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Staley School of Leadership Studies

Mary Hale Tolar, Ed.D.

Mary Tolar, Ed.D. Director, associate professor
Mary Lynn and Warren Staley Chair for Leadership
mtolar@ksu.edu, View my CV
Ideation | Strategic | Context | Learner | Input
Campus office: 262 Leadership Studies Building


This is an extraordinary community committed to growing the capacity of individuals and groups to lead change locally and globally. The energy and good will our students and colleagues consistently bring to this work is inspiring. I am excited by the opportunities we have, discover and create - to connect students with experiences that help them develop and exercise leadership in their professional, community, social and personal lives.

Current courses

  • LEAD 251: Honors Leadership
  • LEAD 450: Senior Seminar in Leadership Studies
  • LEAD 502: Independent Study in Leadership Studies
  • Leadership communication doctoral program faculty, LEAD 801: Foundations of Leadership

Research and grants

  • Art and practice of civic leadership development
  • Women's pathways to leadership
  • Leadership development through service-learning

Grant awards

  • Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Leadership in Civic Engagement Institute Grant
  • Kansas Leadership Center


  • Outstanding Support of International Initiatives, Kansas State University, 2018
  • Mary Lynn and Warren Staley Endowed Chair for Leadership
  • Rhodes Scholar
  • Truman Scholar


  • Kansas Leadership Center
  • International Leadership Association
  • National Association of Fellowships Advisors
  • Phi Beta Kappa (Beta of Kansas)


I serve as a member of the Provost Staff and President’s Commission on the Status of Women. Beyond K-State, I contribute as a leadership scholar to The New York Times in Education.



  • Ed.D. in educational leadership, Kansas State University
  • M.Litt. (read) in modern history, University of Oxford
  • B.A. in history and speech, Kansas State University

More about me

I love stories! From British TV crime dramas to novels, podcasts and of course, live theater. Stories and travel - I love landing in new spots and discovering the stories (and histories) of a city, village or region of the globe previously foreign to me.