Gov. Doug Burgum released the following statement today regarding the passing of Sister Thomas Welder, former longtime president of the University of Mary and 2004 recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest commendation for its citizens.
“Sister Thomas Welder touched the lives of countless students and North Dakotans through her remarkable intelligence, capable leadership and profound faith,” Burgum said. “With her gracious hospitality, deep passion for education and a solid foundation built on values and service, Sister Thomas lifted the University of Mary to new heights as a beacon of servant leadership. She radiated wisdom and grace, striving to imbue those qualities in all who were fortunate to cross her path – whose names she had an uncanny ability to remember.
“Having worked with Sister Thomas on Vision 2000 in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I witnessed firsthand the tremendous power in her quiet, humble leadership style. Sister Thomas embodied the Rough Rider qualities of reflecting credit and honor upon our state and its citizens, and North Dakota is an immeasurably better place because of her extraordinary service and leadership. We are eternally grateful for the incredible legacy she leaves behind, spreading the light of knowledge and faith across our state, nation and world. Kathryn and I extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers to her family, friends, the Benedictine Sisters and the entire University of Mary community.”