When I sit down to interview Amy Irving ’91, she tells me about Mennonite College of Nursing’s mission and all of the important work her colleagues are doing—but she dodges all talk about her own successes.
She takes me over to see the archived uniforms for the 100th anniversary fashion show. When I ask her about her work in coordinating this yearlong celebration and the culminating gala, she raves about the people who served on committees during the planning. “Celebrating this milestone has been years in the planning,” she says. “It has really taken a village.”
That “village” included 40–50 volunteers, several committees, numerous local partnerships, and Irving at the helm, paving the path. But she doesn’t talk about it that way. Irving instead celebrates the work of others.
Instead, she praises the leadership of Dean Judy Neubrander and former Dean Janet Krejci. She speaks lovingly of the students and faculty who dressed up—not once, but multiple times—as historical nurses for the Gala Fashion Show and events throughout the year. She lights up when she describes the artistry behind the jewelry, glass coins, and vases that were designed to help commemorate the gala.
That’s Irving: shining brightly, then using that light to spotlight others.
“Amy is so bright and warm. She listens earnestly when you talk to her, and she always leaves you better than she found you,” says Ashley Bollhorst, Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) assistant director of marketing and recruitment. “She does a lot of little things, too, like remembering your birthday or giving you an umbrella when it’s raining out. I really can’t say enough good things about Amy.”
Irving planted her roots in Illinois State while she was a student worker earning her bachelor’s degree. After working at Illinois Wesleyan University for five years, she came over to MCN in 2001, serving as assistant to the dean before moving into the position of associate director for public relations and eventually director of events. “I’m a people person,” she says.
In her time at MCN, Irving has been a quiet trailblazer. She launched MCN’s first-ever Google Ad campaigns three years before anyone else at Illinois State University ventured onto the platform. She navigated MCN’s website rebuild and forayed into the world of digital analytics. She initiated marketing campaigns, coordinated with university archives, and built relationships with off-campus vendors and organizations. Her impact has stuck with the students, faculty, and staff who’ve worked with her, too.
Diane Folken, MCN’s director of business and finance, praises Irving’s work ethic: “Amy’s attention to detail, ability to anticipate issues and needs, and dedication to the College are only a few of her strengths. She manages her projects with expertise and is a huge asset to MCN.”
It’s unsurprising, then, that Irving was presented with the first-ever Staff Excellence Award at the Candlelighting ceremony last year. Her colleagues wondered, How do you surprise the person organizing the ceremony? “They told me someone else won,” Irving says. She was standing offstage, making sure the event went smoothly, when she heard them call her name instead. “They had to practically pull me on stage!” she laughs, blushing. “I was so honored and surprised.”
“Amy Irving is a vital part of the MCN staff team committed to excellence. She works diligently behind the scenes as our master orchestrator extraordinaire to ensure that college events move forward flawlessly and with the polished presentation that we’ve come to expect,” says Janeen Mollenhauer, MCN’s associate dean for academic support. “The greatest asset of any institution is the quality of the people who live the mission.”
Innovator. Professional. Caregiver. Friend. Student-advocate. Irving embodies so much of what MCN is about: collaboration, care, and working together to make amazing things happen.
Our 100th Anniversary Celebration—and Mennonite College of Nursing—would not be what it is without her.
Thank you, Amy.
This story was originally printed as part of MCN’s 2019 Commemorative Flame Magazine. To view the full magazine, visit the Mennonite College of Nursing website.
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