University of Saint Mary

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Not to be confused with St. Mary's College (Kansas).
This article is about the liberal arts university in Kansas. For the seminary in Chicago, see University of Saint Mary of the Lake.
University of Saint Mary
University of Saint Mary Kansas seal.png
University of Saint Mary Seal
Former names
Saint Mary College
Motto Virtus Et Scientia
Motto in English
Virtue and Science
Be Inspired.
Type Private
Established 1923
Affiliation Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, (Catholic)
President Sr. Diane Steele
Vice-president Nancy Bramlett
Daniel Dentino
Karolyn Dionne Dreiling
John Shultz
Provost Bryan F. Le Beau
Students 796
Location Leavenworth, Kansas, U.S.
Coordinates: 39°16′37″N 94°54′24″W / 39.27694°N 94.90667°W / 39.27694; -94.90667
Colors Navy and Gold
Nickname Spires
Mascot Spiro the Dragon
Affiliations NAIAKCAC
University of Saint Mary (Kansas) Logo.png

The University of Saint Mary (USM) is a private liberal arts university in Leavenworth, Kansas, United States. It is sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, who established it as Saint Mary College. Though it was originally a school for women, the school is now coeducational. The mother house of the order is also on the premises. At one time the nuns' property had its own post office, Xavier, Kansas, the name honoring St. Francis Xavier.

The University of Saint Mary offers 26 bachelor’s degree programs and six master's degree programs, including Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts in Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Education, Adaptive Special Education, and Teaching. Traditional, evening, degree completion, and online classes are available.[1]

The University of Saint Mary’s mission is "to educate students of diverse backgrounds to realize their God-given potential and prepare them for value-centered lives and careers that contribute to the well being of our global society."


The Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul came to Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1858 and began teaching boys and girls. One year later, they created St. Mary's Institute, a small educational institute for women, in downtown Leavenworth. In 1870, Saint Mary's was moved to its current location south of the City, and was renamed St. Mary's Academy. In 1923, the Sisters established Saint Mary College. In 1932, the college became a four-year institute and started accepting a few men in certain areas of study. Arthur Morton Murphy, PhD, who was born in Electric Peak, Montana and earned his doctorate at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, was chosen as the school's first president, and served in that capacity for 25 years. He was the first layman to preside over a Catholic college for women in the United States. Murphy was succeeded as president by poet and educator Sister Mary Janet McGilley, PhD, SCL. In 1974, Saint Mary College became the first four-year institution to offer a degree completion in Kansas City. The school became residentially coeducational in 1988. In 2000, a campus was opened in Overland Park, Kansas. The institution expanded again in July 2003, changing its name to the University of Saint Mary. The school's first fully endowed chair was inaugurated in 1989, honoring the retirement of Sister Mary Janet.[2]


The main campus of USM is located between 200 acres (0.81 km2) of hills in Leavenworth, Kansas, and is the location of undergraduate classrooms, two residential halls (Berchman's Hall and Maria Hall), and the main academic and administrative offices. It is near a nature preserve and has stately academic buildings, indoor athletic facilities, and outdoor playing fields.[3]

The Overland Park Campus is in Overland Park, Kansas, on Pflumm Road, between College Boulevard and West 119th Street. This campus hosts evening master's degree classes and degree-completion programs. Its main function is accelerated degree completion and graduate programs and it is home to various resource centers.[3]

The Wyandotte County Campus is located inside Providence Medical Center. It hosts master's degree classrooms and degree completion programs year round.[3]

St. Mary's offers Masters in Art education at Sacred Heart in Shawnee, Kansas, and has an online degree program given in eight-week sessions. Some of the buildings on these campuses are Annunciation Chapel, Saint Mary Hall, Xavier Courtyard, DePaul Library, McGilley Fieldhouse, Kehoe Memorial Baseball Field, and the Ryan Sports Center.[3]

Organization and administration[edit]

The university is sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.

Academic profile[edit]

St. Mary has around 1,200 students enrolled across two campuses.[4] It has a full-time faculty of 31, who teach 26 undergraduate programs and six masters programs. The school has been named a "Best Value College" by the Princeton Review.[5] Students at St. Mary come from 33 different states, and it has international students from Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Finland and Canada. The average age of residential full-time students is 22 and the average full-time undergraduate is 27. The student body is 47% male and 53% female. On average, USM receives 427 applications per year, and 233 students are accepted.

Student life[edit]

"Into the Streets" is a program for incoming freshmen. The freshmen are separated into groups and are assigned different tasks such as mentoring younger students during the first day of middle school, working on houses for people in the community, helping with maintenance at the local shelter, and helping the Red Cross. St. Mary's has the alternative where students are able to do charitable activities on spring and winter breaks. Students go to Denver, Colorado, during their winter break for the opportunity to work with three different organizations, the Mount Saint Vincent Home, Annunciation School, and the Humanitarian Center for Workers. During spring break students travel to Guatemala where they help at the community center. They have the choice to travel to Appalachia where they build new homes. USM has local service agency programs where students are able to take what they learn in the classroom and use it in the real world. Members of the productions and operations management class has helped Alliance Against Family Violence improve operations by creating a computerized inventory agency. Consumer behavior and marketing research classes helped the Leavenworth community library with strategic planning, including planning a new library layout and solving other problems.


Main article: Saint Mary Spires
Official athletics logo.

USM teams are known as the Spires and their team colors are navy and gold. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, football and soccer; while women's sports include basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball, wrestling, cheer and dance.

St. Mary has four sports facilities. The Ryan Sports center is a 1,500 seat multi-purpose arena which hosts the women's volleyball and men's & women's basketball games. It has an indoor track, training room, racquetball courts, and athletic offices. The McGilley's field house north of Ryan sports center is the main facility for practice and training and is home for intramural sports on campus. It has the campus weight lifting facility. The USM fitness center is used by both students and faculty. USM has separate baseball, soccer, and football fields used by both men and women.[6]

Notable people[edit]



External links[edit]