Notre Dame of Maryland University announced Thursday that a New Jersey liberal arts college provost known for her research on domestic violence will be its new president.
Marylou Yam, currently provost at Saint Peter's University, a Catholic liberal arts institution in Jersey City, N.J., will take over the post at the North Baltimore school on July 1.
In a statement, Notre Dame officials said Yam played a key role in Saint Peter's transition from a college to a university. They said she exemplifies Notre Dame's mission of preparing leaders to transform the world as well as its active and longstanding commitment to social responsibility.
"I plan on building on the current strengths of Notre Dame," Yam said in an interview. "What I'm looking forward to doing is ... getting engaged with constituents on campus and beginning a dialogue; then we can construct a vision."
She added: "It's going to be an honor to serve at this great institution, and I can't wait to get started."
Yam, 56, who is a licensed registered nurse, has a lengthy background in nursing, nursing education and the liberal arts, which Notre Dame officials said made her a perfect match for the college.
Joan Develin Coley, a former president of McDaniel College, has been serving as Notre Dame's interim president. James F. Conneely, the first man to lead Notre Dame as president in the school's 116-year history, stepped down in August after about a year and a half on the job, citing family reasons.
According to her official biography, Yam was a post-doctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins University who studied the impact of domestic violence on women's mental health. She holds a doctorate in nursing science from Adelphi University in Long Island and other nursing degrees from Columbia University and Mercy College.
At Saint Peter's, Yam started the university's first two doctoral programs and expanded graduate classes, added new majors and launched a new online program. She also wrote a proposal to start a new school of education and oversaw a rise in enrollment.
Yam, who was born in the Bronx and spent much of her life in New York City and New Jersey, praised Notre Dame's liberal arts tradition and its professional programs, including in nursing and pharmacy.
Notre Dame was founded in Baltimore as a Catholic women's college in 1895 and enrolls about 3,000 women and men. Men are allowed into certain undergraduate and graduate programs, but others are same-sex.
Yam said her research into domestic violence began when she was working as a nurse and treating victims.
"I began to think that there was more that we could do in terms of preventing violence and helping these women," she said.
Her advocacy work on the subject may continue at Notre Dame, Yam said.
Hometown: Bronx, N.Y.
Education: Bachelor's degree in nursing from Mercy College; degrees in nursing education from Columbia University; Ph.D. from Adelphi University; post-doctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University
Work highlights: Saint Peter's University, various positions since 1989, including provost and vice president for academic affairs, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Business Administration, and associate dean of nursing; licensed registered nurse
Personal: married to David Yam, cytology manager at Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, N.J. Their son, Michael, is a sports broadcast journalist in San Francisco.