Marian University was founded in 1836 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; at that time, eight faculty members taught 42 students. The school was sponsored by a teaching order called the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, who chose to create a new public Catholic university when the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction banned religious clothing in public schools. Since then, the school has moved to its current 78-acre campus and also expanded into 12 other locations throughout Wisconsin; roughly 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at the university.
Students can get involved in campus life through many active organizations. In addition to the school’s Greek program and honor societies, there are clubs such as Students Without Borders, the Student Senate, the Collegiate Music Educators National Conference, and the Marian University Student Nurses Association. Marian also sponsors 15 Division III intercollegiate athletic teams. However, faith is the school’s unifying force. While Marian is a Catholic institution that encourages enrolled students to attend weekly mass, take part in Bible studies, and contribute to the Campus Ministry Club, men and women of all faiths are welcome (and encouraged) to attend.
The university’s academic subjects are divided between four schools: Arts and Sciences, Education, Business and Public Safety, and Nursing and Health Professions. Together, they collectively offer more than 50 majors and minors, as well as 17 graduate-level programs. These fields of study cover a broad spectrum, including bachelor’s degrees in biology-cryotechnology, sport and recreation management, and art therapy, and graduate programs in grief and bereavement, radiologic technology, and organizational leadership and quality. True to its Catholic heritage, the university requires all students to take one course in philosophy and two in theology during their academic careers. Marian also sponsors numerous study abroad trips for students; past groups have traveled to countries like Australia, Costa Rica, Japan, and Italy.
Those who prefer distance learning may attend Marian University’s online programs. All instructors are certified to ensure quality instruction. In addition, most courses are set up asynchronously; this means students are free to access course materials and complete assignments as long as they meet certain deadlines. There are six Marian University online degrees: Differential Instruction for All Learners (DIAL), educational technology, grief and bereavement, operations and supply chain management, radiologic technology, and special education; some of Marian University’s online classes are exclusively available, while others are ‘blended,’ meaning they contain online and face-to-face components.
Marian University represents the best of both worlds: a respected, time-honored institution that has embraced digital technology and other current trends in order to compete in the 21st century. The result is a higher learning center that serves a wide range of learners, and this broad appeal will serve the school well in years to come.