New president discusses goal for upcoming semester



Photo credit/ Kyle Clouse

Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D, president of Marywood

Jessica Bonacci, News Editor

Sr. Mary Persico, IHM, Ed. D., began her tenure as Marywood president this month following a year of financial challenges  and communication issues  between the previous administration and the Marywood community.

In an interview with The Wood Word and TV-Marywood on Monday, July 25, Sr. Mary discussed her position as president and shared what she hopes to accomplish within the upcoming semester.

Sr. Mary takes on new role in a familiar place.

When asked about her experience in her first month as president, Sr. Mary said that time passed quickly and she is looking forward to the beginning of the semester.

“I love my job,” said Sr. Mary. “I always said I love my job before this and all the jobs I’ve ever been in, but … I saved the best job for last.”

She said she loves being at Marywood and loves the people that make up the Marywood community. While Sr. Mary is new to the role of university president, she is not new to Marywood.

From 2001 to 2002, Sr. Mary served as an adjunct professor of education. Following her time as an adjunct professor, Sr. Mary served on the Board of Trustees and also served as president of the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Scranton, PA until 2010.

She previously attended Marywood College as a student, and received a Bachelor of Arts for French and Education.

“It’s pretty awesome being back here as president,” said Sr. Mary. “Even though I’m familiar with the campus, and I have been here for a long time in various capacities, things have changed so rapidly over the last couple of years and buildings that were once used for one thing are used for something else today.”

Three priorities top to-do list for first semester

Sr. Mary named the three most important things she hopes to accomplish during the 2016 fall semester:

-Increasing enrollment.

-Increasing community involvement.

-Restoring hope to the campus community.

“To help increase enrollment, Sr. Mary said, I’d like us to … increase the number of students who come from our immediate market, Lackawanna County and just beyond that, but also reach out to other states because we have great things to offer in Northeastern Pennsylvania.”

Sr. Mary added that she would also like to extend enrollment beyond Pennsylvania and work to attract international students to Marywood.

She also hopes to increase community involvement and referred to universities as a place for a “laboratory of life” into which others can be invited.

“I’d like to be able to communicate to the broader community what it is we do here … and to invite them into our life as a campus,” she explained.

In regards to her third priority, which she described as “restorative,” Sr. Mary said that “people may have lost some hope in what we do here, and I don’t think there’s any need for that.”

She added that she hopes to “bring the sunshine back” to Marywood in her role as president.

Sr. Mary commits to opening up campus dialogue

To help solve issues that have plagued Marywood for the past few years, including communication problems, a lack of transparency and the financial health of the university, Sr. Mary also has a plan to maintain a dialogue with the campus community.

“I just think that it’s important to open up the lines of communication all the way around between students and faculty, faculty and administration, students and administration,” Sr. Mary said.

She said she plans to work together with the community and do whatever it takes to find solutions to the problems that Marywood is facing.

“We’ll all work together toward accomplishing those goals, and if we have to do it by communicating constantly with one another until we all understand what our mission is and our goal to achieve that mission, then I’m all for that,” said Sr. Mary.

Sr. Mary plans to connect with students

After meeting with first-year students in the Class of 2020 at Orientation Weekend, Sr. Mary said she sensed the students’ enthusiasm and felt connected to the class.

“I feel like I’ll walk the way with them and journey with them all through graduation. I’m planning to get to know all of them, not to the exclusion of everyone else,” said Sr. Mary. “I’ll look at the Class of 2020 as a special class.”

In addition to the first-year students, Sr. Mary said she plans to connect with all students as well as handle the responsibilities of her position when the semester begins. According to Sr. Mary, she will deliberately plan to devote time to meeting with students each day.

“[I will] put aside some time every day, maybe at the end of the day because that’s the best time to meet with students and to just walk the campus… but I would really like to interact as much as possible with students because after all, that’s why we’re here,” said Sr. Mary.

To help connect with students, Sr. Mary recently launched her very own Twitter account.

Known on Twitter as @SisPrez, Sr. Mary said she has learned a lot from reading tweets and is enjoying connecting to the community through the platform.

“I hope to continue that connection, and it’s not all that burdensome to take a look every now and then and tweet something every night or so,” Sr. Mary said. “It’s fun…I don’t have a Facebook account, but I’ll stick to Twitter for now. Maybe I’ll move to Instagram next.

See the full interview on TV-Marywood’s YouTube page and Facebook page.

Rachel Looker and Kyle Clouse contributed to this report.

Contact the writer: [email protected]