By Brooke Mortsolf

Before Saint Mary was a University, it was an institute founded by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul that taught girls in downtown Leavenworth in 1859. In 1870, when the sisters moved to their new location they changed from being an institute to an academy. In 1923, Saint Mary’s Academy changed to Saint Mary College and still had all-girl students. It wasn’t until 1932 that the college started to accept students who were male. Also, in 1932 the college added four-year terms of studies.

The first president of Saint Mary College was a man named Arthur Morton Murphy who was president for 25 years. Murphy was also the first male to preside over an all-girl college in the United States. After Murphy retired, Sister Mary Janet McGilley became president. Saint Mary College was the first school with degree completion in Kansas City in 1974. The College became coeducational in 1988, and in 2003 the College of Saint Mary was changed to the University of Saint Mary. Currently the president of the University of Saint Mary is Sister Diane Steele.

The University of Saint Mary’s motto is Virtus Et Scientia (virtue and science). The University of Saint Mary’s campus sits on 200 acres of land with residental buildings and building where classes are held. Maria Hall and Miege Hall where built in the 1960s. Saint Mary Hall, Xavier Hall, Mead Hall, and Berchmans Hall are the other building that students learn in.

Saint Mary has four values that every student should abide by. The values are community, respect, justice, and excellence. The University of Saint Mary has established programs that involve purpose, global impact, and long-term success. The Saint Mary Spires was named for the spire on top of Saint Mary Hall which is the oldest building on campus. In 2004, the BSN program was approved to be an on-campus program.

Saint Mary has come a long way with great changes since 1859 where it all started with the Sisters teaching girls in an institute.

Brooke Mortsolf is an English and Digital Communications Major at the University of Saint Mary.  

History, Tradition, Values

University of Saint Mary History

Quick History of USM