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Marquette University Alumni Association

College of Education Award Recipients

Educational Policy and Leadership Achievement Award


Shorewood, Wis.

For Eileen Schwalbach, the dream of becoming a teacher started in the third grade, when she decided she wanted to be a third-grade teacher. Once she reached fourth grade, she aspired to be a fourth-grade teacher —and so on from there, making her career in education inevitable.

“Ever since I was a child, I liked helping people,” she says. “This quality then was refined, and it became a desire to help students reach their full potential.”

Eileen was named president of Mount Mary College in 2009, after a stint as the school’s acting president. Mount Mary is celebrating 100 years as a college in 2013 and will change its name to Mount Mary University to reflect its growing number of graduate students. She began her career at the school in 1993 as a part-time teacher in the English Department. Before that, she taught in the Milwaukee public school system for 25 years.

“I loved teaching, especially teaching English to urban high school students,” she says. “I loved introducing them to great literature and then helping them think creatively and critically about the issues that great literature addresses.”

She has served several education advocacy groups and has written a book, Value and Validity in Action Research: A Guidebook for Reflective Practitioners.

Eileen’s brother, Allan Mihm, Eng '74, also attended Marquette.

“Our father, a brilliant man who never even had the opportunity to go to high school, started education funds for us when we were very young,” she says. “He wanted us to be able to go to college, but not any college. These funds were to pay our tuition at only one place — Marquette University.”

Get to Know: Dr. Eileen Mihm Schwalbach

Hometown:  Milwaukee

Favorite book:  Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Someone past or present she’d like to have dinner with: Toni Morrison

Favorite Marquette memory:  The discussions she had in philosophy courses.  This was during the time of the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights and Environmental Movements when professors made philosophical questions come alive and be resounding relevant.