President Sister Anne Munley Announces Retirement

Published on Mon, January 04, 2016

Sister Anne Munley, IHM, Ph.D., has announced her plans to retire after she completes her ninth year as President of Marywood University in June 2016. During her presidency, Marywood celebrated its Centennial, opened the region’s first and only School of Architecture, celebrated the largest graduating classes in the university’s history, and witnessed a renewal of the legacy of its founding religious congregation—the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In her letter to the university community today, Sister Anne stated that, “After deep thought, reflection, and prayer, I have decided that this will be the final academic year in which I will serve as President of Marywood University. I have informed the Board of Trustees that I will be retiring as President, effective June 30, 2016.”

Since 2007, when she was inaugurated as the eleventh president of the Catholic university in Scranton, PA, Sister Anne has led Marywood through its highest enrollment growth, expansion of its business program to become the School of Business and Global Innovation, and philanthropic support leading to a Centennial year in 2015 that included the completion of the largest expansion project in the university’s history.

“Sister Anne has been an outstanding leader and visionary for Marywood University,” said Ann R. Henry, Ph.D., Chair of the Marywood University Board of Trustees and an alumna of the university. “Our entire Marywood community is grateful for her guidance, her commitment to our students, and her passion for education in the Marywood IHM tradition.”

Just two years after her inauguration, Sister Anne oversaw, in 2009, the opening of the region’s first and only School of Architecture. The program is focused on environmental stewardship, a distinctive feature that has drawn many students to Marywood. Enrollment was originally projected to reach 250 after four years, but attained that number in its second year. Two years later, Marywood expanded its athletic facilities with a new Aquatics Center. This state-of-the-art addition has opened health and wellness opportunities for the campus and the regional schools.

By 2013, Marywood had further expanded its academic reputation, having received donor support for the university’s first Endowed Chair, a permanently funded faculty position that enables a university to retain faculty scholars and attract program support. In the following year, Marywood embarked on a complete renovation of its Organic Chemistry laboratories, and received word that the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship had been awarded to Marywood student, Rebecca Schwalb. Also in 2014, faculty member, Dr. Alexander Dawoody, merited the distinction of being a three-time Fulbright Scholarship winner.

As the eleventh IHM Sister to serve as President, Sister Anne inspired a renewal of the university’s links to its IHM heritage. On September 8, 2015, Marywood celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding by dedicating two multi-million dollar facilities—a new, 72,000-square foot Learning Commons, as well as the Morgan Motherhouse Memorial Garden on the site of the first building of the newly formed college in 1915.

The $40 million Learning Commons, which replaces the former library, includes four floors of glass-enclosed flexible learning spaces used by hundreds of students every day and evening. The Learning Commons includes the region’s only Automatic Book Retrieval System, allowing students and faculty to request a book via mobile device and receive it in minutes. Book circulation last fall doubled due to the new system, according to Library Director David Schappert. The Learning Commons also includes a Center for Communication Arts with the most advanced technology in the region for television, radio, animation, sound recording and news production.

In spring 2016, Sister Anne will oversee the final piece of the Centennial project she spent her entire presidency developing. In March, the old library at the rear of the Learning Commons will be razed and replaced by the Michael and Gwen Calabro Delfino Amphitheater—a green space that will use the terrace of the Learning Commons as a stage for music and theater performances, exhibits, teaching space and informal gatherings.

Sister Anne has brought recognition to Marywood through her service on the boards of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP), the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, the Lackawanna Industrial Fund Enterprise (LIFE), the Regional Innovation Collaborative, and as Chair of the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC), and of the African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC).

Prior to becoming Marywood’s President, Sister Anne served as the first Executive Director of ASEC, an education program now serving women religious in 10 sub-Saharan African nations, and as the Director of Programs and Social Mission for the International Union of Superiors General, Rome, Italy. For eight years, she was the President of the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A national and international consultant, presenter and facilitator for numerous religious congregations, Sister Anne’s contributions have focused on spiritual leadership, the positive potential of globalization, and cross-cultural understanding as an expression of mission. She collaborated in Thailand, Italy, and Nigeria with the International Organization for Migration to educate Catholic Sisters to counteract trafficking of women and children, and to develop programs for reintegrating trafficked women back into society.

Sister Anne drew on her previous experience to expand on Marywood’s mission, emphasizing empowerment, inclusion, and interdependence. Under several strategic plan initiatives Sister Anne launched, the university’s focus on global education expanded across the academic curriculum and international enrollment increased 150 percent. During this same period, the Study Abroad program increased 500 percent, and the Intensive English program tripled. 

Sister Anne holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, History, and Government from Marywood; a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from the Catholic University of America; and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Boston College. She has taught at both high school and college levels.

According to Board Chair Ann Henry, “The Board of Trustees will be announcing in early February the plans for a comprehensive national search to recruit and select the successor to Sister Anne.”