A Message from the President

Mount Mary is a gem that glows brightly from lives transformed."

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

As a way of getting to know the University, I have chosen to spend the majority of my time meeting the people who know it best: the faculty and staff, students, board members, alumnae, donors and community members. My meetings have been both rewarding and insightful. As I complete my first four months as President, let me share some of my learnings with you.

Mount Mary has a tremendously talented group of board members who bring great expertise to guiding the institution, everything from financial acumen and facilities management to mission-driven educational experiences and business innovation. Board members and community members alike admire the mission of Mount Mary; many I interviewed spoke of how moving the Mount Mary graduation ceremonies are, with many students being the first in their family to receive a college degree. Indeed, it is apparent that the School Sisters of Notre Dame have laid a foundation upon which the faculty, staff and administration have continued to build.

My meetings with faculty and staff have also been extremely positive. I’ve learned how dietetics will soon require a master’s degree for registration and occupational therapy will require a doctorate. I’ve learned the new food science degree along with the dietetics programs meet the employment needs of the Midwestern food corridor. These majors are resulting in industry partnerships with companies like Sargento Foods Inc., Palermo’s Pizza, Campbell Soup Company and Miller Brewing Company. I met a faculty member who speaks six languages, learned the history of the Starving Artists’ Show and so much more. What an amazing group of people work at Mount Mary.

I have also spoken to many alumnae via alumnae gatherings, individual meetings and those who visit or walk on campus regularly. We had a wonderful alumnae gathering in Madison and another in Minneapolis. So often as I leave in the evening or stop by on a Saturday I find an alumna walking the circle drive or standing on the steps of Notre Dame taking a picture. Many speak of the “majestic” campus grounds and the sense of peace that they feel when they come to campus. Some tell me it was the best time of their lives, and whenever they return they feel that same sense of serenity and empowerment that surrounded them as a student.

Mount Mary is a gem that glows brightly from lives transformed. You carry our message into the world. By your lives of service and your many accomplishments you model the Mount Mary mission far beyond our campus. Thank you for all that you do, and please send more young women our way. Help them understand how a college education at Mount Mary can transform their lives, as they understand and develop the great gifts they bring to the world.

Christine Pharr, Ph.D.
Mount Mary University's 12th President

Meet the president

Catholic institutions lead in educating women

Dr. Pharr describes a significant difference between Catholic versus public higher education: “every private school which I have attended, or in which I have worked, had a mission statement regularly referenced by students, faculty, and staff.” She explains that beyond the community investing in its mission, there are sometimes physical places, but often more times of respite, reflection and prayer.

And it's because of a strong sense of mission that she finds Mount Mary University to be a fit with her experience and values. Dr. Pharr believes that her faith is deeply embedded in her leadership and strives to model this every day. “My reasoning about the importance of this embedded mission is that if we are to assist students in the importance of finding meaningfulness, might we not first model that at the institutional level?”

How to advance the mission at Mount Mary


The mission of Mount Mary comes from the School Sisters of Notre Dame, which really has to do with the education of women and trying to serve the needs of the underserved. I want Mount Mary to be sensitive to the needs of Milwaukee and the surrounding areas.

Listen to interview

Dr. Christine Pharr

A mentor leads to success in your career field

Dr. Pharr credits a Sister at her undergraduate institution with not only with impacting her desire to major in chemistry and biology but also serving as a valued role model. “She really invested in students and helped them prepare not only for a career but also to be a great person,” Pharr says.

Read her alumna profile

If we wish for the intellectual discussions in the classroom to take deep root in students and to influence their choices in work and life, then we must develop and require educational experiences that strongly impact students' hearts as well as their minds.

Read her article

Dr. Christine Pharr