graduating students

A Dynamic and Transformational Learning Community


Enriched by the Lasallian Catholic heritage, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota awakens, nurtures, and empowers learners to ethical lives of service and leadership.


Our vision is to be a nationally prominent and regionally dominant university that transforms individuals and communities through an education that emphasizes excellence, aligns with workforce needs, provides access and flexibility to support student needs, and develops ethically-guided graduates leading in their communities and succeeding in their careers

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Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s mission and vision reflect its Lasallian Catholic identity, building upon the past and providing direction for the future.

In 1912, Saint Mary’s College was founded by the Most Reverend Patrick R. Heffron, the second bishop of Winona (now the Diocese of Winona-Rochester). In 1933, the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools (also known as the De La Salle Christian Brothers), an international Catholic teaching order, purchased Saint Mary’s College from the Diocese. The De La Salle Christian Brothers and their spirituality continues to animate the university today.

Guided by Pope John Paul II’s Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota possesses the necessary essential characteristics1 of a Catholic higher education institution. Our Catholic mission and identity are experienced through tangible signs and symbols on campus (e.g., crucifixes, sacred art) and the lived expression - celebration of the Mass, Campus Ministry programming, and accompaniment.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, as do all Catholic universities, guarantees academic freedom to pursue the truth.2 This includes an intellectual openness to the divine as well as the integration of faith and reason. Unique to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is the intentionality with which we approach character education, virtue formation and related programming, which permeates both our curricular and co-curricular initiatives and fosters our authentic community. Our culture is rooted in upholding the human dignity of each person and developing ethical leaders who advance the common good.

At Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, our distinctive Lasallian charism is expressed by way of an education that provides human and Christian formation in the spirit of Saint John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools and the Patron Saint of Teachers. A Lasallian education is student-centric, dedicated to serving the poor, and promoting the common good in Jesus Christ. We believe education has the capability to transform lives, evangelize, and be the conduit for one’s vocation/calling in life.

At Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, we strive to be the premier Lasallian Catholic university, empowering students to live lives of ethical service and leadership.

1 Pope John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae: Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities, n. 13. Promulgated in 1990 and implemented in the United States in 2000, Ex Corde Ecclesiae remains in effect as universal and particular law.
2 Ibid., n. 12 and 29.


Virtus et Scientia (Virtue and Knowledge)

Learn About Our History and Heritage

Additional Resources

Ex Corde Ecclesiae
Declaration on the Lasallian Educational Mission
The Twelve Virtues of a Good Teacher

Lasallian Resources

Axis: Journal of Lasallian Higher Education

Office Of Mission

Committed to preserving, enhancing, and deepening the community's understanding of the university's mission.

The Office for Mission was created to design, coordinate, oversee, and implement ways for all members of the university community to come to a deeper knowledge and ownership of the university's mission to awaken, nurture, and empower learners to ethical lives of service and leadership.

Office Location

St. Mary's Hall, 136B
Winona Campus

Contact Us


Mailing Address

Office for Mission
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
700 Terrace Heights #50
Winona, MN 55987-1399