Pharr has been with College of Saint Mary for four years, and previously served as a faculty member and administrator at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, for 12 years. She holds two bachelor's degrees in biology and chemistry from Mount Marty College in Yankton, S.D., a master's degree in chemistry from University of South Dakota, and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from University of Idaho. At College of Saint Mary, Pharr has played an active role in creating new programs and development opportunities, including establishing a nursing program in Phoenix, Ariz., and securing a grant from the National Institute of Health and NASA.
Also founded by the Sisters of Mercy, College of Saint Mary is a sister school to Mount Mercy University. Sixteen colleges and universities across the country are founded by the Sisters of Mercy. Mount Mercy University is the only Mercy university in Iowa. Founded by Sister Catherine McAuley, The Sisters of Mercy are women committed to service, with emphasis on the importance of quality education and caring for the poor and sick.
Every year in September, Mount Mercy University pauses to reflect on the institution's unique Mercy heritage through a week-long celebration of special events, service projects and speakers. Other events open to the public during Mercy and Mission week include the Peace Pole Dedication with the Sisters of Mercy on September 21 at 3:00 p.m. at the University Center Plaza; Sunday evening Mass with the Archdiocese of Dubuque celebrating their 175th anniversary on September 23 at 8:30 p.m. in the Chapel of Mercy; and the Prayers of Compassion Interfaith Service on September 25, at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel of Mercy, Busse Center.