Mary C. Finger, Ed.D. to be Inaugurated as Tenth President of Seton Hill May 1
Mary C. Finger, Ed.D., will be inaugurated as the Tenth President of Seton Hill University on Friday, May 1, 2015. The theme of the Inauguration is “Stewarding the Legacy: Fitting Our Students for the World in Which They Will Live.”
The Inauguration Ceremony, held at 4 p.m. at Seton Hill University’s Performing Arts Center along Harrison Avenue in downtown Greensburg, Pa., will be preceded by an Inaugural Mass held at 11 a.m. in Saint Joseph Chapel on the University’s main hilltop campus.
Michele M. Ridge, Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees and a 1969 Seton Hill alumna, will preside over the ceremony. Mrs. Ridge will present the Inaugural Proclamation, and, with Sr. Catherine Meinert, S.C., 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, will confer the Presidential Medallion on Mary Finger.
Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt of the Diocese of Greensburg will offer the invocation, while Sr. Catherine will provide the benediction. The program will feature a special presentation on Seton Hill’s mission and Catholic, liberal arts identity. Delegates, representing more than 30 colleges and universities, will participate.
"The Inauguration of Mary C. Finger as the Tenth President of Seton Hill represents a major milestone in the life of our University,” said Ridge. “Mary Finger’s professional and personal history shows a deep commitment to Catholic higher education. She is steeped in the Vincentian and Setonian traditions and understands and is inspired by the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill. Throughout the course of her tenure, which began in June 2014, Mary Finger has demonstrated her commitment to the ideal that this University, in the words of Elizabeth Ann Seton, ‘helps fit our students for the world in which they are destined to live.’”
Sr. Catherine added, “The Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, who founded the college and remain actively engaged in the life of the University, are delighted to join with the entire University community to celebrate Mary Finger's inauguration. We place great trust in Mary Finger's integrity and commitment to meet the challenges and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead for Seton Hill University."
Dr. Finger, who came to Seton Hill following nine years of service at DePaul University in Chicago, will be joined in her Inaugural celebration by DePaul President Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M., who will serve as Homilist for the 11 a.m. Mass. Father Dennis has served as president of DePaul, the nation’s largest Catholic university and the largest private university in the Midwest, since 2004. He is also chairman of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and non-profit health system.
The Mass and Inauguration Ceremony on May 1 culminate a week of Inaugural Events on the Seton Hill campus:
• On Monday, April 27 from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the annual Lunch with Liz event in Cecilian Hall celebrates the life and history of Elizabeth Ann Seton and helps the Seton Hill community become familiar with her and aware of how her spirit continues to direct and enliven the life of the Sisters of Charity and Seton Hill University.
• On Monday, April 27 at 4 p.m., the Class of 2016 will hold the annual Tree Planting Ceremony in the Saint Mary Hall Orchard. The junior class will plant two fruit trees – one in honor of Mary Finger and the other in honor of the City of Greensburg – to symbolize the dynamic partnership between the University and the City.
• On Tuesday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the entire campus community will gather on Sullivan Lawn for a Campus Celebration with Dr. Finger. The event will include lunch and activities for students, faculty and staff.
• On Wednesday, April 29, Seton Hill’s National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education will host an event to honor its founders, Sr. Gemma Del Duca and Sr. Noel Kernan at the Twentieth Century Club in Pittsburgh. The event, “Continuing the Legacy - Honoring Our Founders” begins at 5:30 p.m.
Mary C. Finger, Ed.D. Biography
Following an extensive national search Seton Hill University’s Board of Trustees selected Mary Finger, B.A., M.A., Ed.D. as the University’s tenth President. Dr. Finger began her tenure on June 1, 2014.
Mary Finger brings to the Presidency of Seton Hill a wealth of experience from her thirty-year career in higher education. She holds the firm belief that, as President, she is tasked with maintaining the extraordinary progress made at Seton Hill over the last few decades while guiding the University as it comes into a new period of dynamic growth and development.
Mary Finger came to Seton Hill following almost a decade 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. As part of this effort, she managed the integration of DePaul’s alumni relations, alumni communications and fundraising operations into a robust advancement program. The campaign, which concluded in June 2014, raised $333 million, far surpassing the initial $250 million goal.
In addition to her leadership in the advancement area, Finger 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 also 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 fundraising initiatives. She chaired DePaul’s Affinity Task Force that developed new programs to deepen student engagement with the university as well.
Through her leadership and thoughtful planning, Mary Finger helped ensure the growth and success of other institutions of higher education. Prior to her position at DePaul, she served as vice president for planning and institutional advancement at Mount Mary University, formerly Mount Mary College, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she oversaw major strategic planning initiatives that shaped the college’s priorities for enrollment and retention, fundraising , and budgeting resources in support of academic enhancement.
Prior to her work at Mount Mary University, Mary Finger served in external relations roles at the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee Foundation, and Cardinal Stritch University.
She is the recipient of a number of awards for community service and professional excellence, including several CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) and Telly Awards, and the Amiga Award from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Milwaukee. She has also served on several nonprofit boards, including St. Augustine College in Chicago and Journey House in Milwaukee.
A native of Chicago, Finger spent almost two years living, working and volunteering in Bogota, Colombia, South America. Fluent in Spanish, she worked in the bilingual education department for the Milwaukee Public Schools for several years. She has an adult daughter, Catherine Romero-Finger, who lives in Seville, Spain with her husband Antonio Pinto and their two children, Isabel and Bobby.
Mary Finger received her doctoral degree in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. As part of her commitment to equity in higher education, her dissertation, Limited Reach: The Role of Mission and Institutional Aid in Supporting Minority Students, explored the role of higher education institutions in financially supporting minority students. She also received a Master of Arts degree in Education, focusing on adult education, from Mount Mary College, a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marquette University in journalism and a certificate from the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management. She has taught courses at DePaul University, Mount Mary College, St. Augustine College, and Carroll College, and made presentations at national and regional conferences and workshops.
Finger is eager to play a leadership role in the larger community as well and help address the need for planned growth and economic development in southwestern Pennsylvania. She was appointed to the Boards of the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.