Marian University (Indiana)

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Marian University
Former names
Marian College
Motto Sedes Sapientiae
Motto in English
Seat of Wisdom
Type private coeducational liberal arts
Established 1851 (details)
Affiliation Catholic Church (Sisters of St. Francis)
Endowment $36.0 million.[1]
Officer in charge
Gregory A. Ginder
Chairman William Eckman
President Daniel J. Elesner
Provost Thomas J. Enneking, Ph.D.
Academic staff
137 full time
Students 2,771
Undergraduates 2,137
Postgraduates 634
Location Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
39°48′51″N 86°12′11″W / 39.81417°N 86.20306°W / 39.81417; -86.20306Coordinates: 39°48′51″N 86°12′11″W / 39.81417°N 86.20306°W / 39.81417; -86.20306
Campus Urban, 200 acres
Colors Blue and Gold
Athletics 17 NAIA teams
Nickname Knights
Mascot Knightro, the Knight
Affiliations Sisters of St. Francis Oldenburg

Marian University is a private, non-profit Roman Catholic university located on a 200-acre campus in Indianapolis, in the US state of Indiana. As of fall 2014, Marian University had 2,771 students in attendance, and a student-faculty ratio of 13:1. Founded in 1851 by the Sisters of St. Francis, the college was originally located in Oldenburg moving to Indianapolis in 1937. Marian was referred to as Marian College from 1936 until 2009, when it was renamed Marian University.[2] Marian is religiously affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. Marian University is currently headed by President Daniel Elsener.


The Allison Mansion

Marian University was founded in 1851 by the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg as a liberal arts school with a program for training teachers. Under the direction of Father Francis Joseph Rudolph and Mother Theresa Hackelmeier, teachers were trained at Oldenburg for more than a decade before Indiana adopted its first tax-supported normal school.

Originally known as St. Francis Normal, the school became a four-year, state-approved institution which merged with Immaculate Conception Junior College to form Marian College. In November 1936, the Sisters of St. Francis purchased the former James A. Allison estate, “Riverdale,” located in Indianapolis, as a site for Marian College.

In 1937, the college moved to Indianapolis under the direction of Mother M. Clarissa Dillhoff, after securing a state charter and purchasing the Riverdale estate in 1936. Allison Mansion became the new location of Marian College. The building housed the library, administrative offices, classrooms, and sleeping quarters for the Sisters. Classes began September 15, 1937.

In 1948 the college began an expansion project that included the addition of Clare Hall, the Gymnasium, and Marian Hall. In 1954, as the new Marian Hall was completed, the school became the first co-educational Catholic college in Indiana. Two years later, the North Central Association accredited Marian College. In 1970, a new 58,000-square-foot (5,400 m2) library was completed. It was designed by Woollen, Molzan and Partners.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education formally accepted all teacher education programs of the college in 1976. The Indiana State Board of Nursing approved the associate level nursing curriculum in 1977 and the baccalaureate program in 1987. The National League of Nursing has accredited both programs—the associate in 1986 and the baccalaureate in 1992. In 2000, Marian's Adult Programs (MAP) began offering bachelor's and associate degrees in business.

On July 1, 2009, Marian College became Marian University.[2] Over the course of several years prior to this, the college grew and expanded the academic curriculum, added a football team and marching band, adding and renovating buildings.[2]

On January 15, 2010, Marian University announced plans to begin a college of osteopathic medicine; the second in the state of Indiana and the first Catholic osteopathic medical school[3] due to the generosity of an anonymous donor’s $30 million pledge. On August 23, 2011 during the groundbreaking ceremony, the new school of osteopathic medicine was officially named after the erstwhile anonymous donor, AIT Labs CEO Michael A. Evans.[4] Additionally, Margaret Mary Community Hospital pledged $150,000 to the College of Osteopathic Medicine dedicated to building a simulation lab and seminar room for the medical students.[3]

On August 1, 2011 Greg Ballard, Mayor of the City of Indianapolis declared it "President Daniel J. Elsener Day" in the city. The proclamation came on the tenth anniversary of President Elsener's service to Marian University.[5]


Marian University is located about four miles northwest of downtown Indianapolis, on a 200-acre campus.[1] The Marian University campus includes:

  • The Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab, a 55-acre wetland and lowland forest located on the north end of the Marian University campus.[6]
  • The Lake Sullivan Sports Complex, now known as the Indy Cycloplex. This park is home to the Major Taylor Velodrome and hosts races, clinics, and other events in four cycling disciplines: road, cyclocross, BMX, and track, as well as community events.
  • The Riverdale Estate, which includes Allison Mansion and Indiana’s largest and most intact landscape designed by Jens Jensen. The mansion holds the offices of the president.

Academics and accreditation[edit]

As of Fall 2014, there were 2,771 students in attendance at Marian University, with a student-faculty ratio of 13:1. [7] Marian University is accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.[7]

In 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Marian University as the 25th best college in the Midwest in its class.[citation needed]

Marian University is organized into six schools with 36 majors and 37 minors:

  • Clark H. Byrum School of Business
  • College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • School of Education
  • School of Liberal Arts
  • School of Mathematics and Sciences
  • Alan and Sue Leighton School of Nursing

Marian University offers several routes to earning a teaching license via Teach for America, Indianapolis Teaching Fellows, traditional education program, Master’s Bridge to Teaching, Master of Arts in Teaching program, and the ACTION program. Marian University is one of the few universities to offer the Leadership Academy for Principals.

Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine opened in August 2013 with the first class expected to graduate in 2017.[8] The university also offers accelerated degree programs in business for adults through Marian's Adult Programs (MAP). [1]

Student life[edit]

Marian University Demographics
Asian 1%
Black or African American 13%
Hispanic/Latino 5%
Two or more 3%
White 73%
Unknown 4%

The Student Government Association of Marian University (SGA) is actively involved with campus events such as homecoming and the fall festival. Intramural sports are popular, especially basketball, flag football, and ultimate frisbee. The campus recently renovated[when?] its dining hall and built a new music building. Students perform plays and other theatrical performances, including a marching band and speech team. In 2010, the speech team which won the state championship and placed 10th in Division I at the national forensics championship. Each year, the speech team travels to nearly 12 tournaments, plus a week-long trip to the National Forensic Association’s Individual Events Tournament in April. At tournaments, students compete in a variety of events such as impromptu speaking, persuasive speaking, and dramatic interpretation. On February 20, 2010, the speech team claimed first place over-all at the state tournament. A member of the speech team that year went on to become Miss. Indiana in 2014.

There are nearly 30 student run clubs and organizations at Marian University, including The Literary Arts Society (LASMU), College Mentors for Kids,[9] Pax Christi (peace and justice), Society of Human Resource Management (business), Marian University Student Nurses’ Association (MUSNA) (nursing), Kappa Delta Pi, Japan and Anime Culture Club (JACC)(culture), Marian Urban Sports (MUSC),the Green Life club (general), and Alpha Delta Gamma, the university's first fraternity.

Adjacent to campus, though not located on campus property, is a college seminary for Catholic seminarians, operated by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Approximately 20-30 young men, who are also Marian students, live at the seminary and receive formation there.


The Knights are the athletic teams of Marian University. The Marian University mascot is Knightro, the Knight. The university competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as a member of the Crossroads League, formerly known as the Mid-Central College Conference (MCC), and the Mideast League of the Mid-States Football Association for football. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cheerleading, cross country, cycling, dance, football, golf, soccer, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, bowling, cheerleading, cross country, cycling, dance, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.

Marian University is nationally known[10] for its cycling team, which practices and competes at the Major Taylor Velodrome. The cycling team is a member of the National Collegiate Cycling Association (NCCA).

Marian University's cycling team has won 13 national track championships in Division I and is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious programs in the nation. In the 2009-10 seasons, Marian University won both USA Cycling’s Collegiate Track National Championships in 2009 and USA Cycling’s Collegiate Road Championship title in 2010. The cycling team has won a total of 14 national championship titles after winning the 2010 Track National Championships.

Marian University's golf and softball teams finished their 2010 seasons as 12th and 14th in the nation in Division II respectively. Marian University is also home to the MCCC champion women’s soccer team. Marian University also recently added competitive cheerleading, and men’s and women’s bowling started in fall of 2010.

Marian began a football program in 2007 under head coach Ted Karras Jr.. Since then, the Knights have won two NAIA national championships. In 2012, in only their 6th year of play, the Knights won their first NAIA football championship.[11] In 2014, the #7 Marian University Knights became the NAIA runner-up after losing to #8 Southern Oregon University 55-31.[12] The next year, the Knights won the NAIA championship, a rematch of the 2014 national championship against the SOU Raiders, 31-14. This marked their 3rd championship game appearance and second victory in four years. The head coach for that victory was Mark Henninger.[13] Several football program alumni have earned contracts at the professional level, such as Krishawn Hogan[14] and Julian Williams.[15]

The Knight's athletic achievements include:

  • 23 All-Conference selections
  • 309 All MCC First Team Honors
  • 162 Daktronics NAIA Scholar Athletes
  • 25 NAIA All Americans
  • 5 NAIA Champions of Character Award recipients
  • 6 NAIA Region VIII Player of the Year
  • 1 NAIA Region VIII Player of the Year
  • 37 MCC championships
  • 25 MCC Coach of the Year Honors
  • 14 MCC Players of the Year
  • 28 USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Marian University". U.S. News & World Report. 
  2. ^ a b c "Marian University: History". Marian University. 
  3. ^ a b "Margaret Mary Community Hospital Pledges $150,000 to Support the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine". Marian University. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "Comments". Retrieved 2012-06-21. 
  5. ^ "Proclamation" (PDF). City of Indianapolis, Office of the Mayor. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab". 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-05-26. 
  7. ^ a b "Marian University". College Navigator. U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences National Center for Education Statistics. 
  8. ^ "Indiana's first osteopathic medical school welcomes first class". Indiana State Medical Association. Aug 19, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Volunteer Organization | Mentoring | College Mentors for Kids". Retrieved 2012-07-02. 
  10. ^ "Marian University - Indianapolis News". 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2012-07-02. 
  11. ^ "Marian wins NAIA title, beating Morningside in OT - NCAA Football". Retrieved 2014-05-26. 
  12. ^ "Marian University - Indianapolis Athletics News". Retrieved 6 August 2015. 
  13. ^ "Marian (Ind.) Wins Second National Championship". National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. December 19, 2015. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  14. ^ Urban, Darren (May 2, 2017). "Cardinals Collect 17 Undrafted Rookies". Retrieved May 10, 2017. 
  15. ^ Josh Ouellette (March 15, 2014). "Shock Storm Iowa in 2014 AFL Opener". WorldNow and KHQ. Retrieved March 27, 2014. 

External links[edit]