Sr. Mary Lawrence Hallagan's vision

Sr. Mary Lawrence Hallagan’s reputation as a visionary is not without merit — her dedication and leadership led to the development of fundamental pillars of education and healthcare in the Cedar Rapids community. Hallagan’s vision and ideas have sprung into solid foundations that touch the integral components of the city.

One such pillar, Mount Mercy University, has grown in size and outreach, thanks in part to a strong foundation laid by strong leaders. Hallagan served on the Mount Mercy Board of Trustees from 1953 to 1979, including 12 years as chairman — laying the groundwork for what would later be a vibrant and successful University.

Her unconventional leadership also helped develop Mercy Medical Center. She established the Mercy Hospital Endowment Foundation (known today as Mercy Medical Center Foundation) and served as its president for more than 20 years.

Sr. Veronica Gorman remembers Hallagan for her vision and progressive dedication. But there’s another unique fact that links the two Sisters — they share the same birthday. Hallagan would have marked her 100th birthday on May 30 — the same day Gorman celebrated her centennial milestone. Together, the women represent a piece of Mount Mercy’s early history, and provide a few present-day mysteries.

“Back in those days, birth certificates were uncommon, so Sr. Lawrence didn’t have one,” says Gorman. “I guess we’ll never know who is oldest.”