Mary R. Cathcart

Special Consultant

Cathcart photoMary Cathcart has been with the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center since 2004. In 2006, Cathcart began the Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows program. Since 2009, she has directed Maine NEW (National Education for Women) Leadership, a program that she initiated, which educates, engages, and empowers undergraduate women to take on the mantle of civic and political leadership. Cathcart retired in 2018 and remains affiliated with the NEWL program as a special consultant.


5784 York Complex #4, Room 210
Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center

University of Maine | Orono, ME 04469.5784
Office Phone: 207.581.1539


  • B.A. English, Rhodes College


Mary R. Cathcart served four terms (1996-2004) as the State Senator representing communities in Penobscot County and previously served three terms in the Maine House of Representatives. Cathcart served on a number of legislative committees, including Education and Cultural Affairs, Labor, Judiciary, and Appropriations and Financial Affairs, which she chaired in 2003-2004. She chaired the Joint Select Committee on Research and Development (1997-1999) and several study commissions.

Outside of state government, Cathcart chaired the U.S. Commission on Child & Family Welfare (1995-1996), at the appointment of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell, and the New England Board of Higher Education in 2006-2008. She currently serves on the advisory council of New Ventures Maine and on the board of the Wilson Center.

Cathcart has received the Maryann Hartman Award at the University of Maine (2006) and the Merle Nelson Women Making a Difference award from the Maine Centers for Women Work and Community (2011). In 2013, Cathcart was inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2018 Cathcart received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Maine.