Mount Marty College Nurse Anesthesia Program Celebrates 75 Years

August 29, 2017

This fall, the Nurse Anesthesia program at Mount Marty College (MMC) will celebrate 75 years of excellence in education. Known for its dedicated faculty, academic and clinical focus and successful alumni, the MMC program began as an eight-month certification program at Yankton’s Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in 1942 and has since grown to include a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree, the first of its kind to be offered in the state of South Dakota. The 75th anniversary celebration, to be held Sept. 30, 2017, at the Icon Lounge (402 N. Main, Sioux Falls), will honor the program’s history, reputation and commitment to educating the best nurses in the nation.

“We are incredibly proud of our Nurse Anesthesia program and its long history of excellence,” says MMC President Marc Long. “Following our Benedictine values, our graduates are both caring and skilled, ready to serve in our communities and fill the need for well qualified healthcare practitioners.”

MMC’s Nurse Anesthesia program has grown steadily since its beginning at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital, which continues to serve as a clinical facility for the program. In 1950, the diploma program lengthened to 12 months, then 18 months in 1962, and in 1965 the college received approval from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists to pilot a bachelor’s-level program. Proving itself as a leader in the field, in 1971 the MMC program became the first in the nation to move to a bachelor’s degree for nurse anesthesia. The Master of Science component was added in 1983, and in 2017 MMC became the first college or university in South Dakota to offer a clinical doctoral degree in nurse anesthesia.  

“Doctoral education provides us with opportunities to expand the program to encompass a broader understanding of the health care environment, evidence-based practice and leadership,” says Dr. Mary Anne Krogh, program director and associate professor of nurse anesthesia. “These will all be crucial to ongoing success in the current health care marketplace.” 

MMC’s highly successful Nurse Anesthesia program currently boasts nearly 100 percent job placement among its graduates, a 94 percent first-time pass rate on the 2016 certification examination (compared to approximately 86 percent nationally) and an average starting salary of $160,000. And because MMC offers the only nurse anesthesia practice program in the state, the majority of the South Dakota hospitals with anesthesia services have MMC graduates on staff.

 Although South Dakota students comprise about one-half to two-thirds of the program each year, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and North Dakota have a high participation rate as well. This growth is due not only to the program’s reputation for excellence but also to its affordability.

 “When we built this program, we were determined to align our costs with other doctoral nurse anesthesia programs,” Krogh says. “I am happy to say that our costs are similar to other institutions in the surrounding area, including state-supported programs.”

 The MMC Nurse Anesthesia 75th Anniversary Celebration is supported by sponsors Sanford Health and Avera Health, plus the South Dakota Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Sleepy Eye Anesthesia Services, PC and Vance Thompson Vision. The celebration begins at 6 p.m. on Sept. 30. To purchase tickets, visit or call 605-362-0100.

 To learn more about the nurse anesthesia program at MMC, visit