Scholarship Dinner

Sep 30, 2011

I see an exceptional group of people before me—dedicated and outstanding leaders, linked through your common recognition of the value of learning. The heartfelt words of those who have given so generously to support our students, as well as the deep gratitude of our student scholars, capture well the spirit of this evening and the mission of this University. We share a very practical understanding of and commitment to education—in so many ways, life's true commodity of lasting value. And you have all—wisely and wholeheartedly—invested in it. Our most priceless treasures are, of course, our students.

Every student here has, I am certain, expressed his or her gratitude to the benefactors who have gathered with us this evening. I also thank you for your investment in Marywood, and, especially in the education of these worthy students. In addition to the support of our esteemed scholarship benefactors, there are two groups that deserve special recognition for shaping the paths of Marywood and its students—financially and academically contributing to the life of this university, living our cherished mission and core values, and advancing the vision of our future.

The task of naming all those who have made and are making important investments in our future defies even a definition of "impossible," but tonight I do want to especially recognize several individuals from these groups, who have made an enormous investment in Marywood University and its students.

We can surely find no finer examples of generosity and dedication than those who serve on our Board of Trustees. This past spring, five of those individuals completed their terms, after compiling impressive records of service to Marywood. While none of these former trustees was able to join us for this evening's celebration, I would like to recognize them by name.

We give great thanks for the contributions and service of:

  • Joan Banick Brooks
  • Frank LaVerghetta
  • Joseph Cosgrove
  • David Kirtland
  • David Hawk


You can refer to your program books to see the specific committees on which these individuals have served and roles they have fulfilled on behalf of Marywood University. For our part, we are pleased to honor these esteemed former trustees for all they have done for Marywood by presenting scholarships in their names to deserving students.

We also want to honor our recently retired faculty members.

When they retired last spring, their incredible records of service collectively spanned more than 130 years. Unfortunately, two of them, Dr. Marianne Borja and Dr. Geri Dawson, were unable to join us this evening, but we are pleased to recognize several who have joined us tonight, along with an additional retiree who just took her leave from us in July.

We said goodbye to a dear colleague who marked more than four decades of service when Sister Dorothy Haney retired. We are grateful for Sister Dorothy's 40 years of tireless and faithful service, as well as her legacy of scholarship, her in-depth knowledge of philosophers George Frederick Hegel and E. F. Schumacher, her pedagogy, and her commitment to her students. Sister Dorothy, may God continue to fill you with joy and bless you in His service, as we honor your long-standing commitment to Marywood by awarding a scholarship in your name to a dedicated student.

Sister Mariam Pfeifer left us just shy of 30 years of service to Marywood and to the profession of music therapy. She was one of the founders of Marywood's Music Therapy program; helped win national accreditations; assumed the directorship in 1982, and led the program till her retirement. Nationally renowned as a music therapist, Sister Mariam has shared her expertise at home, across the country, around the world. Sister, we are deeply grateful for your lifetime of dedication to raising awareness of the healing power and the sheer joy of music, and we hope that awarding a scholarship to a student in your name is indeed music to your ears.

Another loyal colleague, Carol Tome, served as a music reference specialist in Marywood's library for more than 20 years. For almost the same number of years, she had been alto soloist with the Robert Dale Chorale, and a frequent soloist with the Campus Choir, Singers Guild of Scranton, and Mostly Opera. We hope the inspiration of Carol's wide-ranging interests and vibrant life serve as a great inspiration to an equally dynamic student, who will be awarded a scholarship in her name.

Finally, we are delighted to recognize tonight a beloved mainstay of Marywood's library, Sister Gilmary Speirs, IHM, who retired at the end of July. We did not want to hesitate in recognizing and honoring her this evening, because she has never hesitated to do all things well for Marywood. For four decades, Sister Gilmary created the library's unique and informative displays and a marvelous media mosaic of films, records, tapes, slides, videos, and non-print materials—a kaleidoscope of rich resources for all to utilize and enjoy. Yet, we have been most enriched by Sister Gilmary herself: her gentle, loving presence; her soft voice; her warm smile; her keen intellect; her unfailing faith. We are quite certain that Sister Gilmary is overjoyed to see a worthy student awarded a scholarship in her name.

If you refer to your program booklets, you will see the list of our Marywood University scholarship recipients, as well as a description of the criteria for awarding these Scholarships. These students are our best and brightest—not only must they meet stringent academic qualifications to merit the scholarships in the first place, but they must maintain a minimum 3.25 GPA—or better—to renew these awards each year.

Another integral part of a Marywood University Scholarship is its service component—all Marywood University Scholars must engage in ongoing service activities to fully meet the qualifications for these prestigious awards. We at Marywood recognize the vital, interdependent link between learning and serving. We know that to shape true leaders, both academic excellence and dedicated service must go hand-in-hand. And so, let us offer our enthusiastic applause to acknowledge our outstanding Marywood University Scholars.

Finally, your presence here this evening affirms the importance of what we do at Marywood University. Your commitment bears witness to the fact that our important work can and will continue—assuring that our students will always have access to a meaningful education and significant opportunities. We celebrate Marywood and the leaders who have come from it to become—in turn—a blessing to communities and professions and people regionally and throughout the world. We celebrate our many devoted benefactors who believe in and have so generously invested in this University.

It is with thanks to God that I offer my deepest gratitude, on behalf of Marywood University, to you—the students, the benefactors, the faculty, the alumni—to all who believe in Marywood and who continue to actively support and carry forth our mission to the world. God bless you!