Church, identifying with the ancient tradition which gave rise to the first universities in medieval Europe. This Catholic intellectual tradition proposes an integrated spiritual and philosophical approach to the most enduring questions of human life. Thus we seek to advance the vital dialogue between Faith and Reason, while acknowledging the proper autonomy of the arts, sciences, and professions.

A university is a place for the free exchange of ideas and so we warmly welcome students and faculty of many faiths and convictions. At the same time, our common discourse ever takes place in a spirit of authentic respect for Catholic teaching and practice. We acknowledge the Catholic faith as a path to moral integrity and personal holiness. We are joyfully Catholic.

We Are Gratefully Benedictine

A photo from 1878 of religious people standing outside church and in front of horse drawn carriage.

As a Benedictine university, we remember with gratitude the Benedictine Sisters who came to Dakota Territory in 1878, bringing ministries of teaching and healing. This community of Sisters would become our founders and sponsors and, through them, we share in the 1500-year-old heritage of the Benedictines.

Inspired by lives of prayer, community, and service, Saint Benedict and his spiritual followers through the ages have been a stable source of tremendous good in the world: renewing the Church, preserving learning, cultivating wisdom, and modeling humane virtues of balance and generosity. The life of our Sisters shapes our life. We are gratefully Benedictine.

The University of Mary Statement of Mission and Identity was approved by the University’s Board of Trustees on Dec. 3, 2010.

The University of Mary

Faithfully Christian. Joyfully Catholic. Gratefully Benedictine.