North Central College vice president Laurie Hamen named president of Mount Mercy University

Dec 06, 2013

Laurie Hamen, North Central College vice president for enrollment management, athletics and student affairs, will become the ninth president of Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Hamen, 54, of River Forest, has been an administrator at North Central College since 1996 and a vice president since 1999. Under her leadership the College’s enrollment increased 100 percent to 2,700 undergraduates and the number of students living on campus increased 50 percent to 1,500 residents.

“My work at North Central College has provided me with considerable experience that will be directly applicable to the work I will do as president of Mount Mercy University,” Hamen said. “Like North Central, Mount Mercy is a comprehensive liberal arts institution that additionally concerns itself with civic engagement, professional education and a sense of place in the community.”

Hamen’s initiatives at North Central have impacted many aspects of the College, including student recruitment and retention, Division III athletics, financial aid, expanded health services and enrollment of minority students, international students and others.

“North Central College’s successes on so many fronts—its lively campus life, athletic achievements, enrollment growth, opportunities for student leadership and attractive housing options—are the result of Laurie’s vision,” North Central College President Troy D. Hammond said. “She wanted to ensure that every student had the opportunity to enjoy an engaged and well-rounded college experience. She also mentored a generation of student affairs professionals who have succeeded at North Central and other institutions across the country.”

Hamen also served as North Central’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students from 1999 to 2002 and as dean of students from 1996 to 1999. During her 17 years at North Central she supervised the implementation of numerous initiatives, including expanded services for student veterans, the grant-funded Teach First program to assist first-generation college students who aspire to become educators, hiring of nonteaching graduate assistants and an English Language Institute designed to serve international students.

“Mount Mercy University will no doubt benefit from Laurie Hamen’s considerable talents and expertise in higher education leadership,” said Barbara A. Barhamand of Naperville, vice chair of Mount Mercy University’s Board of Trustees. “As a Naperville resident I’ve seen firsthand the success North Central has experienced in recent years, and I’m confident Laurie’s administrative capabilities will help strengthen our institution, grow and diversify our enrollment and expand services available to students.”

During Hamen’s oversight of North Central’s athletic programs the College won eight of its 30 team national championships, 24 of its 117 individual national championships, 206 individual Academic All-American honors and 30 Academic All-American Team Awards. She also introduced important athletic leadership and faculty mentor programs that embody the NCAA Division III philosophy.

“Laurie Hamen’s impact on North Central College over the past 17 years has been incredible, and I’m confident she will bring the same energy, vision and integrity to leadership of Mount Mercy,” said Harold R. Wilde, North Central College president emeritus. “She will be a great college president—able to see the big picture, witness for the values of the institution and know every student’s name.”

Mount Mercy University is a fully accredited, private, co-ed, Catholic institution founded in 1928 by the Sisters of Mercy. Mount Mercy offers baccalaureate and graduate education to nearly 1,800 enrolled students and uniquely blends liberal arts education with professional preparation. The school was formerly known as Mount Mercy College.

“Laurie was selected as our next president after a nationwide search that concluded with her making an official visit to the Mount Mercy campus last month,” said Mount Mercy University Board of Trustees Chairman Brandt Worley. “Her passion for private liberal arts education and the Mercy Mission was clear and evident to the entire Mount Mercy community, and we are delighted she has accepted the position.”

Prior to coming to North Central, Hamen was dean of students at the College of St. Benedict in Saint Joseph, Minn. She also previously served as associate dean of students at St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minn.; director of activities at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Miss.; and assistant complex director at Mankato State University in Mankato, Minn.

Hamen earned a juris doctor from DePaul University in Chicago; pursued doctoral coursework in educational administration at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn.; holds a master of science in counselor education/professional development from Winona State University in Winona, Minn.; and a bachelor of arts in home economics from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minn. She lives in River Forest with her husband Bill and is the mother of three adult children and grandmother of two.

Hamen was introduced to the Mount Mercy University campus community during an event on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. She is scheduled to assume the presidency in early 2014.