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History and Achievements


Maryville University has always exemplified the best in higher education by empowering graduates to become critical thinkers and lifelong learners who strive for excellence, achieve their dreams, and make a positive impact in their communities.


1872 – 2007
Maryville University was founded as an academy for young women in 1872, by the Religious of the Sacred Heart. Now, as a private, four-year university offering 90 + degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels, Maryville still stands firmly on our heritage: we provide education focused on the whole person, and offer rigorous academics and professional programs grounded in the liberal arts.

In 1961, a visionary decision made by the Religious of the Sacred Heart relocated campus from south St. Louis to a large parcel of land located 22 miles west—in rapidly-expanding St. Louis County. Even more big changes would come. Male students first arrived on campus in 1969, and in 1972, the same year Maryville University celebrated its Centennial, the first lay Board of Trustees was appointed. In 1991, Maryville College officially became Maryville University.


The strategic rise of Maryville University has empowered thousands of successful graduates, enrolled record numbers of students, and garnered recognition by ranking agencies for Maryville’s academic return on investment and other key growth metrics. This surge in prominence is due in large part to the vision of President Mark Lombardi, PhD, who joined Maryville just eight years ago. Under his vigorous leadership, the University continues to achieve new heights in student services, academic rigor and relevancy, technology, and national prominence. His bold view of higher education inspired the vision statement for our strategic plan, A New Century of Higher Education: Maryville 2022: “Maryville will be the innovative leader in higher education, promoting a revolution in student learning that expands access and opportunities for all.”

“It shows weakness of mind to hold too much to the beaten track through fear of innovation.”
– Madeleine Sophie Barat Founder, Society of the Sacred Heart