College During the Depression
Edith Wang Folz ’33 loved the written word. As a child, she read constantly. Although both of her parents dropped out of school at young ages, they valued a college education and instilled that value in their only child. While a student at Seton High School, which was established by the Sisters of Charity Cincinnati, the Mount was an easy choice for Edith. Initially a journalism major, she edited the Mount’s newspaper for two years, taking it from a monthly publication to a bimonthly one, and renamed it “The Seton Journal.” But with the Great Depression came a scarcity of journalism jobs and a necessity for social workers. So she changed her major to social sciences.
During this time the Mount was comprised of two buildings, essentially across the street from where the Mount sits today. Seton Hall housed dorm rooms on the third, fourth and fifth floors, and Marian Hall contained both classrooms and dorms. Edith lived on campus five days a week and was active in the College’s various clubs, holding high-ranking positions including as president of the Press Club.
After obtaining her degree in letters, Edith joined the Catholic Charities as a social worker. During that time Edith also attended the University of Cincinnati to work on a master’s degree. In 1935 she married a farmer and per societal standards, left school and quit working. She raised four daughters — all of whom attended the Mount — and a son. She was 97 years old when she passed away in 2008.
Following Mom’s Footsteps
Nancy Folz Seeger ’59, Edith’s oldest daughter, studied math at the Mount.
“From the time I can remember, my parents would talk about me going to the Mount,” Nancy says. “People went where their parents went to school — it was like a tradition.”
Nancy says she was much more analytical than her mother. Her father, who believed that because women raised children they needed to be college educated, told her not to worry about what she would do after she earned her degree. Like her mother, Nancy lived on campus five days a week and was one of three math majors in classes taught mostly by Sisters of Charity. Her days were very regimented.
“You woke up at a certain time,” she says. “Most people went to Mass every morning. After breakfast, classes started. And if you weren’t in class you studied or did work for the next day. We went to chapel at 5 p.m. in the evenings. After dinner people would socialize in ‘the Soch,’ but I never went down there because it was so smoky. Then you studied in your room until 9 p.m. After that we were free to do whatever we wanted to until 10:30 p.m., and then it was lights out.”
Besides a regimented schedule, other circumstances illustrate how different the Mount was in the 1950s and 1960s. Service work wasn’t a priority then. Tuition was $300 a year. Skirts and nylons were required. Field hockey wasn’t labeled a sport, rather, it was considered physical education. Clubs were subject related only, like the Math Club Nancy joined.
After graduation AT&T hired Nancy as an engineer assistant. She worked at the company for 30 years before she retired — 15 of those years she was a district manager. While at AT&T she implemented a program to encourage women and minorities to seek out leadership positions. Upon retirement Nancy has volunteered her time with Life Member Pioneers, Cincinnati’s Tall Stacks events, New Friends of Northern Kentucky, United Ministries, and St. Timothy’s Parish in Union, Kentucky. In 2009 she was awarded the Mount’s Sister Mary Lea Mueller Human Service Award for her dedication to service, which included spearheading class gifts at the Mount and serving on numerous Mount Reunion committees.
A Brief Interlude at the Mount
Edith’s two middle daughters, Jane Folz Siegmundt and Sue Folz Hatting, attended the Mount in the 1960s. Although they didn’t receive degrees from the Mount, their experiences at the College benefited their futures.
Jane studied home economics and married after one year of school. Her husband was commissioned by the military after he graduated from the University of Cincinnati. Jane knew, that once married, she would leave the Mount and become a homemaker, and she did. She also managed the family’s real estate rentals. Her parents believed that it didn’t matter how long you went to college, as long as you went.
Sue studied elementary education. At the time, a cadet program was offered: students attended school for one year plus two summers, and were then able to teach in the fall. Sue chose that program and taught at Our Lady of Victory School in Cincinnati before opening and running a riding stable — Oakwood Farms — on the family farm. Sue passed in 2010.
A New Campus
Edith’s youngest daughter, Sally Folz Johnson ’70, attended the Mount’s current campus. Because of growing enrollment, the Sisters of Charity began making plans in the 1950s to develop property across the street, at the intersection of Delhi and Neeb roads. The Mount’s “new” campus opened in the fall of 1962.
Sally studied elementary education and lived on campus. After graduation she taught at Cincinnati Public Schools for four years and then Covington Independent Public Schools for two years. She left to raise two children, and returned to teach at Pilgrim Preschool in Cincinnati for six years. Today Sally teaches at Our Lady of Visitation Elementary School, where she has taught for 24 years.
Education as an Adult
Molly Hatting Lierman ’07, Sue’s daughter and the third generation of the Folz family to attend the Mount, received her diploma in nursing from Good Samaritan School of Nursing in 1990. At that time she was more interested in being a bedside nurse than earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing, which often led to management positions.
A week after Molly graduated from Good Samaritan, she moved to Georgia and worked in a pediatric ICU in Atlanta for nine years. She and her family moved back to Cincinnati where she worked at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s newborn ICU. It was then she begin to think about getting a bachelor’s degree in nursing. It was also then that the Mount was pioneering a cohort program to help nurses achieve their bachelor’s degree, where they worked. While at Good Samaritan, Molly pursued summer courses at the Mount, so she was familiar with the school.
Molly was accepted into the Mount’s program. Instead of taking classes for two and a half years, the Mount allowed Molly to participate in two cohort programs simultaneously, at both St. Elizabeth’s and Cincinnati Children’s hospitals. As such, she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 18 months. Although she did take two courses at the Mount, everything else was completed at the hospitals.
“The Mount gave me confidence and incredible support as I re-entered the academic world as an adult learner,” Molly says. “My professors were always available, before and after class, and on nights and weekends. They understood my goals and guided me through my journey. The Mount truly is more than just books: it’s about setting high goals, obtaining them and becoming a better person as a result.”
In 2010 Molly received her Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia (MSNA) degree from Texas Wesleyan University. Currently she’s a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Sarah Lierman ’15 is Molly’s daughter. Molly didn’t push Sarah to attend the Mount, despite the family’s long history with the College. In fact, Sarah didn’t even know how many generations of her family had attended the Mount until after she fell in love with the College on a visit.
“It has the best nursing program in the Tristate,” Sarah says. “It’s also more affordable and the class sizes are to my liking. This is going to sound cliché but it feels right to be here. I love the atmosphere and the layout of the Mount.”
Sarah lives on campus and participates in several clubs, including Pre-Health and Habitat for Humanity, and is a Eucharistic minister at the College. After graduation she hopes to work at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital or Good Samaritan Hospital, and one day get married and have children.
“I will probably do as my mom did for me, which is encourage my children to explore their options but also look at the Mount. I find that the more I’m here, the more I love it. I will cross my fingers that my children love it and go to the Mount as well.”