Mari State University is one of the young classical universities in the country, a large educational and scientific centre of the Republic of Mari El and the Volga Federal District.
On May 4, 1971, the Minister of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education of the RSFSR V.N. Stoletov signed an order on the organization of a university in Yoshkar-Ola, designed to fill the acute shortage of personnel for the intensively developing leading sectors of the republic's national economy: industry, construction and agriculture.
The initiators of the creation of the university were the first secretary of the Mari Regional Committee of the CPSU V.P. Nikonov, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the MASSR P.A. Almakaev and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic T.I. Gorinov, who in January 1970 appealed to the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR with a request to create the first university on the Mari land. Comprehensive support of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the Union and Russian governments became the key to the success of the new undertaking. Already in December, the structure of the MarSU was approved, consisting of the historical-philological, biology-chemical, physics and mathematics, agricultural faculties, a preparatory department, 17 departments, a research sector, 40 classrooms and laboratories. It was planned to conduct training in 10 specialities. At the same time, the construction of educational buildings, a residential building for teachers began.
Classes for students of the Faculty of Agriculture, temporarily housed at the Mari Polytechnic Institute, began on September 1, 1971; a year later, students from other faculties also began to study. In December 1971, the preparatory department was opened. In January 1972, the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the Mari Pedagogical Institute was transferred to MarSU and transformed into the Faculty of Biology and Chemistry.
During 1971, the Government of the Republic transferred two former buildings of the House of Soviets to the university. In the summer of 1972, the biology, chemistry and agricultural faculties were housed in a newly built standard secondary school building. By decision of the bureau of the regional committee of the CPSU, dozens of enterprises in the cities of Yoshkar-Ola and Volzhsk on special orders were engaged in equipping equipment, furniture, inventory - everything necessary for the organization of the educational process. The dormitory building of the Mari Pedagogical Institute under construction was leased to the university to accommodate students. The Pedagogical and Polytechnic Institutes shared their scientists with MarSU. More than 20 universities of the country participated in the acquisition of the university library, including Riga, Lvov, Chisinau, Odesa, Saransk, Petrozavodsk, Alma-Ata, Perm, Kazan, Kirov, Moscow.