Seton Hill President Mary C. Finger Honored as a Woman of Influence

Seton Hill University President Mary C. Finger has been named one of the Pittsburgh Business Times’ 2020 Women of Influence. Dr. Finger joined 25 other Pittsburgh area leaders who received the honor at a virtual awards ceremony on September 14. The ceremony was postponed from March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“During her tenure as Seton Hill University President, Mary Finger has led bold new initiatives to increase enrollment and retention, enhance Seton Hill’s academic offerings, improve graduate outcomes, construct and renovate university facilities, support students through increased scholarships and enhance Seton Hill’s positive economic impact on the Pittsburgh region and Pennsylvania,” said Seton Hill University Board of Trustees Chair Karen Farmer White, who nominated Dr. Finger for the award. “Dr. Finger’s significant contributions to making Seton Hill University an educational leader in the Pittsburgh region and her outstanding service to the community make her deserving of the Women of Influence honor.”

“I am humbled to be honored among such a distinguished group of leaders in the Pittsburgh region,” Mary Finger said. “The Women of Influence recognition is one I share with the members of the Seton Hill community who dedicate themselves to provide outstanding educational opportunities to our students. I am proud to lead Seton Hill University and to follow in the footsteps of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, a group of strong women who founded this institution more than a century ago.”

You can read more about her honor in this Pittsburgh Business Times article. 

Dr. Finger began her tenure as President of Seton Hill University in June 2014. Under her leadership, Seton Hill University has experienced a 14 percent growth in enrollment. The two largest freshmen classes in Seton Hill’s history in Fall 2017 and Fall 2019 – were enrolled during her tenure. 

Recognizing the need for new academic programs to train future workers to meet the needs of employers throughout the Pittsburgh region, President Finger initiated the Office of Academic Innovation and Planning at Seton Hill University. Through the office, Seton Hill faculty are engaging with regional business and community leaders to rapidly bring new academic programs to market that will allow employers to fill needed positions in all types of industries. Seton Hill has developed more than a dozen new programs at the undergraduate and graduate level in the last few years, including Nursing, Health Science, Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, Global Studies, Digital Humanities and new MBA concentrations in Healthcare Administration, Project Management and Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination. 

Seton Hill has also expanded facilities during Mary Finger’s tenure, including the completion of two new academic facilities – the JoAnne Woodyard Boyle Health Sciences Center on the main campus and the Seton Hill Arts Center in downtown Greensburg; the expansion of the Rose M. O’Brien Center for Campus Ministry; the renovation and expansion of historic Lowe Dining Hall; and the construction of the Sisters of Charity Residence Hall.

Dr. Finger also initiated a national-recognized career readiness program, Fit for the World, which provides Seton Hill students with career support through their classes during their four years of study. Through this program and the rigor of Seton Hill’s academic programs, the measurable success of Seton Hill graduates has continued to increase. In fact, 98 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients in Seton Hill’s Class of 2019 were employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation, while 100 percent of master’s degree recipients were employed in that same time frame. 

During Seton Hill’s Centennial Celebration in 2018, Dr. Finger initiated a successful fundraising campaign to establish or increase funding to student scholarships.

The university has also provided substantial economic impact to the Pittsburgh region and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during her tenure.

An economic impact study released by the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) in October 2019 revealed that Seton Hill contributed $116.8 to the Pennsylvania economy in 2018. This impact represents a more than $46 million increase since 2014 when Mary Finger’s tenure at Seton Hill began, according to AICUP. 

Mary Finger is dedicated to serving other nonprofit organizations on the regional, state and national levels. As a member of the Board of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Mary has developed a substantial partnership with PBT that brings the cultural organization’s artists to Greensburg for performances at the Seton Hill University Performing Arts Center as well as dance residencies and master classes for Seton Hill dance majors and youth dancers from throughout Westmoreland County. 

Dr. Finger serves as vice chair of the board of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and is also on the boards of the Pennsylvania Economy League of Pittsburgh, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.

Dr. Finger has nearly 35 years of experience in higher education administration. Dr. Finger has served a number of higher education institutions, including DePaul University, Mount Mary College (now University); Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Foundation. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University, a master’s degree from Mount Mary and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.