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Senior Associate Director of Athletics Mary DiStanislao is making the big move from 33rd Street to a Big East school, but not for sports.

This March, DiStanislao will officially begin her new job at Marquette as Executive Vice President, a newly created position.

“It’s exciting to have the opportunity to have an impact on a level that can affect an entire institution,” DiStanislao said.

DiStanislao was part of a peer-review this past fall that gave her better insight into Marquette.

“I saw there that the fundamentals [at Marquette] are really strong,” she said. “There are some very good people in place, they have a very clear mission and they have a new president who I know and admire.”

DiStanislao will work directly with the administration, student affairs and human resources. She will also work closely with the provost and the office of the president “to facilitate university-wide strategic planning,” according to Thomas MacKinnon, chief of staff to the president at Marquette. He added that DiStanislao’s biggest focus will be on students.

“Mary brings tremendous experiences to Marquette, all of which will be critical to our journey ahead of us. While serving for the last 12 years as a senior leader at the University of Pennsylvania, she has had direct management responsibilities for more than 100 staff as part of a department with a budget of approximately $40 million,” MacKinnon wrote in an email. “Her experience serving as a member on the Provost’s Committee for Academic Planning and Budget at Penn will also serve Marquette well as we move forward.”

Though DiStanislao didn’t necessarily aim to move away from athletics, she found she has an interest in the bigger picture of universities, especially after earning her doctorate in higher education at Penn.

“Being an athlete has made me the competitive person I am, and I hope that — I expect that — I will still have some involvement in athletics at Marquette,” she said. “However, I have a great interest in the greater academic enterprise.”

DiStanislao has worked with various organizations across the Penn campus, opening her up to the inner workings of the University. She believes that her work with a variety of enterprises across the university prepared her for this job at Marquette.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Mary, and well-deserved,” Director of Athletics Steve Bilsky said in a statement. “We wish her the best as she makes the move to Marquette, and we will begin a national search to try and find her replacement.”

Working her way up the ranks, DiStanislao has moved from head coach of women’s basketball at Northwestern and Notre Dame, to an administrator in the Wharton School, to 12 years as Associate Director of Athletics and now to Executive Vice President.

“Of course it’s bittersweet. I have a great team here at Penn, both amongst my coaches and the support staff and also going back to all the people I work with across campus, across 33rd street,” DiStanislao said. “I hope that I can be fortunate enough to have such a team at Marquette.”

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