Sr. Anne: Enlivened by Marywood Past, Present and Future

As Sister Anne Munley, IHM, Ph.D., settles into her third year as president of Marywood University, she reflects on the spirit of the institution and her vision for the future. Sr. Anne recently addressed questions from Amanda Toth, Editor-in-Chief of The Wood Word.

The Wood Word: What do you enjoy most about being president of Marywood University?

Sr. Anne: There are many things about being President of Marywood that I enjoy but what enlivens me most is engaging with “the people of Marywood”.  The people of Marywood are our most precious asset. I love being able to work with the Maywood community in moving the mission of the University forward.  We have great administrators, faculty, and staff who are deeply committed to making the Marywood educational experience the best that it can be for our students. So many wonderful things have already happened here and there is yet so much to come.  The time that I am able to spend with students is often the best part of my day.  I love seeing the personal and professional growth that is taking place in our students. I draw a lot of energy from the sense of community and the teamwork that I experience at Marywood.  You can’t be in the midst of all of this life without constantly being enlivened.  This University is clearly a place where everyone can grow, including me and I relish the opportunity.

The Wood Word: In reflecting on the past three years, what has been your biggest challenge?

Sr. Anne: The biggest challenge is the economic context.  We are working hard to keep education at Marywood affordable and accessible.  At the same time we need to continue the development of academic programs and facilities to ensure that the quality of our educational process. Fundraising in this climate is difficult but we are busy strengthening relationships with alumni and benefactors who believe in this University and want to help our students realize their dreams and God-given potential.

The Wood Word: Marywood will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2015, where do you see Marywood’s growth at that time, both in terms of student population and buildings?

Sr. Anne: By Marywood’s 100th birthday in 2015, we expect to have a new Aquatics Center and some additional students’ residences in place.  We hope, too, to be close to completion of a new Knowledge Center that will substantially upgrade current library facilities and provide state-of-the art technology to lead us into our next century. With respect to student population we have a goal of increasing graduate education as well as undergraduate enrollments in specific programs. We anticipate growing to 4000 students.

The Wood Word: How do you see The Commonwealth Medical College’s presence in Scranton affecting Marywood?

Sr. Anne: I think that the presence of a Medical School in Scranton is an asset for the region.  I hope that there will be many opportunities for faculty collaboration in research and for enriching educational and practicum experiences for students.  Some of this is already in place and I hope that there will be additional opportunities for mutual benefit.

The Wood Word: What one thing differentiates Marywood from other small Catholic colleges?

Sr. Anne: Marywood is deeply rooted in the IHM spirit and tradition. At the heart of this spirit is commitment to liberating God-given potential through education that empowers and impacts society through leadership that is freely given in service of others.  I think that this spirit lives in all that takes place here at Marywood and beyond through the lives and contributions of our alumni. I see this spirit in action every day and wherever and whenever I engage with people whose lives have been touched by Marywood faculty, staff and students.

The Wood Word: The Fall 2009 semester marked the opening of the School of Architecture. What is the biggest advantage of this new school?

Sr. Anne: There are numerous advantages to our new School of Architecture but perhaps the greatest is that our School is a response to an unmet need in the region.  We are the first and only professional School of Architecture in Northeast Pennsylvania and we offer a unique opportunity to prepare a new generation of architects who will be educated to serve as environmental stewards.  The Center for Architectural Studies is a great resource for Marywood and for the broader community. I hope that it will be a locus for expanding attentiveness to sustainability and the integrity of creation not just on our campus but throughout the region. Our architectural programs lend imagination and technical capacity building to a growing concern for environmental health and wellbeing.

The Wood Word: How can one student make the Marywood community a better place?

Sr. Anne: I believe that each and every student has a contribution to make to the Marywood community.  I encourage each student to enter as fully as possible into the educational experience that we offer here.  Education involves the total person—mind, body, spirit.  The energy and the strength of the whole community are enhanced by all of the events and activities that take place.  I think that out students are amazingly generous and committed to making Marywood be all that it can be.  So, I encourage each student to participate in the spiritual, intellectual and social life of the campus to the extent possible.  This is how each person grows and it is how Marywood will continue to grow and achieve its potential as a premier Catholic university in the Northeast Pennsylvania.

The Wood Word: What should incoming freshmen, transfer students and graduate students know about Marywood University?

Sr. Anne: All of our students need to know that this is a community that welcomes you and we stand ready to support you in every way possible as you seek to fulfill you educational hopes and dreams.  Connect with the people who will help you to grow and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Make choices that align with the values that are central to Marywood’s mission.

The Wood Word: What do you look forward to the most about this year?

Sr. Anne: I look forward to keeping the Marywood vision moving forward in very concrete ways through life-giving engagement with students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and friends and benefactors of the University.

The Wood Word: What precautions has Marywood put in place to prevent and/or treat the swine flu?

Sr. Anne: Marywood University began monitoring the situation last spring when the H1NI virus, sometimes called swine flu, first surfaced. We established an ad hoc task force to develop plans for the University. That group meets weekly and regularly attends county briefings on H1N1. We have established a link from the Marywood home page to the CDC website and included a statement from out Student Health Services that will be updated regularly. We have conducted training sessions for all residence life staff, faculty and staff. We installed additional antibacterial soap dispensers around campus and I encourage you to use the, wash your hands often, and practice good hygiene even if you’re not sick. I encourage everyone in our community to register for the e2campus notification system. And I encourage all of our resident students to have on hand those supplies you normally use when you have a cold-fever reducing medications, tissues, sports drinks and soup. We expect that students who get suck will go home, but the University community is prepared to care for any resident students who cannot get home right away. I am confident the Marywood University community will come together to support and help each other. I want to assure you that we are continually monitoring this situation and that we will be in regular contact with the community as the situation develops.