Sr. Mary’s Inauguration Day takes a global approach


Jessica Bonacci, News Editor

On Friday, Oct. 28, Sr. Mary was inaugurated as the 12th president of Marywood University.

The theme of the inauguration was “Marywood: A University for the World,” and focused on the diversity and global mission of Marywood.

Before Inauguration Day, flags and banners representing the different countries of origin of Marywood students were placed around campus.

Sr. Mary said she wanted to share the message that a university should be a place where a variety of people and ideas come together.

“I just think that a university is a place where we should welcome global ideas. We should welcome people of all races, creeds, nationalities, of all kinds of diversity and … we should put all of that together to bring peace to the world, to work for the common good,” Sr. Mary said.

The day began with a Liturgy celebrated by Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L. Then members of the Marywood community gathered in Nazareth Hall and the Ligouri Center following the Liturgy for luncheons.

After the Inauguration Ceremony, Sr. Mary met with community members in the Rotunda of the Liberal Arts Center to talk and take photos. An invitation-only reception was held later in the day at the Insalaco Arena.

Msgr. Joseph G. Quinn, J.D., J.C.L., served as the Master of Ceremonies for the Inauguration Ceremony.

Sr. Mary gives her inaugural address

During her inauguration speech, Sr. Mary thanked community members for attending, joking that she thanked students for attending even though classes were cancelled.

She talked about working together with members of the community.

“We will work well together for the common good of Marywood and all those we will serve,” Sr. Mary said.

She shared that the purpose of the day was to “celebrate a vision” and said the Marywood community’s lives are united by that vision.

Sr. Mary talked about the meaning of Marywood’s mission statement which, according to Marywood’s website, “roots itself in the Catholic intellectual tradition, the principle of justice, and the belief that education empowers people.”

“We call upon our mission, our true north, to guide us on our way,” Sr. Mary said.

She said at Marywood, there is no struggle with understanding the Catholic intellectual tradition, since Marywood faculty, staff, coaches and other mentors are dedicated to supporting and educating students.

“All the disciplines… are integrated into the larger educational experience that is designed intentionally for the building of a just society,” Sr. Mary said.

She also explained that service plays a large role at Marywood, as it makes the university “a university for the world.”

Sr. Mary addressed another part of the mission statement: empowerment through education.

She explained that the Marywood alumni bring their Marywood education with them around the world and influence others with the values and principles taught to them while at Marywood.

She said she wants Marywood to be a place that “satisfies a thirsty world,” where people can go to learn through service and diversity and experience “cultural enrichment.”

She ended her speech by saying the ceremony was about the
students and said, “The blessing is we believe in you. The risk is we count on you.”

Members of the Marywood community speak during the inauguration

Sr. Mary’s inaugural address was preceded by a variety of speeches from members of the Marywood community.

Sr. Mary’s brother, Frank G. Persico, M.A., vice president for University Relations and chief of staff at The Catholic University of America, explained their shared interest in Catholic higher education and read a letter to Sr. Mary from Michael Galligan-Stierle, Ph.D., president of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

Representatives from different groups of the Marywood community praised Sr. Mary’s leadership and openness to the community. Dr. David Palmiter, Faculty Senate president and professor of psychology and counseling, referred to Sr. Mary as “an answer to [the faculty’s] prayers.”

Mary Ellen McDonough, vice chairperson of the Board of Trustees, presented Sr. Mary with the Charter of Marywood University.

Lisa Lori, Esq., chair of the Board of Trustees, presented Sr. Mary with the Presidential Chain of Office.

The Presidential Chain of Office is made up of the “the bronze presidential medallion” and a chain that is “comprised of hand forged and soldered links and plates in a scale which supports the physical and visual weight of the medallion.”

Sr. Anne Munley, IHM, Ph.D., eleventh president of Marywood, presented Sr. Mary with the University Mace.

The University Mace is a staff that consists of “gold-plated bronze and black walnut wood” and a variety of triangles to represent the University motto and Truth and Light.

“God bless you, Mary, and God bless Marywood University,” Sr. Anne said during her speech.

Community members react to the Inauguration Day

In an interview with TV-Marywood before the inauguration, Sr. Anne reflected on the global mission that Sr. Mary chose to focus on throughout the day.

“I think it’s a continuation of…a proud tradition,” Sr. Anne said. “After all, in the very first year of Marywood, we had international students. So I think it continues a very rich and proud tradition, and I look forward to all that is yet to be.”

Sr. Anne also called the day one “of great joy and blessing.”

“Marywood is a very special gift to, I think, the people of this region and on to the entire world, and I think in the hundred years, many wonderful things have happened. I look forward to all that will happen in the next hundred years,” Sr. Anne said.

Lori shared her thoughts on the excitement of the day’s events.

“I think Sr. Mary is a phenomenal leader and we are so excited to have her,” Lori said. “We are thankful to have her.”

Clayton Fitzhugh, a friend and former coworker of Sr. Mary, said the day was full of energy and optimism. He praised Sr. Mary for her humility, saying she was “more excited for students and faculty and staff than for herself.”

Many at the Inauguration appreciated the global message Sr. Mary spoke about in her speech.
Palmiter called Sr. Mary’s inaugural address “inspiring.”

“It’s exactly where we need to be,” Palmiter said.

President of the Student Government Association (SGA) and speaker at the inauguration, Maria Temples, said she is happy students can take part in this event and agreed with the idea of Marywood as a global university.

“I trust her vision,” Temples said.

Both Patrick E. Castellani, controller and assistant treasurer for Marywood, and William McGarry, interim vice president of Business Affairs, said the inauguration’s global theme was “spot on.”

“It’s exactly what the history of the university is all about,” Castellani added.

Students in attendance also praised Sr. Mary and the ceremonies of the day.

Katie McCormick, a sophomore exercise science major, liked being able to take part in the events of the day.

“I thought it was a special moment to be a part of,” McCormick said.

Ali Sidiki, Daniel Smith, Michael Smith and Bethany Wade contributed to this article.

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Twitter: @JBonacciTWW