St. Scholastica celebrates inauguration of Dr. Colette McCarrick Geary as 12th president

McCarrick Geary
McCarrick Geary
For the first time in 17 years, The College of St. Scholastica will welcome a new leader as it celebrates the inauguration of President Colette McCarrick Geary on Friday in an elegant ceremony on campus.

College officials expect more than 1,000 people to attend, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, community leaders, elected officials, local and state college representatives, and other supporters and friends. Live streaming will also be provided for people who can’t attend in person.

The day’s activities start with a Mass in Mitchell Auditorium at 10 a.m., celebrated by Bishop Paul Sirba of the Diocese of Duluth.

The installation ceremony follows from noon to 2 p.m. in Reif Gymnasium.

A reception will follow from 2 to 4 p.m. in Burns Wellness Commons Field House.

The installation ceremony will begin with an academic procession led by a bagpiper and featuring student flag bearers from many countries, St. Scholastica faculty, members of the Board of Trustees, visiting faculty from other colleges, and senior College staff members. All but the flag bearers will be dressed in ceremonial academic regalia.

Mary Ives, past chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, will serve as the master of ceremonies. Speakers will include Duluth Mayor and St. Scholastica social work alumna Emily Larson; Blandin Foundation President and CEO Kathleen Annette, Minnesota Private College Council President Paul Cerkvenik; and President of the College of Saint Benedict Mary Dana Hinton, among others.

President Geary will be officially installed with an investiture ceremony, during which she will receive a ceremonial presidential medallion from Board of Trustees Chairman Christopher Dolan.

President Geary will then give an address.

The reception in the adjacent Burns Wellness Commons Field House will feature refreshments and live music.

To enable those on campus to be a part of the historic day, classes are canceled and non-essential campus offices will be closed.

St. Scholastica’s last presidential inauguration was for Larry Goodwin in 1999. He retired in June. Dr. Geary took office on July 1.

She comes to St. Scholastica from The College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, NY, a private Catholic college founded by Ursuline nuns in 1904. She joined The College of New Rochelle in 2010 as Vice President for Student Services. She served as Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives there starting in 2014, and led the implementation of a strategic plan across six campuses and four schools.

She also oversaw the Office of Mission and Ministry, which promotes mission-based commitments in the life of the college, key elements of which include an emphasis on the value of the liberal arts; a special commitment to the education of women; expanding educational access to populations historically underserved by higher education; and an emphasis on lifelong learning.

Geary is the first laywoman to lead St. Scholastica, and the first female president since Sister Joan Braun served as interim president more than 40 years ago.

She holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, NY, a B.S. in psychology from Manhattan College in the Bronx, New York City, and is completing an M.A. in theology at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN.