On December 30, 2019, Mae Stewart, a long-time employee and friend of the University, passed away at age 89.
Mae Stewart was born in Springfield, MA, and she made her way to what would soon be the Philadelphia Bible Institute (later Cairn University). After graduating in 1952, she attended Wheaton College and completed a BA in Philosophy and an MA in New Testament Greek. Years later in 1963, the academic dean, Dr. Clarence E. Mason Jr., invited Mae back to join the faculty. Mae challenged students academically as a professor of Greek, philosophy, ethics, and world religions.
A natural leader who exhibited outstanding attention to detail, wisdom, and organization, Mae was later promoted to vice president of research and planning. In this role, she was instrumental in institutional pursuits such as moving to Langhorne, attaining regional accreditation, and seeking university status. She was the University’s first female vice president.
While she worked at the University for 50 years, she is perhaps most well-known for what she did outside of her classroom or office. Mae was heavily invested in the relationships she had with her students, particularly international students. She continually opened her heart and home to international students such as Dr. Samuel Hsu ’69 and Drs. Timothy ’71 and Andrew Hui ’76—the three brothers from China who became like sons to her.
Mae was our teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend,” President Todd J. Williams expressed at her memorial service on January 7. “And while we celebrate her life and rejoice in her home-going, we acknowledge that Mae’s passing is one that carries with it the weight of a momentous conclusion to a significant portion of our institution’s history. Her place in its story is both profound and prolific. There will never be another Miss Stewart. She was in a class all by herself.”
President Williams also announced at her memorial that the University will be honoring the significant role she played in the life of the University for more than 50 years by naming the forthcoming residence hall after her. The new “Stewart Hall” will become home for students who study at the University for years to come.
Elizabeth Mason Givens, Board of Trustees member and daughter of the man who first hired Mae, agrees that “Putting Mae Stewart’s name on a dorm is a perfect legacy. From her refurbishing of old buildings at 1800 Arch in 1965, to preparing the Penndel apartments in Langhorne in 1979, to turning the second floor of her home into a dorm for international girls, Mae loved students in one of the ways they most needed love—a comfortable place to live.”
In all that she involved herself in, Mae Stewart exhibited love, care, and, ultimately, service to Christ. If you would like to make a gift in honor of Mae, go to cairn.edu/give and designate your gift to the Mae Stewart Memorial Fund, which will fund the construction and furnishing of this new hall.