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Mary Ellen Marsh Wolff, a 1945 graduate of Notre Dame College, was the proud daughter of Richard Marsh, a member of the Arikara Indian tribe of North Dakota.

Wolff chose to honor that birthright by making a planned gift to her alma mater. The Mary Ellen Marsh ’45 American Indian Scholarship will provide a four-year, renewable scholarship at Notre Dame to a student of Native American heritage.

Although preference will be given to members of the Three Affiliated Tribes: the Arikara, the Mandan and the Hidatsa, any student who is American Indian with an interest in preserving tribal culture will be scholarship-eligible.

“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.” This quote from the Dakota Tribe could easily be used to describe the life of faith and service that Wolff led. Although Wolff passed away in 2020, the “tracks” she left here at Notre Dame will continue to help students well into the future.

About Mary Ellen Marsh Wolff

Wolff attended Notre Dame Academy, the high school division, and Notre Dame as a day student. After graduating from the College, she enrolled in graduate studies at St. Louis University. At St. Louis, she studied medical social work and graduated with a master’s degree in 1947.

She and her husband, Joseph Wolff, moved to Chicago, where she served as a psychiatric social worker at Cook County Hospital. In 1952, the cople built a house in Glenview, Ill. There she worked first in management at Mystic Tape Corp., and then at Westbrook School.

The alumna was a tireless volunteer in her community, helping to found Maryhaven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and then serving as president of Friends of Maryhaven for years.

She volunteered at the Glenview Historical Society and with the Glenview Senior Center. She was instrumental in helping to design Glenview’s new senior activities building, for which she was named “Super Senior of the Year.” She and her husband also were dedicated members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish.

Wolff is survived by her son Rev. Alec J. Wolff of Chicago, and brother-in-law Msgr. Robert C. Wolff of Cleveland.

About Planned Giving

Planned giving allows friends of the College to honor their interests by ensuring they will live on after they are gone, precisely as Wolff did. It enables a person to arrange their investment in Notre Dame exactly as they would like to, and have that plan instituted in perpetuity.

Making a planned gift to the College also qualifies the donor for membership in the Notre Dame Marian Legacy Society with others whose commitment to a values-based education at the College extends to future generations of students.

To learn more about how to make a planned gift to Notre Dame or for other charitable options, contact Vice President for College Advancement, Culeen Carey, at

March 2022
Elizabeth Cushwa contributed to this article


About Notre Dame College

Notre Dame College is a private, Catholic, liberal arts college in South Euclid, Ohio, committed to teaching students how to make a good living and live a good life. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. For more information, visit