Mary B. Marcy Installed as Dominican's Ninth President

On October 29, Mary B. Marcy was officially installed as the ninth president of Dominican University of California. This was the first time in more than two decades, and only the ninth time ever, that the 122-year-old institution has installed a new president.

President Mary Marcy at Installation CeremonyIn her inaugural address, President Marcy outlined her goals and vision for Dominican’s future.

“Our mission is to align academic excellence and Dominican values, to champion an educational model that is enduring and relevant, personal in its experience and global in its engagement,” she said during the Installation Ceremony in front of an enthusiastic crowd of about 800 in Angelico Hall.

“The goal is to ensure that every student receives a rigorous liberal arts education.  And the goal is to augment that classroom experience with a strong set of partnerships that ensure students put their learning into action.”
She noted that Dominican’s commitment to engaged learning, Big History as the first year experience, diversity, internationalization, and sustainability, will enable the University to achieve this goal.

“At Dominican, we will ask every student receiving a Bachelor’s degree to have a common liberal education, and to have participated in at least three experiences that use that education in an active way.  The out-of-class experiences will include service-learning projects, study abroad experiences, internships, student research, or leadership development projects,” President Marcy said.

“The result will be the best of the liberal arts:  the ability to think clearly, to analyze thoroughly, to reason, to assess, to communicate, to make connections across difference.  The result will be the best of practical education:  the ability to put knowledge to use, to resolve problems and implement ideas, to adapt, to apply intellectual skills to practical challenges.”

 President Marcy also spoke of her own legacy and the similarity between her family’s past and Dominican’s own history.

“I carry the legacy of both the campus and my family with me into the presidency.  Their histories are not as far apart as you might think,” she said.

 “At about the time the Dominican sisters were founding this institution, my great-great- grandfather moved to then unincorporated western Nebraska.  There he started a cattle ranch and helped found a community.  He helped establish the one-room school where, nearly a century later, I began my education.   That educational district still serves rural young people, and the ranch still operates today as a family business.

“So at the least, Dominican and my family share a tradition of commitment to education and a tradition of scarce resources.  While this may not seem the ideal legacy the result, in both cases, has been enduring.  To paraphrase the President of Bard College, intellectual ambition, idealism, and poverty can be an explosive combination."

The installation ceremony began with an inaugural procession from the Dominican Heritage and Alumni House to Angelico Hall. Dressed in the academic regalia of their respective institutions, delegates from more than 30 higher education institutions led the inauguration procession into Angelico Hall. Their distinguishing caps and gowns and an assortment of vividly colored hoods added historic pageantry and color. Delegates marched in order of the founding date of each institution, the representative of the oldest going first, in this case University of Oxford (1096) followed by Harvard University (1636). The delegates were joined by trustees, faculty, students, parents, alumni, and guests.

The installation ceremony was held before trustees, students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and guests. Harlan Stelmach, professor of Humanities, and student Amiya Powell-Hodge, served as the Master and Mistress of Ceremony.  Sister Kathleen O’Brien, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Alverno College, offered the Invocation. Dominican faculty members Joan Baranow and Carlos Rodriguez, from the Department of Literature and Languages Department, presented a poem titled “Nine Ways to Welcome our Ninth President.” Click here to read the poem.

Dr. Elaine Tuttle Hansen, Executive Director of the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University, presented a speech focused on the State of Liberal Education. Dr. Hansen is the past president of Bates College, where she had a profound impact on the campus’ diversity, community, and scholarly ambition.

Following Dr. Hansen’s address, the  Chair and Vice Chairs of the Board of Trustees of Dominican University of California, John R. Gaulding, Timothy Blackburn, and Andrew P. Barowsky, administered the oath of office and installed President Marcy as Dominican’s Ninth president.

Sr. Maureen McInerney, OP, Dominican trustee and Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, presented President Marcy artwork in which the Dominican values were incorporated in a photomontage entitled “Contemplation” by long-time artist-in-residence, Sister Adele Rowland, OP.

Nicholas Parrish, President of the Associated Students of Dominican University of California, presented a sketch of what will be rendered as a beautifully carved wooden shield containing images reflective of President Marcy’s personal and professional, along with symbols significant to Dominican’s rich history. 

President Marcy’s 29-minute inaugural address, which followed, ended with a standing ovation. Click here to read the entire address.

As the Installation Ceremony drew to an end, the Dominican A Cappella Workshop led the audience in singing the Alma Mater and Spirit Song.  As the music quietened, graduate student Esmeralda Ponce, Pathway’s student Todd McCleary, and undergraduate student Alexandra Slatoff exited the concert hall and rang a bell that was given to the first president of Dominican, Mother Mary Louis O’Donnell, in 1927 and restored for this special occasion.  The ringing of the bell signified the commencement of the tenure of President Marcy.