Greatly inspired by her father, who was a doctor, and her mother, who was a nurse, Mary Love Stringfield Sloan knew early on that she wanted a career in health care. She embarked on her studies at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she investigated several programs in the medical and home economics departments before settling on hospital interior design after hearing a professional speak at a student design rally. Earning a Bachelor of Science in 1973, she began her career as a staff designer at Omnia Design Inc. in Charlotte, North Carolina, later that same year, which was the premier hospital design company for the Southeast at the time. While in this position, she proffered her expertise as an instructor at Central Piedmont Community College as well.
Joining Counterpoint Inc. in 1979, Ms. Sloan served as the director of planning and design, and the only health care design expert on staff, until 1981. During this tenure, she also spent time as an interior design instructor at the University of Tennessee and became certified by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification. In 1981, she applied for a faculty position at Ohio State University, and, while she did not get the exact position she applied for, she was hired on as the very first coordinator of interior design at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, where she spent the next 10 years. Following these accomplishments, she joined the University of Mississippi, where she served on the interior design faculty from 1995 to 1999, and the University of Memphis in Tennessee, where she worked as a signage coordinator from 2000 to 2002. Mostly recently, she became certified as an interior designer in Mississippi in 2013.
Alongside her primary responsibilities, Ms. Sloan has been involved with a number of professional organizations. Very active with the Institute of Business Designers early on in her career, she served the Carolinas chapter as the chair of the student design rally tours in 1976, the chair of the student design rally speakers in 1977, and a national trustee from 1978 to 1979. In addition, she was vice president of the Tennessee chapter from 1980 to 1981. Later on, she contributed her skills as the education chair of the Ohio regional chapter of the International Interior Design Association, a trustee for the Coalition for Interior Design Licensing, the vice president of the Association of University Interior Designers and a member of the board of visitors for the Foundation for Interior Design Education and Research.
For excellence in her career, Ms. Sloan has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades. Recognized early on among the Outstanding Young Women of America in 1979, she was subsequently presented with an appreciation award from the Tennessee chapter of the International Interior Design Association in 1980. In 1988 and 1989, she was awarded the Institute of Business Designers/Steelcase Design partnership fellowship and was also presented with an award from the Association of University Interior Designers in 1990. Ms. Sloan has also been named a Paul Harris fellow of the Rotary Club of Oxford, Mississippi.