An expert in Native American studies, human rights law and religious studies, Mary L. Pfeiffer got involved in her profession because she simply loved to learn, which she believes has kept her alive. She was always interested in the United Nations because her husband was a U.S. Navy pilot and they lived in Europe for three years. Additionally, she was always interested in the presidents of the United States. When she was invited to go to law school, that interest was directed specifically into human rights. Ms. Pfeiffer is fascinated by how people think about the world and the whole idea of not just protecting humans, but the earth as well.
Retiring in 2018, Ms. Pfeiffer began her professional career as an operator for Pfeiffer Originals’ art class designs in Miami in 1976. Years later, she joined Florida International University (FIU) as an adjunct professor in the Department of Religious Studies from 2002 to 2018 and a faculty member and a fellow in the Honors College from 2005 to 2018. In addition to this tenure, she served on FIU’s board of advisers for the College of Arts, Sciences and Education and as president of the women’s studies advisory board. Prior to the start of her career, Ms. Pfeiffer pursued a formal education at Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach, Virginia, earning an Associate of Science, magna cum laude, in 1976. She then attended FIU, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in 1986. She went on to attain a Master of Laws from the St. Thomas University School of Law in 2002 and a Master of Arts in religious studies from FIU in 2004.
Active in her local community, Ms. Pfeiffer was the president and secretary/treasurer of the Officers’ Wives Club and the acting chairman of the Navy Relief Society in Meridian, Mississippi, from 1968 to 1969, a member of the POW-MIA committee at the Naval Air Station Oceana from 1970 to 1975, and the hospitality coordinator for the Performing Arts Community and Education in Miami from 1982 to 1984. Likewise, she served the steering committee of the fifth through seventh Tribal Symposia at the St. Thomas University School of Law from 2002 to 2006. She also authored one technical textbook on basic radiography for the NCHS Monograph. Outside of her primary trade, Ms. Pfeiffer maintains involvement with Phi Theta Kappa and Theta Alpha Kappa.
In light of her many accomplishments, Ms. Pfeiffer was given the Alumni Association Torch Award by the FIU Alumni Association in 2000, and the Outstanding Service Award by the Department of Religious Studies at FIU in 2000 and 2002. Furthermore, she was selected for inclusion in the 26th edition of Who’s Who in the World and the 62nd through 64th editions of Who’s Who in America. What Ms. Pfeiffer has learned over the course of her career that has most benefited her in her professional growth is listening to the students, listening in general and hearing what other people are saying. Today, she is the proud mother of two wonderful sons, William G. II and Scott Edward, as well as a grandmother to three beloved grandchildren.