Mary Lu MacDonald has Honours BAs in both English and French — earned twenty-one years apart. She also has a master’s degree in Canadian Studies and a doctorate in pre-Confederation Canadian history. She has published three books and multiple articles in her field. She has served on the boards of the (Canadian) Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the (international) Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing. She was a founding officer of the Canadian Association for the Study of Book Culture.
Mary Lu has served for a decade on the board of Scotia Festival of Music. As a member of the board of directors for Symphony Nova Scotia, she served on the Program Advisory Committee and began to work on a history of the organization, which quickly shifted further and further back in time as she traced the development of symphonic music in Halifax.