Mary-Ellen Oberhauser: The backbone of COM

BU COM’s Mary-Ellen Oberhauser, who has held the position of Department Administrator of Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations for the past 19 years, will be dearly missed once she retires after this year’s Commencement Weekend. Oberhauser reflects back on moments throughout her COM life with The COMmunicator’s own Mackenzie Peña. 

If you are or have ever been a COM student at Boston University, you would be lying if you said you’ve never received an email from Mary-Ellen Oberhauser about the latest news from the College. From exciting new classes to the myriad of opportunities the school has to offer, Mary-Ellen makes sure that students are all in-the-know. However, after getting a chance to spend an afternoon with Mary-Ellen, I learned she is more than an integral part of the BU community.

Stepping into Mary-Ellen’s office is stepping into a room that showcases the type of person she is. With a wall decorated with a plethora of pictures of places she has traveled, her loving family, and gifted artwork, it is clear that she has forged strong relationships not only with those in her personal life, but with those at BU too.

Mary-Ellen hails from Belmont, Massachusetts, and has dedicated her life to her daughters. Once her youngest daughter graduated from high school and accepted an offer to attend Boston University, Mary-Ellen decided it was time to go back to work. She found herself at Boston University, living and breathing the Scarlet lifestyle for more than a decade.

While COM is a large school, Mary-Ellen has been able to build relationships with those around her; relationships that she will forever cherish, even after she takes her final walk across the COM Lawn.

When I asked her what she will miss most about the job, she quickly responded “the people.” Mary-Ellen’s face lit up when talking about the relationships she built with the many faculty, staff, and students she has been able to get to know during her time at Boston University. After raising four daughters whom she says taught her a lot, the many students that she has met along the way have taught her even more.

Mary-Ellen (center) accepts a Certificate of Excellence among colleagues and COM faculty at the College.

It is not only the students she has been able to create a strong bond with, but also the faculty. Mary-Ellen instantly recalls a story with Dorothy Clark and how they “have a lot of fun” in between meetings. Mary-Ellen recounts a time when they were having a pre-class visit and “Dottie” accidentally left her gloves in Mary-Ellen’s office. And who happened to take them home on that cold Boston winter day? Mary-Ellen. Even now, both Mary-Ellen and Professor Clark get a good laugh from that story. It is stories like these that make all the years spent at Boston University even more special for Mary-Ellen.

Oberhauser’s success in the position is no surprise: it is evident in her clear love for the job and her undeniable dedication to the students and faculty.

Another wall in Mary-Ellen’s office features certificates dedicated to her constant support, friendship, and hard work over the years. This serves to enforce the fact that she has made a significant mark on BU and blazed a trail that many will never forget.


Mackenzie Peña, Staff Writer

Mackenzie Peña is currently a senior at Boston University studying Public Relations in the College of Communication. She has participated in both BU’s AdLab and PRLab as an account executive. She hopes to secure a position in a PR agency where she can put her communication knowledge and love for all things PR to good use. In her spare time, Mackenzie likes to dance, hang out with friends, and travel home to Connecticut, where she spends time with her family. 

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