Monmouth is what I thought a college should be.

Mary Ryder ’72

Class Year


Current Information

Brief bio: Ryder studied English and classics at Monmouth and recalls the influences of faculty members Bernice Fox, Adele Kennedy, Jean Liedman and Jeremy McNamara. During her 13-year career as a high school teacher, she earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois and taught at South Dakota State University for 18 years, retiring in 2007.

Her gift: “My No. 1 goal was to profess,” she said. “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,’” said Ryder, who transferred to Monmouth after one year at Illinois State University. “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 said. “We weren’t pigeon-holed at Monmouth. It gave me a broader and much wider perspective, and that’s what it’s all about.”