Mary Ann Deignan '84

In the last few years, Mary Ann Deignan ’84 decided she’d reached the point where she could offer more financial support to meaningful causes. As she thought about the areas where she wanted to give back, “Mount Holyoke rose to the top.” Having been a generous donor to the Annual Fund Scholars Program for many years, she felt that endowing a scholarship was the right next step for her.

“I had a great experience at Mount Holyoke,” said Deignan, managing director and head of equity capital markets at UBS, one of the world’s leading financial firms. “And, having met some recent graduates, I have been impressed with the product, if you will, that Mount Holyoke is putting out.”

Deignan, a history major, says she never imagined working in finance. What changed her life was being accepted into a training program offered by Bankers Trust. For nine months, she and other new graduates of top liberal arts schools studied accounting, economics, international finance, and business. “I wasn’t afraid to work hard or afraid of the challenge. Mount Holyoke had given me the confidence to believe I could do it.”

Deignan spent six years with Bankers Trust, after which she earned an M.B.A. from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. She later joined Merrill Lynch and worked as a managing director in equity capital markets. Now in her seventh year at UBS, she runs the equity capital markets business in the Americas, but finds herself conducting business everywhere from Italy to Japan.

“What I experience daily, and one of the things I applaud Mount Holyoke for understanding, is that the world has grown increasingly small. By reaching out to a diverse population of students, the College is building a community that reflects this reality.”

Though women in leadership roles in banking continue to be rare, Deignan is hopeful that more Mount Holyoke graduates will consider the field. Meanwhile, she is committed to opening the College’s doors to talented students through her endowed scholarship. “In terms of giving, that’s what was right for me,” Deignan said. “It’s how I can really make an impact.”