New university president Sr. Mary Persico introduced at press conference


Photo courtesy of Kimberly Del Valle

Jessica Bonacci and Rachel Looker

Marywood University’s incoming president, Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D., answered questions from the community and the local media at a press conference on April 20 in the Latour Room of Nazareth Hall.

Before taking questions from members of both the community and the press, Sr. Mary talked about her time spent at Marywood as a student. She praised the developments under the tenure of Sr. Anne Munley, IHM, Ph.D., current president of Marywood, including the completion of the Learning Commons.

“Sr. Anne has been a support and promised to help me in this transition and I know she will,” said Sr. Mary. “I am grateful for that and grateful for all that she has done for this university in the past nine years.”

Sr. Anne attended the conference, but did not address the audience about Sr. Mary’s presidency.

Attendees asked Sr. Mary questions about how she plans to increase the diversity of students and asked about her overall vision for the University.

When asked about how she plans to create openness within the community, Sr. Mary emphasized the importance of listening and added that “it is the heart of education.”

In an interview after the press conference, Sr. Mary was asked about the university undergoing Larry Goldstein’s strategic resource allocation process. Sr. Mary said she looks forward to seeing the finished report in June.

“I will be very happy to study the findings and work with anyone to see what we can do to follow through on what has been done,” said Sr. Mary.

When asked to share her views on faculty forming a union, Sr. Mary said the faculty have to do what they feel is best.

“I would love to sit down and talk with them before they did, but I certainly would not stand in their way,” said Sr. Mary. “[I] think it might be helpful if we could all talk first.”

When asked about taking over the president’s position at a time during a vote of no confidence, Sr. Mary said that it was a perfect storm that has been predicted for this part of the century.

“The demographics were going to go down. We knew that for a long time,” said Sr. Mary. “So part of the problem was the enrollment, the decline in enrollment and other issues that I am not fully aware of, but I think everything happens for a reason and we will just take up the mantle of the IHM tradition here and carry on.”

Sr. Mary added she has great respect for Sr. Anne Munley, current university president, and is “very sorry that this [the vote of no confidence] has happened to her.”

After the press conference, Sr. Anne spoke with The Wood Word and said she is looking forward to seeing the IHM legacy continue under Sr. Mary’s presidency.

“I just think that Sr. Mary comes to Marywood with many gifts and talents,” Sr. Anne said. “I look forward to all of the chapters of Marywood’s history that will be written.”

Members of the Marywood community praised Sr. Mary at the press conference and expressed a positive outlook for her tenure.

In her address to the audience, Sr. Ellen Maroney, IHM, president of the members of the Marywood University Corporation wished Sr. Mary the best with her new role as the leader of Marywood University.

Dr. Ann Henry, chair of the Board of Trustees, also spoke to attendees at the press conference and highlighted Sr. Mary’s professional experience.

Henry said after the press conference that she believes Sr. Mary will take a collaborative approach as president.

“I think she really wants to listen to people…[S]he wants what’s best for Marywood,” Henry explained.

James Gavin, treasurer of the Board of Trustees, said he believes Sr. Mary will bring the community together.

“We [the Board] are unanimously in favor of her appointment and excited about the energy she brings and the vision she brings to the future of Marywood,” said Gavin.

Sr. Mary will begin her presidency on July 1.

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