From the website: "Bishop Patrick R. Heffron, the second bishop of Winona, founded Saint Mary’s in 1912 to provide higher education for young men in southern Minnesota’s Diocese of Winona and surrounding areas. In its early years, the university operated as an academy and junior college."
In the 1950s and 1960s, the university governing structure changed to include a Board of Trustees and the administration of the university became distinguished from the district administration of the De La Salle Christian Brothers. The institution became coeducational and the student body expanded. In the 1980s, the university expanded internationally and the university was divided into schools amd graduate programs were expanded. The university currently has centers in greater Minnesota and Wisconsin, Jamaica, and Nairobi, Kenya.