Only 12 presidents in 172 years
It is amazing to consider that in Saint Mary’s 172-year history, only 11 presidents have gone before Cervelli. The College launched a social media campaign on November 1 called the “12 Days of Presidents.” The timeline included 12 brief snapshots of the legacies of Saint Mary’s leaders. Their tenures varied from just two years (Monsignor John J. McGrath) to 36 (Mother M. Pauline O’Neill, CSC), but each had a lasting impact on Saint Mary’s.
12 days until the Inauguration of #Belles12thPrez, President Jan Cervelli. Each day leading up to her Inauguration on November 12, we'll be remembering the presidents that came before. Mother Pauline, the College’s first and longest-serving president, understood the importance of well-crafted spaces for learning minds and hearts to discover beauty and truth so as to make a difference in the world. She served as the College from 1895 until 1931 and is known as "the builder for God."
Sister Irma Burns, CSC, began her three year term in 1931, situated between those of two of Saint Mary’s longest serving presidents, Mother Pauline and Sister Madeleva. Her administration, during the grim years of the Great Depression, was determined to preserve the best of what had been done in the past, to maintain a reputable college, and to continue on despite difficult financial circumstances. Due to the Depression, enrollment at universities across the country was low. Among Sister Irma’s praiseworthy accomplishments was her fiscally responsible decision to open the doors of Saint Mary’s to day students from South Bend and nearby communities. #belles12thprez
“We promise you discovery: the discovery of yourselves, the discovery of the universe, and your place in it," said Saint Mary's third president Sister Madeleva Wolff, CSC. Sister Madeleva understood that Saint Mary’s women were called to religious sensibility, discovering their unique vocations in life as socially responsible global citizens. She was a visionary, an educator, a medieval scholar, a poet, and a woman of deep spiritual conviction who was known for her eloquence and her outspokenness. #belles12thprez
President #4 on Day 4! Sister Maria Renata Daily, CSC, served during the tumultuous years of the 60s, a time of great social and cultural upheaval throughout the U.S. and many parts of the world. Her administration was guided by her temperament, which was known to be sometimes at odds with those rebellious movements. She looked at her responsibilities both idealistically and realistically, while focusing on what she thought were attainable goals. Although illness forced Sister Maria Renata to resign in 1965, her influence continued with the building of new college dining and residence halls and planning for the Sister Madeleva Memorial Classroom Building (Madeleva Hall). #Belles12thPrez
Saint Mary's fifth president Sister Mary Grace Kos, CSC, became president in 1965 until 1967. Her two-year administration was marked by the development of graduate programs in special education and human services. Both programs provided outreach to the local community surrounding the College but, due to funding issues and a desire to focus on undergraduate education, they were eliminated after her brief term in office. #belles12thprez
From 1968–1970 Monsignor McGrath served as Saint Mary's sixth president. He was a diocesan priest as well as a civil and canon lawyer. His energy and commitment to Saint Mary’s along with his abundant humility and goodness made him highly suitable for the job of president. His presidential administration was cut short by his death at the age of 47. Sister Alma Peter stepped in as acting president and served during the time when Saint Mary’s and the University of Notre Dame were negotiating whether or not to merge. In November 1971, Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s jointly announced the termination of the merger. #Belles12thPrez
Dr. Edward L. Henry served from 1972-1974 as the seventh president and also the first lay president at Saint Mary's. He took office immediately after Saint Mary’s and the University of Notre Dame broke off a planned merger, after which Notre Dame began admitting women undergraduates. President Henry saw a great future for both institutions and continued cooperation with Notre Dame. Henry advocated that Saint Mary’s retain a distinctive personality and develop a strong fundraising base. #belles12thprez
Dr. John Duggan’s tenure as the eighth president of Saint Mary’s College saw the endowment raised from $3 million to $16 million, and the construction of two new buildings — the Cushwa-Leighton Library and the Angela Athletic Facility. In addition, the old Alumnae Centennial Library was renovated into the Haggar College Center and work on an addition to Science Hall began. Other accomplishments during his administration, 1975-1985, affirmed his belief in the value of a liberal arts education. #belles12thprez
Our ninth president William Hickey arrived on campus in 1960 as an instructor of biology, and he rose through the faculty ranks to serve as professor, chair of the biology department, and vice president and dean of the faculty before becoming president in 1986. The College continued its financial stability, with President Hickey doubling the endowment, and maintained its commitment to a high level of academic standards. When he retired in 1997 after serving 11 years, Rep. Timothy Roemer (IN) noted Dr. Hickey’s professionalism, courtesy, and positive influence on thousands of students at Saint Mary’s. #Belles12thPrez
Marilou Eldred became was the first laywoman president of the College in 1997. Her administration was marked by the development of a strategic plan to improve the curriculum, technology, and diversity on the campus. She also headed the development of the Master Plan, a renovation and construction effort to update facilities and meet the growing needs of the College community at large. #belles12thprez
Carol Ann Mooney, the first lay alumna president, devoted herself to forming and informing the landscapes of the mind, heart, and spirit. She collaborated with faculty, staff, alumnae, and trustees in giving shape to the Sophia Program, which replaced the general education program. Today’s Saint Mary’s woman uses its structure and framing to create the unique perspective of Holy Cross education for the 21st century. #belles12thprez