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About Marymount University

Marymount University was founded in 1950 by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Today, Marymount is an independent, comprehensive Catholic university serving approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. The University has four Schools: Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education and Human Services, and Health Professions. Programs are offered at Marymount’s Main Campus, Ballston Center, and Reston Center, as well as various corporate and government sites. The University’s location in Arlington, Virginia — just minutes from Washington, DC — offers students unparalleled opportunities for academic and personal enrichment.

University Mission

Marymount University is an independent Catholic university that emphasizes academic excellence at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Committed to the liberal arts tradition, the University combines a foundation in the arts and sciences with career preparation and opportunities for personal and professional development. Marymount is a student-centered learning community that values diversity and focuses on the education of the whole person, promoting the intellectual, spiritual, and moral growth of each individual. Scholarship, leadership, service, and ethics are hallmarks of a Marymount education.

A Marymount Education

Marymount University prepares students to be thoughtful and effective persons within family, community, and society; enables students to develop the competencies necessary for entry, growth, and success in their chosen careers; builds within its students a shared sense of community among individuals drawn from diverse national, cultural, and social backgrounds; fosters in its students a spirit of service to others, a concern for social justice, and a commitment to living in an ethically responsible way; and develops in students both the ability and the motivation to be lifelong learners.

As an educational community, Marymount is formed by the heritage and traditions of liberal arts education, the American higher education community, the Catholic Church, and the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary.

The University also is shaped by the unique resources available through its location in the nation’s capital area, and by a creative, future-oriented perspective on education.


The name “Marymount” has long been associated with excellence in education. The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM), founders of Marymount University, have a long history of providing thoughtful responses to societal needs. Today, elementary, secondary, and collegiate institutions bearing the name “Marymount” are located in California, New York, Virginia, England, France, Italy, and Mexico.

Marymount University in Arlington was founded as a women’s college in 1950 at the suggestion of Bishop Peter L. Ireton of Richmond. Its first president was Mother Gerard Phelan. Thirteen freshmen entered the first year, and nine of them comprised the first graduating class in 1952. In 1960 the institution was incorporated as Marymount College of Virginia, an independent college governed by an autonomous board of directors.

Enrollments steadily increased, and the physical plant and facilities were expanded to serve a growing student population. From the original property, which included a mansion, stone guest house, and two cottages — all comprising the residence of Rear Admiral Presley M. Rixey, White House physician to Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt — the institution has grown to be a modern residential campus.

From 1950 to 1972, as a college, Marymount offered only the associate degree. In 1973, it became a senior college offering the bachelor’s degree in more than 20 fields. In 1979, graduate programs leading to the master’s degree were added. Marymount’s first male students were admitted in 1972 in the Nursing program. In 1979, coeducational graduate programs in a number of fields were added. In 1986, the institution responded to its changing student profile by becoming coeducational at all levels and changing its name to Marymount University. In 2005, Marymount was approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to offer its first doctoral degree, the clinical Doctor of Physical Therapy.

The University responded to its dramatic enrollment growth by acquiring new buildings near the Main Campus and increasing accessibility through a shuttle service. The Ballston Center, established in 1992, houses classrooms, offices, computer laboratories, and support services. Marymount University also reaches out to the northern Virginia region through its Reston Center and off-campus offerings at corporate and government sites, medical centers, and public schools.

An independent institution related to the Roman Catholic Church, Marymount University is governed by a Board of Trustees that includes corporate and professional executives, members of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, and Marymount University alumni.

Location and Transportation

Marymount is located in Arlington, Virginia, a prosperous urban community adjacent to Washington, DC. The public Metrorail system connects the University with the entire metropolitan Washington area. The University also maintains a shuttle bus service, offering free transportation connecting the Main Campus, Ballston Center, Ballston-MU Metro station and designated off-campus parking facilities. Students have easy access to national landmarks, cultural sites, restaurants, and shopping. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Dulles International Airport are near the University, as are Interstates 66, 95, 395, and 495.

A Commitment to Ethics

The Center for Ethical Concerns

One of the hallmarks of Marymount University is its commitment to providing a values-based education. Marymount’s Center for Ethical Concerns was founded in 1993 to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas about ethical issues and to recognize leaders who advance a strong values-based culture. Through lectures, seminars, conferences, workshops, and symposia, the Center offers students, faculty, and the public opportunities to examine ethical concerns facing society.

A faculty committee works with the Center’s director to develop programs that are responsive to the needs of the academic community. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the Center assists faculty in developing effective ways to teach ethical concepts in the classroom. The Center also brings together students and faculty from the University’s various disciplines to increase awareness of ethical problems and develop effective techniques to confront these issues.

Marymount Ethics Award

Marymount University presents an Ethics Award to recognize individuals who have taken an outstanding leadership role in promoting and developing ethical standards and behavior. The Marymount University Ethics Award honors leaders who, by commitment, effort, and example, advance a strong values-based culture in their field of endeavor.

Speakers Series

The Distinguished Visiting Professor Colloquium Series

The Distinguished Visiting Professor (DVP) Colloquium Series is a Universitywide program that brings outstanding speakers to each of Marymount’s four Schools.

The goal of the series is to enrich the intellectual life of the University by providing opportunities for faculty and students to interact with individuals who have significant influence in a wide array of fields. Distinguished Visiting Professor presentations enable the members of Marymount’s academic community to become more attuned to the challenges and opportunities of diverse areas of endeavor. A list of past DVPs can be found at

Celtic Studies Lecture Series

Over the past decade, Marymount University has sponsored a number of events highlighting this nation’s — and the capital area’s — ties to Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, offered under the auspices of the Celtic Studies Lecture Series. Included in this series have been presentations of scholarship in such fields as archaeology, history, and politics.

Marya McLaughlin Endowed Lectureship in Media Communications

A lectureship in media communications has been endowed at Marymount University in honor of Marya McLaughlin, a well-known CBS News radio and television correspondent.

The annual lecture serves as an ongoing reminder of Ms. McLaughlin’s contributions to national broadcast journalism and provides Marymount students and faculty and members of the larger community with valuable insights and inspiration from journalists of national stature. Past lecturers are listed at


The Ballston Center at 1000 North Glebe Road houses the School of Business Administration; the Physical Therapy, Forensic Psychology, and Counseling departments; Graduate Admissions; the Center for Global Education; the Career and Internship Center; the Ballston Conference Center; Truland Auditorium, which seats 150; computer labs; a library extension; and a dining facility. This building also provides general classroom facilities for all programs.

Majella Berg Hall, named for Marymount’s third president, offers undergraduate student housing. The Student Health Center, the Counseling Center, and the Housing and Residence Life offices are also located in this building.

Butler Hall serves academic and residential functions. The Undergraduate Admissions Office and School of Health Professions Office, several other administrative offices, and many classrooms share Butler Hall with suite accommodations for approximately 100 undergraduate resident students.

Gailhac Hall houses classrooms as well as faculty and administrative offices. This building, home to the School of Arts and Sciences, also contains drafting and design studios and a resource center serving the Interior Design program.

Gerard Phelan Hall is an undergraduate student residence hall. It also houses the central dining rooms, which seat 500, and the Office of Student Development.

Ireton Hall, a small colonial building in the center of the campus, houses faculty offices, the Office of Campus Safety and Transportation, the ID and Parking Office, and the Office of Human Resource Services/Affirmative Action.

The Rose Benté Lee Center provides space for all members of the University community to enjoy extracurricular activities. The building includes the 1,000-seat Verizon Sports Arena; a fitness center; Bernie’s café; Jazzman’s coffee kiosk; the University bookstore and marketplace; a recreational gym; a swimming pool, with seating for 400 spectators; a game room/lounge; and the Honors Program Seminar Room.