Sister Presidents

Sister Mary Ildephonse Holland

Sister Mary Ildephonse Holland | 1928–1933, 1946–1961

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. 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 Cornelia Burke

Sister Mary Cornelia Burke | 1933–1939

Sr. Burke's decision to expand the college’s course offerings to include nursing can be directly associated with her position as Superintendent of Mercy Hospital, Cedar Rapids. While appointed as president of the college, Sister Mary Cornelia simultaneously served as Major Superior of the Sisters of Mercy. Burke also extended Mount Mercy’s student teaching opportunities. Her significant work in growing the campus’ education and nursing programs remains her legacy to the college.

Sister Mary Maura Marron

Sister Mary Maura Marron | 1939–1946

Sister Mary Maura’s tenure with the campus is recognized for its tremendous work within the Sisters of Mercy. Marron established the Sisters’ first, formal novitiate and directed the revision of their constitutions. For the college, she initiated studies that would eventually lead to the North Central Association accreditation and established a building fund, clearly seeing the need for future structures in the quest to become a four-year institution.

Sister Mary Agnes Hennessey

Sister Mary Agnes Hennessey | 1961–1977

During her fifteen years as college president, Hennessey led the campus through monumental change. McAuley Library opened in 1962, shortly followed by the second dormitory, Regina Hall, in 1965. The Greene Mansion, once the home of the Sisters of Mercy, was demolished, and in 1968, the Sisters transferred legal authority to a Board of Trustees. Student enrollment tripled, and the college became co-educational in 1969. Faculty numbers expanded, reflecting a varied curriculum.