Leap of faith leads to three-year degree for Conroy

Sue Dieter

Brendan Conroy ’24, Plymouth, had never stepped foot on the University of Minnesota Morris campus before enrolling. Now, three years later, he considers that leap of faith to be one of the best things that could have happened to him. 

Conroy heard about UMN Morris from relatives—his uncle recommended the school and his grandparents agreed it was a good choice. Ironically, none of them attended UMN Morris, but all were confident in its reputation as an outstanding liberal arts college.  

UMN Morris wasn’t his first choice for college. Conroy had enrolled at St. Olaf in his first year out of high school, but didn’t feel like it was the right fit for him. About that time, the Covid-19 pandemic changed the college experience for students, so Conroy decided to take a break to reevaluate what he wanted. He then went to a community college for a year, doing the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum, with the goal of getting back on track for his bachelor’s degree. 

When Conroy arrived at Morris, he focused on his academic responsibilities and worked closely with his adviser, Merc Chasman, to graduate in three years.   

“There were definitely times that I wasn’t sure I could do it. It wasn’t until an advising meeting this fall that I realized that I had all [the credits] checked off.”

Conroy credits his adviser with helping him figure out his transfer credits, but adds that several faculty members have gone above and beyond to help him get his computer science degree. 

“I think one thing that I really like about Morris is having good relationships with professors and actually being able to talk with them. In particular, I had a software design class with K.K. Lamberty that really got me fired up. Subsequently, I was able to work with her again on a Morris Academic Partnership project to continue with software development on an application that supports story creation by kids who are just learning how to read.”  

Conroy also took time this academic year to explore more of the co-curricular opportunities at UMN Morris.  

“I started taking jazz piano lessons and joined a combo. That’s been a really special experience. I also was able to join the men's volleyball club team and participate in different intramural sports. Having the opportunity to play sports and compete on a team has been really fun.” 

A group of six people outside of an office in Germany
Leading the Renewables Revolution class members: Torr Johnson (far left), Maggie Landwer, Elsa Eaves, Troy Goodnough, Conor Thornbrugh, and Brendan Conroy.

This same sense of adventure led to Conroy participating in the Leading the Renewables Revolution class in Saerbeck, Germany, in January. 

“I was really excited about the opportunity to travel abroad, but also really excited I could learn about this topic that is important to me and is important for our society in general.

“I also feel proud too, because I learned a lot that I didn't know about what Morris has done, and I feel like we've done a lot. We are definitely up there in terms of being a green sustainable campus.” 

While Conroy is excited to be graduating, he wishes he could stay at UMN Morris a little longer. 

“This is a place where you'll be … surrounded by people who really care about your education… people who just care in general.” 

To learn more about the Degree in Three options at UMN Morris, please visit z.umn.edu/MorrisDin3.