Born on March 12, 1884 in Floyd, Iowa, Sister Mary Ildephonse Holland completed high school at Sacred Heart Academy and received her Bachelor’s degree from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. A Masters in English and History shortly followed from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She pursued additional graduate work at Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI), the University of Iowa, Loyola University (Chicago), Michigan State University, and the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
Sister Mary Ildephonse formally entered the Sisters of Mercy on April 15, 1904 and is notable for her two terms of service as the college’s president. Considered the “Foundress of Mount Mercy College,” Ildephonse had past educational experience as a teacher on most K-12 levels, worked as the Bursar and Mother Superior for the Sisters, and served as a college instructor and campus business manager. While working as the college president, Sister Ildephonse also held the title of Major Superior for the Sisters of Mercy.
Among her many achievements are the construction of Warde Hall, the opening of Mount Mercy Junior College, the Bachelor’s degree designation by North Central, and the all-important accreditation for the college. Sister Mary Ildephonse Holland died on September 11, 1967, praised for her lifelong contributions to the campus.