Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

A love of school sparked Professor Mary Ann McGrath’s career

A love of school sparked Professor Mary Ann McGrath’s career

Professor Mary Ann McGrath by Lake Michigan in 1998.

Professor Mary Ann McGrath is beginning a new role in the Loyola community: retiree.

She first joined Loyola as an undergraduate majoring in math. A few Loyola degrees later, she joined the faculty and served Loyola’s business school for 33 years, both as a marketing professor and Marketing Department chair.

Her research on consumer rituals, gift exchanges and shopping behavior is well-known and widely cited within the area of Consumer Behavior. She expanded her research into the international marketplace, publishing several papers related to shopping and consumer behavior in China, where she lived and taught for two years. 

As she retires, she shares some thoughts on her Loyola career.

“I was a girl who has always loved school. So, it is no wonder that after high school I savored my years as a Loyola undergraduate and later an MBA student, a PhD student, and finally a marketing faculty member here for 33 years. Math and writing were my favorites and I found out years later that I was one of the first three women math majors on the Lake Shore Campus.  My post-doctoral research is in the area of consumer behavior. I love puzzles and mysteries.  Along that line, my research attempts to shed shards of light on the unsolvable question: What do people do and why do they do it? 

“One notable evolution that I have witnessed at Loyola is the increased diversity of both the student body and the faculty in the School of Business. When I joined the Marketing Department in 1986, I was the only woman. There were a few other women in the School of Business, but I am not sure anyone noticed and, quite honestly, colleagues seemed not to be able to tell us apart. For many years I am convinced that most other faculty thought that Mine Cinar, Anne Reilly, and I were actually one person who was very adept at multi-tasking.

“Everyone asks me what I envision in my next chapter. I have had a thoroughly engaging and fulfilling career at Quinlan, but this role is far from encompassing my entire life. I have many ‘outside’ friends and activities. Filling the time that I now spend at school each day with impactful and satisfying activities will not be difficult. After my efforts to engage 18- to 25-year-olds in the classroom and more recently spirit them away from their digital devices, there may be a career in stand-up comedy for retired college professors. But more seriously, I look forward to learning something new every day, which is what I have been lucky enough to do during my student and professorial careers. It is that spark of new knowledge that began my love of school and maintains my love of life.”

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Read reflections from other Quinlan faculty retiring in 2020 →