Sister Delores Hannon ‘73

With more than 30 years of wide-ranging experience as an educational leader, Sister of Mercy Delores Hannon '73 has dedicated her life’s work to supporting students in order that they can be their best selves.

“My journey as a Sister of Mercy has been filled with many blessings. I have done things that the 17-year-old who came to Mount Mercy never imagined.”

Sister Delores is currently President of Mercy High School in Omaha, NE, where there has been a Mercy all-girls high school since the Sisters of Mercy arrived there in the fall of 1864. Her primary responsibilities are in the areas of advancement and finances.

“The blessing of my job is I am with young people each day,” she said.

Sister Delores Hannon ‘73
President of Mercy High School
Sisters of Mercy
Mount Mercy Trustee
Omaha, Neb.

Sister Delores said that unlike the stereotype of an all-girls school, “our school is 25 percent students of color and over 30 percent of our families live at poverty level.”

Mercy High School is inspired and led by the Catherine McAuley quote: “No work of charity can be more productive of good to society than the careful instruction of women.”

Sister Delores came to Mount Mercy because her family and she wanted a Catholic education, and Mount Mercy offered a great scholarship. 

“Sister Agnes Hennessy was the president of Mount Mercy when I was a student,” Sister Delores said. “Somehow she conveyed to me that she had confidence in my ability. I hope I have been able to do that for the students I have had. 

“Sister Gladys Daly was our floor Sister – yes, in my day the Sisters lived on each dorm floor. She was the first Sister I knew as a person – not as someone removed from me. We would have hallway meetings with Gladys seated in a rocking chair and many of us gathered around – just talking about whatever was important. Later I had her as a teacher and she incorporated history and the fine arts. That process expanded my thinking about history beyond just facts; it has emotions and life.”  

After graduating with a teaching degree in math from Mount Mercy, Sister Delores went down the hill, as she puts it, to Regis High School to start her education career. She then went to become principal of St. Matthews Grade School in Kalispell, MT, and since then she has been a principal is Edina, MN, Oelwein, and Marion, IA. She’s also been the president of St. Edmond Catholic School, Fort Dodge, IA, and Mercy High School Omaha, NE. From 1995 – 2003, she was the vice-president of the Sisters of Mercy Cedar Rapids.

“I have enjoyed all of these opportunities with their joys and challenges,” she said. “One of the greatest accomplishments is each year at graduation. It is a yearly reminder of why I do what I do – to support students in being their best selves.”

Mount Mercy has had a lifelong impact on Sister Delores’s life, and by extension, an impact on those lives she has touched.

“Mount Mercy changed the course of my life,” she said. “It was where I met the Sisters of Mercy, and I entered the Sisters of Mercy my sophomore year. The concept of service was very appealing to me. Sometimes in vocation reflections I will tell people that I was too afraid to join Peace Corp so I joined the Sisters of Mercy. I have stayed a Sister of Mercy because of the Sisters I met, and it is the best place for me to be.”

Inspired by the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Delores remembers advice she has received and that has informed her outlook and experience:

“I once asked Sr. Pierre McAleer what tips she had for me as I became a principal. Sr. Pierre was a wise and successful principal; her tips were to remember it is about the students, and never make an enemy of the secretary, or the hot lunch and maintenance staff!” 

Her own advice to current and prospective Mount Mercy students?

“I encourage current college students to take a semester out of the United States, try different things outside of their comfort zone, and always be willing to be of service to other people.”

Be a Mustang. Success Follows.