2015 Society Dinner

Oct 22, 2011

As always, it is my pleasure to welcome you to our campus this evening. The success that you've helped Marywood University realize over the years—and in this past year especially—have truly made such a positive difference in the kind of educational experience we are able to provide.

Your presence here today affirms the leadership decision you made when you chose to support Marywood University through your generous contributions and your dedicated service on our behalf. For that, I am most grateful. You have not hesitated a single moment to support this University and its students. I am deeply moved and encouraged by the strong vote of confidence you place in us, year after year, by continuing to provide for our present needs and our future initiatives.

Through all of this, we honor the legacy of the IHM Congregation's faithful commitment to Marywood. The Sisters began this institution with very little, but they made the most of what they had. Over the years, through much sacrifice, personal investment, wise insight, abiding prayer, and strategic vision, they cultivated a bountiful harvest in the form of an outstanding, comprehensive, Catholic university that has surpassed their biggest dreams and greatest imaginings.

They are among the most faithful benefactors of Marywood University, and I know they are truly grateful for the opportunity to partner with you—a remarkable, dedicated group of people, who share their innovative vision for this University. All of you are deeply committed to the meaningful mission and important work of this cherished institution, and I gratefully recognize the significant difference you have made—and continue to make—at Marywood University.

That brings us to the highlight of tonight's program, which speaks to the underlying conviction that encompasses everything we do—the realization that the ability to make a difference is not beyond any of us. As the dynamic examples of our three outstanding honorees will attest, we do our best when we act according to God's call for our lives—whether that particular call to action happens on a local, national, or international scale.

As part of our recognition program this evening, we will be showing you brief video clips about each of our esteemed medalists. Full text of their citation tributes appear in your programs. For each honoree, Attorney Marion Munley, Chair of the Board, will assist me in awarding the Presidential Medal.

Now, I turn your attention to two exceptional people.

For this remarkable couple, it has never been enough to simply speak of an observed need in their community; never enough to merely mention an undertaking that seemed worthwhile; never enough to give passing voice to good intentions. It is likely that neither of them has ever uttered the phrase: "somebody ought to do something." Instead, they have stepped forward and acted as powerful forces for good throughout their community. If ever individuals could be said to truly follow the admonition of Jesus Christ to "Love thy neighbor," these individuals are Michael and Dolores Insalaco. With quiet charity, Michael and Dolores have demonstrated again and again their deep and abiding love for their neighbors throughout Northeast Pennsylvania. I invite you to take a closer look at their remarkable story.

The abiding support provided by the Insalacos is generous, faithful, and ongoing. Their unwavering charity is never about them; it is focused on the greater good of Marywood and its mission, their friends and neighbors, and making a difference for the life of the world. Such is the endearing and enduring dedication of Michael and Dolores Insalaco, whose lives and quiet witness stand as powerful examples of Marywood's core values in action in everyday life.

It is fitting, therefore, that Marywood University, whose commitment to the ideals of service, love of humanity, and the cause of higher education is long-standing, should honor with the Presidential Medal, Michael and Dolores Insalaco, whose lives and energies have been devoted to these pursuits.

Our next honoree had not necessarily planned on a career of public service. Ellen Harding Casey, however, followed her destiny with determination, courage, graciousness, wisdom—and wholehearted dedication to the people of Pennsylvania and to the nation. As First Lady of the Commonwealth she used her position of leadership to become the state's most visible advocate for literacy programs and to champion other issues related to the health of women, children, and families. As you will see, her commitment to these very important issues has never waned.

Marywood University is indeed delighted to claim Ellen Casey as one of its own. She has been actively involved in volunteer and fundraising efforts on behalf of her alma mater through the Alumni Association; fulfilled three terms on the Marywood University Board of Trustees; and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree when she served as Commencement Speaker—the first honorary doctoral degree ever bestowed by Marywood. A distinguished alumna, neighbor, and friend, Ellen's influence is national in scope, and efforts she began as First Lady of Pennsylvania continue to bear fruit for the people of the nation.

It is fitting, therefore, that Marywood University, whose commitment to ideals of service, human understanding, and the cause of higher education is long-standing, should honor with the Presidential Medal, Ellen Harding Casey, whose life and energy have been devoted to these pursuits.

Finally, the mission of the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Scranton, Pennsylvania, has never been confined to the boundaries of time or space. The Sisters' work has extended from the forested foothills of the Pocono Mountains, where we have pioneered in higher education for the daughters of American coal miners, to the far reaches of the globe. The IHM Sisters went to Peru in answer to an urgent plea from the Apostolic Nuncia: "Send us the best sisters you have...those whom, although you need them at home, you will sacrifice to save the Church." These Sisters—in particular, the six we honor tonight—did so with the help of funding from the Scranton IHM Congregation.

I invite you to see why we live by the saying, "Where one of us serves, we all serve."

These Sisters—Sister Eileen Eagan, IHM; Sister Mary Martha Gardiner, IHM; Sister Michael Marie Hartman, IHM; Sister Jeanne Marie Kearney, IHM; Sister Jacquelin Servick, IHM; and Sister Joel Marie Sheehe, IHM—all graduates of Marywood University, the very educational institution established by their IHM Congregation, along with other faithful IHM Sisters, have always found a way to do, to accomplish, to overcome. In recording the history of the IHM presence in Peru, Sister Michel Keenan wrote, "It is difficult to capture the spirit of joyful, loving service and sacrifice in often-dismal conditions. There is no doubt that the Holy Spirit has guided the labors of the Scranton IHMs for the Church in Peru and will continue to inspire future IHMs with the desire to serve in this part of our global village."

It is fitting, therefore, that Marywood University, whose very existence lies in the ideals of its founding Sisters, and whose commitment to service, human understanding, and the cause of Catholic education is long-standing, should honor with the Presidential Medal, The Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, whose lives and energies have been devoted to these pursuits.