When Mary Edwards was invited to join the Board of Trustees, she was familiar with the college through a network of friends and family who were alumni. She “loves Northwestern’s philosophy and vision” and said “yes” to the invitation as she saw that her experience in public policy could benefit her service to the college.
Edwards is vice president for public policy for Fairview Health Services, Minneapolis. She holds a bachelor of science degree in nursing from the University of Iowa and a master’s in public health (nursing administration and public policy) from the University of Minnesota. She worked as a nurse in various settings and after graduate school served as Sen. David Durenberger’s health legislative assistant and worked for the Healthcare Finance Association (now the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services).
As a nurse, Edwards said, “I loved taking care of people, but I was only helping a few people at a time. I wanted to help change what I was seeing.” When she received a full scholarship to pursue her master’s in public health, she felt the Lord was guiding her in a new direction. “It’s been a very interesting career to work where I have.”
A key part of Edwards’ vision for NWC is to stay strong in what has always been the cornerstone.“We do need to stay abreast of how we continue on the cutting edge, yet not ever lose our mission and our focus in that we’re grounded and rooted in Christ. Sending students to be ambassadors for Christ—that’s our bottom line mission and that doesn’t change.”
Edwards has had extraordinary opportunities to travel, visiting more than 50 countries! For the past 12 years she has traveled with her church (Grace Church, Eden Prairie, Minn.) on a medical mission to Peru. She has also been on mission trips to Africa, Russia, Spain, Mexico and China, and traveled personally to Israel, a place she encourages all Christians to see.
Edwards believes Christians are called to live life fully and to heed the words from Hebrews 12:1, 2: “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith (NIV).” She noted, “Life is short and you have a short window to live your life for Christ, to do what you’re called to do where you’re called to do it.”