Mary Philipp receives Annual Alumni Award
Class of 1980
Mary Philipp is a 1980 graduate of Marywood University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education. Mary has spent her career dedicated to helping young people become self-directed, self-motivated and caring. She has encouraged and supported her students as they learned to demonstrate their work ethic as well as their willingness to cooperate with their peers. She challenged her students to serve as role models for other students. Mary truly embodies the Marywood University core values.
In addition to teaching health and physical education, Mary has also served as an exceptional coach for over 30 years. As a girls head coach for tennis, she guided her team to its first ever conference title even though her students were not the typical “beach club” tennis players that competed in nearby towns. As well, the most statewide recognition took place while she was serving as an assistant girls basketball coach. Her guidance led the team to win 3 conference titles as well as 3 state championships. Between 1985 - 1989 her teams won 95 games and only suffered 6 losses. They also tied a state record (for 2nd place) with a 53-game winning streak. As a leader, in 1990 Mary was responsible for establishing one of the first Unified Sports teams in Connecticut and has served as the host school for an annual volleyball tournament. Her dedication and leadership were recognized when she and her school received the Michael’s Cup Award.
Mary and her twin brother were the 8th and 9th children born to Carl and Norine Philipp. The family was blessed with its 10th child, Eileen, who was identified as a Down Syndrome baby. Mary’s family did an exceptional job of raising a friendly and remarkable young woman who worked as a waitress for over 30 years. Unfortunately about 4 years ago Eileen’s health began to deteriorate. She progressively became more dependent and eventually needed care from others. As Eileen’s daily needs increased, Mary became more involved and managed much of Eileen’s care.
Even though Mary worked as a full-time teacher she would often travel about 25 miles to care for Eileen one or two times a week and would prepare her food for the week and deliver it. On Saturdays she would spend about 6 or 7 hours with Eileen, giving her a shower and feeding her. As well, she would sing and entertain Eileen to show her how much she was loved. Then on Sundays she would return again but would spend about 10 hours with Eileen, again doing whatever it would take to have Eileen smile and know that she was receiving the best possible care. Eileen’s doctor and caregivers often stated that they never witnessed a person who was so well cared for. Mary certainly demonstrated her love and compassion by placing the needs of her sister above her own. She has no regrets that Eileen had the best possible life that she could have had.
Mary certainly demonstrated how caring and compassionate she is. This wonderful woman is certainly deserving of the recognition that Marywood University has bestowed upon her.