MILWAUKEE -- Mount Mary University is celebrating new beginnings: a new president, new degree programs and new classrooms.
Mount Mary welcomed President-Elect Dr. Christine Pharr to campus Thursday morning, February 23rd.
The welcome event marked Dr. Pharr’s first public appearance on campus since being named to the position in December 2016, and channeled the excitement of a new initiative that includes a $1 million state-of-the-art learning environment upgrade.
"From the very beginning, this place was special," said Dr. Pharr.
The South Dakota native will assume her new role in July. Most recently, she served as VP of alumni and donor relations for a Catholic college in Nebraska.
"I foresee Mount Mary to be a partner in the Milwaukee community developing strong, bold women leaders," said Dr. Pharr.
Dr. Pharr's background is in chemistry -- and with a new wellness initiative underway, trustees said Dr. Pharr is the right person for the job.
"Women should not have few, or limited choices," said Dr. Pharr.
Mount Mary just announced $1 million in upgrades to the third floor of Notre Dame Hall.
Construction is set to begin this summer on the first phase of this initiative, which includes modernizing the food laboratory, providing dietetics, food science and occupational therapy students new facilities for research, experimentation and testing.
It will include a new sensory laboratory for food testing.
These initial renovations will lay a foundation for other holistic, wellness-focused expansions in conjunction with the University’s strategic plan in growing art therapy, occupational therapy and nursing programming.
"Wisconsin is the fourth in the nation, and Milwaukee is the 10th leading city in the nation for food science career opportunities," said Dr. Veronica Gunn, VP/chair of Mount Mary University's Board of Trustees.
Also new, a degree program in food science – one of two in the state. The program will prepare students to become leaders in the region’s food and beverage industry, while the registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing completion program makes it possible for working RNs to attain their bachelor’s degree.
"This program allows us to meet this demand for a highly-trained nursing workforce," said Dr. Gunn.
Dr. Christine Pharr will be Mount Mary's 12th president.
"I'm trying to always look at the big picture," said Dr. Pharr.