About University of Great Falls
The University of Great Falls was founded on
In the 1850s extraordinary courage brought the Sisters of Providence to Montana on a mission to care for and educate those who weren’t being served. That spirit is still alive at the University of Great Falls.
Today, our students cultivate their own individual styles of uncommon courage, exploring personal frontiers as they prepare for living and making a living. We ask them to question what it means to be human in the 21st century. They examine the life of the mind and what it takes to be a productive human being. They contemplate spiritual and religious dimensions of life.
Whatever their individual backgrounds, something deep inside moved and inspired them all to create brighter futures for themselves.
Welcome to our community. Feel free to explore our website. If you have questions, or would like to visit, let us know. We’d love to show you around.
The University of Great Falls was founded in 1932 by the Most Reverend Edwin V. O'Hara, Catholic Bishop of Great Falls, in collaboration with the Sisters of Charity of Providence and the Ursuline Sisters. Named Great Falls Junior College for Women, the two-year college was originally located in the Ursuline Academy on Central Avenue. The faculty consisted of several sisters, a few priests, and one laywoman. A year later, Great Falls Normal School was established by Sister Lucia Sullivan, S.P., and combined with the Junior College to address the need for prospective teachers in the area. In its first year, 14 women enrolled. In 1935, the registration for both the Junior College and the Normal School totaled 105 women. In 1937, the first male student enrolled, and the year following there were 19 men in attendance. There were really two schools, each operating under a different Catholic religious community. The union of the two schools was one of convenience and legality. In 1942, Great Falls Junior College for Women was discontinued because of declining enrollment. Great Falls Normal College was renamed the Great Falls College of Education. By the early 1950s it became simply the College of Great Falls under the direction of the Sisters of Providence. Classes were held in the old Columbus Hospital. In September of 1995, the College was renamed the University of Great Falls.
In 1944, the Sisters of Providence purchased land south of the city and in the 1950s plans were made to move the College of Great Falls to the new campus. The new campus opened in 1960. At that time there were eleven buildings. Faculty offices were in the north end of the Classroom Building. Administration offices were in the Library. Emilie Hall was a women’s residence hall. Priests lived in what is now the business office and a convent was housed where the St. Thomas Day Care Center, the Graduate School, and Galerie Trinitas now reside. A ballroom was located on the lower floor of the Student Center, where the Office of Admissions and Records and Financial Aid Office are today. After construction of the McLaughlin Center in 1966, intercollegiate athletics was established at the college and until 1984 the ‘Argos’ participated in both men’s and women’s basketball. In 2001, the University re-instituted men’s and women’s basketball, introduced women’s volleyball and converted Emilie Hall back into a residence hall.
The University has been involved with outreach education efforts since its founding. Over the years UGF has had a resident center on the Fort Belknap Reservation, a resident center in Lewistown, and a continuing education program at Malmstrom Air Force Base. The Telecom Distance Learning program now comprises sites in Montana and Wyoming and serves students around the world. The University of Great Falls offers several Master’s Degree programs, including an on-line Masters of Art in Teaching in partnership with Bellevue University of Nebraska. As the University moves into the twenty-first century, its future looks bright and financially secure.