MARY E. LYONS, Ph.D. is president emerita and university professor of the University of San Diego. After serving as president (2003–2015), she now holds the “Mary E. Lyons Chair in Leadership Studies” at the university. During her extensive career in education, Dr. Lyons has enjoyed rich and varied experiences as a teacher, professor and administrator. From 1996–2003, Lyons served as the president of the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn. Prior to this, she served as the president of the California Maritime Academy, a campus of the California State University in Vallejo, Calif. With this appointment, she was commissioned as a rear admiral in the U.S. Maritime Service. Previously, she was the academic dean and professor of Rhetoric and Homiletics at the Franciscan School of Theology, Old Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, Calif.
Dr. Lyons received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University, her Master of Arts degree in English from San Jose State University and her Ph.D. in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley. During her 25-year career as a U.S. Naval Reserve officer, she held a variety of assignments, including an active duty position teaching at the Naval Training Center in San Diego and two appointments as commanding officer of Naval Reserve units. She retired in 1996 as a captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
Dr. Lyons has been recognized for leadership and service by numerous associations, including the Educator Distinguished Service Award from the National Defense Transportation Association, the University of San Francisco Medallion for scholarly achievement and community service, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Sonoma State University, and is the recipient of a doctorate of humane letters from The College of New Rochelle.
Her publications and presentations touch on a variety of topics, drawing upon her expertise as a rhetorician, an educator and a community leader.
Dr. Lyons’ current board appointments include: Providence St. Joseph Health System (chair of governance committee), Francis Parker School, The Franciscan School of Theology, and Diocese of San Diego Catholic Charities (board Chair).