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History of IMRI

In 1943, Father John Elbert, S.M., president of the University of Dayton, established the Marian Library to commemorate the approaching centennials of three milestones: the arrival of the Marianists to the United States (1849), the founding of the University of Dayton (1850) and the death of Marianist founder Blessed William Joseph Chaminade (1850). Over the next 30 years, as the Marian Library grew its collections, it gained world renown as a one-of-a-kind resource for Marian scholarship, and in 1974, the University launched the International Marian Research Institute (IMRI). Nine years later, through the work of Father Theodore Koehler, S.M., a formal collaboration between IMRI and the Pontifical Theology Faculty Marianum came into being, giving the Institute the authority to offer academic programs on behalf of the Marianum. When Koehler retired, his duties were split into two positions — director of the Marian Library and director of IMRI. Under the direction of Father Matthew Kohmescher, S.M., followed by Father Johann Roten, S.M., and Father François Rossier, S.M., the Institute continued to offer pontifical degrees. Other activities of the Institute include publishing a journal and hosting research symposia, exhibits and lectures.

In the fall of 2016, the University of Dayton undertook a long-term strategic planning process for IMRI and made the decision to suspend new admissions to IMRI’s doctoral and licentiate programs in sacred theology as IMRI re-envisioned its structure and mission in a manner that would honor the University’s and the Marianists’ commitment to advancing Marian studies. In the summer of 2021, IMRI awarded its final degrees and began its transition from the University Libraries to the College of Arts and Sciences.