White House invites University of Mary students to Rose Garden

by University of Mary


University of Mary students invited to the White House stand in front of the presidential podium in the Rose Garden on Jan. 19. (University of Mary)

Twenty University of Mary students from Bismarck were special guests of the President of the United States in the Rose Garden—the traditional staging ground for major policy announcements and diplomatic receptions—when he addressed, via satellite, hundreds of thousands of pro-lifers at the March for Life event in D.C.

Testament to their courage and devotion to this movement, this is the third year in a row that the University of Mary in Bismarck has garnered the national spotlight at the world’s largest pro-life event that gives witness to and celebrates the dignity of human life. In 2016, after the march, the country watched as Mary’s buses were among the many vehicles stranded for 24 hours on the Pennsylvania Turnpike after a semi jackknifed in the blizzard. Last year, over 600 students, faculty and staff led the March for Life after the rally in which University of Mary marketing student Katrina Gallic represented thousands of youth around the world when she gave a powerful and passionate speech on national TV.

On January 19, they were on the biggest stage ever for one of America’s history-making moments as it was the first time a sitting president made a public appearance at the March for Life event in 45 years.

University of Mary students learned of their front row seat near the president’s podium immediately following Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, just down the street from the White House. After celebrating the news with screams, hugs and photos, the students processed down the street chanting and praying spontaneously, creating their own mini March for Life — punctuated by their unmistakably bright, school-colored, blue and orange stocking caps that read, “University of Mary For Life.”

“We’re so honored to be at this famous place for this historic moment in our country, representing our state and our Catholic university,” said University of Mary junior, Hailey Hilzendeger, a respiratory therapy major from Avon, S.D., and who is president of the school’s Collegians for Life on campus. “I can speak for my classmates and say how proud we are to be students at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, where we stand for the life and dignity of all, and cherish the numerous opportunities we are blessed with, like this one, in order to make a positive and profound impact on American culture and be part of the Pro-life Generation.”

From there, Hilzendeger and her classmates met up with the rest of the University of Mary students at the March for Life—who were part of a contingent of over 600 students and staff in a convoy of 12 buses that made the trek east for 30-hours to represent Catholic education from the Peace Garden State.

On Thursday, January 18, Katrina Gallic, now a University of Mary senior, along with other invitees, were guests of honor at the pre-March for Life reception with Vice President Mike Pence and numerous dignitaries.