May 21, 2024

YANKTON, SD – Mount Marty College announced January 29 its intention to change its name to Mount Marty University. This change, which will go into effect on July 1, 2020, was approved by both the College’s Board of Trustees and the Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery.

This change promises to be another step forward for an 83-year old institution that has long made its impact known through a combination of liberal arts and career-oriented education steeped in the Catholic Benedictine tradition.

Sister Maribeth Wentzlaff, Prioress of Sacred Heart Monastery, says she is proud of the institution for making this historical change. “Throughout Biblical history, when a person or place is given a name change, it has significant, long-lasting ramifications.  It is usually a call to assume a new role or to redefine who or what that person or place is from that point on in history.  Mount Marty University is now called to grow and excel in academics and life-long learning in a stronger way.  This new title calls the Mount Marty Community to stretch to even greater academic excellence and to be a premier Catholic higher education institution in this region and beyond.  The Sisters are asking for God’s blessings upon Mount Marty University as it moves forward with momentum.”

This is not the first time Mount Marty has changed its name to adapt to its evolving programs. The institution has also been known as Mount Marty Academy and Mount Marty Junior College before settling into its current name in 1951 with the introduction of four-year, baccalaureate programs. Now, after many years of continued growth and change on the campus, the institution is ready to take another step forward by adopting a name that accurately defines its offerings.

“Because we have and are adding outstanding graduate programs, because we are planning our first research center, and because we are growing significantly in both undergraduate and graduate enrollment, it makes a lot of sense to change our name to better describe who we are,” said Mount Marty President Marcus Long. “Mount Marty will continue the momentum that has defined us for the last several years at our locations in Yankton, Watertown and Sioux Falls.”

“This name, University, reflects the fact that the majority of our students are in professional programs such as nursing, education, business, and criminal justice—that Mount Marty has strong and growing graduate programs in nursing and education—and that we are the only independent, nonprofit university in South Dakota to offer a doctorate – our stellar program in nurse anesthesia,” said Deacon John Osnes, chair of the Mount Marty College Board of Trustees.

In the past few years, Mount Marty has not only been adding to its academic programming, but also to its resources and culture. In 2019, the College broke ground on both a new fieldhouse and residence hall that promise to both provide more opportunities for students and build a stronger partnership with the community. In the last couple of years Mount Marty has also opened the Avera Nursing Simulation Center and Exercise Physiology Lab; introduced football, cheer and dance to their athletic roster; and seen a significant rise in enrollment in Yankton.

“As Mount Marty is growing and changing,” says Cooper Davis, a current Mount Marty undergraduate student from Paullina, Iowa, “I think it is important that our name follows suit and helps tell the story of everything we have to offer.”

As Mount Marty has continued to grow, the Yankton, Watertown and Sioux Falls communities have taken notice. Avera Sacred Heart Region President and CEO Doug Ekeren claims that the Yankton community has had a “what will they do next?” perspective.

“From new buildings to growth in scholarships to new programs, the sense of positivity regarding Mount Marty in the community is unlike anything that I have seen in the past 26 years that I have been back in Yankton,” said Ekeren. “Growth and expansion at Mount Marty provides economic activity that helps our community in many ways, including the provision of a well-educated future workforce, students taking full- or part-time work in the area, and utilizing our local businesses.”

“Yankton is blessed to have Mount Marty as a cornerstone institution.  The values and mission of the faculty, staff and students resonate throughout the community to create a culture that makes Yankton a better place to live,” says Nancy Wenande, Yankton Area Progressive Growth’s Chief Executive Officer. “Mount Marty University is the next step in a legacy steeped with Benedictine values.”