College to Start Master’s Program with $1 Million Lilly Endowment Grant

Gwen O’Brien
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary’s College
(574) 284-4579 (desk)

December 12, 2013 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—Saint Mary’s College is proud to announce that Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded it a $1 million grant which will allow Saint Mary’s to plan, seek approval of, and implement a unique master’s degree program. The grant is part of Lilly Endowment’s $62.7 million in grants to Indiana’s 39 accredited colleges and universities to enhance and expand opportunities for graduates to find meaningful employment in Indiana. The last graduate program Saint Mary’s offered ended in 1969.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Patricia Fleming says the grant will enable Saint Mary’s College to take its work from earlier Lilly grants to another level. “The earlier projects that Lilly funded focused on the post-high school discernment experience, providing our students internships, speakers, and experiential learning opportunities in Indiana. Their objective was to retain and increase our undergraduate students’ interest in joining the workforce in Indiana after graduation,” Fleming said.

“This new grant opens up a different type of opportunity for Indiana and the Saint Mary’s student. Saint Mary’s will move from trying to prevent an Indiana brain drain to contributing to an Indiana brain gain,” she added.

Over the five-year grant period, the College will seek accreditation for and implement a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree, with a start date in the fall of 2015 or the fall of 2016. The PSM is a new movement in the academy, transforming the more traditional science and math master’s degree into one which is tied specifically to an application of scientific or mathematical knowledge. PSMs are developing in universities around the U.S. and Saint Mary’s would be one of the first colleges in Indiana to develop such a program. Faculty in the math and computer science department would work with local and regional partners to develop the PSM.

With a graduate program, Saint Mary’s students (both men and women) would be able to contribute valuable employees to the workforce in a state which has some firms holding the largest repositories of data in the nation. This fall Saint Mary’s demonstrated its ability to apply mathematical and computer science skills to data with the release of the Status of Girls in Indiana 2013 report, a project led by a math professor and carried out by undergraduate students.

The Lilly Endowment grant funds will enable the 39 colleges and universities to pursue a broad range of activities that span all points on the college to career spectrum. Click to see the Lilly press release announcing the awards.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, residential, women’s liberal arts college offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study, such as business, nursing, art, chemistry, and social work. The College’s single-gender environment has been proven, in study after study, to foster confidence, ethical leadership, and strong academic success. Saint Mary's College ranks 76 among the 248 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” for 2014 published by U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1844 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Saint Mary’s College’s mission is to educate women and prepare them for postgraduate success whether it’s a first job, graduate school, or postgraduate service.