Dr. Mary Brennan, Dean
Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, Mary C. Brennan attended Edgecliff College of Xavier University for her undergraduate degree before moving onto received a Ph.D. from Miami University of Ohio in 1988. Her dissertation on the development of conservatism in modern America was a natural outgrowth of her interest in how politics affects "normal" people. Over the years, she has continued to investigate conservative politics in its various manifestations. Turning Right in the Sixties (UNC Press, 1995) evolved from her dissertation and examined the conservative "capture" of the GOP through the Goldwater campaign. Since then, she has focused on women's roles within conservatism in general and the anticommunist movement in particular. Her book, Wives, Mothers, and the Red Menace, (Colorado 2008) evolved from her curiosity about Joe McCarthy’s wife. Her most recent monograph, Pat Nixon: Embattled First Lady, (2011) appeared as part of the Modern First Ladies Series published by the University Press of Kansas.
In 1990, Brennan joined the History faculty at then Southwest Texas State University. During her tenure in San Marcos, she has served as both undergraduate and graduate advisor as well as College of Liberal Arts representative on the Faculty Senate for seven years. In 2007, she won the Mariel Muir Mentoring Award. In 2011, she became chair of the department of history, and in 2017 became dean of the College of Liberal Arts.
Brennan is married to Alan Apel and has one daughter, Riley.