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Building a Future Full of Hope 2025

At Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, we believe in the transformative power of education. We understand that higher learning is not merely about acquiring knowledge; it’s about having a profound impact on lives, inspiring positive change, fostering community, and shaping our future. As we approach a new era in higher education, we are excited to present our strategic plan — Building a future full of hope 2025.

Our university has a rich history rooted in our Lasallian Catholic heritage, a tradition that emphasizes compassion and inclusivity, fosters the holistic formation of each student, and inspires individuals to lead and live by example. As Saint John Baptist de La Salle said, “Example makes a much greater impression on the mind and heart than words.” In that spirit, our strategic plan goes beyond just words; it’s a living testament to our commitment to awaken, nurture, and empower all learners at every stage of life, preparing them to become empathetic and compassionate leaders ready to make a meaningful difference in our rapidly changing world.

Saint Mary’s strategic plan is not only our vision for the future but also an invitation to our community to contribute to our goals and to work together toward a successful and fruitful future. Together and by association, we will continue on this journey, turning aspirations into achievements and challenges into opportunities. As we move forward, we will continue to shape not only the leaders of tomorrow, but also Saint Mary’s future — one filled with promise, purpose, and most importantly, hope.

We invite you to learn more about the goals of our strategic plan, each one guiding us toward a brighter future. Discover our ongoing efforts toward each of these goals and our current progress.


Read the President’s statement


1. Live our Lasallian Catholic Heritage

Create opportunities to distinguish Saint Mary’s by building on the Lasallian Catholic heritage.

Lasallian Education

Our core values in action

  • Ever since Saint John Baptist de La Salle inaugurated a new approach to education more than 300 years ago, the formation of the whole student has been at the heart of Lasallian Catholic education. This approach to education has never been more crucial than it is today. Our commitment to empowering students to ethical lives of leadership is at the core of everything we do, while focusing on nurturing character growth and encouraging students to be catalysts of meaningful change in our communities and the world — striving for a brighter future for all.

    • Bolstered Lasallian Catholic formation (networking, recruitment, and professional development)
    • Established Lasallian Catholic Mission Advisory Council
    • Hired Vice President of Inclusion and Human Dignity (duties now assumed by VP Mission and Ministry)
    • Appointed new Vice President for Mission and Ministry
    • Hired Vice President for Character, Virtue, and Ethics
    • Established Faculty Learning communities around Character and Virtue initiative
    • Established Faculty learning communities around Character and Virtue initiative
    • Continued to live our Lasallian Catholic heritage in all aspects of operational priorities throughout the university
    • Piloted a certificate series in faith-based education (Jubilee Centre/Kern Foundation)
    • Defined new objectives and renewed focus on programming for Hendrickson Institute

2. Grow enrollment

Pursue new markets and emphasize student success to grow total enrollment.

Student Experience

A dynamic community

  • In our ongoing commitment to meeting the evolving needs of today’s students and supporting their success, Saint Mary’s will continue to develop innovative student experiences and integrated programs that enhance flexibility and accessibility. We will prioritize creating industry partnerships and continue building strong connections within our vast alumni network. As we foster growth in imaginative and creative ways, we will continue to explore new opportunities to expand enrollment across the university.


    • Launched digital badges
    • Launched B.S. in Nursing, Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP), B.S. in Applied Psychology
    • Began Kuwait Graduate certificate in educational administration and Master of Arts in Education Programs in partnership with American Creativity Academy
    • Initiated enrollment review and review of college academic portfolio
    • Developed a strategic enrollment campaign
    • Refocused and Aligned Enrollment Management Area
    • Reinvigorated Bachelor’s Completion programs
    • Focused on enrollment growth through external communications with Marketing and Communication
    • Completed implementation of the student information system
    • Fully implemented new LMS (Canvas)


3. Foster innovation

Create innovative educational models, pedagogies, locations, and pathways that integrate across undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree levels.

Innovative Programs

Innovative future leaders

  • Saint Mary’s is a leader recognized for its regionally dominant and nationally prominent programs and services that emphasize excellence. Through our approach to foster innovation, which includes offering multiple online programs and pathways, along with campuses in Winona, Rochester, and Minneapolis, the university will continue to meet the needs of all students — traditional and non-traditional — wherever they are in their career and life journeys, bridging the geographical gap to serve them where they live and work.


    • Approximately 240 faculty completed online teaching certificates
    • Launched 24 new graduate certificates (Accelerators) and 74 digital badges
    • Completed renovation of Aquinas Hall to include maker space, digital teaming labs, and external partnerships suite
    • Began development and hired staff for Co-Curricular Arts programming
    • Created a collaborative nursing program suite in Aquinas Hall
    • Developed pathway concept in business
    • Initiated an innovative student life experience for undergraduate students on our Winona Campus
    • Promoted GeoSpatial Services (GSS) as a model for experiential learning
    • Implemented SIS

4. Excel through excellence & relevance

Support enrollment growth by evolving our academic program portfolio to achieve greater excellence and alignment with student and workforce needs.

Relevant Academics

How we excel

  • Saint Mary’s will continue to develop relevant programs that are aligned with ever-evolving workforce needs, bolstering our commitment to supporting students’ career success. Emphasizing graduation and completion rates, we will continue to deliver programs tailored to emerging fields and prepare students with the practical skills and knowledge required for in-demand careers.


    • Hired inaugural Jack and Mary Ann Remick Chair of Nursing
    • Restructured College academic portfolios and redesign Gen Ed program
    • Identified programs of distinction
      • Business: Top Online MBA in Minnesota (U.S. News & World Report, 2021 and 2022)
      • Education: #4 M.A. in Educational Leadership program in Minnesota (U.S. News & World Report, 2021)
    • Developed Rochester Campus initiatives


5. Steward resources

Create long-term financial sustainability through improved enrollment, efficiency, strategic partnerships, and philanthropy.

Our Inclusive Mission

For future generations

  • We need to be well prepared as we continue working creatively within higher education to make it possible for our schools to transform our society and the world. We will continue to insist on and strive for higher education that helps learners engage and wrestle with great ideas – toward the goal of helping to form flourishing servant leaders. We are all in this together and by association. Individually and collectively, we will make this possible.

    • Largest philanthropic commitment in University history of $25 million
    • Received $1.2 million in endowed gifts for Hendrickson Institute
    • Awarded Kern Foundation grant ($1.7 million)
    • Restructured Advancement team, hiring several new positions to support capital campaign
    • Expanded endowment to 100 million dollars in five years
    • Continued University Program Planning process (new programs, program closures, introducing new modalities, and prioritizing and aligning resources)
    • Continued reorganization around ”integrated university” (examples – library website, online programs, LMS, assessment, writing, CELT); updated College Faculty Handbook; updated SGPP Faculty Handbook (including sabbatical option)
    • Focused on developing and growing partnerships
    • Bolstered institutional effectiveness, planning, and analytics
    • Implement J1 Analytics
    • Completed Implementation of Student Information System
    • Expanded Financial Resources

2025 Strategic Plan News