Mount Mary Magazine Spring 2022

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9 Uncovering 18 Hidden Treasure

Tribute to President Christine Pharr, Ph.D.


FASHION SHOW Saturday, May 14, 2022 Mount Mary University • Notre Dame Hall Shows: 3 p.m. & 7 p.m. ORDER TICKETS:

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December 2021 graduates succeeded through the pandemic.


VALUES IN ACTION We share vision and purpose with our SSND founders

JUST ANNOUNCED New exercise science program to begin in fall

A GRATEFUL FAREWELL Reflecting upon the accomplishments of outgoing president

UNCOVERING HIDDEN TREASURE The impressive garments of the Fashion Archive go online

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From the President Living our Catholic Identity Then & Now Women’s Leadership

VIEW: Garments from Mount

Mary’s Fashion Archive may now be viewed online. To see this digitization work-in-progress, visit mtmary. edu/digitalfashionarchive or scan this code:

Student Spotlight University Development Leading Lady Alumnae Profile Campus News Achievements & Accolades Class Notes

READ: Stay up-to-date as

Mount Mary names a new president. Visit presidentialsearch.

ON THE COVER: After five years of leadership,

President Christine Pharr, Ph.D., steps down on June 30, 2022.

In Memoriam Reflection

©2022 Mount Mary University Compiled by Mount Mary Office of University Marketing and Communications, Kathy Van Zeeland, Editor Contributors: Joan Hartin, Jennifer Janviere, Amy LaMacchia, Jamie Hollins Mast, Joan Penzenstadler, SSND, Taylor Robinson, Allison Weitekamp, Sandra Whitehead, Office of Alumnae and Donor Relations Mount Mary University is sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

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

Dear Mount Mary Alumnae and Friends, By the time you read this, I will be in the final stretch of my presidency at Mount Mary. As June 30 approaches, I am pondering my final words to all of you. All that comes to mind is gratitude. I am so very grateful for the wonderful support I have received from so many: the Board of Trustees, the alumnae, the greater Milwaukee community, the employees and the students. Each of you, in your own way, has brightened my days as leader of the university. Some of you spoke words of thanks and

Single moms who are students moved into Trinity Woods with their children in January, at the start of the Spring 2022 semester.

appreciation. Others challenged me to think of things differently. Some of you sang my praises and others gently pointed out my weaknesses or mistakes, but in each of these instances as I have reflected I have found that they are making me a better person. Note the word “making” as I am still a work in progress! Perhaps my greatest reflection today could be on the thing that brings me much joy: Trinity Woods. Since early December, when we received occupancy of Trinity Woods, it has been a time of growth and celebration on campus. As the School Sisters of Notre Dame, some alumnae and friends and eventually a group of single mothers with their children and a handful of graduate students made Trinity Woods their home, the miracle unfolded. I know there were challenges as people adapted to a new home, small inconveniences of new spaces and the adjustment of living differently. But from my limited perspective it is all quite magical. Why? When I tour Trinity Woods with MMU friends and alumnae, I marvel at the outstanding day care facility we have created with excellent teachers and beautiful new furniture, miniature-sized everything from tables and chairs to toilets and sinks. Children populate each room, sleeping on small mats, eating at tiny tables, smiling and waving to us as we pass. Each of our Trinity Woods single

For updates on Mount Mary’s presidential search, see page 26. 2 | SPRING 2022


mothers have their children in this five-star, licensed, accredited child care center. Why? Upstairs, the mothers of these children rejoice in their petite but beautiful apartments fully furnished with all the necessities and which include three meals a day, utilities, free laundry, Wi-Fi and a lovely lounge for cooking, children playing and interacting with other mothers. Why? In the dining room SSND and seniors wave and smile as I walk by, welcoming me and my colleagues to their new home. They thank me for visiting. They speak of their love of this beautiful new facility and in their free time they begin to take part in the Book Nook project of reading the collection of inclusive children’s books to the small Trinity Woods residents. Why? Because the chapel and the hallways sing the praises of the founding mothers, Theresa and Caroline. The stained glass windows of Elm Grove bring rays of colored light that are reminiscent of Notre Dame of Elm Grove. The open doors of SSND apartments ring out a welcome to enter, to all who pass by. Why? Mount Mary students majoring in occupational therapy, dietetics, art therapy, education and many more disciplines have a learning laboratory right on campus and some have even found work at Trinity Woods.

I must do my final work for Trinity Woods. In the last magazine I spoke of my peace at leaving Mount Mary with increasing enrollment, projects started and completed and a sense of accomplishment, but before I go, I want to make this precious home for single mothers and their children sustainable. For this reason, the Madonna Fund was created, to provide endowment earnings that will ensure that long into the future, single mothers and their children will have a safe, supportive and affordable way to pursue an education and change their lives. Please join me in making this magical accomplishment, a long-term reality. Truly, nothing would please me more. n

Learn more about the Madonna Fund on page 21.

With gratitude,

Read Dr. Pharr’s retirement announcement and stay informed on the search for the next Mount Mary president at

The reasons abound for the magic and my heart is filled with a contrite gratitude for those who worked so hard to make this happen. Now with the few months I have left,

Stay up to date with Mount Mary events EVENTS FOR ALUMNAE: events


Check these pages and stay informed of events, visit opportunities and webinars!

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Mount Mary University has always been a ministry of the School Sisters of Notre Dame that lives out the SSND mission, vision and values through our goals of transforming women through education. This has been true in the past and it continues today.


his year, Mount Mary employees have gathered for a series of mission dinners and discussions, allowing them to reflect upon T their personal connection to SSND core values.

As we move into the future, Mount Mary embodies the SSND spirit From the very beginning, the School Sisters of Notre Dame established Mount Mary as a place to support women for whom an education was not always easily accessible. In Mount Mary’s earliest days, this meant assisting families, often first-generation immigrants, who dreamed of making a values-based education a reality for their daughters. Alumnae often share stories about the family sacrifices made to attend Mount Mary, and the support that helped families achieve their hopes for a better future for their daughters. “Time and time again I hear stories of gratitude, for opportunities that were otherwise out of reach,” said Marilyn Kesler, SSND, a planned giving officer for Mount Mary who meets regularly with alumnae. With the renewed presence of the SSNDs on campus, Mount Mary and the SSNDs continue to inspire one another in moving the mission forward.

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Ministering to new groups Over the years, Mount Mary has changed to become more diverse in nearly every perspective – racially, socioeconomically and religiously – and through it all, SSND values have been a steady guiding light. Today, as Mount Mary ranks among the most diverse institutions in the Midwest, this mission work for both Mount Mary and the SSNDs is centered upon diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as social justice efforts, said Provincial Leader for the Central Pacific Province Debra M. Sciano, SSND. “We totally support and encourage diversity-related programs at Mount Mary; they are in line with who we are,” she said. “Our focus has been women and children forever, keeping up with the times and changing demographics, and helping others transform the world.” Among the order itself, SSND leadership is working with a consultant group, Team Dynamics, to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion principles within its organizational structure.


Addressing systemic inequities is foundational to who the SSND are and what they are called to do. — TIM DEWANE DIRECTOR OF SHALOM OFFICE FOR THE CENTRAL PACIFIC PROVINCE, SCHOOL SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME tudent organizations engage the Mount Mary community in S justice issues of the day.

Mount Mary serves as a model for this paradigm shift. This renewed understanding of diversity among the SSNDs reflects Mount Mary’s diverse student population and is present in Mount Mary’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives (DEI) that range from newly adopted inclusive hiring practices to the establishment of a DEI office on campus and a focused effort to bring diversity into leadership positions, such as the Board of Trustees.

SSND values rooted at heart In all facets of institutional life, from traditions to practical matters, SSND beliefs are in constant practice at Mount Mary. Members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame convey their blessings at important Mount Mary events.

“Now more than ever, we understand that our mission is structured within the times we live in,” Sciano said. “We must respond to the urgent needs that are presented.”

Mount Mary leads the way There has been a growing intention among the SSNDs to shift their understanding of community, and Mount Mary has led by example. Sciano explains this as a movement from a multicultural perspective, in which one teaches another about their culture, into one that is intercultural, a two-way, relationship-based understanding of culture. “We need to go in and not just provide or say we will give or do something for others, we need to go in with an understanding that we will interact with and learn from others, too.”

From the beginning to the end of the student experience, these values are called forth. Each August, new students are welcomed into the community with an investiture ceremony that sets forth the features of an SSND-inspired transformative education. All students take Search for Meaning, a required course designed by Ellen Lorenz, SSND, in the 1970s and still relevant today. Through her work as a curriculum developer, S. Ellen, a preeminent scholar and Mount Mary leader, helped students understand the intersectionality between scholarship, service and community need. Before graduation, students reflect upon their Mount Mary experience at the Mass and Light of Learning ceremony, in which they pass along their light to another who has made an impact or whom they hope to influence, an active reminder of the transformative nature of a Mount Mary education. Employees, too, are encultured in the spirit of Mount Mary. For the past few years, Vice President for Mission and Continued on page 6

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Sister Joan has also recorded a module on employing mission in courses for faculty, which is posted on the employee portal and available to reference at any time. All full-time faculty and many adjunct faculty members have completed this course. New this year is an initiative to keep the SSND mission alive. At mission dinners, colleagues come together for an evening meal to discuss their personal connection to Mount Mary’s mission.

At a mission dinner event held for employees, colleagues shared their personal growth and understanding of Mount Mary mission with one another.

Continued from page 5

Identity Joan Penzenstadler, SSND, and Vice President for Enrollment Services Dave Wegener have led a missioncentered onboarding program; over the course of a new employee’s first year, they participate in seminars outlining the history and mission of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and Mount Mary University.

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“In the past year, a question has surfaced several times: When did Mount Mary become involved in social justice issues? I pondered that question, especially in light of the expanding consciousness of the SSNDs over the years,” Penzenstadler said. “At the dinners, this question is a way to invite our community to reflect upon what draws them to the difference Mount Mary has made in their lives.”

SSNDs extend their mission The social justice work of the SSNDs is a natural extension of their role as educators. Today they work to educate and raise awareness of social justice issues, advocate to legislators, and build collaborative, local partnerships. These social justice engagements, which SSND refers to as Shalom, focus on dismantling racism; supporting migrants and refugees; promoting Gospel nonviolence and just peace; caring for creation; and addressing human trafficking, said Tim Dewane, director of Shalom office for the Central Pacific Province. Dewane, who has worked with the SSNDs for 24 years, also serves as the North American representative for global SSND Shalom Network engagements. “The School Sisters of Notre Dame educate with the conviction that the world can be changed through the transformation of people,” Dewane said. “Their experience walking with the poor and marginalized have helped them recognize that for individuals and families to reach their fullest potential, they must make establishment of a just society a concern of all their ministries. Addressing systemic inequities is foundational to who the SSND are and what they are called to do,” he said. This same purpose is what sustained Mother Caroline and the pioneering efforts of the SSNDs to educate America’s underserved women since her arrival in 1847. “We have Mother Caroline’s DNA in us,” Sciano said. “We focus upon how we are serving others and encouraging others to be their best selves. “I think she’d be happy with how we – and ministries such as Mount Mary – are moving forward.” n Mount Mary celebrated Founders Day on Feb. 24. Meet the students and staff members who received awards on page 29.

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NEW Exercise Science degree Students in Mount Mary’s new exercise science program will not have to wait until graduation to work as health and wellness professionals. The program, which opens in Fall 2022, will prepare students to become nationally certified group fitness instructors, personal trainers and/or exercise physiologists by the end of their second year. “With three certifications built into the curriculum, students can earn income and gain real-world experience,” said Cindy Kidd, an exercise scientist and faculty member with the program. Students will get to work hands-on using state-of-the-art equipment in the soon-to-be renovated Caroline Hall Gym and Fitness Center. Additionally, the university is establishing a biometrics laboratory in Notre Dame Hall, which will serve not only the exercise science program but other science and health care programs on campus. The program emphasizes wellness for diverse populations allowing students to be well rounded in a range of different disciplines. Given the broad spectrum of disciplines, the field of exercise science has a great future job outlook. “Careers in exercise science have great income potential and are in demand in clinics, hospitals, fitness clubs and wellness centers,” said School of Natural and Health Sciences Dean Cheryl Bailey. “The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 23 percent job growth through 2026.” The degree also provides a strong foundation for Mount Mary graduate programs such as a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics, or an advanced degree in occupational therapy. Other advanced learning options include medical school, or degrees in physical therapy and physician’s assistant. “Students have the advantage of learning in a supportive, all-women’s environment where they will develop leadership and professional skills,” Kidd said. “This program prepares them to work in a field that truly makes a difference in the lives of others.” n

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Stations of the Cross restored to original splendor When the Stations of the Cross painted by Mary Leo Hargarten, SSND, first graced Our Lady Chapel in the 1940s, the glow of the brass frames certainly caught the eye of worshippers and drew them to her skillful paintings, inspiring contemplation of Christ’s crucifixion. Her works “have a bright beauty which raised the mind to heaven,” says her 1959 obituary. Hargarten studied art in Munich, then taught and created art at Mount Mary from 1934 to 1955. Her paintings suggest “they are the result of a close union with God quite as much as of artistic talent and training,” her obituary says. “But it is in her Stations of the Cross that the greatness of her soul is best revealed.” In recent years, the frames have blackened with tarnish and her paintings seemed to fade from view. But as Our Lady Chapel’s walls recently brightened with fresh paint and touches of gold leaf, its wooden pews and alter step varnished to a rich brown shine, Facilities Manager Lory Bruder decided the chapel’s restoration would not be complete without polishing the Stations’ brass frames to their original splendor. Last April, Bruder took down and carefully dismantled one Station, loosening screws attaching the frame to a brass plate where

Sister Mary Leo had lovingly painted a scene from events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion. Separating the medallion and small wooden cross that crowned the frame, she laid out the pieces and each brass screw, then began rubbing each one with a soft cloth dabbed with brass cleaner. After hours of cleaning between fielding maintenance orders, layers of black and brown dissolved to reveal the brass’s golden tone. “That’s when she called me and asked if I’d like to see it,” said Vice President for Mission and Identity Joan Penzenstadler, SSND. “‘Look at the difference,’ she said, and it was magnificent!” Steve Pharr, husband of President Christine Pharr, Ph.D., heard about Bruder’s work on the Stations. “There are 14. Lory and her staff couldn’t spare that much time with all they had to do, so I volunteered to help,” the retired professor said. Pharr picked them up and took them home. Six volunteers from Mount Mary offered to help him polish. He set up workstations in their garage, sawhorses with planks. The cleaning supplies had been delivered. “We ended up having a cleaning party in August where we got off the first big layer,” Pharr said. Over the next two weeks, Pharr continued cleaning and polishing, even using tiny plastic brushes to shine every corner and crevice. The Stations of the Cross inspire prayerful meditation, especially during Lent but also on Fridays throughout the year. “It is fitting that, as part of our tradition of prayer, they be restored to the dignity they are meant to have,” said Penzenstadler. “The difference is stunning.” n

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Reflections upon the accomplishments of retiring President Christine Pharr, Ph.D. Whether interacting with students, pitching in on campus cleanup days or welcoming alumnae back to campus, Christine Pharr, Ph.D., engaged in her work with legendary enthusiasm.

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It has been a pleasure for me to collaborate with Dr. Pharr, particularly as partners with Milwaukee Catholic Home in the creation of Trinity Woods on the Mount Mary campus. “Her enthusiastic approach to building up the University and creating a sense of unity, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been remarkable and appreciated by all who have interacted with her. All of the SSND community hold her in prayer and wish her many blessings as she enters into the next phase of her life’s journey.” roundbreaking for Trinity Woods took place in September 2020 and construction persevered G through COVID and construction supply challenges. Pharr (right) is pictured here with Provincial Leader of the School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province Debra M. Sciano, SSND, and Milwaukee Catholic Home CEO David Fulcher.

This fall alone, the university experienced recordbreaking new student enrollment, and Trinity Woods, Mount Mary’s three-way partnership with the School Sisters of Notre Dame and Milwaukee Catholic Home, opened in late 2021 (see page 13). Mount Mary has experienced significant programmatic growth, such as the Compass Year program for undecided students. This first-year program designed to help students explore career paths and identify a major has grown over 300 percent since it began three years ago. The 2022 U.S. News and World Report ranked Mount Mary educates Mount Mary #1 among committed change-makers all regional universities and barrier-breakers, and in the Midwest for Dr. Pharr has truly been social mobility, which a champion of change and measures the success growth. Mount Mary’s rate of graduating lowstrategic plan, strong income students based internal leadership and upon six-year graduation capable faculty and staff rates. will continue to move Mount Mary purposefully and confidently into the future.” – Stephanie Russell Chair, Board of Trustees

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Under Pharr’s stewardship, Mount Mary moved up more than 20 spots to 51st in the best-of

– Debra M. Sciano, SSND Provincial Leader, School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province

rankings of regional universities, and was recognized for having the greatest economic and ethnic diversity in the Midwest. In 2020, Mount Mary became one of only two Hispanic Serving Institutions in Wisconsin. Mount Mary’s four-year, fully on-campus Bachelor of Science in Nursing program opened in 2021 after an extensive, $2.5 million renovation of the swimming pool and locker room into a Health Sciences Center. Expanded graduate offerings include a Ph.D. in counseling and a doctorate in occupational therapy, and extensive revisions to existing programs in dietetics and business (MBA). A new undergraduate program in exercise science opens in fall (see page 7). “We have instituted a multitude of new programs and initiatives, which led to a record number of new students this fall,” Pharr said. “I am confident that I will leave Mount Mary in an excellent position with a bright future.”

eviewing construction plans R became second nature to Pharr, from the re-envisioned food lab (above) to the construction of the Health Sciences Center, Nursing Skills Lab and other campus improvements.

When Pharr came to campus in 2017, it didn’t take her long to get involved, and her reputation as an advocate for others became recognized both on- and off-campus.

I n 2017, the 12th president of Mount Mary received a playful gift during her introduction to campus, a Green Bay Packers jersey with her name and the distinctive number she shares with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

In summer 2021, she led the university in establishing the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and named Julie Landry as the university’s first vice president for DEI.

A tireless fundraiser deeply sensitive to the needs of Mount Mary students, Pharr and the Alumnae and Donor Relations department raised $2 million for Trinity Woods. She has also established a $100,000 endowment for food resources and increased the President’s Emergency Fund as a significant support to students during COVID. She is now raising money for the Madonna Fund to sustain single mothers’ resources long into the future.

Christine Pharr is a joiner. From the first time I met her, right down to today, she has proven herself as one who would not just stand by and let things happen, but who steps up and is making a difference throughout the community and country. She gets things done, and we will miss her.” – Rolf Wegenke President of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU)

Dr. Christine Pharr has faced monumental challenges as Mount Mary's 12th president. We have seen her empathy and support for our community after the murder of George Floyd in 2020, her appreciation of the Latina Taskforce's role in becoming recognized as Hispanic Serving Institution, her concern for our health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, and her successful role in opening the Trinity Woods intergenerational housing community. Dr. Pharr's work has positioned the Mount Mary faculty and larger community to explore collaborative opportunities that will refresh our commitment to the mission and vision and invite us to continue to live out our core values.” – J ason Meyler Chair, Faculty Assembly

Pharr has assumed multiple leadership positions within the local and state higher education communities. She co-chaired goal two for the Higher Education Regional Alliance (HERA), and serves as vice chair of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU). She is also a member of the Milwaukee downtown Rotary, TEMPO and Milwaukee Women, Inc.

uring her time at Mount Mary, D Pharr put her piano-playing skills to good use at Christmas parties, alumnae gatherings and liturgies.

In August, she was recognized by the Biz Times as a Notable Woman in Education for 2021. mployees celebrated Pharr’s arrival in 2017 with an ice cream social E featuring Purple Door ice cream in vanilla and our signature flavor, Mount Mary berry.

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True to her spirit, Pharr exhibited faith in action through her deeds great and small. Acting upon this forward-facing faith, she led the construction of the Place of Peace, an interfaith space for all students, and helped create a Muslim prayer room where students could gather, prepare and pray their daily prayers. This same spirit helped guide Mount Mary through an extensive strategic planning process, leading to “Living, Learning and Working in a Thriving Community,” a multifaceted plan that identified visionary goals in five planning areas through 2025.

It is with tremendous gratitude that Mount Mary thanks a leader who broke ground, made connections and acted upon faith, all for the good of this community.

harr’s faith in action kept her involved, no P matter the need (upper left). She engaged in her Catholic faith, as seen here during her inauguration Mass with Archbishop Jerome Listecki (center). She also shared her respect of other faith traditions through the construction of Mount Mary’s Place of Peace interfaith space (lower left) and the adjacent Muslim prayer room.

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Trinity Woods community a national model for support and innovation It is more than a place to call home for sisters and seniors, mothers and children. From the moment the concept was introduced, Trinity Woods has garnered national attention as a landmark example of care and community.

Dr. Pharr has a deep love for the Mount Mary community, as was evident in everything that she did for it. We know that every decision she made during her presidency she made with love and concern for the whole Mount Mary community and she has made such a positive impact on the university that she will be remembered for years to come. We would especially like to thank Dr. Pharr for her commitment to listening to student voices.” – Mount Mary University 2021-2022 Student Government Association Board

“Intergenerational living is about being open to what you can learn from others, and acknowledging the importance of human connection and interaction in every possible way,” said Mount Mary President Christine Pharr, Ph.D., who was greatly involved in the development of this living community. Trinity Woods provides an educational and supportive housing option for single mothers who are students at Mount Mary University and a vibrant, intergenerational living environment for School Sisters of Notre Dame and seniors. All buildings are fully interconnected by a Town Center that incorporates numerous spaces to bring people together in friendly conversation, dining, prayer, learning and socialization. This one-of-a-kind intergenerational housing community opened its doors in late 2021, and also includes an early childhood education center for up to 100 children managed by Wauwatosa


he many stages of life and resurrection T are depicted in this stained glass phoenix. These tall, sweeping windows were brought to Trinity Woods from Notre Dame of Elm Grove.

Daycare. The facility also provides myriad opportunities for internships, clinicals, practicums and relationship building for all Mount Mary students as a place for educational immersion and professional practice. The addition of Trinity Woods to the Mount Mary campus has been an identity shifter for the university, welcoming the Sisters and seniors into the Mount Mary community. There are ample opportunities for students and their children to interact with the SSNDs and senior residents at Trinity Woods. The community lounges on each student floor feature reading nooks for children and play areas. Many of the SSNDs enjoy eating meals and interacting with the children whenever possible.

At Trinity Woods a landmark revolutionary program was created. The trajectory and future success that Mount Mary has had in creating Trinity Woods will and should be a model for other Catholic higher education institutions with a need to increase the quality of lives in the campus community.” – Geneva B. Johnson Mount Mary University Trustee Emeritus

Read more about Dr. Pharr’s commitment to the Madonna Fund, established to address the challenges that student mothers and their children face, including those who live at Trinity Woods. The Madonna Fund will consist of two separate funds, one to address immediate needs of our growing number of student mothers now and one to provide long-term sustainability into the future. See page 21 for details.

Choice Senior Apartments Still Available

“Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life.” -Colossians 2:7 Put down roots at Trinity Woods. Make meaningful connections that will allow you to grow in faith and life.

Tour Today! 414-625-9909

9525 West Burleigh Street, Milwaukee, WI 53222 - A partnership of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Mount Mary University, and Milwaukee Catholic Home. Equal housing opportunity. All faiths welcome.

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A LOOK AT ARTMAKING THROUGH THE YEARS When artists Jordan and Josh Anderson came to Mount Mary to lead its art programs more than a dozen years ago, the couple waded into a creative stream that began when Sister Stanisia established the Art Department in 1929.

Her “method of silkscreening was taught when we joined in 2008,” and her silkscreen wall hangings and tapestries still add colorful touches all over campus today, noted Jordan Anderson, Art & Design Department chair.

An important artist, Stanisia Kurkowska, SSND, (18781967) helped define an American Catholic art, with its own icons and style. A prolific painter of portraits and murals, the renowned artist created altarpieces for three historic Chicago churches.

“We have an attachment to the historical past thankfully transferred to us through the people we encountered here when we were hired,” she continued. Among the Andersons’ first colleagues were artist-teachers who had been at Mount Mary for decades: Angelee Fuchs and biological sisters Rosemarita and Mary Carla Huebner, all SSNDs who integrated spiritual life and artistic practice.

Through the years, notable artists infused new talents and perspectives. Mary Augustine Hatch, SSND, (1896-1974) inspired colorful murals in Mount Mary’s dining hall with her abstract paintings. Internationally regarded Mary Leo Hartgarten, SSND, (1935-1956) painted Stations of the Cross for Our Lady Chapel (see page 8), as well as for St. Theresa Church in Appleton. She used an innovative technique of mixing tempera and oil, painting on metal, to create brilliant colors. Mary Remy Revor, SSND, (1914-1998) created “elaborate textiles … printed with colorful patterns and textures from batik, linoleum block and silkscreen techniques,” says American Craft magazine.

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Sister Angelee drew subjects from nature in colored pencil and pastels, and taught two-dimensional design. Sister Rosemarita practiced jewelry-making and metalsmithing. As department chair for 15 years, she led the formation of the art therapy, graphic design and communication design programs. The Wisconsin Art Education Association recognized both Sister Rosemarita and Sister Carla as dedicated educators. It seems everyone remembers their humor. The nuns and their colleagues taught art as a way of addressing social issues and exploring faith. As Bob


rt has been an important form of self-expression since Mount Mary’s A earliest beginning. Photos (clockwise from top): art class drawing a still life; Department Chair Jordan Anderson critiques a student’s work; a student uses a jigsaw to create a wooden sculpture for the annual Voices of Leadership event on campus; Joshua Anderson with a student creating multimedia art.

Schwartz, dean of the School for Arts & Design, puts it, Mount Mary is “no ordinary higher education institution. It conducts itself on a mission platform of social justice.” “They brought their activism to the classroom,” Josh Anderson said, “something we both still work toward.” “We teach that art is beyond the decorative,” agreed Jordan Anderson. “Whether students choose a contemplative practice or an activist practice, through their art they find connections to issues and topics.” The Andersons divide their duties by dimension. Jordan focuses on 2D – painting, printmaking and drawing; Josh works in the 3D realm – sculpture, ceramics and metalsmithing. Both find meaningful ways for art students to showcase what they learn. A collaboration with Mount Mary’s Women’s Leadership Institute created a platform for students to present their work during its Voices of Leadership lecture series and, with it, the chance for students to interact with some of the nation’s most influential people. “They find this very meaningful,” Josh Anderson said. Another opportunity allowed murals created in the painting studio to be rotated into a community exhibit where students used their work to speak to the surrounding community. As Marian Art Gallery director, Josh Anderson brings regional artists to exhibit work and offer public lectures. “By meeting artists, art students can imagine different ways of navigating in the world.” They hope their influence flows beyond art students into the whole campus community. “Many others move through our classrooms and programs. We hope they all leave with the ability to see the world from an artistic point of view,” Josh Anderson said. n SPRING 2022 |



Brown shares multiple perspectives

as nurse and cancer patient, author and mother

Visiting Fellow Theresa Brown engaged the Mount Mary community in discussions about American health care and more during a week-long visit in March.

refuse the vaccine. She asked the audience to consider how renewed dedication to health care’s core mission of “caring” could help heal our broken system.

Brown is a registered nurse with a doctorate in English, a frequent contributor to the New York Times and author of three books drawing on personal experiences in health care. She speaks nationally on topics like nurse-to-patient

In an interview after her talk, she elaborated on problems in American health care. “The health care system focuses too much on making money. Compassion for patients doesn’t get the weight it needs,” Brown said. And about the nursing shortage, “part of the problem is a pipeline issue. There are not enough places in nursing programs to meet the demand. That’s why I’m excited to see Mount Mary has a BSN program now.” In the Introduction to College Writing, the New York Times bestselling author shared her writing experiences and the process of drafting, re-drafting and editing. She emphasized the importance of receiving feedback.

uring a busy week in March visiting campus, bestselling author and D health care expert Theresa Brown addressed classes, student groups and held a public keynote.

ratios, health care reform, bullying by physicians and nurses, and the importance of end-of-life care. Her talks and writings are informed by her experiences as an oncology nurse, a hospice nurse and a cancer patient. Mount Mary’s Women’s Leadership Institute brought Brown to campus through the Council of Independent Colleges’ Visiting Fellows Program, which brings prominent leaders to participate in substantive dialogue with university communities. During her week at Mount Mary, Brown met with students and faculty, and a variety of classes, from nursing and occupational therapy to English and psychology. She delivered a public keynote focused on healing the health care system and joined Mount Mary employees to reflect on mission.

Here are a few highlights from her visit: During her keynote, Brown described the state of American health care, where during the crisis of the COVID pandemic, sick patients are turned away, nurses are quitting in droves and many Americans continue to

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In the Developmental Psychology class, Brown talked with 17 students, several already working in health care, about the importance of treating the whole patient, including taking their age into account. “What if you are a 30-year-old diagnosed with a terrible disease? You may have small children at home or a new job, no strong family support system. You’re pulled out of your very busy life, told you have a disease that can kill you. “Just like that, your whole sense of how you imagine your future changed. It is certainly different when you get a bad diagnosis in your twenties vs. your seventies.” “Students really appreciated hearing her firsthand experiences,” said instructor Nan Metzger. At the end of her visit, Brown shared a few observations about Mount Mary: • People at Mount Mary really do embrace the mission. Faculty care about students as people. • Mount Mary’s impact is evident in the confidence of the students, their attentiveness in class and in its genuinely supportive atmosphere. n


Learning to lead,

Mount Mary Style

A commitment to children and an interest in healthy food have been strong themes throughout Jamy McClain’s life, but it wasn’t until she came to Mount Mary that her personal mission sharpened into focus.

“It’s a human right to have access to healthy food. With my major, and especially with my love for kids, I would like to go work for the public school systems and create meal plans and create regulations to get healthier food in the free food programs that children depend on so much.”

Her passion for food equity began during her second year at UWM during a food sustainability course that covered issues such as food equity, community and big agriculture. Today she is earning her M.S. in integrated nutrition and dietetics at Mount Mary.

Throughout her time at Mount Mary, McClain has found her voice and embodies the mission of Mount Mary, to be a bold leader with a passion for social justice. In February she was awarded the Mother Caroline Award for her commitment to sustainability, food equity and the community.

“That class was the first thing in my life, besides music, that I felt my heart was in.” After being at UWM for a few years, she took a break from school and began working at a gym. There, she sometimes assisted clients with making meal plans and one of her colleagues had mentioned how she would be a great dietitian. She began researching programs and found Mount Mary. Since coming to Mount Mary, McClain has immersed herself into campus activities, everything from student government and cross country to joining – and eventually leading – the communications club, Empowering Voices. “I’m making it a place to have discussions about what is going on within the community and the world,” she said. She currently works at a community center as an after-school child care provider and camp counselor. She is concerned that the free lunches weren’t particularly nutritious, and neither were the take-home meals the students would bring to back to their families. McClain’s goal is to one day be able to make regulations to help those without the access to healthier options.

J amy McClain with Christine Pharr Ph.D. and S. Debra M. Sciano, SSND, at Founders Day in February.

“I never thought I was a leader, but this school has proven to me that I can be a leader and I have the capacity to do so. I get so emotional – I love this school so much,” said McClain. Like Mother Caroline, McClain manifests a passion, not only for practices in food sustainability and her chosen discipline of dietetics, but also in her commitment to building a sense of community and helping empower voices to respond to the needs of the times. “When reading about Mother Caroline and her commitment to serve in the community, it makes me very honored to have gotten that award. Because just like her, I am really active in every community I am a part of,” she said. “I think Mother Caroline and I would have been great friends.” n SPRING 2022 |




acked in rooms under Notre Dame Hall, shelved in boxes and hung on racks, lie 10,000 hidden gems – garments, hats, shoes and jewelry designed by the brightest fashion luminaries of all time, along with illustrations, playbills and newspaper clippings telling the back story. Without a full-time curator for a number of years, faculty and staff have tenderly cared for the collection between their regular duties, but this treasure trove remained largely out of sight, until now. A prestigious grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) set work in motion. With two-year funding for a curator, professional photographer, student interns and new equipment, the fashion archive digitization project begins.

Important fashion artifacts are revealed in high-quality 360-degree images, uploaded to a website and accessible to students, scholars, artists, designers and anyone else from around the world for research and inspiration. Meanwhile, each precious item is cataloged, tended and mended, its storage upgraded. “We have an incredible collection of 20th century garments and accessories that is important historically and valuable financially,” said Dean for the School for Arts & Design Bob Schwartz. “This grant gives us the opportunity to catalog and preserve it better, digitize it and make it available to the entire world as a scholarly resource and inspiration.”


Library Director Dan Vinson led a team seeking resources to digitize Mount Mary’s exceptional Fashion Archive and helped put together the proposal for the CLIR grant. A separate, earlier grant in 2018 from the Stella H. Jones Foundation had started the momentum by purchasing gear, outfitting the room and beginning the photography process, but the competitive CLIR grant was particularly elusive. “We spent dozens and dozens of hours to prepare the application in 2019, but we did not win,” Vinson said.

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They tweaked it and tried again in 2020. An email arrived last spring announcing they were awarded the nearly $250,000 Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Grant, one of only 16 institutions among 151 from the United States and Canada that applied.


Below Notre Dame Hall, fashion students and archive interns Mary Safranski and Asma Dasan sit at tables surrounded by shirt boxes. Each box holds clothing, some dating back to the mid-18th century. “I never knew we had all this,” Dasan exclaimed. They check tags, sew in labels used for tracking, fold, wrap in acid-free tissue paper and repack each item. Some days they pad hangers or dress mannequins for a photo shoot. Enter grant-funded curator/stylist Amanda Cacich, tasked with determining the archives’ strengths, a challenge with a collection of both couture and ready-to-wear garments from designer superstars. Will she choose Cristóbal Balenciaga, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Norman Norell, Bonnie Cashin, Oscar de la Renta, Jean Patou or Karl Lagerfeld? How about Valentina, Hubert de Givenchy, Pauline Trigere, Pierre Cardin or George Peter Stavropoulos? Calvin Klein? Arnold Scaasi? Or gowns worn by Wisconsin celebrities like designer Florence Eiseman, chanteuse Hildegarde or actress Lynn Fontanne?

“We’re shooting Bonnie Cashin today,” Cacich said. “She did a lot of ready-wear starting in the 1950s, things we take for granted today. She was ahead of her time. “We have 90 Frank Olive hats. I haven’t found another collection as big as ours.” The Milwaukee hatmaker designed clothing and millinery in the 1960s. People liked his hats, so he decided to drop clothing. “At the same time, women stopped wearing hats. He still had an illustrious career. It’s been fun to discover these stories.” Founder of Mount Mary’s fashion design program, Aloyse Hessburg, SSND, started the program in 1965 and the Fashion Archive soon after. She also began Mount Mary’s Friends of Fashion. The group raised funds to maintain, preserve and exhibit the Fashion Archive. Much of the collection is based on donations Sister Aloyse received from her industry contacts, with a very significant portion coming from the estate of designer Charles Kleibacker.


In the studio, photographer Marshall Lee carefully grooms a Cashin jacket. “A stray thread will show up when you zoom in,” he said. He snaps a picture of the jacket worn by a mannequin on the turntable before him. It rotates 10 degrees and stops. He shoots again and patiently continues the process. Lee looks at the screen on his left and checks the quality of the image. Six months into it and collections by Valentina, garments from the Ebony Fashion Fair, Pauline Trigère, Irene, Hattie Carnegie and Hildegarde are online. It’s a good start on many years of work to be done. Like a treasure map, the digital fashion archive leads people in. Faculty members see pieces to show students. A photo may inspire a budding designer or a historian interested in outfits representing the zeitgeist of their times. “Entrepreneurial designers need a jumping off point,” said Donna Ricco ‘81, an alumna with her own label who’s back as the Fashion Department’s executive fellow. “A sleeve might catch your eye and you say to yourself, ‘I’d love to use that technique.’” On campus, the Fashion Archive serves as inspiration for the future and a reminder of the

his black silk crepe evening gown designed by Bruyere T was worn by vaudeville singer Hildegarde in 1948 and was later donated to the Mount Mary Fashion Archive.

Continued on page 20

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urator and stylist Amanda Cacich and photographer Marshall Leigh set up a garment in the Notre Dame Hall photography studio. They place the C garment on a turntable and carefully photograph it 36 times, in 10-degree increments.

Continued from page 19

past. Sophomore class designers use garments from the collection as a starting point for their final project in their draping class, based upon a technique or theme they’ve observed from the collection. This year’s garments will be shown at CREO on May 14 (see CREO details on the inside front cover of this magazine). As these garments see new light, some are also selected for display. Today the Academic Showcase in Notre Dame Hall features Mount Mary’s collection of Ebony Fashion Fair garments, a groundbreaking platform for social justice from the 1960s. The Ebony Fashion Fair was a traveling exhibit from the 1950s2009 that helped redefine style, beauty and empowerment for African American women. Its social justice themes convey “the broader foundation on which Mount Mary operates,” said Schwartz. This peek into Mount Mary’s acclaimed fashion collection is but a glimpse of the treasures buried below. “Our Fashion Archive is colorful, visual and just plain fun,” said Fashion Department Chair Ashley Brooks. “It will be impactful to let everyone see it.” n



Providing a new path for student mothers Today there are over four million parents enrolled in colleges across the country. 70 percent of those student parents are mothers and of that group, 62 percent are single mothers. Attending college with children can present challenges to anyone, but can be especially difficult for those who have little to no support or are parenting on their own. Studies show that nearly one out of every four people living in a single mother household is living in poverty. But many times, when single mothers try to attend college to better their situation, they are faced with an abysmal lack of support which results in a much higher dropout rate than their nonparenting peers. Mount Mary is working to change this! Single mothers who are hoping to earn their degree and create a better life for themselves and their children are finding new support on campus. One such resource is the newly opened Trinity Woods. Trinity Woods is an innovative living opportunity for single mother students and their children. The intergenerational facility contains 24 private apartments for single mothers as well as an on-site dining plan and five-star early childhood education center, all just steps away from campus. Having a safe, affordable place to live with their children removes a huge barrier for single mothers to attend college, but there are still many other hurdles such as child care costs, living expenses, medical bills and transportation costs to name a few. To address these needs, Mount Mary also created the Madonna Endowment Fund. This endowed fund will be available to all single mothers regardless of whether they are living on campus or not. The annual earnings from the Madonna Endowment Fund will assist single mothers with any financial needs they have in excess of the federal, state and institutional aid they can obtain.

others who are students and their children are an important part M of the intergenerational community of Trinity Woods. The Madonna Fund is set up to address the needs of all undergraduate mothers and their children in need of support.

It may mean the difference between using the high-quality Trinity Woods child care or some other lower quality options. It may mean the difference in having books for a semester or a working car or being able to pay their tuition bill. Jamie, a Mount Mary student and single mother, lives at Trinity Woods with her young son. The Madonna Endowment Fund is available to help her with things such as child care expenses, diapers, school books or medical expenses for her or her child, allowing her the ability to stay in school and complete her degree. Jamie says, “I’m studying nursing. I’m hoping to work in a hospital in the OB department so I can help mothers just like myself. There are so many single mothers who just need an opportunity and the resources to succeed. Mount Mary was here for me when I needed resources to help me get my education, so I want to be able to help others and give back to the community.”

If you are interested in supporting the Madonna Endowment Fund you can make a gift at or call Amy LaMacchia at (414) 930-3343.

Mount Mary’s mission is to prepare young women to be successful and go out into the world with the skills needed to make a difference, not only in their lives and that of their families, but also in their communities. The Madonna Endowment Fund will help even more women fulfill their dreams of a college education and have an impact for generations to come. n SPRING 2022 |






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As one walks through the halls of Mount Mary, the reminders of our mission and identity are like guideposts, from the 4 C’s (Competence, Community, Compassion and Commitment) adorning the main hallway in Notre Dame Hall, to the beautiful mural outside of the Alumnae Dining Room, and the quilted tapestry in the foyer of the Haggerty Library.

of mission Vice President for Mission and Identity Joan Penzenstadler, SSND, has brought innumerable graces to campus. This spring, as Penzenstadler steps away from her role, she leaves a commitment to the SSND legacy that is tangible and enduring. “I knew there needed to be something in the very structure of Mount Mary to help us reflect on the mission,” she said. As one of the few remaining SSNDs to hold a leadership role, Penzenstadler has created a framework for passing along the culture and spirit of our founders. A robust Campus Ministry program provides spiritual programming for students and the entire campus. New employees engage in a yearlong onboarding program. A course titled “Infusing the Mission” is available for faculty members and adjuncts. On Founders Day the campus community comes together to honor the SSNDs, and celebrate employees and students who exemplify the SSND spirit. This spring, Penzenstadler also hosted a series of mission dinners, opportunities for employees to break bread together and discuss the spirit that continues to enrich Mount Mary. “When I came in 1981, there were 60 sisters who lived in Fidelis Hall. The president, administrators and faculty were all SSNDs,” she said. “We didn’t have to talk about the mission, people were just breathing it!” Penzenstadler began her work as an educator at Messmer High School teaching French, then furthered her studies in theology, earning a M.A. from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. She joined the theology department at Mount Mary and led the program for 15 years, earning a Ph.D. in theology and education shortly after arriving. By 2004, there were 30 sisters left, and President Pat O’Donoghue recognized that the presence of SSNDs

was diminishing and so she wanted someone to very intentionally lead the charge for the mission. At that time, O’Donoghue asked Penzenstadler to become the special assistant to the president for mission and identity. The intricate and thoughtful implementation of Catholic identity of MMU is woven throughout so much of what we do that it is an organic way of life for our community now. Other leaders have taken note of how the mission lives through Penzenstadler. Stories of her generosity, wisdom, enthusiasm and reverence for God are in no short supply. Professor of Theology Donald J. Rappé sums up Penzenstadler’s impact in just one word: “Immeasurable.” When challenging situations arise, Mount Mary President Christine Pharr, Ph.D., reflects on how she can count on Penzenstadler to center the President’s Council decision-making on perpetuating the University mission. “I have worked in multiple higher education institutions and I have to say that Mount Mary has a very strong mission – the strongest I have ever seen and I do attribute that to the gentle and compassionate leadership that I see in Penzenstadler. “They say preach the gospel always – use words only when necessary,” Pharr said. “Penzenstadler embodies those words every single day!” When asked what comes next for her, Penzenstadler looks to the SSND Constitution and way of life titled, “You Are Sent.” It states: “We are educators in all that we are and do.” She said, “I want to focus on the being part of this phrase.” “When I think of a leading lady, I think of Mothers Caroline, Kostka, Fidelis and Sister Ellen Lorenz; I’m doing my best to be true to their spirit.” n SPRING 2022 |



Mount Mary’s sixties folk group shares an unbreakable bond When Mount Mary’s Class of 1967 gathered five years ago for their 50th reunion, The Whispering Winds hadn’t planned to perform. But deep down, they knew they would. They stepped into the hall of Alioto’s Restaurant for a quick rehearsal, then offered a few songs to their appreciative classmates. “We couldn’t help it. It’s what we do and who we are,” wrote Clara Schneider Locher. Mount Mary’s celebrated folk singers of the Class of ’67 burst into song whenever they are together just as they did as undergraduates. Even more than for their songs, the foursome is remembered for their enduring love. In the 55 years since they graduated, Ellen Shreffler Ostrand (“Shreff”), Judi Thomas Gosenheimer, Pauline Tollenaere Petterson (“Paulie”) and Clara Schneider Locher celebrate each other’s babies and grandbabies, promotions and retirements. They comfort each other in tragedy and sickness, and join voices every opportunity they find. Today they are scattered across the country. Shreff lives in Phoenix, Clara in a rural community in Kansas. Paulie in Oregon and Judi in northern Wisconsin. Their mentor, Miriam Cecile Ross, SSND, lives in Milwaukee. Ross, an associate professor of music from 1960-1970, hopes this quartet will be remembered “for who they are, the way they give of themselves and support each other. Their bond, which began at Mount Mary, is just incredible,” she exclaimed.

In the hallowed halls In 1965, Shreff bought a guitar. “When you play the guitar, it doesn’t take long for people to gather around you and sing,” she said. “The four of us clicked as voices and as friends. We sang off the cuff all the time.” In stairwells and tunnels, music studios and dorms, “anywhere and everywhere, they broke into song,” Ross said. She critiqued them, but little else. “They were self-starters and did their own arrangements. Their sound was simple and pure.” They performed the music of the day – Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, The Kingston Trio. “We did other songs just because they were beautiful, like ‘The Village of St. Bernadette.’” Shreff said.

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Nearby Father James Groppi marched against racism and young men across America left for Vietnam. The Whispering Winds came to terms with the turbulent times through music, singing songs like “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Blowin’ in the Wind,” that reflected the social consciousness of the time, she said. Ross got the quartet gigs at churches, synagogues, Veteran’s Hospital, Wauwatosa Junior Women’s Club and the Greek Orthodox Church, where they sang “Silent Night” in Greek, German and English. They performed on WTMJ-TV and later thrilled at seeing the broadcast. They sang at Mount Mary’s 1966 Mother-Daughter Tea and on graduation eve for their families. Paulie’s boyfriend Tom, later her husband, recorded them on a big reel. In the 1980s, he transferred it to cassette tapes, giving each their first recording of their music.

Out in the world Judi became a teacher, Shreff a dietitian, Clara and Paulie joined the military. Clara stayed in the Air Force. Paulie became an occupational therapist. They had families, 11 children between them. Over the years, they lived around the country and across the world. During the busy years, they’d dash off Christmas cards, try to make the reunions and keep one another in their prayers. Now in retirement, “we can fan the flames of friendship we have always had,” Shreff said. Will they sing when they gather in October at their 55th reunion? Nothing is planned, but of course they will. “We can’t help it,” Clara said. n


The four of us clicked as voices and as friends. We sang off the cuff all of the time. — ELLEN "SHREFF" SHREFFLER OSTRAND '67

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THE SEARCH IS ON New leadership announcement coming soon

Who will be the next president of Mount Mary? That monumental question has led to a nationwide search of some of the brightest minds in higher education. With the support of the executive recruiting firm WittKieffer, the search committee has been identifying candidates and narrowing the field over the past several months. The committee consists of 16 individuals representing trustees and trustee-alumnae; members of the faculty, staff, and student body; and School Sisters of Notre Dame. The search committee, led by Board of Trustees Chair Stephanie Russell, Ed.D., and Board of Governance Committee Chair Mary Jo Layden selected four finalists to visit Mount Mary in March. The candidates toured the campus and met with faculty, staff and student representatives. “We are entering the next chapter, and the new president will rely on the support, expertise and good will of every person in the MMU community to help us step confidently into the future,” Russell said. “We trust that the spirit of God will guide Mount Mary on this path.” The new president will succeed President Christine Pharr, Ph.D., who steps down on June 30, 2022.

...the new president will rely on the support, expertise and good will of every person in the MMU community to help us step confidently into the future. — STEPHANIE RUSSELL, Ed.D

The official announcement is expected in mid-April. For the latest updates, scan the QR code or visit

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Welcome Teo Cooper, Ed.D. Mount Mary has named Teo O.H. Cooper the senior director of student affairs and chief retention officer. Formerly the dean of students and a member of the faculty in the science education department at The University of The Bahamas (UB) North Campus in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Cooper holds a Doctor of Education degree in curriculum and instruction specializing in science education and environmental science from Florida International University (FIU). Over the span of his 15 years in higher education, Cooper has also worked at FIU in the Center for Leadership and Service, and with their upward bound math and science TRIO program. Previously, he has also taught science in the Miami-Dade public school system. At Mount Mary, Cooper will provide leadership and develop strategic universitywide initiatives to increase student persistence, retention and completion. He will also supervise several areas in the division of student affairs including; residence life, student engagement, COVID-19 issues and Trinity Woods student services. Teo Cooper


Groundbreaking state law advances status of interior designers Wisconsin Registered Interior Designers (WRID) now have an expanded scope of service legislation to more holistically practice interior design, and Mount Mary students, faculty and alumnae were instrumental in making this new state law a reality. From now on, interior non-structural construction or renovation plans can be completed by Wisconsin Registered Interior Designers submitted independently to building code officials. “This revision provides new opportunities for interior design students, as it updates outdated industry regulations that are not reflective of the current education students receive,” said Chair of the Interior Design and Architecture Department Gigi Szeklinski. “It’s one of the most progressive laws in the country for interior designers,” said Dean of the School of Arts and Design Bob Schwartz, adding that clients will realize greater cost savings by no longer needing to hire both an interior designer and an architect for interior projects. “This law represents empowerment for women, small business growth and opportunities for commerce, and it better reflects the rigorous, accredited design education they undertake while acknowledging the actual scope and

responsibilities of a Wisconsin Registered Interior Designer,” said Assistant Professor of Interior Design Kay Seno. In late March, Gov. Tony Evers signed Wisconsin Act 195 after years of advocacy. Introduced by a bipartisan committee of lawmakers, interior design advocates worked together Gigi Szeklinski, chair of the Interior with architectural, Design and Architecture Department engineering and many other industry representatives to collaboratively negotiate the bill. Szeklinski was part of the negotiating team. Mount Mary students participated throughout the legislation process by welcoming state legislators to campus, testifying at multiple hearings in Madison and attending various events surrounding the advocacy. “Other professions are going through similar evolutions as they examine and explore existing roles and responsibilities, paralegals, dental hygienists, nurse practitioners, even art therapists, Szeklinski said. “We are qualified professionals. This updated legislation better reflects these realities.”

Campus prepares for accreditation renewal As part of its accreditation renewal with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Mount Mary is finalizing a self-study that documents outcomes related to the university’s mission; ethics; teaching and learning (quality, resources, and support); teaching and learning (evaluation and improvement); and institutional effectiveness, resources & planning. Mount Mary has retained HLC accreditation status since 1926. The renewal occurs on a 10-year cycle and requires the institution to meet five main criteria and be engaged in continuous improvement. After the self-study is submitted, a peer review team will visit Mount Mary October 24 and 25, 2022, to complete a comprehensive evaluation. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions. Their mission is to advance the common good through quality assurance of higher education as the leader in equitable, transformative and trusted accreditation in the service of students and member institutions.

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This section highlights recent noteworthy accomplishments and awards of the Mount Mary University faculty, staff and students.

FACULTY AND STAFF Ann Angel, Professor Emerita, English, facilitated a remote writing workshop on villains for the Austin, Tex., Writing Barn in February. In addition, she served as the humanities expert and writing workshop facilitator for the Metcalfe Park Bridges Decameron series (June 1 through July 12, 2021). The event was co-funded by The Wisconsin Department of Humanities and The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.

Joined in harmony A painting by Jordan Acker Anderson, M.F.A., Arts & Graphic Design, was selected by a jury for exhibition in Watercolor Wisconsin 2021 at the Wustum Museum location of the Racine Art Museum.

Kristen Carioti, Ph.D., Business, attended the Nielsen Norman Group UX (User Experience) Global Conference in December 2021. She concentrated in UX Management courses, and earned the NN/g Certification in UX. This training was part of her role as the lead quantitative on the Mount Mary STEM by Design Assessment Team. Shawnee Daniels-Sykes, Ph.D., Theology, completed a book review for the College Theology Society magazine, “Horizons on the Black Lives Matter Movement and the Catholic Church by Olga Segura,” in November 2021.

Be part of our creative conversations. Like and follow us

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Instagram (@mountmaryuniversity)

Ayurdhi Dhar, Ph.D., Psychology, published “The Slippery and the Sane: Decolonizing Psychology through a Study of the Indian Girl-Child,” in Feminism & Psychology; “Psychology: A Discipline in Trouble and Trouble in a Discipline,” in Theory & Psychology; and “Torturing our Flaws: How a Little Masochism Might Save the Discipline,” in Div 24 APA Newsletter, Spring 2021. Kara Groom, Ph.D., Nursing, published “Comparting Interprofessional Socialization in Mixed-Discipline and Nursing Student-Only Cohorts,” in Nurse Educator. Terri Jashinsky, Ph.D. and Carrie King, Ph.D., Counseling, published a paper with their students Noel Kwiat, Brittney Henry and Alexis Lockett-Glover entitled, “Disability and Covid-19: Impact on Workers, Intersectionality with Race, and Inclusion Strategies,” in Career Development Quarterly: Special Issue on COVID-19. Dana Scheunemann, Ph.D., Dietetics, was selected to serve on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Nutrition Care Manual Board of Editors and for the Academy’s Evidence Analysis Library: Dietary Approaches and Health Outcomes Workgroup expert panel. In addition, Scheunemann was awarded the Outstanding Dietetics Educator for the North Central Region for Coordinated Programs in Dietetics. Every year, the group honors outstanding educators and preceptors in a seven-state region. The NDEP Nutrition and Dietetics Educators and Preceptors is the largest practice group in The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Kristin Whyte, Ph.D., Education, published “Understanding Kindergarten Readiness,” in The Elementary School Journal, and completed a book chapter in a book entitled, “Exploring Social Justice and Professionalization.”

Each year, Mount Mary commemorates the courageous university founders by recognizing high-achieving students and awarding distinguished employees at Founders Day in late February.

eather McCutchin Staff Award | HAssistant to the Dean of School of Humanities, Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies

“Heather McAwesome” (as her colleagues call her) was recognized for her hard work and willingness to help others. Over the course of 12 years, she started in the IT department and progressed to the assistant for Academic Affairs, and now is the assistant to the dean for Humanities, Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies. “ Always be willing to go above and beyond for others. You never know when you will need someone else to do the same for you!”

abriela Barbosa Administration Award | GDirector of Visitor Services

Gabriela Barbosa has received this award because of her special attention to diversity, equity and inclusion as she works to have every voice and background represented at Mount Mary. She strives to create a welcoming environment for incoming students, especially during the peak of the pandemic. “Know that your contributions don’t go unnoticed. Keep sharing your talents and speaking up in your spheres of influence.”

herrie Serros Faculty Award | SProfessor and Chair of Mathematics

A member of the faculty for six years, Serros found a home that embraced diversity and social justice. She has been part of two grant projects, the HHMI Inclusive Excellence program and the Title III BOLD project. This allowed the mathematics department to shape core courses within the framework of diversity, equity and inclusion. “When anyone starts at Mount Mary, they are warmly welcomed into a truly compassionate community. I am no more deserving than so many of my colleagues that have helped me along the way. So my advice is to let your love of your discipline guide you in living the mission and vision of MMU.”

Mother Caroline Student Award |J amy McClain ’25

Each year, one student is selected to receive the Mother Caroline Award. This award is given to those who represent a positive vision for the future world, and exemplify beautiful leadership. To read more about Jamy, who is in the integrated master's program in nutrition and dietetics, see page 17.

Mother Theresa Student Award |S amantha Ligget ’22

Samantha Ligget, a student in international studies Spanish concentration with a minor in environmental science and a peacebuilding certificate, uses her many gifts to help progress the community at Mount Mary. She has held numerous leadership roles on campus, including roles in student government and the Blue Angels Housing Association (BAHA), as a secretary of the International Club and as a leader in new student orientation and registration. Her goal is to show people how the planet is interconnected with our well-being. “Do not be afraid to put yourself out there and really engage with the Mount Mary community! You can really learn a lot about yourself and can grow yourself in so many ways."

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CLASS NOTES Capturing the spirit of pioneers

Barbara Gothard ‘59 is exhibiting “Contradictions – Bringing the Past Forward” at the San Bernardino County Museum, Calif., through April 10, 2022. Her research-based multimedia Arts and Humanities project consist of mixed media installation works, which tell the plight of early 20th century African American homesteaders in the Mojave Desert. © Portrait by Christina Frary




1961 Elizabeth Ann Cayen Robertson had a solo show featuring her new collage work at the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts in Mill Valley, Calif., last October. She created collages from her past art pieces and monoprints during 2020’s stay-at-home period.

1987 Jennifer Shimek Dean became a certified professional retirement coach and current senior vice president of growth and marketing for HSA Bank.

1991 Nikki Basta Trudell was promoted to compliance specialist at Annex Wealth Management in Elm Grove.

1966 Carla Huebner, SSND, was named a 2021 distinguished fellow for the Wisconsin Art Education Association. WAEA Fellows have made a long-term contribution to the advancement of the profession and the work of the association.

1970-1979 1970 Marianne Kempa, SSND, received the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Vatican II Award in the category of Service to the Church. 1971 Kathryn Maegli-Davis released a memoir called, “We Packed for Adventure.”

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1989 Mary Greisch-Monday recently landed her dream job when she became the director of development for Milwaukee’s War Memorial Center.

1999 Kathi Lee Kube is the new proposal manager at Federal Staffing Resources (FSR).

A champion for OT Claudia Goyert Cirrincione ‘87 was recognized at the fall state conference of the Illinois Occupational Therapy Association as the 2021 winner of the Public Awareness Award for her activism promoting the occupational therapy profession.

“ As funding for health care continues to face cuts, my work has involved education and advocacy with state and federal legislators on the value of occupational therapy as part of the health care solution for wellness promotion and participation to live life to the fullest.”


2000-2009 2001 Andrea Ruth Wright Clark moved to the mid-cities area of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex in April of 2015 with her husband, Gerald. In August, she took and passed her state and national licensing exams to become a licensed Realtor® in Texas. Clark has her license hung with the Keller Williams Southlake DFW office and is enjoying this new progression of her career. She and her husband have three sons, Grant, age 5, and twins James and Timothy, age 3. Real estate allows her to keep a good rhythm between motherhood and her clients.

2009 Robin Stopinski Thames started as the retail marketing manager at the Green Dot Corporation in Austin, Tex.


2015 & 2018 Courtney McIntosh started as a mental health counselor for Telemynd.

2011 Gisela Arteaga started as an employee health nurse at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. She welcomed her second daughter last July, and her oldest is now five and started kindergarten last fall.

2016 Mallory Montgomery began a new position as an art therapist at FAR Therapeutic Arts and Recreation, Birmingham, Mich.

More than a hobby Carolyn Kotz Rauen ‘02 works as a senior occupational therapist at Unity Point Finley Hospital in Dubuque, Iowa. She is also the owner of Natures Edge Photography and found release through her photography during the pandemic.

2003 Emelle Holmes-Drammeh was appointed to the Physician Assistant Affiliated Credentialing Board for the state of Wisconsin. She will serve on the board until July 1, 2024. 2004 Mindy Prochnow Schroeder is starting a new position with Ascension at Home – Together with Compassus as an administrative assistant.

“ I am beyond thrilled to be a therapist living in Dubuque, Iowa, selling my work in Yellowstone National Park and the resort town Jackson Hole Wyoming. Dreams do come true with hard work and passion.”

2006 Kristin Kult Jablonski received a promotion and is now the director of wellness, fitness and nutrition at Exact Sciences in Madison, Wis. 2007 Jennifer Steingold Nichols, accepted a new position as a mental health professional at Wisconsin Community Services, Inc. 2008 Loni Luna joined Civis Analytics as the senior product marketing manager. 2009 Kami Murphy Amann is now a technical designer for furniture, pet and area/accent rugs at Kohl’s Corporation in Menomonee Falls, Wis. 2009 Danielle East Fetzer recently accepted a position as a sales consultant with MT Cottick Contract, LLC, a commercial furniture sales organization.

2014 Malayia Roper began as a partnership manager at PEARLS for Teen Girls in Milwaukee.

2012 Christa Brandl Graverson was recently named Chief Compliance Officer at Baird. She most recently served as Deputy Chief Compliance Officer and has successfully led several teams while serving as a key department leader throughout her 17-year tenure. 2012 Rachel Henderson Ledezma was named director of pupil services for the Greendale School District last August.

2016 Jamila Pugh started a new position in investment solutions at Fidelity Investments in the Washington D.C.-Baltimore area. 2016 Susan Richardson was named teacher of the year in 2021. Last October, she joined other recipients in Washington, D.C., to meet the president and first lady. She is a third-grade teacher at the Milwaukee German Immersion School.

2014 Sarah Potts Cain now works as a residential designer for Drexel Building Supply. SPRING 2022 |



Lada Xiong-Vang ‘06 was a finalist for the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce’s 2021 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award. She works as the business development manager for Environments in Wausau, Wis. This award, established in 2007, is presented to emerging leaders who demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession; provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community; and clearly serve as a role model for young women personally and professionally.

2016 Vanessa Van Patter Wierzchowski now works as a provider quality assistant at My Choice Family Care in Wauwatosa, Wis.

2017 Tricia Hohnl Dobrient has taken on a new position at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She is now serving as the director of advising and new student experience.

2017 Alexis Palth Boerneke started as an occupational therapist for Soaring Eagle Academy in Lombard, Ill.

2018 Erica Marion is starting a new position as SPUR ambassador at the Medical College of Wisconsin. 2018 Leticia Bustos is now the office manager for Contable Tax Group, an alumnae-owned business founded by 2016 alumna, Carla Perez.

2018 Lori Kugel Nichols was promoted to manager of residential operations at Rogers Behavioral Health. 2018 Holly Monreal accepted a position as an occupational therapist for Therapy At Home in Greendale, Wis. 2018 Elyzabeth Smith began her position as a store experience and design coordinator at Kohl’s Corporation in Menomonee Falls, Wis., this fall. In this role, she will be helping others navigate a system she learned at Mount Mary for the first time. 2019 Huma Duranni received the best paper award from the American Art Therapy Association for research entitled, "Sensory-Based Relational Art Therapy Approach (S-BRATA): A Framework for Art Therapy With Children With ASD" (autism spectrum disorder). 2019 Pilar Amelia Rios Joseph began a new position as a student support counselor at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. She also continues to work as a part-time mental health counselor at Shore Counseling and Consulting Clinic in Wauwatosa, Wis.

2020-Present 2020 Linda Flahive started a position as a therapist II at Children’s Wisconsin. 2020 Diana Magana started as a medical assistant in an outpatient clinic for Aurora Health Care.

Ebony Adell ‘08 founded the socially responsible brand TSX in 2008. She is an international sustainable luxury designer and TSX Design House presented SS22 Collection during London Fashion Week – 2021.

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2020 Kylie Slavek began a new position as an outpatient clinician and employment specialist at Jefferson Center for Mental Health in Wheat Ridge, Colo. 2020 Erin Walker started as the product development scientist at Church & Dwight Co., Inc. in Waukesha, Wis.

Emily Ordway Enstad ‘15 (left) started a company with her business partner, Abbie Pabon, called Present Not Perfect, which aims to make mental health more accessible, playful and creative through miniature playsets called Calm Kits. These two disruptors won Ally’s Daring to Disrupt contest which helped set them on a path toward growth. Their story was featured in Glamour and Katie Couric Media.

2021 Ashley Bostwick started as a mental health provider for Elite Cognition, LLC near Madison, Wis., began working for CJ & Associates, Inc., a nationally certified women’s business enterprise, as an interior designer. 2021 Hannah Gergeni moved back to her home state of Arkansas and began a position as a graphic designer for A&B Distributors of Oklahoma & Arkansas. 2021 Kristin Hardwick was recently interviewed for the local stories section of VoyageLA magazine. In the article, she shares her journey and struggles of becoming a fashion designer and establishing her own namesake brand.

2021 Caitlin Jacobs was hired as a clinical dietitian at Children’s Wisconsin as of November 2021. 2021 Hayley Knowles moved to Los Angeles last year where she is currently working as a freelance fashion stylist, a sample assistant at Nordstrom’s, and as a buyer for Crossroads Trading. 2021 Olivia Krajewski started a position as a chemist this fall at MilliporeSigma in Milwaukee.

2021 Myrianna Nelson began as an assistant designer at Therese Tailoring Boutique in Milwaukee. 2021 Shelly Mendieta Ramirez started working as a rehab clerical aide at Advocate Aurora Health.




LOVE FASHION? Learn skills and explore careers

JUNE 27-JULY 1, 2022




The 2022 Mount Mary Alumnae Association’s Awards Celebration was held April 9, to honor its most distinguished alumnae as well as individuals whose contributions have significantly impacted the mission and students of the University.

2021 TOWER AWARD Michelle Kozeniecki ’12 | M.S. Dietetics Kozeniecki serves as Lead Clinical Dietitian at Froedtert Hospital, covering the Medical and Transplant ICUs and serves on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. She was recognized as the 2016 Young Dietitian of the Year by the Wisconsin Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and received ASPEN's 2020 Distinguished Nutrition Support Dietitian, Advanced Clinical Practice Award.

2021 MADONNA AWARD FOR PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE Mary Ellen Dallman ‘69 | Elementary Education After earning her bachelor’s from Mount Mary College in 1969, Dallman was awarded an M.Ed. in Montessori Pre-primary Education from Xavier University in 1973 and earned her Ed.D. in secondary and higher education from Ball State University in 1983. She was instrumental in the creation of not-for-profit child care centers, and was responsible for development and oversight of numerous centers for corporate clients. Her college teaching and administration roles were coupled with on-campus demonstration and/or Head Start programs at West Liberty State University in West Virginia, UW-Stevens Point, and Valdosta State University (VSU) in Valdosta, Ga.

2021 MADONNA AWARD FOR PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE Debra M. Dosemagen ‘98 | M.E. Professional Development After graduating from Mount Mary with her master’s degree, Dosemagen later obtained her Ph.D. in educational policy and leadership from Marquette University. Not only did she attend Mount Mary, but she also teaches at the university and has served as chair of Mount Mary’s education department for over 15 years, allowing her the opportunity to instruct many who have come through the university and the education department. Dosemagen currently serves on the board of the Burke Foundation and the Education Deans of Greater Milwaukee, and the Education Committees of both Notre Dame Schools of Milwaukee and Messmer Catholic Schools.

2021 PRESIDENT’S AWARD OF DISTINCTION Schools Sisters of Notre Dame The School Sisters of Notre Dame are more than our founders and current sponsors. Their charism is deeply embedded into every aspect of Mount Mary University. We honor the 689 individual sisters who have given so much of themselves to Mount Mary and the thousands of students they have impacted over the years. Mother Caroline’s belief in educating the whole person and serving those on the margins of society lives on in our mission to encourage leadership, integrity and a deep sense of social justice, and to educate women of diverse ages and personal circumstances.

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IN MEMORIAM 1943 Jacquell Kosinski Kraemer on 7/12/2021

1995 Christina Otto on 10/29/2021

1947 Mary McEnroe on 8/11/2021

2005 Jessica Ann Gibbons Roark on 7/25/2021

1947 Marion Lenz Scheiner on 10/16/2021 1950 Janece Mollers Rieman on 10/15/2021 1950 Rosemary Molzahn Fischer on 10/17/2021 1950 Shirley Barron Riley McGuire on 1/1/2022 1951 Betty Kortebein Doria on 7/5/2021 1955 Nancy Schewe Davidson on 7/14/2021 1956 Joanne Limbach on 8/14/2021 1956 Mary Taugher on 11/25/2021 1958 Margaret Elsen on 1/28/2021 1959 Carol Kilgallen Meyer on 9/29/2021 1960 Sharon McConnell Mayenschein on 4/3/2021 1961 Mary Lu Roberts Lillevand on 6/28/2021

Community Supporter Amber Anderson on 1/8/2021 Mary Borman on 8/13/2021 Elaine Fernando on 1/5/2021 James Fitzpatrick on 7/2/2021 Deanna Freeman on 7/14/2021 Eva Jackson on 1/12/2022 David Kasdorf on 5/2021 Monica Krause on 7/13/2021 Maria Monreal-Cameron on 1/18/2021 Eva Steingold on 1/11/2021

1961 Joan Therese McGovern, SSND on 10/3/2021

Former Faculty/Staff

1963 Ruth Karnitz, SSND on 1/16/2021

Elizabeth Peotter Felt on 10/26/2021

1963 Eileen O’Neil Egan on 10/29/2021

Thomas Vaglica on 8/15/2021

1965 Judith Gasch Petterson on 3/27/2021 1965 Mary Cook on 11/13/2021 1965 Anne Miotke on 11/21/2021

Former Trustee Lois Groskops Ladish on 1/22/2022

1965 June Thomas Patten on 12/2/2021 1966 Mary Michalak Kiedrowski on 11/9/2021 1968 Carolyn Thill-Ritter on 1/29/2021 1977 Laurie Behnke Hess on 12/9/2021 1979 Leanne Rockers Verhaalen on 11/15/2021 1982 Ellen Yatso on 5/20/2021

The following is a list of deaths reported to us as of March 11, 2022. Please contact the Office of Alumnae Relations at (414) 930-3025 or to notify us of the passing of an alum. SPRING 2022 |



School Sisters of Notre Dame on this campus. One of the oldest, the stone sculpture by the reflecting pool, speaks of the contemplative spirit that listens and endures. Mary’s prayerful spirit was grounded in a steadfast faith that saw her (and us) through the darkest times. The mural outside the dining hall depicts an older, hopefilled Mary with eyes lifted up in joy. She is holding a cup of blessing even as her arms are extended to embrace every realm of activity on this campus. She portrays what every SSND serving Mount Mary most desired: to give herself to a transformative endeavor far bigger than herself, and to do it with joy and hope, knowing she was not alone.

By Joan Penzenstadler, SSND Vice President for Mission and Identity When I connect the School Sisters of Notre Dame with Mount Mary, my thoughts are drawn to Mary, mother of our congregation and patroness of the university. Her spirit is threaded through all that we are and do. Originally, each of us sisters received a new name when we entered the novitiate, and each name included some form of Mary, for example, Sister Mary Dominic or Sister Rosemarita. Living in Mary’s spirit is what we were and are called to do. The SSND Constitution states: “In our attitude of listening and openness, we follow Mary. She pondered the Word received and was so united with God, so desirous that His will be done, that the Word could become incarnate through her. We honor her as mother of our congregation, practicing truest devotion to her when we do whatever He tells us.” At Mount Mary, I ponder the images of Mary that speak of the way she was opened to God’s spirit, and how these images embody the vocation of the

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There is a practical Mary in the courtyard in back of Notre Dame Hall. This bronze sculpture of Mary is feeding the geese at her feet. How many of the almost 700 SSND who served Mount Mary – from portress to president, from faculty to food service – have offered their practical gifts for the good of the overall endeavor? Mount Mary and SSND are also seen in the multicultural images of Mary that now grace the grottos (the former confessionals) in back of Our Lady Chapel. An Asian Mary came from the SSND region of Japan. An African American mother and child came from a community in the heart of Milwaukee. Our Lady of Guadalupe was a gift from a community in Mexico. There is also a Native American Mary, a portrait of the Black Madonna and a moving image of the mother of all. She is a wise and compassionate older woman whose cape is held wide open for all the people who take refuge there.

At Mount Mary, I ponder the images of Mary that speak of the way she was opened to God’s spirit, and how these images embody the vocation of the School Sisters of Notre Dame on this campus.

May the care and courage, the commitment and compassion that Mary speaks and that SSND, the daughters of Notre Dame, have tried to live out at Mount Mary, continue to be experienced by all who grace this campus.

r e v e r o F “ ” l a y Lo SITY








If Mount Mary positively impacted your life and you want others to benefit from that same experience in the future, here are four simple options to leave your legacy for others. 1 Include Mount Mary University in your will or living trust. 2 Name Mount Mary as a beneficiary of a retirement account. 3 Designate Mount Mary as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy.

4 Provide support with your bank and brokerage accounts.

Any Percent Matters Your gift does not have to be a specific amount. One solution is to donate a percentage of your estate instead. You may be surprised to find that even a small percentage can have a big impact for the students we serve.

For more information, please contact Lisa Breitsprecker at or (414) 930-3131SPRING 2022 | 37




2900 North Menomonee River Parkway Milwaukee, WI 53222-4597


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