University names new residence hall in honor of Sister Rita Mudd 

Sister Rita Mudd 

Sister Rita Mudd Hall houses 36 University of Great Falls students

The University of Great Falls is naming the new on-campus residence in honor of Sister Rita Mudd, who served as the third president of the University of Great Falls from 1960 to 1968.  She is the only woman and only Sister of Providence to serve as president in the University’s history. 

"We, Sisters of Providence, are delighted with the decision of the University of Great Falls to name this residence hall in honor of Sister Rita Mudd, a woman of Providence, an educator and mentor," said Sister Lucille Dean, SP, and Chair of Providence Health & Services Board of Directors.

The University of Great Falls is a place of uncommon courage.  Sister Rita Mudd led the University as it moved in 1960 from a single building at Columbus Hospital to the 104 acre campus on 10th Avenue South.  The move was more than a change in location, it was the transformation of the College of Great Falls into a residential, Catholic liberal arts university, attracting students from all over Montana.

Sister Rita Mudd was instrumental in one of the greatest gifts the University has received, a donation from John McLaughlin to construct the McLaughlin Center at the southwestern end of campus.  In the early 2000s the University brought back athletics to attract more traditional age students to campus.  This would not have been possible without the McLaughlin Center.  Sister Rita’s fundraising successes and interest in athletics is continuing to serve the University of Great Falls today.

Eugene J. McAllister, President of the University of Great Falls stated, “Sister Rita Mudd was one of the giants of the University of Great Falls.  I know our alumni will be very pleased about naming Sister Rita Mudd Hall.”

Sister Mary Kaye Nealen, SP, University of Great Falls faculty member and Director of Mission Integration noted, “Two qualities stand out for me that Sister Rita demonstrated: the foresight of envisioning a college campus that continues to grow and collaborates with the local school system, and the vitality expressed in her zest for athletic excellence.”

Sister Rita Mudd was an inspirational president, touching many lives on campus.  In 1994, some of her former students established the Sister Rita Mudd Endowed Scholarship.  It was designed to allow deserving students the opportunity to attending a private, Catholic, liberal arts University.  The endowment was put into place to honor Sister Rita Mudd’s many years of service as a teacher and a Sister of Providence. The scholarship is still benefiting students today. 

Sister Rita Mudd served for 69 years with the Sisters of Providence as a teacher and administrator.  She retired in 2000 and passed away August 3, 2002 at the age of 87.

Sister Rita Mudd Hall reminds our entire University community of the role and vision of the Sisters of Providence in the creation of the College and University of Great Falls.  The Sisters were motivated by a desire to “meet the unmet needs” of North Central Montana and a commitment to the value of a Catholic liberal arts education in changing lives. 

"Sister Rita left a rich legacy, symbolized by the naming of this building. May her spirit and energy continue to inspire those who enter this building and walk this campus,” stated Sister Lucille Dean. 

The complex, which has 12 apartments, with 36 bedrooms was completed just in time for students’ arrival this fall.  A ceremony to dedicate and bless Sr. Rita Mudd Hall will take place later this fall. 

This is the second new upperclassmen, apartment-style residence on-campus in two years, after a 45 year hiatus. The first, Sikora Hall, was dedicated last December and named in honor of the family of Father James Sikora.