Marilyn (Mimi) Ware, CW’67, retired U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Finland, former Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and former Penn Medicine Board member, died on December 14. She was 74.
She was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania College for Women, earning a degree in 1967.
Early in her career, Ambassador Ware was a freelance journalist, public relations consultant, and small newspaper owner. She began a career in politics as a county chairperson in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where she helped win 12 of the 13 county offices in her first year. She was the only woman in America at the time to have led two gubernatorial races in one of the five largest states when she served as Chair to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge’s successful gubernatorial campaigns.
Ambassador Ware served as Chair of the Board of American Water Works Company from 1998-2003. Throughout her career, she also served on the boards of CIGNA, IKON Office Solutions and PPL Corporation.
In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed her to serve on the National Critical Infrastructure Advisory Council, a position that she held until 2005.
She served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Finland from 2005 to 2008 while maintaining homes in Denver, Colorado, and Strasburg, Pennsylvania.
Beginning in 1991, Ambassador Ware served Penn as a member of the Trustee Board of the Medical Center and of the Board of Overseers of the School of Medicine. In 1993, she became a member of the University of Pennsylvania Health System Trustee Board and in 1995, she joined this board’s executive committee. She had completed all of her terms in these positions by 2002, when she became a member of the Penn Medicine Board as well as its executive committee. She held the committee position until 2005 and the board position until 2007.
She contributed to a number of other nonprofit boards and committees, including the Eisenhower Fellowships in Philadelphia, the Pew Oceans Commission, the National Council of the Conservation Fund, the International Democrat Union, and the Human Freedom Advisory Council of the George W. Bush Institute. She was the founding member and Honorary President of WaterAid America; a founder of Janus School, a private day school for children with learning disabilities; and co-founder of Lancaster Farmland Trust in PA, the most successful farmland preservation trust in the nation.
In 2008, Ambassador Ware produced the award-winning documentary The Surge: the Untold Story. She was a longtime trustee of the American Enterprise Institute, where in 2012 she established the Marilyn Ware Center of Security Studies to support and advance America’s historic role as a beacon of freedom and a leader in security and defense worldwide.
Ambassador Ware followed in the footsteps of her parents, the late Congressman John H. Ware, III, W’30, and the late Marian S. Ware, philanthropists who supported Penn for many years. Marian S. Ware, along with the Oxford Foundation established the John H. Ware 3rd Professorship in Alzheimer’s Research at Penn in 1999; and in 2004 she donated $6 million to establish the Marian S. Ware Alzheimer Program at Penn Medicine to advance drug discovery, clinical research, and patient care related to Alzheimer’s disease (Almanac February 3, 2004).
She is survived by her children, Mark Strode (Lisa), Amyla Lavric and Scott Strode; four granddaughters, Isabella, Matea, Julia and Vivian; her brother, Paul Ware; and sister Carol Ware.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to support Alzheimer’s Research at Penn Medicine may be made to the Marilyn Ware Memorial Fund.