8th President of Rosemont College 1971 - 1978
A native of Waukegan, Illinois, Sister Ann Marie joined the Society of the Holy Child Jesus in 1955. As an S.H.C.J., she received her B.A. in English at Mundelein College; her M.A. in Theology at Marquette University; and did her graduate studies in Education at Fordham University.
As reported in The Rambler in October 1971, Sister Ann Marie felt that her position as President of the Rosemont community was to facilitate and create unity within all groups on campus for the good of the whole, encouraging others to be aware of the needs of students, faculty and administration.
During her administration, individualized majors and new courses were instituted and a “President’s Council” was put in place to assist the operations and business side of the college. A Rosemont-Villanova co-op program was also created in 1973. The REAP program, begun in 1970, began to grow.
In 1977, Sister Ann Marie Durst initiated a study to renovate Main Building (Rathalla) and make room for administrative offices. This attempt did not go forward then, but the idea became reality in the year 2000.
After her resignation as President in 1978, Sister Ann Marie headed for law school and earned her J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1982, she served as legal counsel for the State System of Higher Education for four years. Following a sabbatical, at the request of the American Provincial of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Sister Ann Marie founded Casa Cornelia Law Center in San Diego in 1992. The law center provides pro bono legal services for indigent victims of human and civil rights victims. Annually, it serves hundreds of asylum seekers, abuse and abandoned children, and victims of domestic violence.
Sister Ann Marie Durst, S.H.C.J. is a member of the Pennsylvania and California Bar Associations and serves as member of the Board of Directors for Casa Cornelia Law Center.