A Reflection on Life at University of Mary

The first time I read Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, I was a junior at Kolbe Academy. I couldn’t put it down. Every page was full of beautiful adventures and deep friendships with the wisdom that they bring. As I sat in my room participating in online class discussions about the book, I would dream about having adventures and friendships like the characters in Brideshead. I was grateful for the online format that Kolbe offered me, but I wasn’t satisfied. Through its rigorous liberal arts curriculum, Kolbe introduced me to the idea that life could be a great adventure, that there are amazing things to see in the world, and that I was made to do great things. I wanted to do great things; I wanted a great adventure.

After graduating from Kolbe, I started my freshman year at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. People often ask me why I chose to move from Arizona and come to Mary. I didn’t know anyone in North Dakota, and I had never even been here. And looking back, all I can say is that I followed Christ’s call. I had a sense, deep inside me, that there was something waiting for me here. In retrospect, it was as if I knew that that the adventures I longed for would begin to unfold here, in the middle of North Dakota, on a small campus on a hill––and they sure did.

My time at Mary brought the most amazing adventures and the deepest friendships I could have ever hoped for. When I read Brideshead again, it was more familiar than it had once been. I found the kinds of friendships and the beautiful moments that Waugh writes about.

This happened for me through the Gregorian Scholars Honors Program, where I learned that some of the best friends you can make are the ones you pursue Truth alongside. It happened through the time I spent studying in the English program, where I learned that my professors really did care about me and my life. It happed through late nights with my friends in our24/7 campus restaurant, where our deep conversations were sponsored by mozzarella sticks and pancakes. It happened through the beautiful liturgies and hours of Adoration that are provided on campus, which taught me that the greatest adventure the human person can ever have is the adventure of seeking Jesus and finding that he has been there all along.

Monsignor Shea, the president of the University of Mary, always says that if a university does nothing other than grant you a degree and prepare you for a career, then you should ask for your money back. A university education is meant to be an adventure in grace, an encounter with the call to greatness we each have. This is what I found at Mary, and this is what is waiting for you, too.

About the Author

Allison Fitzgerald is an admissions representative at the University of Mary. She is an alumna of Kolbe Academy and the University Mary and most recently earned her Master of Arts in Catholic Studies from Mary in May 2022. She is also currently in formation with the Benedictine Oblates of Mary, a religious community of women serving the intellectual apostolate at the university.

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Allison Fitzgerald

Allison Fitzgerald