Mary TolarMary Hale Tolar

As Director of the School of Leadership Studies, Dr. Mary Tolar works with faculty and staff to provide learning experiences aligned with the mission of “developing knowledgeable, ethical, caring, inclusive leaders for a diverse and changing world” for more than 1000 students in the minor as well as the wider campus community through the School’s extensive array of programs. Tolar teaches Ethical Dimensions of Leadership, Women and Leadership, and Honors Introduction to Leadership Concepts; directs the Coffman Leadership Institute; and partners with K-State’s Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy and Center for Engagement & Community Development.

Tolar is a Rhodes Scholar, Truman Scholar, founding member of the National Association of Fellowships Advisors, and co-author/editor of The Lucky Few and the Worthy Many: Scholarships and the World’s Future Leaders (2004). Research interests focus on the art and practice of civic leadership development, women’s pathways to public service leadership, and undergraduate leadership development through applied learning.

Tolar considers developing students as scholars and citizens the civic purpose of higher education, and essential to a vital democracy and a healthy society. “The major challenges we face today are not simple matters of resources. They are not technical problems, but rather challenges that require new ways of thinking, marshalling resources in new ways to adapt to changing circumstances – challenges that call each of us to exercise leadership.



“A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm. ”

—Henrik Ibsen



Director/Assistant Professor