College degrees change with the times

Mount Mary College students Ruth Rasmussen, Genevieve Morley and Marianna Berg participate in the Home Household Management class in 1954. This class was part of the Home Makers Course, a program designed to give students a general knowledge of home economics. This comment about the course was written in the undergraduate booklet for home economics: “All students … are strongly urged to elect this course, regardless of their fields of specialization, in order to better understand their primary vocation in life — that of HOMEMAKER.”


During the last 100 years Mount Mary College has revised its course and degree offerings to meet the changing demands of the job market.

According to the 1933 yearbook, the first gradu- ating class at the current Milwaukee location were awarded degrees in areas of study not offered today: home economics, secretarial science, social science and Latin.

The c.1929 undergraduate booklet for home eco- nomics lists the following programs as areas of study: child development; foods and nutrition; home eco- nomics teaching; home management; institutional management; professional demonstration; related art; and textiles and clothing.

Since then the home economics degree has been revised and eventually phased out.

The 1966 yearbook reflects some of the changes in the major and lists dietetics; education; and clothing and textiles as the three areas of study within home economics.

1966 was also the year that Mount Mary first offered a fashion program. It began as a combined effort between the home economic and art departments, with students majoring in art and minoring in clothing and textiles. Fashion design was officially offered as an independent major in 1967.

1990 was the last year home economics was offered as a degree. In 1991, the program was revised and renamed consumer sciences and offered majors in consumer science; family and consumer educa- tion; and hotel and restaurant management. Curricu- lum classes included Meal Management; Housing and Interior Design; Child and Adolescent Development; and Hotel Marketing and Sales.

2001 was the last year the consumer sciences de- partment existed. The hotel management program was discontinued and the consumer science program was rolled into the dietetics program.

In her January 2013 speech at Mount Mary’s All College Workshop, President Eileen Schwalbach cel- ebrated the current changes at the college by referring to past degree revisions.

“When home economics became more career focused, the dietetics and fashion departments were created,” Schwalbach said.

Today, the newest Mount Mary majors include public health and writing for new media.

Schwalbach also referred to a quote from Mother Theresa to explain the college’s continued motivation for change: “To provide an excellent, leading-edge education that prepares students to meet the changing needs of society and work to transform the world.”

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