Five Questions with Our New President: Sister Mary Persico
Posted by Byrne on Nov 20 2016 12:00 PM
The Marywood University community is proud to announce the inauguration of our new University President, Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D. Sister Mary began her journey as president here at Marywood starting in the summer of 2016 and was formally inaugurated on Friday, October 28th, 2016. Sister Mary has committed to her new role by delivering eloquent speeches, participating in student events and activities, and being an engaged member of the Marywood community since her first day.
In order for our current students, faculty and staff to get to know our new President, we asked Sister Mary to tell our readers about herself. The students and staff members were also curious about what her plans are for the future of Marywood, so we asked her about what she wants to see from this great university in years to come.
Through her words, Sister Mary reflects her dignified, genuine personality and shares her gracious opinions about what she has experienced at Marywood in a few short months.
Q: Sister Mary, tell our readers a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What is your background? How did you end up at Marywood in Scranton?
A: Originally I am from Hazleton, PA, a coal-mining town one hour’s drive south of Scranton. I came to Marywood as a student and graduated in 1969. Although my life has taken me many places, my heart has never left Marywood. At the conclusion of my junior year here, I entered the IHM Congregation and became a Sister. From then until now, I have loved being a Sister, an educator, and an alumna of Marywood. I have taught, assumed the role of high school principal, served as the IHM Congregation’s treasurer and President, and worked on the management side of health care. I believe all of those experiences have prepared me well for the role as Marywood’s 12th President. Twice in my career, once in the late 1970s and again in the early 2000s, I taught as an adjunct professor here at Marywood and also served on the Board from 2002 to 2010.
Q: What have your past 100 days at Marywood been like?
A: Right from the first day, I have felt comfortable here. The fact that I knew many people, faculty and staff was a big help, and the new people I met on campus were most welcoming. The common denominator that I see among all members of the Marywood community is their total love of and commitment to Marywood’s mission. Consequently, the first 100 days have been inspiring and energizing for me. Every day is different and I have welcomed the variety. The direct answer to your question is that the first 100 days have been hope-filled, challenging, and satisfying.
Q: What is your vision for higher education here at Marywood?
It is my great hope that Marywood, the University, will be the number one choice of eligible students in Northeast Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, and other Mid-Atlantic States, especially among students who are interested in professional studies based on the Liberal Arts which are the keystone of Marywood’s tradition. In addition, I hope the number of international students will grow so that the totality of the campus community will reflect the rich diversity of the world and all that is good about our various cultural, ethnic, spiritual, and intellectual differences. Finally, I dream that every Marywood graduate will make a positive difference in the world because he or she embodies the mission and lives the core values in all facets of life.
Q: Where do you see Marywood University as a whole in five years?
In five years Marywood will be a strong academic institution that is fiscally sound and grounded in a mission that builds up her students in body, mind, and spirit. The larger community of alumni, civic leaders, and neighbors will speak of Marywood as a welcoming place where people gather to enjoy the Arts, to be with their families, to grow intellectually, to be fed spiritually, and to be united as one community.
Q: What have you found most intriguing and/or enjoyable about your new position as President?
A: By far the most enjoyable aspects of being at Marywood have been the times I have engaged with students. The Freshmen Orientation was my first introduction to the enthusiasm of our students and I was impressed not only with the maturity and dedication of our student leaders but also with the readiness of the freshmen to become a part of all that is Marywood. Since that time, I have enjoyed being with student leaders at dinner, their second SGA meeting, informally on the sidelines at matches and games, casually such as at the Quidditch games, and in observance of their service to others. All in all, Marywood students are good people who will contribute to the betterment of the world long into the future.
When students were asked what they thought about Sister Mary as their new president, one student stated that she is exactly the person that Marywood needs. Another indicated Sister Mary is a breath of fresh air to a university that needed an approachable leader. The students, faculty, staff, and alumni see Sister Mary as an essential new addition to our humble university, and we feel proud and honored to welcome her to the Marywood community.