Katie Conboy has taken the helm at South Bend’s St. Mary’s College

Dr. Katie Conboy

Dr. Katie Conboy, late of Milton, has spent the summer settling in at Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana, where, on June 1, she took office as the institution’s 14th president.

In a letter to the college community welcoming her, Gretchen Flicker, Chair of the Saint Mary’s College Board of Trustees, wrote: “The champion our search committee sought was discovered in Dr. Katie Conboy. An academic thought-leader with a knack for meeting the needs of today’s student. A change agent with a combined 33 years at Holy Cross and all-women’s institutions. A lifelong learner who is personally familiar with our College. She takes her place in Le Mans Hall among the great leaders who have come before her.” She succeeds Dr. Nancy Nekvasil, who has served as interim president since 2018.

Most recently, Conboy was provost and senior vice president at Simmons University, positions she had held since 2013. Prior to Simmons, she was at Stonehill College, a Holy Cross institution in North Easton, Massachusetts, where she served first as a professor of English literature and then as provost. Conboy earned her PhD in English literature from the University of Notre Dame in 1986, and her undergraduate degree at the University of Kansas in 1981. 

When asked how she feels about becoming the 14th president of the College, Conboy replied, “I am so excited to become part of a college that shares so many of my values and priorities: educating the whole person, promoting an open-hearted and inclusive community, and advancing women. I believe Saint Mary’s is a place that changes lives — and can therefore change the world, one person at a time. I want to be part of that transformational mission.

“Having grown up in an all-girl family, and having three daughters, I have learned that there is much to be celebrated about the differences between women,” she continued. “Our daughters taught us on a daily basis that their experiences of the world, their schools, their peer groups, even their family were different. Each of them was completely herself, deserving to be seen on her own terms. Every girl or woman does not have the same experience, even of gender. I suspect I’ll find a great diversity of women in the Saint Mary’s student body, and I look forward to accompanying them on their academic journeys.”

Conboy is married to Dr. Thomas O’Grady, who recently retired after a 35-year career on the faculty at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where he was a professor of English, Director of the Irish Studies program, and a member of the Creative Writing faculty.  They have three grown daughters: Mairéad, Caitríona, and Siobhán.