Mary (Baum) Pearson ’01

Mary (Baum) Pearson attended Iowa Wesleyan from 1998-2001 while working towards her degree in Music Education. In her time at IW, she was involved in all things related to the IW Choir, including but not limited to, Broadstreet Singers, and the Iowa Wesleyan Concert Choir. While doing this, she frequently sang the National Anthem at athletic events as well as working at the desk in the dorms.

When asked about a favorite memory from her time at IW, she said, “I have so many memories involving friends and teachers, some are silly, and some aren’t. I think the things that come to mind the most are the things that happened in the rehearsal hall upstairs in Old Main. There were so many special things that I learned in that room, it’s hard to pick just one.”

“There was another day when things were just kind of ‘blah.’ We had received some sad news, so the mood was down. Our director (Mr. Thomsen) had us stand in a huge circle, and hold hands with our eyes shut. We had been working on a piece by Felix Mendelssohn (one that became sort of an anthem for us), and it had an amazing piano accompaniment… but he wanted us to just sing, breathing through the silences. There wasn’t a dry eye at the end.”

“One day, I arrived for my 8:00 AM piano lesson in my jammies, as I always did. I can’t quite remember what led to this, but Dr. Brown decided to tell me how he and his wife, Jill, met. I loved every second of it and soaked it all in. He was an unbelievably wise person, one you could never tune out. His voice is still in my head! That story had absolutely nothing to do with the piano, but I know that Dr. Brown had his reasons for telling it to me. I know that on that day, he was more concerned with me as a human being than as a piano student. I took from his story exactly what he intended me to, and I never forgot that he gave that to me.”

“We are preached to so much in education these days that we must form great relationships with our students. To me, that’s a given, and I know it’s because of teachers like Mr. Thomsen and Dr. Brown. They, along with so many others, gave that to us every day. My time at IW was much more than I ever thought it would be.”

The advice Mary offers to young alumni is, “I think that especially lately, our world is in trouble. I’m hoping that Iowa Wesleyan and colleges like it are still holding fast to the values that existed when I was a student there. The newest graduates need to go out into the world with the highest level of integrity, no matter the situation. Do what is right, even when no one is watching.”

Since graduating from Iowa Wesleyan, Mary has been teaching in a variety of different places. She has taught elementary general music, middle school general music, various choirs, show band, acting classes, piano classes, high school musical direction, and elementary musical direction.

Mary and her husband Jeremy were married in 2017. They currently live in Fort Dodge, Iowa with their family.

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