College of Saint Mary

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College of Saint Mary is a Catholic women's university located in Omaha, Nebraska. Enrollment totaled 1,018 students in fall of 2014: 735 undergraduates, 243 graduate, and 40 non-degree seeking students.

With more than 30 undergraduate and seven graduate degree programs, College of Saint Mary offers associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in high-demand majors such as occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, nursing, biology, business, education and legal studies. The student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1.

In 2004 CSM launched the largest campaign in its history, the $25 million Campaign for CSM. This effort was designed to provide critical resources in three key areas: Endowment building, growth of the annual scholarship fund and campus/facility improvements. The goal of $25 million was surpassed by the fall of 2009, yielding the transformation of the Campus Park (2006), the addition of Hixson-Lied Commons (2007), as well as the modernization of Walsh Hall (2007) and the renovation of CSM's Math and Science Building (2008). Hixson-Lied Commons is the location of CSM's Library as well as Christina's Place, a cafe offering coffee, breakfast and lunch options.

Since 2009, CSM's enrollment has been over 1,000 students and the residence halls have experienced record numbers in both 2010 and again in 2011 with 223 students living on-campus. The burgeoning residence halls and the need for additional OT laboratory space led to a $10 million campaign to build a new residence hall. CSM broke ground on the new residence hall in 2010, and Madonna Hall opened in 2012 to serve the Mothers Living & Learning program.[1]


The College of Saint Mary offers several distinctive programs:[2]

  • Online Doctor of Education with an emphasis in Health Professions Education or Educational Leadership.
  • Three-year and four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree tracks to accommodate students’ needs and life circumstances.
  • The five-year combined bachelor's and master’s in Occupational Therapy program prepares students for real-world experiences as they complete fieldwork at some of the nation’s top healthcare facilities.
  • A five-year accelerated Bachelor of Science Degree in Pre-Physician Assistant Studies/Human Biology and Master of Science Degree in Physician Assistant Studies is unique in the five-state region.
  • A Practical Nursing program created specifically to graduate bilingual (Spanish-English) nurses to serve the growing Spanish-speaking population in Nebraska and surrounding areas
  • The Mothers Living & Learning residential program is an option for single mothers and their children who would like to pursue a college degree full-time while living on campus. This program is for women who have up to two children (under the age of 10 by the mother's graduation year), are dedicated to continuing their education, and are seeking community living opportunities that recognize they are parents as well as college students.
  • A Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program dedicated to explore and strengthen the unique leadership qualities of women.
  • The region's only four-year paralegal studies program approved by the American Bar Association.
  • Nationally accredited nursing programs at the associate and bachelor's degree levels


Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy and an early 18th-century Irishwoman, had a bold vision. She believed that nothing was more productive of good to society than the careful education of women.

Mother Mary Leo Gallagher, another Sister of Mercy, carried on the tradition and opened the doors of College of Saint Mary in 1923. In the old Continental Hotel at 15th and Castelar Streets, the work began. The church schools needed teachers. To be effective in these positions, Mother Gallagher believed women needed a strong liberal arts education. Mother Gallagher accomplished this feat when women had won the vote just three years prior.

In November 1950, the Sisters purchased 80 acres (320,000 m2) of land for $150,000 next to a dirt road named 72nd Street and what would become Mercy Road. A $3 million construction project began in March 1953 and by May 1955, College of Saint Mary was a reality. That year, 255 students enrolled and by 1958 College of Saint Mary had become a four-year fully accredited college.


CSM teams, nicknamed athletically as the Flames, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. Before July 2015, the college competed in the Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference (MCAC). Women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball. All of the athletic programs are very competitive and have a long history of excellence.[3]

Notable alumnae[edit]

  • Christine Hill '07, President at AOI Corporation[4]
  • Sue Kopfle '87, Chief Human Resource Officer at University of Missouri Health Care[5]
  • Tera Schaecher '96, Senior Vice President, Consumer Real Estate Services at Bank of the West[6]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°14′26″N 96°01′17″W / 41.24056°N 96.02139°W / 41.24056; -96.02139