Spring Hill College Shapes History With Presidential Announcement

(Mobile, Ala.) – Spring Hill College has selected Mary H. Van Brunt, PhD, as its 39th President. As the College prepares to celebrate its 200-year legacy, she will make history as the first woman to serve in the top leadership role.

Van Brunt brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in Catholic higher education. She has served as Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and founding Academic Dean. Her strengths are in the areas of strategic planning, new program development and assessment, fundraising, and team building. She also spent twelve years in the banking, securities, and pharmaceutical industries. 

“With Dr. Joe Lee’s anticipated retirement this winter, Spring Hill undertook an extensive, national presidential search for the most qualified leader to fulfill and sustain its Jesuit Catholic mission,” said Jack McKinney, Chairman of Spring Hill College Board of Trustees. “After carefully vetting more than three dozen pre-screened candidates, we are delighted that Dr. Van Brunt has graciously accepted the offer to become our next President. We are grateful to Dr. Lee for his vision and his leadership,” he continued. He led us through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, helped the College develop new and award-winning academic majors, and strengthened community partnerships with the military, local businesses, and schools.”

Van Brunt served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Gwynedd Mercy University in Gwynedd Valley, Pa., and as Founding Dean of the School of Business, Arts and Media at Cabrini University in Radnor, Pa. As an award-winning economics professor, she received the NCES/AEFA New Scholar Dissertation Award, Warren York Fellowship, and the Charles R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Excellence in teaching. She has been inducted into several honor societies including Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars, Beta Sigma Gamma Honor Society, and the Delta Epsilon Sigma National Catholic Honor Society. She is a published author, consultant, certified global business professional, and prior certified management accountant. 

“I am delighted to have been chosen to lead Spring Hill College,” said Van Brunt. “I look forward to connecting with the Spring Hill community and carrying out the centuries-old Jesuit tradition of caring for the intellectual, spiritual, and social growth of our future servant leaders. The mission coupled with the liberal arts education resonates with me and aligns with my Catholic faith and personal values.”

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., a Master of Business Administration in Accounting from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pa., and a PhD in Economics from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. In her spare time, Van Brunt enjoys swimming, kayaking, traveling abroad, and spending time with her six adult children, family, and friends. She will be relocating to Mobile with her husband Chris and their dog, Stella. She will begin her presidency in January of 2023.


Founded in 1830, Spring Hill College is the oldest Catholic college in the Southeast and the third oldest Jesuit college in the United States. Spring Hill combines the Jesuit tradition of excellence in education and a commitment to caring for the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – with innovative educational experiences. Located in Mobile, Ala., Spring Hill’s mission is to form leaders engaged in learning, faith, justice and service for life. As a result, Spring Hill students are engaged, inspired and transformed by their experiences. 

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