Tracy Schier receives Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Award

May 23rd, 2013 | SMWC


Tracy Schier '62

Harriet (Tracy) Johnson Schier’s purpose, devotion, community vitality and leadership earned her an award at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College’s (SMWC) Reunion 2013 on Saturday, May 18, 2013. Schier received the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin award.

The SMWC National Alumnae Association Board of Directors presents the annual award named in honor of the College’s foundress, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. The award recognizes graduates, who like Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, excels and uses God-given gifts and reflects His love and grace in the world.

Schier was honored and grateful to receive the award because of her high esteem for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. “I’ve always admired her tenacity and her bravery—her willingness to work for others the way she did,” Shier said. “She was also very smart. I’ve read her journals and believe that she was a very keen observer of the human condition. It’s an honor to receive an award that was named after her.”

Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Schier graduated from SMWC in 1962 with a degree in journalism. She went on to earn two master’s degrees—one from Ohio University in journalism and communication and another in literature at Rivier College in Nashua, N.H. She earned a Ph.D. in history and philosophy of higher education from Boston College where she wrote her doctoral dissertation on the history of education at SMWC.

Schier devoted her professional life to higher education as an educator and administrator. As an educator, she taught at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and at Rivier College. She focused on the language arts, teaching subjects such as journalism, story writing, and literature. As an administrator, she served on SMWC’s alumnae board as well as a trustee, and also served in administrative roles at Rivier College. At Boston College, she co-founded the Institute for Administrators in Catholic Higher Education.

She combined her talents with her compassion for others by helping non-profit organizations make the most of their resources. Branching out from an organization she co-founded early on with former SMWC President Jeanne Knoerle SP, ‘49, she lent her extensive skills and talents to many organizations tasked with meeting great needs on small budgets. Among those blessed with her service were Head Start, the Family Aid Society, the Women’s Resource Center, the Mexican American Cultural Center, the Lilly Endowment and numerous other programs, organizations, hospitals and colleges.

In addition to her professional achievements and volunteer work, Shier has served on numerous state and local boards including New Hampshire Public Television. She also co-authored “Catholic Women's Colleges in America” in 2002 and helped write the Woods Ring Song in 1962, which has become an important part of the SMWC tradition. 

Knoerle recommended Shier for the award and wrote that she is very dependable, an excellent thinker, investigator and writer. Additionally, she said that Shier never gave anything but her best toward the job at hand and always maintained a joyful spirit.

Shier currently resides in Hudson, N.H., with her husband, Walter. Together they raised three children—two sons, Tom and Joe, and a daughter, Jeanne.  They also have four grandchildren.

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