About St. Mary’s

Mission Statement

St. Mary’s University, as a Catholic Marianist University, fosters the formation of people in faith and educates leaders for the common good through community, integrated liberal arts and professional education, and academic excellence.

Our mission statement is a reflection of the Characteristics of Marianist Universities. There are five elements that characterize the Marianist approach to education:

  • Educate for formation in faith
  • Provide an excellent education
  • Educate in the family spirit
  • Educate for service, justice and peace
  • Educate for adaptation and change

The three Marianist universities have published a book, Characteristics of Marianist Universities, to better describe the Marianist approach to education at the university level.

Consistently well-ranked

St. Mary’s University sits among the top colleges and universities in the country in a Brookings Institution study that shows how well colleges prepare students for careers. With a score of 99 out of 100, St. Mary’s has the 17th highest value-added score with respect to mid-career salary. This score is the highest in San Antonio and right behind Rice University for best in Texas.

Money Magazine ranked St. Mary’s the best university in San Antonio, fourth in Texas and 52nd nationally in its 2016 Best Value Colleges list. Schools were ranked based on quality of education, affordability and graduates’ job success.

St. Mary's University aerial view featuring St. Louis Hall,  Chaminade Hall, Charles Francis, and the Bell Tower

Who we are

St. Mary’s University, founded in 1852 by Marianist brothers and priests, is the first institution of higher learning in San Antonio and the oldest Catholic university in Texas and the Southwest. Personal attention and powerful academic programs have made St. Mary’s a nationally recognized liberal arts institution.

The University provides a Catholic education experience that evokes academic excellence while integrating liberal studies, professional preparation and ethical commitment. St. Mary’s full-time faculty members, 94 percent of whom hold doctoral or terminal degrees in their fields, are committed to student success in and out of the classroom. St. Mary’s offers more than 75 programs, including doctoral and law programs. With a diverse student population of about 3,800 of all faiths and backgrounds, the student/faculty ratio of 12-to-1 permits small classes and promotes active learning.

The Marianists who came to San Antonio in 1852 responded to the call of their superiors to establish an educational institution to regenerate the people of the city. Through their work and the work of those who followed them, St. Mary’s University has maintained its reputation as “a noble institution destined to be a great education center of the Southwest.”



About the Founder

William Joseph Chaminade (1761-1850), priest of the Diocese of Bordeaux, France, lived during the years of the French Revolution. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit he realized that new institutions and new methods were necessary to revive the religious spirit in his native France.

During his lifetime he founded over 40 schools, including three teacher-training institutions. Chaminade perceived these schools as having the mission of inculturation of an essentially religious worldview. The essential purpose of his schools was to form persons in religious faith. The teacher worked towards moral development of the students even when teaching secular subjects. In contrast to the “teaching practitioner” of his age, Chaminade desired his educators to give a “Christian lesson by every word, by every gesture, by every look.”

St. Mary’s has educated students in the Catholic, Marianist tradition for over 150 years.

The Saint John's Bible

The Saint John’s Bible, the world’s newest handwritten, hand-illuminated, grand-scale bible, was commissioned in 1998 by the Benedictine monks of Saint John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minn., and produced under the leadership of artistic director Donald Jackson, scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

St. Mary’s owns the seven-volume The Saint John’s Bible Heritage Edition, displaying it daily in St. Louis Hall and at many lectures, classrooms, new student orientations and campus liturgies.

Visit SaintJohnsBible.org

Illustrations in the Saint John's Bible depict ancient tools and architecture

Illuminated lettering of the book of Ecclesiastes

Illustrations of trees and leaves in the Saint John's Bible Heritage Edition

Points of Excellence

  • Tuition placed below the national average for four-year private schools
  • First fair trade-certified university in Texas
  • St. Mary’s graduates are accepted into medical and dental schools at almost twice the national rate
  • 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio

View a mobile-friendly booklet

2015 Points of Excellence

Fair Trade University

Fair Trade Colleges & UniversitiesSt. Mary’s received the Fair Trade University certification on March 23, 2015. Fair Trade is a global social movement that allows producers in developing countries to work in safe conditions, earn a living wage, improve the lives of their families, and invest in a social premium which is used to democratically determine how to improve their communities.

  • Fair Trade principles are taught in classes.
  • Fair Trade products can be found in campus outlets such as the cafeteria and Starbucks.
  • Catered events can include Fair Trade Certified coffee and tea.
  • The Fair Trade Committee promotes awareness on campus.
  • St. Mary’s is committed to the promotion of Fair Trade and conscientious stewardship of resources.

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