Dr. Mary Lyons

Mary Lyons Mary Lyons photo number 2

Mary Lyons, left: 2002, credit: Fred Petters,  right: undated, credit: R. Tamm Photography  (click thumbnails for larger images)

Mary Lyons was the 12th president of the College of Saint Benedict, from 1996 to 2003. As president, Lyons continued to foster the academic growth of the college.

Lyons earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Sonoma State College in 1971. A few years later she received her master’s degree in English from San Jose State University. In 1983, she obtained her doctorate in rhetoric from the University of California at Berkley. She was the academic dean and a professor of rhetoric at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkley, California. From 1990 to 1996, Lyons was president of the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, California. During her presidency there, she incorporated a liberal arts core into the academy’s engineering and training programs. In addition, she led efforts to bring the academy into the California state college system.  Her theological, collegiate, and liberal arts background, all recommended her for the role of CSB president.

Lyons began her presidency at CSB during the fall semester of 1996. Furthering the efforts begun by S. Colman, Lyons fostered the growth and development of CSB’s unique coordinate relationship with SJU. Lyons strongly promoted the value of a women’s education and increased the visibility of CSB, which reached the Tier 2 ranking of National Liberal Arts Colleges. She launched a capital campaign which strengthened scholarships. Lyons was committed to multiculturalism, global studies, and Asian studies. During her presidency, enrollment at CSB increased seven percent, from about 1,760 to about 2,015 students.

In 1997, as she began her second year as CSB president, Lyons remarked that CSB was “not merely surviving; we are thriving. Each year the academic profiles of our students improve, and we graduate strong competent women who extend the powerful legacy of our alumnae within their families, in the workplace, and in graduate schools across the country.” [‘Having Fun’, Fall 1997 Saint Benedict’s Today]

Lyons stepped down from her presidency at CSB in 2003 in order to pursue career options closer to her home in California.

For more information on Mary Lyons:

Special thanks to Meghan Flannery ’15 for drafting this text.