Medical University

We believe the current St. Mary's site, owned by the Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery, is the best option for the University of Minnesota medical school and college and pharmacy, and here's why:

In the video below, Dr. David Herman and Sister Beverly Raway discuss the history of health education in the Northland and the opportunity to locate the medical school on the current St. Mary’s Medical Center site.

More Than a Century of Health Care Education

The Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery have been committed to health care and health care education in Duluth for 135 years; the Sisters established the first St. Mary's Hospital in Duluth in 1888. Donating the current St. Mary's site for the medical school would be an important step in continuing the share mission of the Sisters and Essentia Health, benefitting the broader Arrowhead region.

This is an opportunity to carry on the Sisters’ tradition of supporting health care education, which began with the St. Mary’s Hospital Training School for Nurses, organized in 1908 and graduated its first students in 1912.

Likewise, the College of St. Scholastica has a long and successful history of educating students for a variety of medical careers, including nursing, physical and occupational therapy, health informatics, social work and physician assistants.

Locating the medical school on this site would honor the Sisters’ dedication to preparing future caregivers by ensuring education remains a vital component of the St. Mary’s campus. Essentia currently fosters a collaborative teaching environment, dedicating more than 400,000 hours annually to supporting future medical professionals.

1912 Nurses

Continuing the Central Hillside Revival

Continued investment in this neighborhood will help reduce health disparities among its residents and improve health outcomes.

This space also features available space for redevelopment, allowing for potential new retail/support services geared toward student engagement, as well as market-rate and intergenerational housing.

Maximizing the State's Investment

The St. Mary’s site is currently owned by the Sisters and leased to Essentia Health. To build upon the state’s investment in downtown Duluth, Essentia Health will donate use of the St. Mary’s site for the medical school by subleasing the land at no cost to the University of Minnesota. This amounts to an annual local match of approximately $1 million.

In 2019, the Minnesota Legislature established a regional exchange district in downtown Duluth to redevelop and repurpose underutilized private land to better meet community needs, to incentivize significant private investment, and to improve the economy of Duluth and greater Minnesota. Legislators also approved $97.72 million in appropriation bonds to finance various public infrastructure projects that would enhance the district around Essentia’s 344-bed replacement hospital.

The state’s investment in Duluth’s regional exchange district included $11.82 million to cover the costs of demolishing the current St. Mary’s and preparing that site for future use. Locating the medical school at the St. Mary’s site would meet the requirements of the bond funding for demolition, which ensures the space serves a public purpose such as health care, education and job creation.

Incomparable Location

By placing the medical school on the St. Mary’s site, students would be connected to the region’s only Level I Trauma Center and a brand-new hospital. Similarly, Essentia is Duluth’s largest employer and a thriving integrated health system that continues to pursue strategic growth intended to preserve the sustainability of expert care in the communities we are privileged to serve.

Vision Northland

Learn more about the replacement of St. Mary’s Medical Center.


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