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SXU to name new administrative center after Sr. Mary Denis O’Grady, R.S.M., Ph.D.

Sister of Mercy helped found Chicagoland’s first criminal justice program

Chicago (June 30, 2009) Saint Xavier University has announced it will name a new administrative center in honor of former faculty member Sister Mary Denis O’Grady, R.S.M., Ph.D.

Sister Denis served as a Saint Xavier faculty member for nearly 50 years in the Department of History and Political Science. She was a founder and director of the first Criminal Justice program in the Chicago area.

“This is a fitting tribute to Sister Denis, who exemplified our Catholic identity, mission and core values in dedicating her life to higher education,” said Saint Xavier President Judith A. Dwyer, Ph.D.

Formerly a United Methodist Church building located at 11000 S. St. Louis Ave., the Sister Mary Denis O’Grady Center will house Saint Xavier’s offices of advising, records and registration, student accounts and financial aid and the admission communication center.

Sister Denis was known for her untiring dedication to students and academic success, and prepared hundreds of students for careers in law, law enforcement and related careers. 

The late Dr. Hassan Haddad, a colleague of Sister Denis, wrote the following commendation in 1984: “for her love of service to the college, for her dedication to the welfare of the students, for her concern with the graduates for years after they leave the college, for cementing emotional ties between graduates and their alma mater, and for selfless hard work on behalf of all…”  

Born on March 21, 1915, Sister Denis entered the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 8, 1937. Sister Denis was a 1937 graduate of Saint Xavier College. She earned her masters degree at Loyola University in 1946 and her Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame in 1950. She died March 29, 2008 at the age of 93.

-SXU-