The University of Saint Mary first opened in 1923 as Saint Mary College, a junior college for women. The college evolved from St. Mary’s Female Academy established by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth in 1859. It became a four-year institution in 1930 and became residentially co-ed in 1988. In July 2003, the college expanded to meet the growing demands of the 21st century student, becoming the University of Saint Mary.
Today, USM is a fully accredited, fully modern educational institution with four locations, 26 undergraduate programs, five graduate programs, as well as online programs.
The Sisters of Charity, the founders and sponsors of the University of Saint Mary, first arrived in Leavenworth, Kansas in 1858. They came to establish a religious community to serve the needs of the frontier people of Kansas. Within days of their arrival, they began teaching children. They quickly realized their three missions: education, nursing, and care of children.
The college flourished for decades in Leavenworth. As part of a plan to expand educational offerings to working adults in the Kansas City Metropolitan area, Saint Mary opened the Overland Park Campus in the year 2000. Located at 11413 Pflumm, the Overland Park Campus is centrally located near I-35 and I-435 for easy access and is frequently used for meetings and training sessions by high-caliber companies such as Sprint Corporation and John Deere.
The University of Saint Mary has gained a reputation for developing value-centered graduates who are strong decision-makers, problem-solvers and business and community leaders. The university’s concept of applied liberal arts embraces the rich history and meaning of the liberal arts tradition, while intentionally connecting learning to the real world in concrete and practical ways.