Mary C. Finger Named Tenth President of Seton Hill University
DePaul University Senior Executive Brings 28 Years of Higher Education Experience to Post
February 12, 2014
Author: Molly Robb Shimko
Mary C. Finger
Finger succeeds JoAnne Boyle who retired from Seton Hill in June 2013.
The Seton Hill University Board of Trustees’ decision completes a year-long process that involved participation from the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, Trustees, President’s Council, students, faculty and staff, alumni, friends, and community leaders.
“After reviewing more than 70 nominations submitted to our search firm, R.H. Perry & Associates, for the Seton Hill presidency, Dr. Finger emerged as the top candidate,” Ridge said. She continued, “Dr. Finger is well suited to lead Seton Hill through the next important stage in the University’s history. Throughout her career, she has proved herself a strategic thinker with a demonstrated commitment to Catholic education, philanthropy and civic engagement. We are confident she will fulfill and articulate the mission and vision of the University in a compelling way to all Seton Hill constituencies.”
Sr. Catherine Meinert, Provincial Superior and President of the U.S. Province of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill and Vice Chair of the Seton Hill University Board of Trustees said, “The Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, who founded the college and are still actively engaged in the life of the university, are pleased that Mary Finger will serve as the tenth President of Seton Hill. We know she will continue to advance our identity, the legacy of our distinctive Setonian tradition, and in the words of Elizabeth Ann Seton, ‘help fit our students for the world in which they are destined to live.’”
James Breisinger, Trustee and Vice Chair of the Presidential Search Committee added, “Mary Finger is a thoughtful leader, whose creativity will inspire others to become involved in the life of this special university.” Breisinger added, “Dr. Finger brings a wealth of knowledge regarding the challenges facing the higher education industry, specifically Catholic universities, along with practical experience to Seton Hill. Her work in evaluating enrollment trends and academic programs, along with her deep understanding of business and marketing, will continue to move the University forward on many levels, but particularly as we work to help our students succeed in a contemporary world. Her expertise will be especially valuable as we develop priority campus expansion projects such as The JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center on our hilltop campus and the Dance and Visual Arts Center in downtown Greensburg.”
“Seton Hill University has successfully met many challenges that the great majority of private colleges and universities in the United States are facing with creativity and a deep commitment to mission,” said Mary Finger. She continued, “I am honored to be given the opportunity to serve as President of Seton Hill. I look forward to working with Trustees, the President’s Council, faculty, students, staff, alumni, friends and community leaders to lead the University’s next stage as Seton Hill builds on its remarkable history and tremendous strengths. I will embrace as well the opportunity to immerse myself into the life of the Greensburg community and the southwestern Pennsylvania region.”
Mary Finger comes to Seton Hill following nine years of service as Senior Vice President for Advancement at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She led and implemented the institution’s first comprehensive capital campaign, Many Dreams, One Mission. The campaign, scheduled to conclude in June 2014, achieved its original $250 million goal in 2012, and is on track to exceed the revised $300 million goal. During her tenure, Finger managed the integration of DePaul's alumni relations, alumni communications and fund-raising operations into a robust advancement program. She revitalized DePaul's annual giving program and developed a foundation relations program that resulted in increased multi-million dollar national foundation support.
In addition, she co-chaired the Task Force on Innovation that created processes for developing and evaluating new academic programs at DePaul and examined alternative instructional and delivery methods.
As part of DePaul's strategic planning process, Finger served on the Financial Planning/Business Sustainability Task Forces responsible for providing long-term assessment and plans for institutional viability, enhancement of academic prominence, increased enrollment and retention, and successful fund-raising initiatives. She chaired DePaul's Affinity Task Force that developed new programs to deepen student engagement with the university as well.
Prior to her position at DePaul, Mary Finger served as Vice President for Planning and Institutional Advancement at Mount Mary University, formerly Mount Mary College, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; as Director of Development for the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois; as Acting Executive Director of the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee Foundation; and as Director of Annual Fund and Alumni Relations at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. In her varied professional roles Finger had responsibility for strategy development, enrollment marketing, major gift solicitation, and town/gown relationships. Simultaneously, Finger expanded interest and involvement in institutional programming while engaging alumni, parents and friends in the work of those institutions.
Fluent in Spanish, Mary Finger also worked in the Bilingual Education Department, Milwaukee Public Schools, and served as a volunteer in Bogota, Colombia, South America.
A native of Chicago, Finger has an adult daughter living and working in Spain with her husband and two children.
Finger served as a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Augustine College, Chicago, Illinois and also at Journey House, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Mary Finger’s honors and awards include the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Award for development and communication programming as well as two Telly Awards for those same efforts.
Finger received a doctoral degree (Ed.D.) in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Arts degree from Mount Mary College and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marquette University.