New president announces vision for Mount Mary at inauguration

During her inaugural speech Friday at Mount Mary University, new president Isabelle Cherney, Ph.D., provided insight into her vision for the future. 

“At Mount Mary, we are one community shaping tomorrow’s game changers,” she told the group of academics, dignitaries, community leaders and members of the Mount Mary community gathered at the formal ceremony in the Alumnae Dining Room. This theme has been her guiding statement, which she has often repeated since she began her tenure in July, 2022.

At the ceremony, she shared some of her community's accomplishments to date, such as initiatives to make summer school more attractive and a drastic reduction in part-time tuition. She emphasized her support to social mobility and announced her intention to invest in STREAM (science, technology, reflection, engineering, art and math) programming.

She also announced preliminary plans to establish an on-campus institute that will further expand the breadth, depth and focus on the topic surrounding children’s and women’s rights; women’s health and wellness; and around women in STREAM fields.

A Catholic Mass at nearby Christ King church in Wauwatosa was held prior to the inauguration and was presided by Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki. This event was particularly poignant for Cherney, as she has longstanding ties to the church and to the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

“Having the Mass take place at Christ King parish, my husband’s family church for generations, was certainly significant,” Cherney said. “Being surrounded by my Mount Mary family, city and state leaders and the School Sisters of Notre Dame represented a confluence of wisdom in my life. Truly, the experience has touched my soul.”

Cherney has gained media attention for her choice of outfits to wear for inauguration. She and leaders of Mount Mary’s fashion department issued a challenge to students and recent alumnae to design an inaugural dress for her to wear. Cherney selected two outfits: She wore a sheath dress and matching jacket designed by alumna Gigi Wagener ’22 to the Mass, and an evening ensemble designed by alumna Shoua Xiong ’20, which she wore to the late afternoon reception. This design contest was featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The event’s livestream may be viewed here. Photos from the ceremony will be posted here.