Sister M. Coleman Nee, IHM
It is with great sadness that the Marywood University community announces the death of Sister M. Coleman Nee, IHM, our Ninth President, who died on Saturday, July 9, 2011, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.
Born on November 14, 1917, in Taylor, PA, and given the name Nora, she was the daughter of the late Coleman and Nora Hopkins Nee. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1941; made her temporary profession of vows on May 8, 1944, and her final profession of vows on August 1, 1947. Sister Coleman earned her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees at Marywood College. Further studies at the doctoral level followed at the University of Notre Dame, Marquette University, and the University of Arkansas. She was awarded the Distinguished Pennsylvanian Award in 1980 and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of Scranton in 1983.
Sister Coleman guided Marywood through challenging, transformative times. During her 18-year tenure, from 1970-1988, she was known as a firm decision-maker and visionary leader. Her administration was marked by significant development in academic programming, facilities expansion, and financial stability. While more than 11,000 diplomas from Marywood College bear her name, the significant difference she made at Marywood is incalculable.
In a statement issued soon after Sister Coleman's death, Sister Anne Munley, IHM, Marywood's President, noted, "Sister Coleman's distinctive courage was put to the test early in her presidency when the venerable Motherhouse was completely destroyed by fire. Yet, her ability to accept the consequences of this tragedy and move forward proved her stamina as a leader. In this, and in so many other instances, she demonstrated that obstacles can be overcome, especially when one trusts God."
Sister Anne continued, "Her steadfast spirit in the face of challenges helped Marywood stand above the rest. During a time when many colleges faced setbacks and declining enrollment, Sister Coleman, calling to mind her bold-hearted predecessors, pressed on in her unwavering vision to advance Marywood's mission. She determined that preparing students for life, as well as a degree, was vital to the education of the whole person."
Sister Coleman was a member of several community and educational boards, but her first love was always teaching. She served as a teacher at Marywood Seminary, Scranton, PA, from 1943 to 1955; Marywood College from 1959 to 1968; Bishop Hannon High School, Scranton, PA, from 1992 to 2000; and the Education Enrichment Institute at the IHM Center, Scranton, PA, from 2002 to 2004. Additionally, Sister Coleman was the Coordinator of Apostolic Works for the IHM Congregation from 1968 to 1970 and served in Alumni Relations at Marywood from 1989 to 1992. From 2004 until the time of her death, she resided at the Marian Convent and Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, where she served as a prayer minister.
"Sister Coleman's able and dedicated leadership throughout a time of great change in Marywood's history will stand as her enduring legacy," said Sister Anne. "We acknowledge with grateful hearts all that Sister Coleman did to make Marywood the successful institution it is today and ask that you remember her in your prayers."
November 14, 1917 - July 9, 2011