Mount Mary University

Mount Mary University
Type Private
Established 1913
President Eileen Schwalbach, Ph.D.
Undergraduates 1,209
Postgraduates 529
Location Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Colors Blue and white
Nickname Blue Angels

Mount Mary University (formerly Mount Mary College) is a private, not-for-profit, Catholic liberal arts university located on an 80-acre campus in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The university was founded in 1913 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame[1] and was Wisconsin's first four-year, degree-granting Catholic college for women.[2] Today, the university serves women at the undergraduate level and both women and men at the graduate level.

The university enrolls nearly 1,500[3] students and offers bachelor's degrees in more than 30 academic majors, as well as eight master's and doctoral degree programs.[4] Post-baccalaureate certificate programs also are offered. Mount Mary is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.[5]


Mount Mary's mission states that it "provides an environment for the development of the whole person. The university encourages leadership, integrity, and a deep sense of social justice arising from sensitivity to moral values and Christian principles."[6]


Founding and name changes

Mount Mary University traces its roots back to 1872, when the School Sisters of Notre Dame established St. Mary's Institute in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.[7] In 1913, the school introduced a college curriculum and was renamed St. Mary's College, chartered by the state of Wisconsin to grant degrees. It was the first four-year Catholic college for women in Wisconsin.[2]

In 1926, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee requested that St. Mary's College move to Milwaukee to make Catholic education available to a wider group of students. An 80-acre campus was purchased on the west side of Milwaukee.[7] On September 12, 1928, the cornerstone of the new campus was laid and the school was renamed Mount Mary College. The college opened its doors to students in 1929.[8]

In July 2013, the college changed its name to Mount Mary University.[9]

School presidents

The following individuals have served as Mount Mary's president:


Mount Mary has a student body of nearly 1,500.[3] The faculty-to-student ratio is 1:15.[18] Mount Mary is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.[5]

Mount Mary offers a liberal arts foundation with more than thirty undergraduate majors leading to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. The university also offers eight graduate programs, including: Professional Doctorate of Art Therapy, Master of Science in Art Therapy, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Counseling, Master of Science in Dietetics, Master of Arts in Education, Master of Arts in English, and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. Post-baccalaureate certificate programs, as well as a post-baccalaureate Dietetic Internship program, also are offered.[4]

Mount Mary also offers a dual degree program in partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin. Through this program, students can earn a dual Baccalaureate and Master of Public Health degrees in five years.[19]

Undergraduate programs

Mount Mary's core curriculum is based on the human search for meaning. The core curriculum consists of studies in philosophy/theology, communication/math, humanistics, literature/fine arts, and science. The core courses "provide breadth within the liberal arts by allowing students to construct an understanding of the perspectives that each of the disciplines offers in each person's lifelong search for meaning."[20]

In addition to the core curriculum, undergraduate students select a major in which to specialize. Mount Mary launched the first four-year fashion design and merchandising degree program in the nation in 1965.[21] The most popular majors currently at Mount Mary are dietetics, fashion design, fashion merchandise management, interior design, occupational therapy, and social work.[22]

Several Mount Mary undergraduate programs are accredited by their fields' accreditation body. The social work undergraduate degree program was the first private college in Wisconsin to have its baccalaureate program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, and continues to be accredited today.[23] The interior design program has been accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation since 1986.[24] Mount Mary's undergraduate dietetics program is accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.[25] The occupational therapy program has been accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association's Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education since 1943.[26]

Graduate programs

Mount Mary offers seven master's degree programs and one doctoral degree program. In 1982, Mount Mary launched its first graduate program, the Master of Science in Dietetics program.[27][28] In 1990, Mount Mary launched its Master of Science in Art Therapy[29] and Master of Arts in Education: Professional Development[27] degree programs. The Master of Science in Art Therapy program has been accredited by the American Art Therapy Association since 1995.[30]

The Master of Science in Counseling program includes three concentrations: community counseling, clinical mental health counseling, and school counseling.[31] In 2010, Mount Mary's Master of Science in Counseling program received the National Certified Counselor credential from the National Board for Certified Counselors.[32] In 2012, Mount Mary received approval from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services to be a state-approved pre-certification program for substance abuse counselors.[33]

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association's Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education.[34]

The Master of Arts in English program began in 2006.[27] Mount Mary launched its Master of Business Administration program in 2008.[35] The Professional Doctorate of Art Therapy program was launched in 2011, and was the first program of its kind in the United States.[36]


Mount Mary University is located on an 80-acre (32 ha) campus on the west side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[7]

Notre Dame Hall and Caroline Hall

The first two buildings on the Mount Mary campus, Notre Dame Hall and Caroline Hall, opened in 1929. Notre Dame Hall housed classrooms and administrative offices. Caroline Hall served as the student residence hall.[8] Both buildings have had many updates throughout the years, but continue to house classrooms, administrative offices, and student residences.

Fidelis Hall and Kostka Hall

In May 1953, ground was broken for Fidelis Hall, a residence for the School Sisters of Notre Dame, and Kostka Hall, a building housing an auditorium.[37][38] The buildings were completed in 1954, and 198 freshmen were welcomed in the fall at the academic investiture held in Kostka Hall.[39]

Bergstrom Hall

Bergstrom Hall, which houses the college's dining rooms, bookstore, and post office, opened in 1964.

Haggerty Library

The Patrick and Beatrice Haggerty Library opened in 1981. It was renovated in 2011 and now houses a computer lab, group study rooms, and quiet study spaces.[40]

Gerhardinger Center

Ground was broken for the Gerhardinger Center in 2002.[41] The building was opened in 2004 and is named to honor Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger of Jesus, foundress of the School Sisters of Notre Dame order. The 33,000-square-foot (3,100 m2) building houses the college's electronic lecture hall, Cyber Cafe, and science and occupational therapy classrooms and labs.[42]

Bloechl Recreation Center

The Bloechl Recreation Center opened in 2006. The 24,800-square-foot (2,300 m2) building houses basketball and volleyball courts, a fitness center, training rooms, locker rooms, offices, a concession area, and a classroom for aerobics, dance, and yoga.[43]

Student life

Mount Mary University students can participate in several student clubs and organizations, campus ministry activities, honor societies, and athletics teams. In congruence with the university's mission, Mount Mary also encourages students to participate in social justice and service learning activities on and off campus, as well as study abroad experiences.

The student-run newspaper, Arches, is an award-winning publication. The newspaper won awards for general web excellence, sports reporting, graphics, and general reporting at the Wisconsin Newspaper Association's Collegiate Better Newspaper Contest in 2012.[44]

Events and collections

The university is host to sports teams, musical performances, lectures, and other events throughout the year, including exhibits of regional artists' works in the Marian Art Gallery.


CREO is Mount Mary University's annual event that showcases arts and design student work and celebrates creativity. The event includes a student art gallery and student-designer fashion show. The annual fashion show began in 1967.[21] The show moved off campus for the first time in 2011[45] and draws an audience of nearly 1,200 each year.[46]

Historic Costume Collection

The Fashion Department began the Historic Costume Collection in 1965. The collection consists of 9,000 pieces dating 1750 to the present, and features significant 20th-century women's couture and ready-to-wear garments. The Historic Costume Collection includes pieces from actress Lynn Fontanne, Eunice Johnson, and Chanel.[47][48][49]

Mount Mary University's Marian Art Gallery hosts national, regional, and local art shows throughout the year. School of Arts and Design students, faculty, and alumnae also have the opportunity to display their work in the gallery. The gallery is open to the public and is located on the first floor of Caroline Hall.[50]

Starving Artists' Show

Since 1968, Mount Mary has been hosting the annual Starving Artists' Show. The show features local and national artists who work in all types of mediums, selling artwork for $100 or less. Attendance has averaged 8,000 or higher in recent years.[51][52][53]


An NCAA Division III school, Mount Mary fields Blue Angels teams that compete in women's basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball. Mount Mary is an NCAA Division III independent.[54]

Notable alumnae and faculty


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Coordinates: 43°04′19″N 88°01′51″W / 43.0720°N 88.0309°W / 43.0720; -88.0309

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