SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Another regional college is making the transition to full university status.
Mount Marty College announced Tuesday it is changing its name to Mount Marty University.
The name change will go into effect July 1, 2020. It was recently approved by both the College’s Board of Trustees and the Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery.
This has been in the works for about two years after a local newspaper cultivated the idea of becoming a university.
School leaders say the Yankton-based College has been adding academic programs as well as new facilities, student programs, and facilities the past few years. Sister Maribeth Wentzlaff, Prioress of Sacred Heart Monastery, said the new name better reflects what the school has become.
"Personally it is very gratifying. There's been a lot of momentum at Mount Marty," says Mount Marty President Marcus Long.
Though changing from Mount Marty College to Mount Marty University seems like a simple change on paper, the school needed to take a step forward to keep up with their evolving programs.
"For our students who are very excited about this and our alumni and because it better describes who they are and what their experience has been. So, it's good for the entire Mount Marty community," says Long.
A university offers both undergraduate and graduate programs as well as additional extensive research programs.
"Additional programs, that's something is a part of our strategic plan we're focused on. We're also focused on a campus master plan; what will this college physically look; like in the next 10 to 15 years in Yankton, in Watertown, and in Sioux Falls. So, all of this really feeds into that."
Changing to a university could benefit students in the long run with more immediate recognition as a larger school, access to more resources and advanced academics.
And students are excited about it.
"I think it's going to give us brand new opportunities academic wise, getting to meet new people, competition-wise, even just we're getting a brand new field house there's so much more we can do with athletics," says Freshman Emily Dorn.
"It's that what's next feeing, you know. What's going to grow with this school? I didn't think I'd be graduating from Mount Marty University but I will and that's crazy to think about," says Junior Bryant Dvorak.
Mount Marty is the latest school to rebrand itself as a university. In 2015, Augustana College in Sioux Falls became Augustana University.
This is not the first time Mount Marty has changed its name to adapt to its evolving programs. The institution has also been known as Mount Marty Academy and Mount Marty Junior College before settling into its current name in 1951 with the introduction of four-year, baccalaureate programs.