Christine Pharr, Ph.D., inaugurated twelfth president of Mount Mary University

"I pray that my leadership of Mount Mary University may make us a stronger, wiser and more loving community."

Christine Pharr, Ph.D.
President of Mount Mary University

In a ceremony that drew strongly upon themes of community, Mount Mary University officially installed its 12th president, Christine Pharr, Ph.D., on Friday afternoon.

In her inaugural address, "A Community of our Making," Pharr explained the empowerment that comes from networks of support — "it takes a community to lead a meaningful life," she said. "No one is successful on their own."

Mount Mary University was founded in 1913 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. It is the first four-year, degree-granting Catholic institution for women in Wisconsin. Today it serves a minority-majority population and offers more than 30 undergraduate majors for women and nine graduate programs for women and men in four schools: Arts & Design, Humanities, Social Sciences & Education, Natural & Health Sciences and Business.

The need for community is particularly important, she said, because sets a strong case for the need for single-sex institutions like Mount Mary, in building a strong foundation for women to lead.

The United States is ranked 103 in the world in women leaders at a national level, she said.

"This is a place where we believe one person can make a difference," she said. "We are a beacon of hope, a tower of light for our future."

The ceremony included a blessing circle comprised of various representatives from Pharr's life and community — her family, former colleagues parish, Mount Mary faculty and staff.

Former Mount Mary presidents Eileen Schwalbach, Pat O'Donoghue and S. Ellen Lorenz, SSND, participated in both the inauguration Mass and installation ceremony. For details visit mtmary.edu/inauguration.

Academic institutions from near and far sent delegates to participate in the event, including all-women's institutions such as Alverno College, Smith College, Wellesley College, St. Catherine University and the College of Saint Mary, in Omaha, Neb., Pharr's prior institution, where she served as academic vice president followed by two years as vice president for alumni and donor relations.

Today's event culminated a weeklong series of events commemorating Pharr's installation. The International Club dedicated their annual "Culture Couture" fashion and cultural show to Dr. Pharr on Monday. Other events have centered upon the theme of service, including a Red Cross blood drive, on-campus cleanup days and an off-campus service project at the Urban Ecology Center.

Pharr has been president of the institution since July 1, 2017. She possesses a passion for women's leadership, particularly in the sciences. After graduating with her bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Mount Marty College in Yankton, SD, Pharr went on to earn a master's degree in chemistry from the University of South Dakota and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Idaho.

Listen to Dr. Pharr's speech:

Inauguration Blessing

Inauguration Blessing

One especially moving moment occured when former Mount Mary presidents Eileen Schwalback (left). S. Ellen Lorenz (in back) and Pat O'Donoghue (right) assisted the Archbishop in conferring a blessing upon Pharr during the Mass celebration.

Gospel Choir

Gospel Choir

The Mount Mary gospel choir made the day even more of a celebration for President Pharr.

Inauguration Mass

Inauguration Mass

Dr. Pharr is ceremoniously inaugurated as President of Mount Mary University at mass, having received blessings from the archbishop of Milwaukee as well as the three preceding presidents of the University.

Inauguration

Inauguration

It’s official. Dr. Pharr has completed her first year here at Mount Mary as President of the University!

Christmas on the Mount

Christmas on the Mount

Dr. Pharr celebrates the holidays with Mount Mary by partaking in the Christmas on the Mount festivities.

Voices of Leadership

Voices of Leadership

Julia Landauer, this year’s Voices of Leadership speaker, is welcomed by President Pharr.

Day of Service

Day of Service

For this year’s Day of Service, Mount Mary students, staff, and faculty went to the Ecology Center of Milwaukee. Here, Dr. Pharr joins efforts, not afraid to get some dirt on her hands.

International Gift

International Gift

Dr. Pharr receives a painting from the International show on campus showing the diversity of Mount Mary students.

International Show

International Show

Here, Dr. Pharr is shown with the International Club that annually puts on the International Show, displaying dances and songs from their heritage culture.

Community Prayers

Community Prayers

Members representing Pharr's various communities came together in a blessing circle to extend prayers for her success.

Honor President Pharr

As we look to celebrate and welcome our 12th President, Christine Pharr, Ph.D., we invite you to make a gift that will honor and support Dr. Pharr's commitment to student education.

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