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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Education Award Recipients

Educational Policy and Leadership Achievement Award

Dr. Mark D. McCarthyDR. MARK D. MCCARTHY, GRAD '93
Shaker Heights, Ohio

In fulfilling his definition of success, which involves using his God-given talents to be of service to others, Mark has had the opportunity to help bring out the best in thousands of young people.

He has spent the majority of his career in student affairs positions in Jesuit higher education, the last six as vice president of student affairs at John Carroll University in Cleveland. There, he provides leadership for a wide variety of departments, including the dean of students, Athletics and Recreation, the Campus Police, Residence Life and Food Service, Student Activities, and Health and Counseling, to meet students’ needs — and guide their growth — outside the classroom.

“I truly see my work as a vocation,” he says. “Time and again, it has provided me with opportunities to engage students in the whole of their university experience and develop their leadership in the service of others.”

Before joining John Carroll, Mark was the assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of student development at Marquette, where he worked in a variety of student affairs positions during 25 years while also completing his doctorate in 1993. He served as adjunct assistant professor in what is now the College of Education. “It is rare that one has the chance to work, study and teach all at the same university and often at the same time,” he says. “This gave me a unique perspective about the university and contributed to my understanding of students and their academic, vocational and spiritual journeys.”

Having achieved success in his daily work, Mark extends his influence through professional leadership and personal service and serves with senior student affairs officers from 20 colleges and universities on the James E. Scott Academy Board of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. He has also participated in cultural and service immersion experiences in Haiti, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

“Working at a sister Jesuit institution allows me to experience and live out the values of Marquette's and now John Carroll's mission every day,” he says. 

Fun Facts

Hometown: Shaker Heights, Ohio

Someone (past or present) with whom you’d like to have dinner:  “I would like to have dinner with Pope Francis. I am inspired by his leadership, his capacity to care for and love the poor, and his commitment to service.”

Marquette faculty or staff member who had an impact on you and how: “Dr. Thomas Martin, former dean of the College of Education, provided wisdom and support to complete my doctoral program and chaired my dissertation committee. Dr. James Scott, former vice president for student affairs at Marquette, also served as a mentor for me and encouraged me to develop my talents as an administrator. He provided opportunities to stretch my abilities through a balance of challenge and support. When facing difficult decisions in my work today, I often think about his advice, his attention to details, and his preparation to meet the demands of working with students and their families.”

What is one of your favorite Marquette memories? “I have many fond memories of Marquette, but having the opportunity to work with student leaders like Dr. Stephanie Quade, Arts ’84; Dr. Kris Ropella, Eng ’85; and Kate Agnew Trevey, Bus Ad ’04; among others who now are Marquette leaders in the faculty and administration, stands out for me. Helping build programs and experiences for students that connect their learning in and out of the classroom; serving on the planning committee for the Alumni Memorial Union; establishing the Office of Student Development and the leadership, community service and intercultural programs it contains; are memorable aspects of my work at Marquette. Being able to study higher education and leadership during my doctoral studies complemented and enhanced my work experiences and provided me with the opportunity to link theory and practice in meaningful ways.”

When you were in grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up and why? "I wanted to be a teacher and swimming coach, and in many ways teaching and coaching have been important parts of my work in student affairs administration. The opportunity to serve as a mentor to young people has always been motivating and life-giving to me.”

Who is your Marquette legacy?  "My wife Mary completed her M.B.A. at Marquette in 1988.”

Who has been the most influential person in your life, and why? “I believe that my mother has been and remains the most influential person in my life. She has demonstrated resiliency through many difficult situations in her life, an amazing intellectual curiosity and a commitment to serve others, particularly immigrant women and their families. She and my father provided every opportunity to me to advance my education and be exposed to art, music, literature and culture. Their influence helped shape my interests and passions in life.”