BA St. Mary College
MA University of Iowa
PhD University of Iowa
Professor of English Mary Vermillion joined Mount Mercy in 1994. Prior to coming to Mount Mercy, she served as a teaching assistant and academic advisor at the University of Iowa. Her doctoral dissertation examines the connection between last wills and 18th-century novels, and she remains interested in literary depictions of legal issues. She teaches a course called Law and Literature, and for the past three years, she has facilitated a service-learning project in which her students lead literature discussions with inmates at the Anamosa State Penitentiary.
Vermillion has published two mystery novels, Death by Discount, which was nominated for two Lambda Literary Awards, and Murder by Mascot. Her third, Seminal Murder, will be published in May 2012. Currently, she is writing a memoir about her experience as the partner of a transgender man. Vermillion has also published shorter works, including "The Cereal Aisle" and "Teaching English in War Time."
She organizes Mount Mercy’s Visiting Writers Series, and she serves as the faculty advisor for its literary magazine, The Paha Review. She teaches Writing and Social Issues, Creative Writing, and a number of British literature courses—including her favorite, Shakespeare.
In spring 2010, Vermillion taught at one of Mount Mercy’s partner universities, Canterbury Christ Church University in England, and this experience led her and Assistant English Professor Christopher DeVault to offer a new travel course, British Literature and Culture. She has accompanied Mount Mercy students on service trips to Kentucky and West Virginia, and in 2006, she was awarded the Mount Mercy Thomas Feld Chair for Excellence in Teaching.
Vermillion loves to read and write, garden, lift weights, and watch women’s basketball. She lives in Iowa City with her partner and their three cats.