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Mooney gears for transition

Anneliese Woolford | Wednesday, March 3, 2004

While preparing for a smooth transition into office June 1, Saint Mary’s President-elect Carol Ann Mooney continues to remain active both in the campus community and in setting personal goals.”I am pleased and excited by what I am learning and look forward to the time when it is possible to spend full time at Saint Mary’s,” Mooney said. “Right now, I have on-going duties at Notre Dame and need to attend to those responsibilities as well.”Mooney, currently vice president and associate provost at Notre Dame, visits the Saint Mary’s campus two or more times each week. Every visit varies, Mooney said, though each has included private meetings with current President Marilou Eldred, the Administrative Council and other members of the College with whom she expects to work.Mooney also met with several Saint Mary’s College committees and has attended various student events since her Dec. 26 appointment. One of the most instrumental visits, she said, was spending two full days on campus when the Board of Trustees held its meeting last month. In addition to increasing her familiarity with the College, Mooney also sees the importance in broadening her understanding of the presidency itself. In early February, she attended the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities’ annual meeting to learn more about prominent issues facing today’s Catholic higher education institutions. She also plans to attend two summer seminars designed specifically for new presidents as they transition into office.Despite means of preparation, Mooney said it is too early to begin thinking about what changes need to be made at Saint Mary’s.”I think it is very unwise for someone to enter into a new community and attempt to make changes before having the opportunity to get to know the community from the inside out,” she said. “I have the advantages of being an alumna and of having lived and worked in close proximity to the College for a long time, so I will begin my presidency with a strong knowledge base.””But,” Mooney added, “I need to be careful not to assume that Saint Mary’s is the same as when I was a student or that what I have read in the newspaper or learned through the grapevine provide a broad or deep picture of the current reality at the College.”Upon entering office, Mooney said her first priority is to increase her depth of knowledge about the Saint Mary’s community. She credits her regular visits to campus as having provided her with information about what faculty, staff and students consider to be the next steps taken.Mooney said her top priority as president is to ensure that Saint Mary’s will continue to attract “talented young women.” Focusing on individual attention and preparing students for a challenging future are two aspects that Mooney plans to maintain at the College. These aspects must remain faithful to the mission set by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, she said.”Saint Mary’s is an educational institution so, first and foremost, we must continue to provide an excellent academic experience and constantly strive to improve and fine tune it,” Mooney said. “Our goal is to be excellent in everything we do, and my job is to help keep us on that course and make it possible to achieve the next level of development.”