Allen College

Area Students Graduate from Allen College

Allen College awarded 104 degrees at its commencement ceremony on Friday, December 14, at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Allen College conferred 18 Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degrees, one Doctor of Education degree, 59 Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees and 26 Master of Science of Nursing degrees.

The speaker for Allen College’s fall commencement was Dr. Mary Shirk Marienau. Dr. Marienau has been involved in postgraduate education for the past 47 years as a student, a staff Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)/clinical instructor, a didactic faculty member, an assistant program director and a program director. At various points during her nurse anesthesia career she was also a student.

Dr. Marienau graduated from Allen Memorial Hospital School of Nursing diploma program in 1971 earning a diploma; from the University of Northern Iowa in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in biology, chemistry and physics – while working full-time as an RN throughout her undergraduate studies; from the Mayo Clinic Nurse Anesthesia Program in 1979; from Winona State University with a master’s (MS) degree in 1985 – while working full-time as a CRNA throughout the graduate program; and from the University of Minnesota with a doctoral degree (PhD) in 2011 – while working full-time as a CRNA/program director throughout the doctorate program.

Dr. Marienau has been the program director of the nurse anesthesia graduate programs at Mayo Clinic for approximately the past 22 years. She is also the director of education for the Mayo Clinic Department of Anesthesiology CRNAs.

Under her leadership as the program director, the first entry-into-practice Master of Nurse Anesthesia class graduated in March 1998. And in January 2018 Mayo Clinic’s first class of Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice graduated.

Dr. Marienau has been involved in nurse anesthesia at Mayo Clinic for the past 42 years. In addition to her current position she was also a student anesthetist for two years and delivered anesthesia as a staff CRNA, precepting students and then supervising clinical areas for 18 years. She served as the assistant program director for Mayo Clinic’s Nurse Anesthesia Program beginning in 1991 until her appointment as the program director.

Allen College offers degrees in both health sciences and nursing. Approximately 670 students enrolled at the College this fall. Information on Allen College is available at