Dr. Mary Hinton

Dr Mary Hinton

 Dr. Mary Hinton; 2014  (Click on thumbnail for larger image)

            President Emerita Mary Dana Hinton served as the 15th president of the College of Saint Benedict from 2014 to 2020, taking over for MaryAnn Baenninger, who had held the position of president for ten years. Throughout her six-year tenure, Mary Hinton accomplished much, from completing several building and renovation projects to being instrumental in improving the College of St. Benedict’s ratings both nationally and globally. Beyond just the tangible, though, was her commitment to ensuring a welcoming and safe community for all, one with diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice exemplified across all facets of the college.

            Before coming to St. Ben’s, Mary Dana Hinton’s academic accomplishments were extensive. She attended high school at St. Mary’s in Raleigh, Northa Carolina before completing her undergraduate degree at Williams College in Williamstown, MA, where she earned her B.A. in psychology.  She received her Master of Arts degree in clinical child psychology from the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and later completed her Ph.D. in religion and religious education with high honors from Fordham University. Since then, her professional career has developed from teaching in an elementary school, to holding a variety of administrative positions at Catholic colleges like associate vice president of academic affairs and diversity officer at Misericordia College, to being the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY—the position she held for three years before being selected to fill the role of president of St. Ben’s in 2014. Throughout her career she developed skills of leadership, advocacy, and communication that she brought with her to the College of St. Benedict, making her a well-prepared candidate for president, where she was appointed after a unanimous vote by the CSB Board of Trustees.

            Once appointed, Mary Dana Hinton wasted no time in beginning to put together a vision and a plan for the future of the college by meeting with students, alumnae, trustees, faculty, staff, and other members of the community, which then led to the development of Strategic Directions 2020 (SD2020), a collaborative strategic plan and dynamic vision to guide the college through 2020. This emphasis on collaboration and ensuring that all voices are heard was something that became very characteristic of President Hinton’s time at CSB and earned her respect and admiration from the community.

            Over the following six years of her tenure, some of President Hinton’s largest accomplishments came in the form of fundraising. In 2016, under her leadership, the Board of Trustees authorized a bond of over $34,000,000 for renovation and new building projects. This led to the repurposing of the Main Building and the Henrita Academic Building and the transformation of spaces purchased from the monastery to become Schoenecker Commons. She was instrumental in securing a $600,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to help to create transformative inclusion throughout the community of CSB/SJU. Then, in 2020, President Hinton ushered in the Illuminating Lives campaign, the largest of its kind in the school’s history, which aimed to improve access to higher education for students from a variety of backgrounds, grow support for scholarships through the annual fund, and create modern and functional learning spaces for curricular and co-curricular activities. The monetary goal for this campaign was set at $100,000,000, and by May of 2020, the total added up to over $107,000,000.

            Beyond these accomplishments, President Hinton deeply impacted St. Ben’s through her commitment to the community and its members by exemplifying what it means to be a part of a Benedictine community—living with compassion and being an advocate for others.

            In June of 2020, President Hinton stepped down from the presidency at St. Ben’s to take up the presidency of Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia.


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