Mary Dana Hinton, Ph.D., President, College of Saint Benedict
Mary Dana Hinton became the fifteenth president of the College of Saint Benedict on July 1, 2014. The College of Saint Benedict is a national liberal arts college for women, and one of only three Catholic colleges ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top 100 liberal arts institution. The college has a unique partnership with nearby Saint John’s University for men. The College of Saint Benedict provides a liberal arts education preparing women to think critically, lead courageously and advocate passionately.
Under Dr. Hinton’s leadership, the College of Saint Benedict has implemented a collaborative strategic plan and dynamic vision to guide the College through 2020. In alignment with the strategic plan, the college is successfully undertaking a $100 million comprehensive fundraising campaign. Dr. Hinton has also led the process to implement a $43 million campus facilities update, enabling Saint Ben’s to provide premier facilities for teaching, learning and women’s leadership development.
Active in the national higher education arena, Dr. Hinton is chair of the Minnesota Private College Council Board of Presidents and is a member of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), and the University Leadership Council. She speaks frequently in the U.S. and abroad on topics related to the liberal arts and inclusion, and she founded the Liberal Arts Illuminated Conference. Dr. Hinton teaches in the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education doctoral program in higher education management, the Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education (IACHE) and the CIC President’s Institute New President Program.
Dr. Hinton's enthusiasm for leading CSB stems from her personal experience with women's residential education at St. Mary’s School in Raleigh, NC and her liberal arts education as an undergraduate student. This, along with her professional experience on Catholic college campuses, fuels her interest in integrating a spiritual perspective with a vibrant liberal arts education: the essence of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.
Dr. Hinton’s scholarship focuses on African American religious history, higher education leadership, strategic planning, the role of education in peace building, and inclusion in higher education. She is the author of “The Commercial Church: Black Churches and the New Religious Marketplace in America."
Prior to coming to the College of Saint Benedict, Dr. Hinton served as the vice president for academic affairs at Mount Saint Mary College, a Dominican college in Newburgh, NY. In this role, she provided senior administrative leadership for academic affairs, enrollment management, planning, assessment and institutional research and student affairs, among other areas. Her passion for student retention led to the development of the Center for Student Success, a model program that provides comprehensive academic support services to improve student retention and persistence.
Dr. Hinton earned a Ph.D. in religion and religious education with high honors from Fordham University, a Master of Arts degree in clinical child psychology from the University of Kansas, Lawrence and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Williams College. Dr. Hinton is the recipient of the Bicentennial Medal from Williams College and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Misericordia University.
Dr. Hinton, her husband, Robert Williams, and their children, Hallela, Hillel and Hosanna, make their home at the Renner House, the college’s presidential residence in St. Joseph, Minn.
Dr. Hinton’s Current Professional Service:
About the College of Saint Benedict
The College of Saint Benedict has been ranked number one among National Liberal Arts Colleges in the nation by US News and World Report for its operating efficiency, and number 41 in the nation by the New York Times for helping students achieve the American Dream. In fall 2017, CSB was invited to join the American Talent Initiative (ATI) in recognition of the college’s commitment to lower income students.
College of Saint Benedict students achieve excellent outcomes. Four-year completion rates at CSB significantly exceed averages for private and public colleges regionally and nationally. Fully 99 percent of graduates report that within a year of earning their degree, they are either employed, pursuing a graduate degree or in a full-time volunteer position. In 2019, CSB and its partner in academic excellence, Saint John’s University, were named the best colleges for employment placement in Minnesota by Zippia, a career website. CSB has been recently recognized as a top producer of Fulbright Scholars and Peace Corps volunteers. Alumna Rachel Mullin ’14 was one of 32 Americans who received a 2016 Rhodes Scholarship, widely considered to be the world's most prestigious academic award.