YANKTON, S.D. (KCAU) – Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota, has announced that they will become Mount Marty University this coming summer.

The announcement came during a Wednesday morning press conference at the college, where they said the change was approved by both the College’s Board of Trustees and the Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery.

“I’m most excited for our students, who are very excited about this, and our alumni, because it better describes who they are and what their experience has been,” Marc Long, Mount Marty College president said.

The college, steeped in the Catholic Benedictine tradition, has been around for 83 years, having been known as Mount Marty Academy and Mount Marty Junior College. In 1951, Mount Marty College took its current name and started offering four-year baccalaureate programs.

“Me personally, like I said, it’s going to be something special to graduate and have it say ‘Mount Marty University’ on the diploma. For other students, it’s just like I said, it’s going to be a lot of opportunities for them to further their education. Which is obviously something that’s special,” Bryant Dvorak, Junior, Mount Marty College, added.

“Throughout Biblical history, when a person or place is given a name change, it has significant, long-lasting ramifications,” Sister Maribeth Wentzlaff, Prioress of Sacred Heart Monastery, said.  

“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.”

Mount Marty President Marcus Long said the college has been adding graduate programs in recent year and are planning their first research center while also seeing their enrollment grow. The college has also broke ground on a new fieldhouse and residence hall. They’ve also opened the Avera Nursing Simulation Center and Exercise Physiology Lab and introduced football, cheer, and dance to their athletic roster.

“I think it means a lot of growth. Being here, I’ve gotten to see a lot of change, even though I’m only a freshman, but we’ve started building a field house, we’re adding new dorms, and now we’re a university. There’s just a lot of electricity going through the campus right now, it’s just been a lot of fun,” Emily Dorn, Freshman, Mount Marty College shared.

“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.

The Avera Sacred Heart Region President and CEO Doug Ekeren said that the continued growth of the college has had a positive effect on the community, offering “a well-educated future workforce, students taking full- or part-time work in the area, and utilizing our local businesses.”

The college will officially become Mount Marty University on July 1, 2020.