Momentum is Here at Mount Marty University

mmc to mmu

On January 29, 2020, we announced our intention to change our name to Mount Marty University. This change, which took place 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 us in our 83-year history, which is highlighted by the impact of our 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 we here at Mount Marty have changed name to adapt to our evolving programs. We have also been known as Mount Marty Academy and Mount Marty Junior College before settling into our current name in 1951 with the introduction of four-year, baccalaureate programs. Now, after many years of continued growth and change on the campus, we are ready to take another step forward by adopting a name that accurately defines our 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, we have not only been adding to our academic programming, but also to our resources and culture. In 2019, we 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, we have also opened the Avera Nursing Simulation Center and Exercise Physiology Lab; introduced football, cheer and dance to our 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 we have 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.”

Your Questions Answered

Over the past several years, Mount Marty has seen exceptional growth in enrollment, facilities, academic offerings and varsity athletics. In changing our name to Mount Marty University, we are both celebrating that growth and more properly identifying ourselves based on our programs and culture.

Designated a “master’s” institution by standards set by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions, Mount Marty is the only independent, non-profit college or university in South Dakota to offer a doctoral degree. Further, Mount Marty began offering master’s degrees in 1983, and currently offers four master’s degree majors. These factors and many more suggest that we more correctly should be called a university.

A college often refers to an institution that only offers two- or four-year undergraduate degrees.

A university, on the other hand, offers both undergraduate and graduate programs and has more extensive research programs. They are also perceived to have more academic resources and varsity athletic offerings than a college.

By becoming Mount Marty University, students will benefit from more immediate recognition for attending a larger, more complex institution with resources that have given them an academic advantage.

At our core, we are not changing. We still stand firmly by our Benedictine tradition and our liberal arts and sciences core coupled with outstanding professional programs that has enabled our growth. Our values of awareness of God, community, hospitality and lifelong learning will remain the same.

Alumni will now be able to say they attended Mount Marty University, if they prefer. This change may be made on resumes and personal biographies, as the change will be seen on all transcripts and diplomas after July 1, 2020.

Should they choose, alumni will have the opportunity to apply for an updated diploma that reads Mount Marty University. To celebrate our name change, the fee typically associated with a diploma reorder will be waived from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Visit the Registrar page for additional information and to download the diploma reorder form. 

In becoming Mount Marty University and expressing our intention to continue our trajectory of growth and change, we expect to see a rise in our campus population and resources, benefiting the region through economic growth and increased opportunities. 

We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from the Yankton community since our founding, and we look forward to seeing how we can continue to work together to make this region an exceptional place to live.

We will still be the same Mount Marty you know—a community in Catholic Benedictine liberal arts tradition with a mission of preparing students for a contemporary world of work, service to the human community and personal growth. In changing our name, we are improving our ability to reach those goals set by our mission and vision.

The full transition to Mount Marty University took place on July 1, 2020.

Our legacy domain name,, will no longer function after May 15, 2020, and all website and email traffic should instead use the domain