Posting and Profile

To view the posting for President of Mount Mary University, click here.

To download the Mount Mary President Leadership Profile, click here.

Leadership Profile

Executive Summary

The Mount Mary University Board of Trustees announces the search for the university’s 13th president and invites nominations, expressions of interest, and applications for the position.

2017_classroom_258_lr.jpgA Catholic, women’s university with programs in the liberal arts and the professions, Mount Mary University has a history of empowering women through its commitments to social justice and the development of the whole person. Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the university was founded in 1913 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) and is the first four-year, degree-granting Catholic institution for laywomen in Wisconsin. The university today enjoys a robust and mutually supportive relationship with its international sponsoring congregation through the SSND corporate board and the service of School Sisters in the faculty and administration.

For over 100 years, Mount Mary has provided undergraduate women with exceptional educational opportunities in an environment that focuses on their intellectual, spiritual and personal development, their professional aspirations, and a commitment to the common good. The university has expanded this mission to include graduate programs for women and men in selected professional fields.

The university has long been proud of its commitment to enrolling, supporting and graduating a diverse student body. In 2020, Mount Mary was recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). In 2021, nearly 60% of students identify as racially and/or ethnically diverse. With a combined enrollment of approximately 1,300 undergraduate and graduate students, the university offers the opportunity for close faculty-student engagement and encourages student involvement in community service activities.

mmu_dji_0021_lr.jpgLocated on a picturesque 88-acre campus in one of the Midwest's largest cities, Mount Mary University, in partnership with the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province and the Milwaukee Catholic Home has for the last several years been engaged as a partner in a joint venture to develop the ambitious Trinity Woods project, an innovative, intergenerational residential community designed to extend the vision and mission of the university. Trinity Woods offers state-of-the-art housing accommodations in a residential community comprised of local seniors, members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame community and Mount Mary students who are single parents of young children. This groundbreaking project will open in December 2021.

This is an ideal moment for an ambitious and energetic president to join Mount Mary and coalesce the community around a forward-looking agenda. The next president will be deeply dedicated to the Mount Mary mission and, through collaboration with a talented faculty, administration and student body, define a clear vision and strategic path forward for the university. The president will work to ensure the financial stability of the university through energetic fund-raising and strategic revenue diversification, bringing an entrepreneurial lens to the university's many strengths and assets. As a leader with a strong voice on behalf of Catholic, women’s higher education, the president will raise the university's profile and build strong relationships with Mount Mary stakeholders, including and especially loyal and dedicated alumnae/i and many community partners throughout the metro Milwaukee area. The successful candidate will be an inspiring leader who can engage the university's diverse community in further developing and implementing a clear, contemporary, and distinctive vision that builds on Mount Mary’s historic reputation and strengthens the university’s path toward a successful future.

mmu_18aug2021_je47268_lr.jpgTo help Mount Mary best achieve its aspirations, the president should be a committed person of faith who personifies the institution’s mission and ethos as well as the charism, values and educational vision of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The president will be an experienced and collaborative leader who communicates readily and effectively with an engaged community. The ideal candidate will possess a combination of academic credentials, intellectual acumen and leadership savvy that will command the respect of the community; a record of exceptional leadership that demonstrates proven ability to align vision with capacity and resources, preferably within the academy; evidence of successful executive or managerial experience sufficient to lead a complex institution; and an understanding of current trends and potential strategies that will help Mount Mary University thrive in the evolving higher education marketplace. A deep understanding of the Catholic intellectual and social traditions will enable the next president to lead the university from the heart of its mission. Similarly, expertise in and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion will provide a foundation for presidential success.

Recruitment will continue until the position is filled. The preferred deadline for application materials is February 1, 2022. The position is available in the summer of 2022. Information about how to nominate a candidate or to apply for this opportunity may be found in the Procedure for Candidacy section of this profile below.

Role of the President

Mount Mary University (MMU) is a private, Catholic university located on a beautiful 88-acre campus in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Founded in 1913 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Mount Mary was Wisconsin's first four-year, degree-granting Catholic college for women. The Mount Mary President is the chief executive officer of the university and serves ex officio on the MMU Board of Trustees.

The duties and responsibilities of the president as the leader of this historic, diverse institution include:

  • Articulating a vision for the future of MMU and uniting the university around a shared mission
  • Championing and advancing MMU’s academic vibrancy and growth for the enrichment of its students and the betterment of those they serve
  • Addressing the fiscal challenges facing MMU through bold leadership, clear vision and transparent communication; developing and implementing an overall strategic and tactical plan
  • Providing leadership in recruiting, developing, engaging and retaining diverse and exceptional faculty, staff and students, as well as implementing equitable practices and creating an inclusive environment in which they can flourish
  • Promoting a culture of excellence, innovation, collaboration, faith and respect while building a sense of community among faculty, staff and students
  • Leading the effort to generate external resources for MMU, including private philanthropy, by articulating and championing strategic priorities, cultivating prospective donors and fostering relationships with friends of the university
  • Providing leadership and vision for a portfolio of innovative academic programs that utilize cutting- edge pedagogical strategies, expand the long MMU tradition of real-world application and develop students who creatively and effectively solve problems and persuasively communicate their solutions
  • Promoting collaborative, agile decision-making by facilitating dialogue between the Board of Trustees, MMU executive leadership, faculty and staff
  • Continue refining and updating the 2019-2025 Strategic Plan for Mount Mary through thoughtful, tactical action steps
  • Working with the board, MMU leadership and others to build on existing partnerships with a wide range of community, governmental, religious and private partners for the furtherance of MMU’s goals
  • Developing and overseeing the university’s relationships with core constituencies, including the board, alumnae/i, donors and School Sisters of Notre Dame
  • Serving as the principal external spokesperson for MMU, telling the university's story to a range of audiences in fresh and compelling ways
  • Providing all-university pastoral leadership within a diverse religious community

The following administrative leadership positions currently report directly to the president:

  • Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Vice President for Alumnae/i and Donor Relations
  • Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Vice President for Enrollment Services
  • Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services Vice President for Mission and Identity
  • Vice President for Student Affairs

Opportunities and Expectations for Leadership

Engage the Mount Mary community by amplifying the university’s vision and galvanizing the community behind a strategic path forward

mmu18aug2021_je47511_lr.jpgFor over 100 years Mount Mary University has been doing important work, guided by the founding ideals of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The university has been a pioneer in the education of women and has not wavered in its adherence to the Sisters' vision of empowering women through a commitment to social justice and the development of the whole person. The university is rightly proud of its history and founding mission and has a strong set of core values that are inculcated into the day-to-day lives of faculty, staff and students: commitments to learning, community, faith, spirituality and justice are part of the daily discourse of the campus. The rich diversity of the student body, the university's location in a racially diverse and economically-challenged city, the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disparities it exposed and the enduring values of undergraduate education for women in the liberal arts and the professions all combine to make the Mount Mary "canvas" an ideal setting for a president with vision, courage, passion and grit. This worthy institution seeks to be led by a person of faith, who will resonate deeply with the mission; recognize the inherent worth of the enterprise; embrace the Catholic intellectual and social traditions and the social justice ethos as ideal platforms from which to lead and animate the talented community to boldly envision a bright and meaningful future.

Ensure the financial stability of the university through focused attention on philanthropy

Raising funds to support Mount Mary's mission and programs will be essential to the success of the university and its next president, especially given a challenging economic environment. The university has raised almost $40 million over the past five years, which includes approximately $19 million in federal grants. Building upon this base, the next president must be willing to actively and aggressively engage in the cultivation of existing and new donors and lay the foundation to launch ongoing significant fund- raising efforts.

While individual philanthropy will continue to be essential, it will not be sufficient to achieve many of the university's more ambitious goals. The next president also must consider opportunities to more effectively engage and leverage community partnerships (e.g., business, governmental, educational and civic) to enrich the experience of both undergrad and graduate students and accelerate the achievement of the university's vision. Identifying, building, and maintaining new and existing relationships that will benefit Mount Mary will be critical. The next president should be prepared to explore strategic partnerships with local entities, including civic and governmental organizations, as well as neighboring higher education institutions.

Prioritize enrollment growth through the strategic pursuit of new markets and improved retention

mmu_ot_in_sim_lab_018_lr.jpgWith the expansion of graduate and undergraduate programs, there is an opportunity to determine what the optimal size of the university should be and to plan accordingly. The president will work with the deans, the faculty, the staff, the board and the enrollment team to determine the appropriate balance of undergraduate and graduate programs, taking into consideration the size and scale of the faculty and staff and the facilities available. The larger-than-expected first-year class in the fall of 2021 helps to compensate for lower-than-predicted first-year enrollment over the last several years and underscores the need for a nuanced projection of enrollment for all programs each year. The president must work closely with the enrollment management division to sharpen the enrollment strategy and continue to enroll a student body ready to take full advantage of all that Mount Mary offers. The president will also be a key figure in the university's efforts to continue to assess, create and foster high-impact practices that focus on persistence, retention and student success, and that result in increased completion rates for all students, including those from historically marginalized backgrounds.

Leadership in broad institutional DEI efforts

Mount Mary's advancements in DEI are ripe for the next steps of presidential leadership, particularly with respect to recruiting, hiring and retaining a diverse faculty and staff to support the university's diverse student body. Building relationships with leaders and organizations in underrepresented communities will be key for strengthening Mount Mary's role as a trusted educational resource and partner.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Qualities

The next president of Mount Mary University will be a person of deep faith who personifies the institution’s mission and ethos, is deeply engaged with the Catholic intellectual and social traditions and embraces the charism, values and educational vision of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

The ideal candidate will possess a terminal degree, experience in academic administration and a combination of intellectual and interpersonal strengths that will command the respect of the community. They will also demonstrate the following skills and attributes:

Leadership: The university seeks a president of vision and imagination with a record of bold leadership that indicates a proven ability to align vision with capacity and resources. Mount Mary also seeks the following skills, attributes and strengths in its next president:

  • a deep sense of integrity, excellent judgment and outstanding communication, relationship- building and decision-making skills;
  • demonstrated academic and organizational leadership and strength in creating and supporting an environment of continuous improvement;
  • ability to think critically and creatively to support Mount Mary’s campus-wide orientation toward developing the capacity for agility, experimentation/exploration, imagination, open-mindedness and navigating complexity;
  • ability to inspire and catalyze a diverse group of stakeholders;
  • openness to different viewpoints and comfort with consultation yet with the ability to move forward with decisions;
  • capacity for generating good ideas and the ability to recognize, elevate and build support for the ideas of others;
  • ability to assess risk, make difficult decisions and effect change; experience leading, managing and implementing change across an organization;
  • recognition of the value of inclusive decision-making and fairness, while also maintaining boundaries when and where appropriate;
  • potential to be a national thought leader and to contribute meaningfully and persuasively to the national dialogue on women's education, Catholic education, the education of underrepresented students and other relevant topics;
  • commitment to shared governance and consensus-building;
  • relevant engagement in local, regional and national communities; and
  • commitment to serve as a champion for institutional visibility and reputation.

Management: The university seeks a leader who shows evidence of successful executive and managerial experience sufficient to lead a complex institution. Further, Mount Mary seeks the following skills, attributes and strengths in its next president:

  • experience in fiscal management, sufficient to make wise choices in allocating and reallocating resources for emerging and current needs and providing overall stewardship for the university;
  • ability to delegate smoothly and effectively;
  • experience with management of the special requirements of accredited academic programs and accreditation of the institution as a whole;
  • understanding of and appreciation for technology and its potential to enhance the academic enterprise and experience;
  • demonstrated commitment to the professional development of administration, staff and faculty;
  • expertise in working with a governing board;
  • sound judgment and finesse in crisis management;
  • ability to attract, retain and further develop superior talent on the leadership team as well as to enlist and harness the strength of others; and
  • ability to attract and retain a strong, diverse faculty and staff.

Resource development: As the primary fundraiser for the university, Mount Mary seeks a leader who can be a successful fund-and-friend-raiser and adapt to changes in the philanthropic landscape. Further, Mount Mary seeks the following skills, attributes and strengths in the next president:

  • understanding of the education marketplace and the academic and co-curricular expectations of students and their families;
  • ability to tell the compelling Mount Mary story to audiences whose philanthropic support for scholarship assistance is key to the enrollment strategy; and
  • experience and enthusiasm for development activities, external board service and travel on behalf of the university.

Diversity, equity and inclusion: Aligned with Catholic social teaching, the university seeks a leader who has a demonstrated commitment to and achievement in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in multiple forms. Further, Mount Mary seeks the following skills, attributes and strengths in the next president:

  • ability to recognize the various ways in which the university is experienced by an array of students, faculty and staff members;
  • willingness to align the university with a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion principles as inherent in its mission core values and Catholic social teaching; and
  • ability to talk about, reflect on, and address matters of diversity, equity and inclusion in a knowledgeable and discerning way with examples from prior experiences.

Communication: The university seeks a leader of its close-knit community who can build trust through communication, transparency and collaboration across a diverse campus. Further, Mount Mary seeks the following skills, attributes and strengths in the next president:

  • capacity to engage, inspire and connect with varied audiences, including but not limited to students and parents, faculty and staff, alumnae/i friends of the university and community leaders;
  • ability to listen skillfully and empathetically, and to lead authentic conversations; and
  • capability to serve as a vigorous and compelling spokesperson and advocate for the university and its students.

Personal qualities: The next president of Mount Mary will have impeccable personal qualities including integrity, sound judgment and appropriate levels of transparency. The university also seeks the following attributes:

  • intellectual curiosity and a delight in the life of the mind;
  • genuine interest in students and their development and welfare;
  • a secure and confident sense of self;
  • comfort with being the face of the university and with giving credit to others;
  • ability to ask serious and insightful questions;
  • comfort with complexity ambiguity and critique;
  • energy and stamina to commit to the intensity of the work with grace and good humor; exceptional relationship-building skills;
  • boldness with a balance of warmth, confidence, compassion, hospitality and humility; and
  • approachability, personal accessibility and eagerness to engage with others, especially students.

About Mount Mary University

Mount Mary University is a private, Catholic university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It serves women in the undergraduate programs and women and men in the graduate programs. Mount Mary was founded in 1913 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. In 1929, it moved to the current Milwaukee location which encompasses 88 acres along the Menomonee River. The University stands as a landmark of the SSNDs in the region with its expansive greenscape and majestic bell tower. Mount Mary University has remained faithful to Catholic traditions by adopting a teaching philosophy that recognizes each student as a reflection of God’s image, and by applying a holistic approach in developing students to their fullest potential.

2016_microbiology_003.jpgMount Mary currently serves approximately 1,300 students with more than 30 undergraduate majors and eight graduate programs at the master's and doctoral levels. Academic disciplines include health professions, art and design, science, business, education and mental health, all undergirded by a solid liberal arts foundation. A curriculum-wide emphasis on social justice represents the university’s commitment to Catholic social thought and the belief that the responsibility for creating change in a divided world rests in the hands of committed individuals and communities. This is implemented through a curriculum that is threaded with service learning and exemplified by a foundational course requirement for all students, titled Leadership for Social Justice.

In 1847, the founder of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Mother Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger, traveled from Bavaria with five young sisters and a novice to explore the possibility of establishing schools in the tradition of the SSNDs in North America. The Bishop of Milwaukee invited the sisters to consider Milwaukee as the site of their first motherhouse to which Mother Theresa mmu_dei_5169855263_3f314edcc2_o.jpgeventually agreed. She returned to Bavaria and, in 1850, appointed the 26 year-old Sister Caroline – now known as Mother Caroline – as head of the Order in North America. In Milwaukee, in 1851, Mother Caroline founded the first institute for young women west of the Allegheny Mountains. St. Mary’s Institute was so successful that 20 years later, in 1872, Mother Caroline was invited to establish a second institute in western Wisconsin. This second St. Mary’s Institute developed a college wing in 1913 and became the first four-year Catholic college for women in the state. Toward the end of the 1800s, Mother Caroline closed the institute in Milwaukee because the entire space was needed to educate and house all the sisters. By the mid-1920s, religious and civic leaders urged the School Sisters of Notre Dame to relocate the college wing from the bluffs of the Mississippi River back to Milwaukee. Intent on the call to educate women and to assist them to direct their gifts toward building the earth, Mother Kostka, now the SSND leader in North America, agreed that Milwaukee would be the best place for such a college to flourish.

She mortgaged all the property the School Sisters of Notre Dame owned by that time and purchased an 80-acre farm for sale on the outskirts of Milwaukee. In 1928, the cornerstone was lain, and it was determined that the relocated college would be renamed Mount Mary College. The statue of Mary was at the center of campus, a symbol of quiet strength and steadfast courage. Through the years, Mount Mary College continued to expand its vocational identity. The Gospel call, especially to inclusion and social justice, remained the deeply held value of the sisters in their work. For the first 70 years of the college, sisters were the primary presence as faculty, administrators and staff. As the decades progressed, men and women joined with the sisters and committed themselves to the mission and vision for which Mount Mary was founded. In 2013, the college changed its name to Mount Mary University to reflect the institutional changes, including the introduction of graduate programs, that respond to contemporary culture and the needs of 21st-century students.

mmu_chapel_lr.jpgMount Mary University, an urban Catholic university for women, sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, provides an environment for the development of the whole person. The University encourages leadership, integrity and a deep sense of social justice arising from a sensitivity to moral values and Christian principles.

Mount Mary commits itself to excellence in teaching and learning with an emphasis on thinking critically and creatively, including developing the attributes of agility, experimentation/exploration, imagination, open-mindedness and the capacity to navigate complexity. The baccalaureate curriculum integrates the liberal arts with career preparation for women of diverse ages and personal circumstances; the programs at the graduate level provide opportunities for both men and women to enhance their professional excellence.

Mount Mary University is recognized as a diverse learning community that works in partnership with local, national and global organizations to educate women to transform the world.

A Mount Mary University education reflects a core group of values and is distinguished by the following characteristics:

  • Competence – a commitment to excellence that is reflected in the classroom experience and the resulting knowledge base and skill set demonstrated by graduates
  • Community – a shared sense of purpose within the Mount Mary environment to work in the spirit of the School Sisters of Notre Dame by creating a better world through education
  • Compassion – an overt expression of concern and purposeful action that fosters human development and unity
  • Commitment – a deliberate approach to advancing the universality of human dignity by encouraging leadership in the areas of personal development and global change

Strategic Plan

Mount Mary University adopted a long-range strategic plan in 2019 that carries the university to 2025 through a variety of initiatives and individual objectives. The initiatives focus on five areas:

  • Academic Programs and Delivery Systems
  • Campus Culture and Wellness
  • Enrollment Growth
  • Facilities that Attract and Engage
  • Financial Vitality

These topics cover each of the major areas of growth and challenge for the university, and they emerged as the result of months of cross-campus discussion that yielded specific objectives to be pursued under each. While these strategies remain fluid and responsive, they are guided by the overarching principles of financial stewardship; commitment to Mount Mary’s liberal arts core; consistency with the SSND mission; service to a diverse student population; and the development of the whole person.

An ongoing report card details progress made on each initiative and its attendant objectives to ensure that the strategic plan remains a living, vibrant document.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Mount Mary University's vision is to be recognized as a diverse learning community that works in partnership with local, national and global organizations to educate women who will transform the world. All are welcome at Mount Mary University. The university’s teaching and learning environment foster unity in a divided world. Core values of compassion, competence, community and commitment promote a holistic education that welcomes students from diverse backgrounds and emphasizes the development of the whole person.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council (DEI Council) supports and challenges faculty, staff and students to integrate the values of MMU using a DEI lens and emphasizing open-mindedness, respect, cultural awareness and sensitivity, equity and inclusion. The Council is comprised of faculty members, administrative staff, support staff and students. The president appoints council members.

The DEI Council approaches its work with the following objectives in mind:

  • Serve as the principal resource, liaison and convening group for the university to align MMU's resources, actions, practices and policies with best practices for diversity and inclusion.
  • Build the university’s capacity to recruit and retain students from all cultures while fostering a culturally-conscious campus climate that promotes unity, respect, social justice and inclusion in an ever-changing academic environment.

Advance the university’s efforts to recruit and retain faculty, staff and administrators from diverse backgrounds, and to promote a culture that is congruent with and representative of the cultural richness of the campus community.

Academics and Faculty

mmu_classroom_lr.jpgMount Mary University’s undergraduate curriculum challenges students, prepares them for dynamic career fields and provides them with foundational creative and critical thinking skills to succeed professionally and in their personal life. Students take a liberal arts core, as well as courses in their specific majors. All students are strongly encouraged to apply their classroom learning through participation in one or more internships.

Professors design courses that encourage students to use principles learned in class in their career fields and community:

  • Justice Studies students study the needs of women, communities of color and underserved individuals in the justice system and further their learning by interning at police departments and social service organizations.
  • Graphic Design students learn art techniques and technology skills by designing promotional materials for local nonprofit organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the Milwaukee Women’s Center.
  • Interior Architecture Design students apply foundational design techniques they learn in practice by re-designing spaces to meet the unique needs of diverse communities using virtual reality technology. For example, one student project focused on Lissy’s Place, a haven for homeless and abused women. Faculty and students are currently playing an integral role in forwarding design legislation in the state of Wisconsin.
  • Students are regularly afforded opportunities for side-by-side research with faculty, giving them in-depth exposure to current questions and analytical experience. Professors and students jointly conduct research and publish articles in scholarly journals and present papers at academic conferences.
  • Psychology and Sociology/Behavioral Science students use the new Behavioral Sciences Department Lab’s live observation area and computer stations to conduct research and experiments that will prepare them for graduate school
  • Chemistry and Biology students receive one-on-one mentoring as they perform an independent, undergraduate research project in the lab and then share their work through presentations at other colleges and conferences.
  • Mount Mary hosts an annual symposium for Art Therapy professionals and students each spring.

Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission North Central Association, MMU offers more than 30 undergraduate majors, eight graduate programs and two doctoral programs. In addition:

  • The average class size is 12 students.
  • The faculty to student ratio is 1:10.
  • All classes are taught by faculty rather than teaching assistants.
  • 68% of full-time faculty are tenured or tenure-track and 78% of faculty are women.
  • Two new programs were launched in the 2021-22 academic year: the Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision.
  • The University has over 500 corporate and community partnerships which enhance student education. These include opportunities such as internships, clinicals, practica and membership on advisory boards.
  • Mount Mary students have interned in Milwaukee, New York City, Washington, D.C.andother cities at organizations such as Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Johnson Controls, Justice 2000, Los Angeles Police Department, Milwaukee Public Schools, NYLON magazine, Safe & Sound and Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce.

Rankings and Unique Programs

  • Mount Mary is ranked by US News and World Report as the top-rated private institution in Wisconsin for social mobility and the top-rated college in the Midwest for ethnic diversity.
  • Mount Mary is the only private college in Wisconsin with an accredited Interior Architecture Design program.
  • The Fashion Design bachelor’s degree program was the first four-year fashion degree program in the state of Wisconsin. The program holds a 10,000 garment historic fashion archive that serves as a premier teaching tool and global resource in the industry.
  • The Social Work bachelor’s degree program was the first at a Wisconsin private college to become accredited and currently is one of only three accredited Social Work programs in Milwaukee.
  • Mount Mary has the largest Occupational Therapy program in Wisconsin, which includes a professional entry master’s and doctoral program, as well as a post-professional master’s program.
  • The new Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is the first in the Milwaukee region. The curriculum prepares advocacy-driven, educators, clinicians, administrators and researchers by providing a comprehensive multicultural and social justice learning experience. The new MMU Wellness Center offers an array of mental health counseling services to the Mount Mary Community, along with practicum opportunities for Counselor Education and Supervision students. Faculty in the Master’s and Ph.D. programs specialize in trauma-informed interactions.
  • Mount Mary has been awarded over $19 million in federal, and foundation grants over the last five years focusing on increasing retention, persistence and graduation rates by expanding access and resources to the university’s diverse student demographic. The most recent awards in the fall of 2021 include a $4.6 million-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education to increase the number of Hispanic and limited-income women in STEM, and $3 million from the National Science Foundation to introduce strong technology elements throughout the institution.
  • Mount Mary’s Grace Scholars program provides students with academic, professional and financial support through a group-learning model that encourages community building and leadership development. Grace Scholar students receive financial aid and scholarship funds to cover 85% of tuition annually for four years.
  • The Caroline Scholars Program is a four-year scholarship program for first-year, full-time undergraduate students with a passion for social justice. This highly selective program provides challenging academic work, leadership development, service learning opportunities and financial assistance that covers full tuition, room and board.
  • Mount Mary University’s Promise Program is a federally funded TRIO Student Support Services Program that provides academic, career and financial support to 140 first-generation and limited-income college students each year. The program provides holistic support to help students remain in good academic standing, persist in college and graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

Student Life

mmu_2018_dance_022_lr.jpgMount Mary’s welcoming and supportive campus provides personal and success-focused attention for students. Reflecting an increasingly diverse student body, 63% of all undergraduates and 45% of all students identify from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds. Student and campus life initiatives are grounded in the four values of the university: community, compassion, competence and commitment. Fostering a culturally relevant and responsive community also includes supporting religious diversity, socioeconomic diversity and serving those from historically underserved identities. In 2021, 63% of students are Pell-eligible, 36% identify as first-generation college students and 9% are parents. Eleven different religions are represented among students (with 27% of students self-identifying as Catholic) and 15 different languages are spoken by the student body.

Student Success: The university places a significant focus on engaging, preparing and empowering students for success, personally and professionally. The Student Success Center serves as a hub for student support, academic advising, career development, tutoring and more. The Promise Program, Grace Scholars, Bold Beginnings and institution-wide success framework also provide cohort initiatives that include wrap-around support services. Collaborative efforts across the university holistically support the development and success of all students.

mmu_18aug2021_je47316_lr.jpgStudent Engagement and Residential Living: The university balances support for a large commuter population as well as students who live on-campus. Four distinct residential opportunities promote community for 275 students: a traditional undergraduate residence hall, a house for upper-class students, a small apartment complex for graduate students and floors in Trinity Woods for students with young children. Campus engagement opportunities include an array of programs that foster a sense of belonging and meet the needs of undergraduate, graduate, resident and commuter students alike.

Student Leadership: Leadership opportunities abound at Mount Mary, giving students many and varied chances to develop their leadership skills. There are more than 35 active clubs and honor societies on campus, Resident Assistants, student orientation (SOAR) Leaders, peer tutors and a robust student worker and graduate assistant program. Students are empowered to grow in their leadership capacities through the university’s social, educational, spiritual and service opportunities.

Community Engagement: An integral part of the core curriculum is focused on building inclusive communities, engaging students in service to others and promoting social responsibility. In many courses, students work directly with local organizations, using their knowledge and skills to consult, guide and learn from community programs. The Caroline Scholars Program provides students with leadership development and service learning opportunities, with the expectation that students will complete 300 hours of service learning each year. Trinity Woods will also provide many opportunities for curricular, co- curricular and community engagement across academic disciplines.

Campus Spiritual Life: In the spirit of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Mount Mary encourages the full development of all its students, intellectually, physically and spiritually. To that end, the university celebrates Mass in Our Lady Chapel every week and on special occasions. There are grottos for private prayer in the chapel with each one depicting Mary from a different cultural perspective. Supporting the 11 different religious traditions represented on campus is a newly established interfaith space called Place of Peace, where students engage in meditation, journaling, quiet reflection and small group Bible study. Adjacent to this space is a Muslim Prayer Room with ablution facilities. Campus Ministry sponsors commemorations of Kwanzaa, Día de Los Muertos and other culturally diverse spiritual rituals. The campus community gathered at two prayer vigils within the past year to join in prayer around our shared commitment to justice. The Justice, Equity and Peace vigil memorialized the murder of George Floyd, and the Black Lives Are Sacred vigil connected the Mount Mary campus with members of the broader Milwaukee community. Like Mother Theresa, the foundress of the SSND, Mount Mary excludes no one from its concern and strives to grow in communion with God and one another to build a better world.

mmu_tw_lr.jpgTrinity Woods: One of the most exciting projects undertaken in recent years at Mount Mary is Trinity Woods, a visionary partnership among the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Mount Mary University and Milwaukee Catholic Home. Trinity Woods is an intergenerational housing community at Mount Mary that will provide a vibrant living environment for Sisters and seniors and an educational and supportive housing option for single mothers who are students at MMU. The new community will be comprised of 52 private residences for the School Sisters, 24 units for single mothers enrolled as students and their children and 90 independent living apartments for individuals over age 62. All buildings will be fully interconnected by a Town Center that incorporates numerous spaces to bring people together in friendly conversation, dining, prayer, learning and socialization. There is also an on-site daycare center that serves MMU students and employees as well as the wider community. Trinity Woods is receiving wide acclaim for its innovative approach to education and student support.

mmu_2016_soccer_039_lr.jpgAthletics: Mount Mary – the “Blue Angels” – sponsors six women’s NCAA Division III sports: basketball, volleyball, softball, soccer, cross country and golf and is a member of the Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference. About 10% of full-time students are student athletes. Additionally, a range of fitness and wellness activities are available to all students, consistent with the University’s conviction that health is an important dimension of human flourishing and wellbeing.


Mount Mary graduates are found across the country in leadership and service positions that exemplify the social justice foundation cultivated during their formative years at the University. Alumnae/i partners with the campus on many initiatives.

mmu_alumnae_luncheon_2021dec7_005_lr.jpgMount Mary’s 15,000+ alumnae/i are successful entrepreneurs, therapists, teachers, designers, writers and more. The university boasts of notable fashion design alumnae/i. One of these graduates has an independent fashion label and designed a dress worn by First Lady Michelle Obama; another designed clothing for the Women's Tennis Association. Counted also among the alumnae/i is the CEO of Enterforce, the Bureau Director of the Wisconsin Crime Lab, the CEO of the Dohmen Company Foundation, a surgeon at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a Wisconsin State Representative.

Graduates are employed at companies such as Advocate Aurora, AmeriCorps, AT&T, Briggs & Stratton, Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Columbia St. Mary’s, Elmbrook Schools, Harley Davidson, Kohl’s, GE Healthcare, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Veterans’ Center, Froedtert Hospital, Medical College of Wisconsin, U.S. Bank and the U.S. Department of Defense. Undergraduate students go on to graduate study in a variety of fields and have been accepted to graduate schools at universities such as Loyola University, Marquette University, Michigan State University, Texas Tech University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, among others.

Mount Mary University Leadership

deb-sciano.jpgSister Debra Sciano, Provincial Leader, Central Pacific Province of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Member, Mount Mary University Corporate Board

Sister Debra Marie Sciano currently serves as Provincial Leader for the Central Pacific Province of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND). She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and professed her final vows as an SSND in 1986. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice in 1981 from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM) and then became a Vista Volunteer, where she was trained to be a Community Organizer. She worked in that capacity at South Community Organization in Milwaukee from 1982 until 1984. In 1988, she completed a Doctor of Law (JD) degree from the St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, Florida. From 1988 to 2001, she was an Assistant District Attorney for the State of Wisconsin, primarily representing children in need of protection and services. Sister Debra then served as a Provincial Councilor (2001-2005) and Provincial Leader (2005-2011) for the former SSND Milwaukee Province. She then received certification as a Family Mediator from UWM and worked as a Mediator until she was elected to her present position in 2019.

stephanie_russell_150x150.jpgStephanie Russell, Ed.D., Chair, Board of Trustees

Stephanie Russell, Ed.D. joined the Mount Mary Board of Trustees in 2019 and was elected Chair in June, 2021. She serves as Vice President for Mission Integration at the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Her duties include designing and implementing formation programs and resources to help Jesuit colleges and universities enhance their mission effectiveness, and supporting linkages among the schools in the Jesuit higher education network.

Prior to her work with AJCU, Dr. Russell was Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Marquette University for 15 years. She has worked in Jesuit ministries for more than three decades, including 11 years as Provincial Assistant for Lay Formation and Social Ministry with the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus. She is a co-creator of the Ignatian Colleagues Program, a comprehensive developmental program for administrators at Jesuit colleges and universities across the country, along with other formational programs. She regularly directs retreats, writes and speaks on Ignatian topics.

Dr. Russell maintains in her work a strong focus on Catholic social teaching and intellectual tradition, the Ignatian spiritual and educational heritage, and interreligious dialogue as means for deepening the mission of Jesuit schools. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Marquette University, a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from St. Francis Seminary in Wisconsin and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been awarded honorary doctorates from Spring Hill College and Gonzaga University.

erica-nicole-harris.jpgErica-Nicole Harris, Vice Chair, Board of Trustees

Erica-Nicole Harris was named Vice President of Wispark LLC in January 2017. She is currently responsible for overseeing the daily operations for Wispark, which includes leading the strategy and execution of the continued monetization of Wispark’s real estate assets, maintaining key stakeholder relationships with business partners and municipalities, and maximizing returns on Wispark’s leased assets. As vice president, she completed the DeBack Farms Business Park development in Caledonia, Wis., and the Gateway at Lakeview Corporate Park in Pleasant Prairie, WI. She also led the sale of the Boston Store Complex in Milwaukee, Wis. in 2017.

Since joining the company in 2003, Harris served as an executive assistant from 2003 to 2007, project manager from 2007 to 2013 and real estate asset manager from 2013 to 2016. Previously, Harris specialized in residential new construction and worked as a contractor for GE Healthcare between 1998 and 2001.

Harris is a member of the Mount Mary University board of trustees and serves on the finance and investment committee. She is leading the Westown board of directors as president and serves as a director for Milwaukee Development Corporation and the national commercial real estate organization Project REAP. She is an active member of NAIOP Wisconsin, the Urban Land Institute and the Institute of Real Estate Management. Harris was the recipient of the 2010 NAIOP Developing Leader of the Year Award.

Harris earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from Mount Mary College in 2007. She graduated magna cum laude.


things_to_do_milwaukee.jpgMount Mary University is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the state’s largest city. Milwaukee is the 26th largest city in the United States, has a metro-area population of approximately 1.2 million, and is located just 90 minutes north of Chicago. The city is an exciting urban area located along with one of the most beautiful stretches of the Great Lakes waterfront. The lakeside city is known as the “City of Festivals” and “Frozen Custard Capital of the World,” and was recently was named as the Midwest's coolest city by Vogue Magazine. Milwaukee is also home to MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers, as well as the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. More than 70,000 students study at 15 colleges and universities in the greater Milwaukee area, and Milwaukee ranks sixth among the largest U.S. cities for the number of college students per capita.

attractions_milwaukee.jpgThe serene and park-like MMU campus is nestled in a residential neighborhood that is about 30 minutes from the Lake Michigan shore, blocks from a large mall, and near a movie theater and many restaurants. Milwaukee offers many opportunities for employment, internships, entertainment, volunteering and fun. Popular area attractions include the Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Public Museum, Discovery World Science Museum, America’s Black Holocaust Museum, the Milwaukee Ballet, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Latino Arts, Inc., the Milwaukee Film Festival and the internationally acclaimed Milwaukee Repertory Theater, along with other live theater companies. The city also celebrates its cultural diversity with various ethnic festivals each summer and hosts the world’s largest music festival – Summerfest. Because of Milwaukee’s northern location, residents can truly enjoy the beauty found in each of the four seasons – the apple blossoms of spring, the refreshing lake breezes of summer, the brilliant colors of fall and the clean white snow of winter. For more information about Milwaukee, please go to

Procedure for Candidacy

All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in this profile.

WittKieffer is assisting Mount Mary University in this search. Nominations and applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but materials received by February 1, 2022, are ensured full consideration. Application materials must be submitted electronically at

The successful candidate is expected to assume office in the summer of 2022. All nominations, applications and inquiries will be held in full confidence including at the finalist stage. Candidates will not be named publicly in the final stage of the search.

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to:

Greg Duyck and Sheila Murphy

Mount Mary University encourages applications from all qualified candidates and is vitally committed to all aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion. We welcome and encourage applications from qualified candidates and all will receive consideration for employment regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, ethnicity, pregnancy, disability, genetic information or any other groups protected by law. Mount Mary seeks to hire and retain personnel who will make a positive contribution to its mission, vision and values.page23image1521002784

For more information about diversity, equity and inclusion at Mount Mary please visit