January 13, 2012

Marian University in Indianapolis begins yearlong 75th anniversary celebration

Special to The Criterion

Marking its 75th anniversary in 2012, Marian University in Indianapolis fittingly began a yearlong celebration of its tradition of Catholic education with a Mass at the school on Jan. 12.

“At Marian University, students encounter Jesus Christ and the truth in the classroom, and learn how to take Christ with them into the world,” said Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, apostolic administrator of the archdiocese. “A strong Catholic university in the heart of Indianapolis can only make our community a better place to live.”

Bishop Coyne’s tribute is one of many that leaders in religion, education and government have offered recently about the college that was founded by Franciscan Mother Clarissa Dilhoff and began classes on Sept. 15, 1937.

“When Mother Clarissa moved Marian College to Indianapolis, she called it ‘a preposterous venture,’ ” noted Daniel J. Elsener, president of Marian University. “Moving an enterprise from the wilderness of southern Indiana to an unfamiliar city during the height of the Great Depression was one of many courageous decisions that Marian University has made in its history.”

That courage continues as Marian University builds the first Catholic osteopathic medical school in the United States, Elsener said.

“As their expansion into health care administration proves, Marian continues to grow, adapt and innovate,” said Gov. Mitch Daniels. “The university’s history and sterling academic record is a point of pride for all Hoosiers, and the next few years promise to be the best yet.”

The year 2012 also marks the 35th anniversary of the founding of Marion’s school of nursing—a school that educates nearly 1,000 students today, including a significant number who are enrolled in the online, accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program.

“Throughout the history of the school of nursing and now, with the addition of the college of osteopathic medicine, Marian has and will provide communities across the state with highly trained nurses and doctors, helping the state to address a critical need in health care delivery,” said Kristin Jones, president and chief executive officer of the Indiana Health Industry Forum.

The year 2012 will also mark the conclusion of the university’s ambitious five-year fundraising campaign. Begun in 2007 with a goal of $68.2 million, the campaign has already raised $140 million as it heads toward its completion in October.

At the same time, school leaders note, Marian University remains steadfast in embracing its Franciscan roots and its faith-filled mission as it continues to provide a liberal arts education to students in the 21st century.

That continued emphasis on Franciscan values is a source of pride for the Franciscan sisters who today continue the tradition of the religious women who founded Marian University.

“We are so proud of Marian University’s courage to venture throughout these last 75 years,” said Franciscan Sister Barbara Pillar, the congregational minister of the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg. “We are very grateful to the many people who have kept Marian vital to the city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana and our nation. The Marian University family is a treasure to the Sisters of St. Francis. We hold you in prayer as you continue to build on our legacy and make history.” †

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!