Published June 09, 2020

Donor Spotlight: Mary Ryder ’72

Creating a path for future teachers to follow in her footsteps.
  • Mary Ryder ’72

Mary studied English and classics at Monmouth. She transferred to Monmouth after one year at Illinois State University. At Monmouth, she was  influenced by the faculty, especially Bernice Fox, Adele Kennedy, Jean Liedman and Jeremy McNamara. During her 13-year career as a high school teacher, she earned a doctorate in English from the University of Illinois. She then taught at South Dakota State University for 18 years, retiring in 2007.

HER GIFT: “My No. 1 goal was to profess,” she says. “You’ve accumulated knowledge, now pass it on. That’s what I wanted my scholarship gift to provide, but I didn’t want to have to go to a lawyer. I wanted it to be something I could simply do. So I made a giant CD, and made it POD (payable on death).” The scholarship will be given, alternately, to “good, talented, hard-working Monmouth students” in English and classics with an interest in teaching.

WHY SHE GIVES: “I wanted to give something that says, ‘Thank you for giving me the opportunity I had in my career,’” says Mary. “I don’t think I would’ve become a professor had it not been for Monmouth. Monmouth challenged me and gave me individual support from professors. It made me reassess who I wanted to be. … It’s what I thought a college should be.”

WHAT MONMOUTH MEANS TO HER: ‘My experience at Monmouth became a model of how I learned to teach,” she says. “We weren’t pigeon-holed at Monmouth. It gave me a broader and much wider perspective, and that’s what it’s all about.”

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