SMC renews Eldred's contract for five-year term
By SARAH RYKOWSKI and ALICIA ORTIZ
saint Mary's Board of Trustees renewed Marilou Eldred's contract as president of the College June 30 for a five-year term. Eldred has held the office since 1997.
"She has brought a sense of energy and direction to the college," said Bill Schmuhl, chairman of the Board of Trustees. "Eldred has served as wonderful role model for the women of Saint Mary's College."
Before Eldred's contract was renewed, the Board sought input from the students and faculty of the College. The response was unanimously positive, and the campus was pleased with Eldred's performance as the leader of the Saint Mary's community. After reviewing the feedback from the students and faculty the Board agreed to renew Eldred's contract.
Eldred came to Saint Mary's to replace President William Hickey in June of 1997. At the same time she became the first lay woman to be appointed to the office of the president at the College.
"I saw the need for better community building within the College and connecting Saint Mary's more to the South Bend community," Eldred said about her acceptance of the position. "This campus felt like where I wanted to be."
Students were generally pleased with the decision to renew Eldred's contract.
"Personally I think it's really wonderful to have a female president at an all women's college," senior Page Warstler said. "I think she's done a great job."
"From what I understand she is very up on letting students come in and talk to her," senior Melissa Wheeler said. "She just wants to get to know the students. I think she does a wonderful job."
Eldred has spent much of her career working in Catholic women's colleges, and hopes to continue to do so. She believes that it is important to maintain the reputation of the College in the face of the rapidly diminishing number of women's liberal arts colleges.
"The faculty has been working on revisions to curriculum," Eldred said. "Over the years I've been here we have also developed the Master Plan."
The plan includes renovation and aesthetic improvements around the campus, new buildings, and increased enrollment. Another of the College's focuses during Eldred's term has been redefining athletics at Saint Mary's, which involved hiring Lynn Kachmarik, the current athletic director, in 1999.
"Saint Mary's, in the last four years, has undergone a lot of great changes including the Master Plan and hiring a new Athletic Director," Warstler said.
The first visible steps in the Master Plan are the new Dalloway's Coffeehouse and the Welcome Center at the entrance to the College. Regina Hall was also renovated over the summer as part of the plan.
"We certainly want to increase overall enrollment but also attract more minority and overseas students to the College," Eldred said. "My vision was to bring all of those to fruition."
Eldred's next two tasks since her contract was renewed will be to continue to improve first-year enrollment and to complete the Master Plan.
"Fundraising is always a very high priority," Eldred said.
Eldred's vision of the College will include keeping it a strong Catholic women's college, increasing enrollment to 1700 students, improving diversity, maintaining its image as a superior undergraduate liberal arts institution, and keeping it as residential as possible.
Prior to her acceptance of the position of president at Saint Mary's in 1997, Eldred served as vice president of the college and as the academic vice president at the College of St. Catherine's in St. Paul, MN. Eldred received her B.A. from Mundelein College in Chicago, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from New York University.
All News Stories for Tuesday, September 5, 2000