Mount Mary welcomes largest incoming class since 2000

By Mount Mary University

Posted on December 14, 2021

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This fall, 190 first-time undergraduate students stepped onto campus, the largest incoming class in the school’s history, and to say the students at Mount Mary are beautifully diverse is an understatement.

• 1 out of 3 are the first in their family to attend college (twice the national average)
• 2 out of 3 receive Pell grants and are considered limited income
• 2 out of 3 identify as a person of color 10% are student mothers
• Students identify with 11 different religions and speak 15 languages other than English

This is what makes Mount Mary special; the students are trailblazers and transforming their families and communities. In her welcome orientation to new employees, Joan Penzenstadler, SSND, Vice President for Mission and Identity, references Luke:24 by saying “I see it as our work to be like Jesus and set the table so all are welcome at the table of Mount Mary.”

A student identifying as person or color, first generation, or receiving Pell grants is classified as being underrepresented in higher education; 21% of Mount Mary undergraduate students this fall identify in all three categories.

U.S. News and World Report has recognized and ranked Mount Mary in the regional universities in the Midwest category of its Best Colleges report for 2022. Mount Mary’s overall ranking in the Midwest increased from #122 in 2018 to 51 for 2022. However, the school is most proud of our ranking as the #1 school in the Midwest for social mobility. This metric measures the success rate of graduating low-income students based upon six-year graduation rates.

Six months after graduation, our institutional research office follows up with alumnae to collect information on where students have landed. Consistently, 90% of our alumnae decide to stay in Wisconsin. The top employers were public school districts, the city of Milwaukee and Ascension Health Care.

If you have an alumnae story to share, contact the Office of Alumnae and Donor Relations at