First Director of Mellon Center Retires
July 23, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Adlai H. Rust Professor of Insurance and Finance and Director
of Institutional Research and Planning Mona Gardner will retire at the end of July
after a distinguished 19-year career as a faculty member and administrator at Illinois
Wesleyan University. For her outstanding contributions and achievements over the
years, Gardner has been given the title of Professor Emerita by the IWU Board of Trustees.
“She has touched the lives of students, faculty, staff and four presidents,” said
Illinois Wesleyan President Richard F. Wilson. “Mona is an exemplary teacher, researcher,
scholar and colleague. She has been an indispensable member of the campus administration.
She is a mentor to many people, and alumni cite her as an outstanding instructor.”
Gardner has been a pioneer on campus since she became the first May Term Director
in 1994. She was appointed the first Director of the Mellon Center for Faculty and
Curriculum Development when it was established in 1995, and was named the first associate
dean of faculty the following year. In 2002, Gardner became the first to hold her
current title as the Director of Institutional Research and Planning. She was named
the Adlai H. Rust Professor of Insurance and Finance in 1989. In 1993, Gardner received
IWU’s DuPont Award for Teaching Excellence based on her contributions to teaching,
scholarship and service.
Throughout her tenure at Illinois Wesleyan, Gardner has been a leader on campus.
She has served as the chair of the Business Administration Department and the director
of the Division of Business and Economics. Gardner oversaw the self-study for the
University’s accreditation. As a chair member of the personnel council, she spearheaded
changes for promotion and tenure at the University. As an administrative liaison and
ad hoc member of the Curriculum Council and Faculty Development Committee, Gardner
helped implement the General Education Program and Post-Tenure Review Program, as
well as a host of other development programs at the University.
Gardner has received recognition for her research and administrative endeavors, including
a grant for $200,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation in 1998, a $174,000
grant from the Culpepper Foundation in 1996 and a $9,800 research grant from the University
An active member of the Midwest Finance Association since 1981, Gardner served as
the association’s president from 1995 until 1996. She also served as the president
for the Academy of Financial Institutions from 1992 until 1993, as well as the academy’s
president-elect from 1991 until 1992, and was the executive vice president from 1990
Prior to her time at IWU, Gardner was an associate professor in the Department of
Finance at Illinois State University from 1980 until 1988. At ISU, she taught courses
at the undergraduate level in financial management, financial institutions and advanced
financial theory, and at the graduate level in managerial finance theory and advanced
financial institutions. She was given the Outstanding Researcher Award in 1984 based
on her overall research productivity and in 1985 the Outstanding Teacher Award based
on her teaching performance over a five-year period.
Gardner graduated magna cum laude from Southern Methodist University in 1969 with
a bachelor’s degree in English and membership to the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa liberal
arts honor society. In 1971, she earned a master’s degree in higher education administration
from Columbia University. Later, she attended the University of Cincinnati where
she earned a master’s degree in business administration in 1978 and a doctorate in
philosophy in finance in 1980. She was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma business
honor society that same year.
Said Wilson, “Mona’s love for this university and its progress is something that is
obvious to anyone who meets her. She has provided invaluable leadership to many important
University initiatives over the years.”
Contact: Sherry Wallace, (309) 556-3181