Board members


Mary M. Fanning, RSM, PhD

Mary Fanning, PhD is currently on the faculty of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in financial management, general management, and health administration. Prior to her current faculty appointment, she worked in a consultative capacity for several non-profit organizations, and organized a collaborative alliance of social service, community development and church-based programs. For a time, Mary advised several Mercy institutions (including Mount Saint Agnes) in the areas of finance and board development. She has served in the fields of both education and health care.

Jane Gerety, RSM, PhD

Jane Gerety, RSM, PhD became the seventh president of Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island on July 1, 2009. Sister Gerety had been Corporate Compliance Officer at Saint Joseph’s Health System in Atlanta, Georgia since 1992. Prior to joining the Health System, she served as an Associate Professor of English and Academic Dean at Carlow University in Pittsburgh, PA from 1981 to 1992. Her dedication to education extends beyond teaching; while in Pittsburgh, Sister Jane established a highly successful baccalaureate program for poor women in the Pittsburgh Hill District. She is a frequent guest speaker and author on the mission of Catholic health care, governance, compliance, and health care reform.

Michael J. James, PhD

Dr. Michael James is the Executive Director of the Center for Catholic Education at Boston College, a position he has held since 2006. He is also the President of Saint Columbkille Partnership School Corporation in Boston and the Editor of Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice. Prior to these positions, he served as Vice President of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) and in various administrative roles at Mount Marty College in South Dakota, at Indiana University, and at the University of Notre Dame. He lectures and consults widely in the fields of Catholic higher education in America, faith and the intellectual life, Catholic mission and identity, and Catholic Social Thought. He is also a musical artist, recording several albums in instrumental sacred music.

Jacqueline Marie Kieslich, RSM, PhD

Marie Kieslich, PhD, is currently co-chair of the Integration Team for the Reconfiguration of the Sisters of Mercy of America. Previously Marie served at Trinity College of Vermont where she held various positions, including educator, vice president for academic and student affairs, and president. She led the divestiture of the college in 2003. Her board experience includes St. Michaels College, Gailer School Board, Vermont Catholic Charities, and Mercy Connections. She was active in the Mercy Higher Education Colloquium and served on the executive committee.

Anne E. McLaughlin, RSM, D.Min

Anne McLaughlin, DMin has served as the Director of Doctor of Ministry Program, Academic Assistant Dean, Washington Theological Union, since 2007. She has over thirty years of full time teaching experience in Catholic higher education in theology, Catholic social thought and ministry supervision. Anne was an executive board member of Mercy Higher Education Colloquium and has served on several executive committees. Her experience includes the ability to design, implement and evaluate educational programs and to foster meaningful networking skills among colleagues and external agencies.

Barbara Person, JD

Barbara Person, JD, is currently chair of the board of the Conference for Mercy Higher Education and is an attorney who served the College of Saint Mary for several years including chair 2002-04. She is active in professional legal societies and lectures frequently. Her law practice includes nonprofit organizations, tax exemption, and health related matters.

Maureen Reardon, RSM, PhD

Maureen Reardon, PhD. serves as vice president for mission services at Mercy Community Health. Maureen has been on the board of the Conference for Mercy Higher Education since the beginning. Previously she had worked at Saint Joseph College in various capacities including dean of enrollment, special assistant to the president, and EVP. Her prior service includes the Archdiocese of Hartford where she was assistant superintendent of secondary schools. Maureen’s board experience includes Mercy Community Health, the Mercy Higher Education Colloquium, several schools and academies.

Maureen Scott, RSM, PhD

Maureen Scott, PhD, is assistant director of graduate programs in public service at DePaul University where she has held several other positions, including vice president and dean of faculty. Her prior experience includes Saint Xavier University and Barat College. Her experience includes service on the boards of several secondary schools and North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.

Julia Ann Upton, RSM, PhD

Julia Ann Upton, PhD is currently the Distinguished Professor of Theology and Special Assistant to the President of St. John’s University. From 2000 to 2012 she served as Provost of St. John’s overseeing the academic programs of the University’s six colleges on five campuses. She has been a member of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies since 1979 and continues to teach at least one course each year. Julia is a member of the Liturgical Commission of the Diocese of Brooklyn and served as a Consultant to the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference Committee on Divine Worship 1979-1982 and 2007-2010. She has published five books and numerous articles.

Rita Marie Valade, RSM, PhD

Rita Marie Valade, PhD is currently the Director of Mission and Resident Services at Mercy Sacred Heart long term care facility in Louisville, KY. A former faculty and Chair of the School of Social Work at Spalding University, Rita is enjoying a return to direct ministry with persons who are elderly in addition to persons with intellectual disabilities and those who are infirmed.

Christine M. Wiseman, J.D.

Christine Wiseman, J.D. is the President of Saint Xavier University in Chicago and the immediate past Provost of Loyola University Chicago, where she held a tenured position as Professor of Law. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and is Chair of its Academic Affairs Committee. Professor Wiseman has served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Creighton University and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Marquette University. She also served as Assistant Wisconsin Attorney General, a law clerk to the Honorable Robert W. Warren, Chief Judge for the US District Court of Wisconsin, and a reporter to the Wisconsin State Bar Committee on Justice and the Judiciary and the State Bar Litigation Section. In 2010 she was recognized as one of the “Most Powerful and Influential” women in Illinois by the National Diversity Council.

Cynthia Ann Zane, EdD

Dr. Zane has served as the President of Hilbert College in Hamburg, New York since 2006. During this time, she has led the development of an inclusive strategic planning process for the College as well as the development of a Campus Master Plan. Prior to her position as President, she served as the Chief Academic Officer and Dean of the Faculty of the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio, as the Dean of the College of Health Professions and the McAuley School of Nursing at the University of Detroit Mercy, and, early in her career, as a member of the faculty of the School of Nursing at Saint Xavier College in Chicago.  She is actively engaged in numerous community boards, associations, councils, and institutes, many related to issues of healthcare.

Moya K. Dittmeier, EdD - Executive Director, ex officio

Formerly Vice President for Planning and Special Projects at Holy Family University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dr. Dittmeier was appointed Executive Director of the Conference for Mercy Higher Education in May 2008. With a Bachelor’s degree in English and Education (Immaculata University), a Master’s degree in Rhetoric and the Teaching of Writing (Arcadia University), and a doctoral degree in Higher Education Leadership (Widener University), Dr. Dittmeier brings a background in both teaching and administration to her Conference role. She expresses a deep commitment to the ministry of Catholic higher education, to creative approaches for bringing individuals together for common goals, and to an international perspective on the role of higher education within global concerns.