James Shea

University of Mary President Monsignor James Shea announced the first phase of the Vision 2030 Capital Campaign has been met with more than $100 million gifted to the university.

In three and a half years, the University of Mary has raised over $100 million as part of a capital campaign that extends to the year 2030.

University officials announced a "sweeping new strategic plan" and capital campaign at the end of 2015, which included new campus facilities and programs, U-Mary President Monsignor James Shea told a group of faculty members, staff, students and community members at an event on Tuesday to recognize the campaign milestone.

"We knew that Mary College from 1959 and the University of Mary since had already made significant contributions to the religious, cultural and academic needs in our region, but we knew that times were changing ... we felt the duty to ask ourselves if we could do yet more," Shea said.

The Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery founded what was then called Mary College in 1959, which provided traditional and continuing education to nurses and teachers. Since then, U-Mary has expanded to include a litany of different degree programs, such as engineering and business.

The university established a strategic plan and a Vision 2030 capital campaign, which is broken down into three phases and totals $272 million. The first phase included a $96 million goal. Jerome Richter, the university's vice president for public affairs, announced Tuesday they surpassed that goal by nearly $5 million.

"It was a bold thing that we set out to do," Shea said.

Richter said the university has received more than 7,500 donations, ranging from $5 to more than $10 million.

The university has successfully completed a number of projects in the first phase of the campaign, including a 276-bed residence for women, a fieldhouse and wellness center, the new Lumen Vitae University Center, and started construction of a School of Engineering.

Shea said the next project will be to complete the School of Engineering, which will be housed at the university's former North Dining Hall. Also part of that project is to move the university's School of Health Sciences program to the lower level of the engineering school.

Shea said the university will now take a pause in fundraising for the next part of the capital campaign to allow university officials to determine what their next areas of focus will be.

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(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)