Mary J. Wardell
Vice Provost & Chief Diversity Officer
University of San Francisco
Recognized as a 2017 Most Influential Woman by the San Francisco Business Times, Dr. Mary J. Wardell has served as the inaugural chief diversity officer of the University of San Francisco since 2011, and during that time has made notable advancement to the campus climate for equity and inclusion as San Francisco’s first institution of higher education. During Dr. Wardell’s tenure at USF the campus has moved up to the 2nd most ethnically diverse university in the nation, named the 2nd best law school in nation for Latino students to succeed, and was named in 2014 by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as the number one non-HBCU university in the nation for undergraduate African American student success. She is known for offering relevant university initiatives, curricula, and presentations that center and align Jesuit mission to all equity, diversity and inclusion work in Jesuit higher education.
Mary served on the Xavier University mission examen visiting team and is part of the University of Scranton mission examen visiting team scheduled for February 2018.
Appointed by Mayor Edwin Lee to serve as the President of the San Francisco Public Library Commission stewarding a budget of $124M for a system of 28 libraries, Mary has impacted the futures of thousands of college students as well as hundreds of thousands of residents through access to resources and educational pathways at one of the Bay Areas’ most celebrated anchor institutions. She also serves on the executive boards of the Urban Libraries Council in Washington, D.C, the San Francisco Interfaith Council and Saint Ignatius College Preparatory School in San Francisco.
Prior to her VP/ CDO role at USF, Mary served as the USF Associate Vice President and Dean of Students leading and supporting campus-wide student services, including behavioral intervention and crisis response; she was the chief student affairs officer at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles leading student life, and the Assistant Dean of Students at the California State University, San Marcos.
Mary is a professor of organizational behavior, communication, and leadership for undergraduate and graduate students seeking to lead within organizations. Her professional practice is focused on advising senior and cabinet level leaders on strategic capacity building for equity and inclusion in their leadership and with those they influence. Vice Provost Wardell has a bachelor’s in communication from the University of the Pacific, a masters’ in counseling and social justice education from San Diego State University and a doctorate in education from Pepperdine University.
Mary enjoys spending her time with her husband, daughters, botanic gardens, singing, and practicing yoga.