Our Opinion: Time for a history lesson


The Editorial Board, The Wood Word

On Oct. 2, The Wood Word editorial board had the opportunity to sit down with Sr. Anne to discuss an array of topics including Marywood’s centennial, the school’s current financial state and what to expect in the future.

Sr. Anne repeatedly discussed the history of Marywood College and the IHM sisters whose “very bold visionary act” led to the founding.

She also took time to explain how “Marywood had one challenge after another…. We built the Rotunda during the Depression … [since] that would carry us into the future. When we opened the school of architecture, it was right after the economic downturn, and we went forward, because that was our next step, with regard to providing that quality of education. The same thing is true for the Learning Commons.”

Centennials are surely a time to look back at accomplishments over a 100-year span. “That’s what centennials are all about; you look back to look forward,” Sr. Anne told us.

But when asked if Marywood could have done anything differently to avoid our current financial “challenges,” Sr. Anne suddenly no longer saw the value in looking to the past.

“I don’t know that there’s much benefit in looking backward,” she replied.

How can that be?

It’s a complete contradiction. We cannot choose to embrace only the successes of our past and to disregard the challenges. We certainly can’t learn from our challenges or mistakes if we choose to ignore them.

And Marywood is facing challenges.

Marywood’s Standard & Poor’s bond rating has fallen twice since 2013 from BBB to BB+. Maintenance on South Campus carries high costs while it remains unsold. Re-prioritization has begun amidst budget concerns, and the prospect of a vote of no confidence has been shared through flyers sponsored by “Faculty for a Better Marywood.”

Idealizing our history is nice, but our recent challenges are real. And they are here to stay unless we start learning from the past.