Houghton College is pleased to announce the promotion of Colonel Mary (Biglow ’91) Krueger Izaguirre to the rank of brigadier general on August 5, 2020. The ceremony took place in Washington, D.C., and was hosted by LTG R. Scott Dingle, the U.S. Army Surgeon General and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Medical Command. During the socially distanced and streamed event, friends, family and invited guests joined both in person and virtually.
When Mary graduated from Houghton as a Biology major in 1991, she lacked the funds to pay for medical school—so she turned to the Army medical recruiting office. “I attended Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) on an Army scholarship,” explained Mary. She was commissioned in 1995 for what she believed would be a four-year scholarship repayment. Twenty-five years later, the Army physician has enjoyed a military medical career that has encompassed direct patient care, command, resident training and senior health advisement.
“I have served as an osteopathic physician on four continents—in times of peace and times of peril, in tents, in tanks and in helicopters,” Mary told PCOM’s alumni magazine in 2017. “I advise senior military leaders on health policy and legislation, some addressing breastfeeding and maternity leave, thus supporting female soldiers in their ability to balance motherhood and service. The Army has taught me about servant leadership, about what it means to provide the best medicine in the world in the most austere conditions.”
Happy to celebrate her achievements, Army Surgeon General LTG Dingle opened the promotion ceremony saying, “This is a great day! We are assembled here to promote [a] phenomenal woman—a Proverbs 31 woman!” Dingle was introduced to Mary while working at the Pentagon together, and he soon discovered that she “doesn’t do anything half-heartedly—doesn’t lead at a slow pace—does everything with excellence.”
“This journey that I embarked upon 25 years ago really is a testament to God’s blessings—and to the impact of the amazing individuals that were placed in my path,” Mary said when she addressed the ceremony audience. She mentioned many of those individuals in her comments, including Retired Army Lt. Col. Dr. Robert F. Danner, VP for Student Life Emeritus at Houghton College. Danner was the Dean of Students during Mary’s time as a student at Houghton. “He showed me grace,” Mary explained. “Grace and wisdom—that was very impactful to me. He saw that, while I made some poor choices in my youth—that there was still potential there. And I took this lesson with me, and it has served me very well in the military. Ironically, I found out years later that Dean Danner was a retired military officer—so it made all the sense in the world. I want to thank Dean Danner, who is joining us virtually.”
Mary also credits her Houghton education with giving her a sound science background and introducing her to the concept of servant-leadership. “My Houghton education focused on both academics and character development,” she said. “The Houghton community lived the example of both servant–leadership and trusting God’s plan for our purpose and lives. These tenets have been guiding lights in both my military career and my personal life, providing peace and clarity on the journey.”
“We congratulate Dr. Izaguirre on this promotion that speaks so strongly to the quality of her service to her country and to the spirit with which she shares her gifts of leadership and healing so generously with those around her,” said Houghton College President, Dr. Shirley Mullen ’76. “We want Houghton alumni in every arena of our society bringing the light and seasoning of the Gospel. Dr. Izaguirre is doing that each day. On behalf of the entire Houghton family, thank you.”
Dr. Izaguirre’s next assignment will be with the Office of the U.S. Army Surgeon General in Washington, D.C.