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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. 

Current Initiatives

The transition of IMRI to the College of Arts and Sciences is well underway. Recognizing that IMRI is an important asset for the maintenance and strengthening of the Catholic and Marianist character of the University of Dayton, the University is fully committed to reshaping the Institute for the 21st century. 

  • The Department of Religious Studies offers an undergraduate minor and graduate and doctoral certificates in Marian Studies
  • The University of Dayton’s Institute for Pastoral Initiatives (IPI) is developing a Marian Studies Certificate Program focusing on advancing Marian knowledge (studies), pastoral application, and devotion to Mary for diocesan/pastoral leaders, Catholic school, catechists and all adults interested in deepening their appreciation and knowledge of Mary for their spiritual life. For more information see Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation Program website.
  • An annual Marian Forum takes place each spring semester. Previous forum materials can be found at this site. Details about this year's Marian Forum can be found here.
  • Two research fellowships to support the research and artistic use of the Marian Library’s collections have been created. Both are made possible by a generous gift from the Marianist Province of the United States. 

IMRI has announced a new executive director.

This site will be updated as new information becomes available.


International Marian Research Institute

300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469