Sister Theresa Maxis-Years of Service Reception

Apr 30, 2014

For many years, it has been a favorite tradition to gather as a campus community to recognize those of our friends and co-workers who have faithfully served Marywood University and its students, and who have now reached significant service achievements at Marywood. While today we especially honor these special people, it is also a day for expressing gratitude to all of you in our Marywood working family for the many contributions you make and the diversity of talents you share with all of us. I am delighted to have this opportunity to say “thank you.”   From those who work so tirelessly to maintain the beautiful appearance of our campus and buildings…to those who keep our infrastructure functioning so smoothly…to those who share knowledge and expertise with students in the classrooms…all of you have been an important part in the remarkable accomplishments of the past year.

This afternoon, I have the opportunity to especially recognize those who have reached special milestones in their service to Marywood.  It is significant, I think, that there are so very many of you…so many who have been here 5 years…or 10 years…or 15 years…so many who are committed to the mission of Marywood and continue to contribute their talents to serve the university and its students.  This fact alone says much of the quality of individuals who are part of this Marywood family. Time forbids reading all the names of all of those who mark milestones of service. Their names are listed in the program, and I congratulate and thank each one. 

I ask that all those who have marked 5 years of service to Marywood please stand, so that we may all offer our thanks and applause for their work.

I would now ask that all those who mark 10 years of service please stand and be recognized.

I would ask that all those who mark 15 years of service please stand and be recognized. 

Today, I also offer a special expression of appreciation to six of our co-workers who have advanced the mission of Marywood University and enriched all of us in the campus community throughout a full 20 years of service.  We are delighted to recognize them by presenting them with the Sister Theresa Maxis, IHM Service Award.  Designed in the form of a commemorative medal, the award is named in honor of the co-founder of the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary—Sister Theresa Maxis—whose life truly exemplified service.

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 As Studio Technician in the Insalaco College of Creative and Performing Arts, Tim Clauss manages a complex and extensive physical plant—and has done so with consummate skill for two decades. He oversees the health and safety of students and is responsible for the smooth operation of a well-organized facility. He has established the DOVA three-dimensional Design and Sculpture studio areas as a welcoming environment that is a tremendous source of pride for the department—and for Marywood—whichh may be in no small measure because Tim himself takes such personal pride in everything he does.

No detail goes unattended. He executes his daily work with dedication, dignity, and lively good humor. His enthusiasm is infections. He is fond of saying that “students come first”...and his priority surely shows. Students gravitate to Tim for guidance at times when they have all but given up...and Tim can be relied upon to provide the help that’s needed. Actually, though, it would be an understatement to say that Tim is “reliable”—although, in fact, he is. Beyond that, he offers a nurturing, encouraging “wing” to students. And he is the ultimate “go to” guy when it is thought that a job just “can’t be done.” Tim not only refuses to turn down a challenge, but thrives on those that come to him.

He is a dedicated family man...a highly respected member of his Lake Ariel community. His neighbors rely on him for advice and direction on projects of every possible description...and Tim never fails to help those who knock on his door. There could be no better representative of Maryood’s core values and mission.

All who know Tim Clauss are in admiration of his talent and commitment. Tim, for all you do for this University and our students...for your great gift of skill and talent...and most of all, for 20 years of loyalty and friendship, we  truly thank you!


Mary Jo Conserette, better known as Mojo, started here 20 years ago on the staff of Marywood University Dining Services, then stayed on to join Chartwells, and has been helping to keep all of us in the campus community happily, healthfully well-nourished and deliciously well-fed ever since. In fact, says Tom Notchick, with her experience in University Dining Services, Mary Jo was herself a key ingredient in making the transition to Chartwells smooth and...(I might as well say it)...easy as pie.

What’s more, she continues to follow that recipe for helping it all run efficiently. Again and again, she manages to blend the often pressure-cooker demands of a professional food service with a lively leavening of humor and a talent for showing the lighter side of things. Her infectious laugh, rippling across the dining hall, never fails to put a smile on the faces of her co-workers. She’ll have a funny word or expression to greet you on any given day...always a “toodles, noodles” as a daily goodbye for the evening. By the other sound you can depend on is the click of her typewriter in the office...probably one of the last those machines left on campus.

She is hard-working, dedicated, loyal, always available to lend a helping hand—which she clearly demonstrates by, among other efforts, volunteering for the Gourmet Gala. She is a dedicated mother, devoted to her son, Cory...a good friend to co-workers; she delights in making them laugh...and is, they declare, the glue that holds Tom Notchick together. Or perhaps, since this is food services, we ought to say, “royal icing.”

We truly thank you, Mary Jo, for 20 years of making a very demanding job look like a piece of cake!


I would be fair to say that, although she has been here for 20 years, Marianne Dobrzyn’s face may not be the most familiar on campus. Her name, however, probably is. Hers is the email address that pops up when she takes on in role as head of the Support Staff Hospitality Committee... and, possibly, its most enthusiastic, ingenious—and highly successful—fundraiser. From traditional Easter cream cheese and nutrolls to an inspired parking spot raffle, she effectively puts the FUN in fundraising.

As executive secretary to the Vice President for Business Affairs, she also manages to effectively keep Joe Garvey right on schedule. “Marianne is the very best KEEPER I ever had,” Joe says. “She makes sure that I do not miss meetings; she guards the door like a Marine; she is unfailingly pleasant...and she even watches out for my health. It’s been my pleasure to work with her for the past eight years,” he continues, “ and I do not know what I’d do without her.”

Just to clarify on the “eight year” part of Joe’s statement...Marianne worked in the Fiscal Affairs Office before she moved down the hall a bit to help keep Joe on schedule.

One place you might actually see Marianne beyond Marywood’s campus is wherever there’s music. You might well find her in the audience, supporting her husband who is a keyboard player with some of our favorite local bands. She also, by the way, always looks forward to their yearly trip to the shore, vacationing Ocean City, Maryland...although her favorite vacation photos recently would also involve the Grand Canyon, which they were able to visit on a family trip to Las Vegas, where their son now lives. Marianne, for 20 years of friendship, service, and delicious fundraising, we thank you.


Musicians, actors, and performing artists can be temperamental, so it takes a special—one might even say “courageous”—individual to take on the challenge of watching over so many of them. As Administrative Assistant in the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance, Patty Durkan took on the challenge and has survived in that milieu for a full 20 years. Actually, Patty has been at Marywood even longer than that. She worked first in the Counseling/Psychology Department, then left to further her education and be a caregiver for family members, before returning to care for the creative cast of DMTD. 

“In an academic environment, filled to the brim with performing artists,” says Sister Joan McCusker, IHM, “this can be like corralling kittens in a sandbox.” Yet, Patty does it—and shines with star quality in the process. She is, in a sense, always on stage herself. She is the first person a visitor reaches—and, whether in person or on the phone, she offers a welcoming, all-important first impression. She brings professionalism, positive energy, and an ability to get the job done well—whatever the particular job may be. “The spirit of the University’s mission is right there... in her bones!” says Sister Joan. One after another, faculty members in the DMTD, give Patty Durkan their standing ovation...with applause lines like:  “She is a jewel… a generous spirit... willing to help out with anything....”

Her generous spirit shines well beyond her department. She is a mentor for the SOAR Program, heads Support Staff committees, and is active in Campus ministry Programs, Good Bank, and Adopt an Angel. We are not sure if her unfailing rosy, cheerful outlook has anything to do with the fact that her office is decorated—from her curtain to her mailbox—in pink—but Patty Durkan, Sister Joan says simply, is pure GOLD. We are delighted to have her as part of our family of music and theatre folk. Indeed, Patty, all of us in the Marywood family are thrilled and honored to celebrate this special 20-year milestone with you.


The word is that when Marie Griffin joined the Business and Managerial Science Department back in 1994, she herself would not have taken any bets that she’s still be here in 2014. She’d begun working on the same day that classes started in the fall. So...with the whirlwind of activity that always goes with the first week of a new term...and with the pressure of trying to learn a new job, Marie was having second thoughts about whether this had been such a good idea. A couple days in, she went to Dr. Sam Dagher—then chair of the department –and told him she couldn’t stay. It was just too stressful. Fortunately, for Marywood, Dr. Dagher talked her into giving it another chance. Now...20 years later...we are wondering how on earth we could have gotten along without her.

“Whether it’s an insight on navigating Marywood systems...or an opinion about the kids’ schools...or a good kitchen renovation plan,” Dr. Art Comstock says, “Marie is the first person I would seek. With an office always full of chocolates, smiles, and love, Marie is one of the best department secretaries, I have ever known. She is just an incredibly kind, giving, special person.”

Marie especially lights up when talking about her family—her grandchildren in particular. Marie has been a long been tireless volunteer in activities for Holy Family Church. In fact, she is always willing to help, no matter how busy she is.

Dr. Comstock says that he cannot think of a time when Marie isn’t smiling. “I’ve never heard a negative word come out of Marie’s mouth,” he says, adding “I feel very fortunate to work with Marie and heartily congratulate her on 20 years of superb service.” 

In this we must agree with Dr. Comstock ...and, in fact, add our quiet thanks to Dr. Dagher, who persuaded Marie to stay at Marywood some 20 years ago.


For 20 years—and more—Nicole Malloy has been an MVP at Marywood. Back in 1994, she joined the Athletics and Recreation Department team as Coordinator of Intramurals and Recreation. Under her watchful eye, sports programs have grown to over 40 intramurals, club sports have continually developed, aerobic classes have been initiated, and innovative fitness programs have become a reality. But Nicole never hesitates to go beyond the playbook; she takes on new duties with enthusiasm...stepping up to the plate to handle athletics site supervision, game scheduling, and event coordination with skill and finesse.

Nickie has really been here on campus for longer than 20 years, though. She is a former standout student athlete in field hockey and softball. She is, in fact, a member of Marywood’s prestigious Hall of Fame, which will give you some idea of her athletic prowess. She continues her legacy today, serving as a Pacer Assistant Softball Coach.

Nickie’s family is her pride and passion. She is a loving daughter, sister, and aunt who coaches nieces and nephews. She loves spending time in the outdoors in her native Honesdale...kayaking, cooking, coaching field hockey, and competing in adult softball leagues. She and her dog, Maya, are a dynamic duo. Professionally and personally, Nickie embodies Marywood’s core values of service, respect for all, and a humble heart. Athletic Director Mary Jo Gunning sums it up, saying, “She is a friend to many, and one who makes a consistently positive difference to those around her—including me!”

Nicole, we congratulate you and thank you for 20 years of making a positive difference at Marywood.


You’ve all seen those British monarchy-inspired “Keep Calm....and...” T-shirts and signs with all sorts of variations in endings. Marywood has a perfect “Keep Calm” ending: “Keep Calm and Call Debbie Muchal.”

Debbie has been serving Marywood for 20 years now—17 and one half of those years in the Campus Safety Office, where she calmly handles a daily work flow that, by its very nature, can involve all sorts of emergencies. She is a whiz at multi-tasking—answering the phone, dispatching upwards of 100 calls a day, maintaining the daily log—along with dispensing ins-and-outs of parking information and permits. She’s even taken on the job of department webmaster. In addition, she handles walk-in traffic with unflappable professionalism and respect...and her unruffled response has made her adept at handling emergency or 9-1-1 calls—calmly contacting needed emergency responders.

Modestly competent, Debbie doesn’t talk about herself much...but, as everyone in the Security Office knows, the real delight of her life is spending time with her grandchildren.    

Mike Finegan, Campus Safety Director states unequivocally, “To say Debbie is an invaluable employee would be an understatement. She keeps the office running on a daily basis.” 

Debbie, we thank you for two decades of staying cool, calm, and collected...under any and all circumstances!


If I were to announce that we are honoring Ann Hopkins O’Neill for twenty years of service to Marywood, I might be greeted with blank looks. But if I were to simply mention Onnie O’Neill, I’d see smiles of recognition. Literally. Because to know Onnie is to smile...and you’re guaranteed a smile in return. In fact, Onnie’s own smiles of welcome have been in no small measure responsible for sharing Marywood with—well—the world. A mainstay of the Conferences and Events Department, Onnie has been responsible for overseeing the many groups that utilize University facilities. Under her direction, Marywood accommodates nearly 75,000 overnight guests each summer.

Summer conferencing at any university is truly like operating a hotel, and Marywood is no different. Onnie often needs to wear many different hats in the normal function of her position. These hats may include concierge, front desk agent, reservation specialist, sales manager, and on occasion, even room service. She is so dedicated to making sure that all summer conference guests have an enjoyable experience on campus that she has been known to literally run to campus if a problem should arise. An avid runner who has competed in countless races, even marathons (including Steamtown and Boston Marathons)...she can be spotted almost daily on the streets of Dunmore, running with her husband, Frank... and she uses the miles to campus to offset her morning routine.

Director of Conference and Special Event Services, John Coval notes that Onnie’s dedication to the University is immeasurable. Her colleague Jill Schroth says working with Onnie has been a gift and a blessing. She truly personifies William Penn’s definition of a true friend who “advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues unchangeably.” Onnie, for 20 years of wise advice, ready assistance, bold action, and unchangeable friendship, we thank you.


Over the course of the past 20 years, Janice Richardson has been a colleague, a scholar, a graduate, an advisor, a mentor, a journalist—and a faithful friend. Janice has used her years at Marywood to benefit our students, her family, and herself. She has earned a bachelor’s degree in English—and nearly completed a master’s degree in communications. She was inducted into Alpha Epsilon Lambda. She has contributed to the Marywood community by engaging with The Wood Word staff as a copy editor and continues to maintain membership in the Society of Collegiate Journalists.

Janice gives voice to her talent for music—literally—singing in her parish choir, and recently she started pursuing piano lessons, something she had wanted to do for years! She is devoted to her mother and family. Her husband, Mark, is right by her side, planning family vacations, taking trips to the casino, or redecorating a room in their home. Janice extends her keen eye for décor to her office, incidentally, which is unfailingly decorated appropriately for every season. Her family also includes a cat called Mr. Peepers, who had been in danger of being put down until Mark had convinced her of the need for rescuing. Janice has a passion for books, adores a good mystery novel, is a regular patron of the public library, and a new user of downloadable books. She rarely misses an episode of Jeopardy, we understand, loves English history, and is devotee of the Cooking Channel.  

Janice can also be credited with the addition of the word “fasterus” (pronounced fa-ster-us) to the office lexicon. It means ‘big deal,” as in, “What’s the big fasterus!” It is clearly a useful word, conceived in the finest Shakespearean tradition. As Sister Jane Snyder says, “Truthfully, Janice Richardson is the ‘big fasterus’ in the Financial Aid Office—hard-working, direct, inquisitive, tolerant, a dedicated employee, a generous co-worker, and a good friend.” Janice, for 20 years of dedication and friendship, we thank you.


For two decades, Edwina Rozelle has been serving Marywood and its students. As Assistant Director of Retention, her special concern is for those students who are, in a sense, still feeling their way into their future. They may be on the brink of their decision-making process, but not sure where they really want to go, or they may still be fighting to hit their academic stride. Edwina interviews prospective students, teaches a week-long summer bridge program, meets weekly with students one-on-one, and takes great delight in seeing them find personal paths to success. 


Her colleagues in the Academic Progress Office unquestionably take great delight in working with Edwina. Meghan Cruciani, Director of Academic Success, says simply, “I am so thankful for the time and effort Edwina puts forth every day.” Edwina is the resident expert on gardening, medicinal herbs, and essential oils...also country music...and the New Orleans Saints. She is such a devoted fan that she named one of her beloved Springer Spaniels, “Drew Brees.” In fact, a number of Drew’s progeny have found homes with Edwina’s friends in the Marywood community. An outdoorswoman, whose favorite pastimes include kayaking and walking around the lake from her home on Lake Spangenberg, Edwina is also well prepared with “mad survival skills.” Dr. Lee Sebastiani places her prominently on a theoretical list of people likely to be most valuable in case of an apocalypse.  Edwina says she’d accept the invitation, but would have to bring her husband and, of course, her family. She takes enormous pride in her daughters, Aileen, Becky, and Laura. The light of her life is her granddaughter, Lexi.


Edwina, on behalf of the countless students you’ve befriended, taught, counseled, assisted, and helped to a richer University experience and a bright future...and on behalf of all of us with whom you have shared your friendship... and your knowledge...your mad survival skills...and your prize Springer Spaniel puppies, we sincerely thank you for 20 years of dedicated service.

In addition to these wonderful, loyal individuals whom we have honored for 20 years of faithful service, there are a number of other individuals who mark still longer milestones this year.


For 25 years, first in Dining Services, then in the Maintenance Department, George David Curran has been serving our Marywood community as a Utility Mechanic, a highly skilled painter—and a teacher, who truly teaches us, with great dexterity and patience, the silent language of signs—one of the world’s most beautiful…certainly the most graceful of languages. And George has always been willing to share his fluency in it. When he moved from a working part time in Dining Services to full-time position in Maintenance, Dining Services would invite him to lunch whenever they hired a student from what was then the Scranton State School for the Deaf, to help ease the transition and make the new employee feel at home.

Throughout his life, George has racked up an impressive list of achievements. He graduated with top honors in commercial painting from Vo Tech—where he was also a football standout at center…a tough position to fill since the center is the initiator of every offensive play…and as such is the man who usually gets hit first. His teammates and coaches communicated with pats on the shoulder and visual signs. Always ready with a smile…hard working… thoroughly expert at his job… willing to go the extra mile and then some…George is living proof that a good man won’t be stopped by a challenge.

George, I am delighted and honored to have this opportunity to thank you for your 25 years of loyal service, your great friendship, and the talent you have so generously shared.


Vince Gatto has been a cornerstone for Instructional Technology on campus for 25 years now. He began his Marywood career as an evening AV technician, making sure classes were integrated with audio-visual technologies. Vince was key in installing the tech-ready classrooms and would frequently come to the rescue of a student or teacher when that “advanced and improved technology” just wasn’t functioning properly. He spends countless hours training faculty and students to properly use projectors, DVDs, cameras and computers. Vince is also responsible for installing and maintaining our campus cable network, which allows faculty to use TV programming in the classrooms—and resident students to sit back and watch TV. Even the retired sisters at Our Lady of Peace reap the benefit of Vince’s work on the cable system—and are often the first to call if the cable is out!

Vince earned his degree from Marywood and became a Senior Instructional Technologist. He spent many years setting up for commencement, conferences, and all sorts of special events on campus. He takes enormous pride in his work, and his dedication and attention to detail often keep him late and bring him in on weekends, making sure an AV setup is done to his standards. Vince also is an unofficial Library Historian. He can even show you slides of the current library when it was being built. As the new Learning Commons takes shape, unquestionably Vince’s technical skills and knowledge will be essential to the success of the technologies that will create our new learning spaces. 

For someone so attuned to the most up-to-the-minute technologies, Vince refuses to acknowledge any merit in current entertainment industry offerings. He firmly maintains that no good TV shows, movies, or music were created after 1979. He is also has a wry sense of humor; is a noteworthy cookie baker (especially around Christmas), and a great friend. Vince, for 25 years of delicious cookies, true friendship, and unequalled technical expertise, we thank you.


Also marking 25 years of faithful service is George Graham, troubleshooting chief engineer for Marywood’s WVMW-FM and TV Marywood broadcasting facilities. He is more often heard… or seen…or sometimes neither, but rather just working quietly behind the scenes at WVIA, this region’s public broadcasting station.

George is the host and producer of All That Jazz and Mixed Bag, one of the nation’s first and longest running music programs. In addition he created and produces a weekly series called Homegrown Music featuring regional artists in genres ranging from Renaissance to metal to beat poetry. He has also worked with WVIA-TV and has produced or been audio director for numerous music specials, some nationally distributed. As if this sort of schedule were not demanding enough, he faithfully comes to comes to campus every week to check on and fix any technical problems at the radio station…sharing his professionalism and expertise. He has been committed to the ongoing improvement needed to maintain the station’s excellent reputation, and he was instrumental in the transmitter upgrade three years ago.

George, you are truly our own Homegrown Music Man, and we thank you for 25 years of stellar service.   


Thinking about it logically, one would have to concluded that Stanley Grzenda has probably spent more of his 30 years at Marywood actually AT MARYWOOD than almost any other individual. He puts in such long hours that he’s been suspected of never really going home—just moving from building to building.

The Postal Service with its “neither rain nor sleet nor dark of night” motto has nothing on Stanley. He holds a record that few—if any Marywood employees could equal. In 30 years, Stanley has never taken a day off because of illness. He started his career at Marywood as a security guard. Since then he has been a custodian, a utility mechanic, supervisor, superintendent, and is now Physical Plant Planner and Scheduler.

Wendy Yankelitis, Director of the Physical Plant, sums it all up. “Stanley,” she says, “is one of a kind. He is never too busy to listen to a problem and offer help in solving it. He is a man of his word, and if he tells you he will take care of something, he does. Stanley’s knowledge of the nooks and crannies of Marywood to this day continues to amaze me. I don’t know what we’d do without him.”

Stanley, Marywood is truly better because you—thank you for serving us so well, so faithfully, and so unfailingly for 30 dedicated years.




I am delighted today to have the opportunity to thank a gentleman who, for three decades now, has been helping to keep Marywood moving—literally MOVING. Robert Lorenzetti is a skilled mechanic, whom I admire for his thorough understanding of the unfathomable mysteries of the internal combustion engine…and the related mechanisms of the vehicle such engines propel. Certainly this remains a mystery to me, and those individuals like Bob Lorenzetti who make it all look so easy, I regard as nothing short of extraordinary. I am deeply grateful to Bob for the gift of his skill in keeping Marywood’s cars, truck, and working vehicles rolling.

Bob is an avid outdoorsman and sports enthusiast, and when he’s not unraveling the mysteries of motors, he can usually be found hunting, fishing, tending to his farm animals, and visiting livestock auctions, looking for more additions to the farm. In recent years, Bob has become a keeper of all sorts of barnyard creatures. His livestock lineup includes or has included chickens, pheasants, rabbits, goats, and pigs.

Bob, for both your uncanny understanding of all things motorized and mechanical…and for your commitment to preserving the finest traditions of the American farmer—we sincerely thank you.


Another loyal friend, and a mainstay in our Maintenance Department, is Gerald Moskalczak, who is not only an exceptionally skilled utility mechanic, but has an uncanny ability to sense when he is needed and simply show up as a volunteer. Mark Burns, Head of Grounds, tells how Gerry—although not officially on the Grounds Crew—will simply show up in a snow emergency to help out. And we surely had plenty of those this past winter—so there has been ample reason to be grateful.

It is typical of Gerry that not only has he been serving Marywood for the past 30 years, but, for even more years than that, he has been serving his home community of Blakely as a volunteer firefighter. And for still longer, he has been serving all the citizens of Pennsylvania, helping to battle wildfires for the State Department of Forestry. In fact, Gerry’s commitment to conservation and prevention of costly forest fires is so great that, as his alter ego, Smokey the Bear, he often makes appearances at parades and other events, helping to promote outdoor education and appreciation for our precious natural resources.

Gerry, incidentally, represents the second generation in his family to serve the Marywood community. His father, the late Joe Moskalczak, retired from the Marywood Maintenance Department in 1986. Gerry, for your many years of dedicated and faithful service to Marywood and to the greater community, we thank you!


The clever, creative spirit of Patricia J. Thomas has blessed Marywood for the past 30 years. She is the wit and wisdom behind countless citations, proclamations, and feature articles for Marywood Magazine. A true editorial blueblood, her closest colleagues have dubbed Pat as the “Grammar Queen Mother.” In addition, Pat proudly claims the actual titles of “Mother, Grandmother, and Great Grandmother,” and her ever-growing brood now includes four children, 14 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren—soon to be 13 in June…then 14 in November…and 15 by the end of the year! At any given time, Pat’s family is planning for another graduation, another wedding, or another baby—and this pleases her greatly, each time!

Her ability to turn a phrase has been a lifelong talent and passion, particularly when it comes to children. She is a successful children’s book author several times over. Her classic rhyming picture book “Stand Back,” Said the Elephant, “I’m Going To Sneeze!” was featured on the PBS Storytime series, chosen as a Weekly Reader Book Club selection, reprinted in educational texts and international editions, and listed in major library journals. Her more recent publications include Mouse’s Christmas Cookie, Red Sled, Nature’s Paintbox, and Firefly Mountain. An active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Pat has also been an instructor with the Institute of Children’s Literature. Additionally, she has authored hundreds of articles and stories, which have appeared in a variety of periodicals, and is a frequent presenter at writers’ conferences and workshops.

Her characteristic laugh is unmistakable (especially when she spots a glaring grammatical error), and her vast knowledge of history, politics, nature, religion, literature, and drama—in particular, Shakespeare—is seemingly endless. Pat, for 30 years of well-chosen and properly punctuated “words, words, words,” we extend our fondest, deepest thanks.


Last summer we said farewell to Sister Joan Ciraula, IHM, who—for some 30 years—had been, as Annette Fisher described her, “a walking wealth of openness and good will.”  It is impossible to imagine an individual who has taken more completely to heart the Savior’s admonition to “love one another.”  For Sister Joan, love is simply instinctive. It radiates from her face. People who don’t actually know her name knew Sister Joan. They would come to the circulation desk and ask for “that sister who is so kind and knows what I need.” 

The truth was, not only did Sister Joan know what any given library patron might need...she knew how to help them find it—under any and all circumstances. When technology failed, Sister Joan proved the power of the human mind and the Dewey Decimal System. However, the library walls by no means marked the boundaries of her loving concern for everyone.

Annette has said, “She was like the grandmother my children never had. She stayed with my older children when the younger ones were being born. She rejoiced at their growth and accomplishments. She prayed for my kids, whatever their crises or their current challenges—from their speech and debate tournaments (extra prayers for national qualifiers), to medical school interviews, to sports competitions. What’s more, she made the children feel like they moved the planet when their studying and practicing paid off.”

Actually, Annette confided, that if she ever needed prayer, she would ask Sister Joan, whom she firmly believes talks on a direct line. Sister Joan, even in retirement, we ask you to please keep that line open for all of us.


After 55 years of teaching, the last 19 of those at Marywood’s Early Childhood Center—Sister Sara Ann Holmes, IHM will leave us for a well-earned retirement. Her accomplishments during her distinguished career as an educator included helping to found the first Catholic Montessori School in New York—Our Lady of Grace in Manhasset, Long Island.

For Sister Sarah Ann, it has always been all about the children. She believed each one was a unique individual—and she taught them that way—individually. You’d be most likely to find her on any given day, surrounded by smiling, giggling kids, as they shared secrets and funny stories with her. Highly respected and beloved by parents, she was always available to listen to and counsel them. For work study and education students, she was a model of what an early childhood educator should be. And always, of course, there has been a special spot in her heart for her 29 nieces and nephews...and twice as many grandnieces and grandnephews. 

We wish for her now, every blessing...and many years ahead filled with the luxury of time to attend Broadway shows and concerts, read, indulge in her favorite pastime of crossword puzzles, enjoy the world’s beauty and travel—especially in one of her favorite places on earth—Vermont. 


After a record of teaching that actually stretches one year longer than Sister Sarah Ann’s —56 years to be exact—with the last 34 at Marywood’s Early Childhood Center—Sister Marilyn Muro, IHM will leave us also for an equally well-earned retirement.

Over the years, Sister Marilyn has held many positions: teacher, director, secretary, purchasing agent, and even fundraiser for the Tony Domiano Center. In fact, Sister Marilyn is likely the very reason that the center existed. When it became necessary for the program to leave the IHM Center some years ago, in just four months, she and Jack Lammers—who was then Marywood’s Director of Development—raised funding to build the Tony Domiano Center, which has since served hundreds of children and inspired and trained new generations of early childhood educators along the way.

Quick to laugh, wondrously innovative, blessed with boundless energy and endless patience, Sister Marilyn has not only been an extraordinary educator, but a perfect role model for all who aspire to teach young children. She has touched so many lives: parents, students, colleagues, and—unquestionably—the children. For her enormous gift of self and for her unselfish service, we thank her and wish her wonderful years ahead...with  time to enjoy ballet, music, reading, and traveling—especially to Vermont...perhaps with Sister Sarah Ann.


After 28 years of service, Paula Gethman has decided on a well-deserved retirement…although not necessarily a final goodbye. I’ll explain. Paula has been and continues to be a key staff member of the Student Life Division. Throughout those years, her work has supported the division’s overarching purpose—which is, essentially, creating the most satisfying experiences possible for Marywood students.

When she’s not at her desk, taking on the division’s plethora of details (and when she can actually find the time to relax), Paula likes spending time with her family—especially while playing pinochle—and indulging in occasional trips to area casinos or dining out with friends. Prior to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, she’s busy baking for an area importing store and the National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. She often assists with fundraising programs that support terminally ill children, social justice initiatives, and efforts to improve the quality of life for impoverished children.

Paula truly embodies Marywood’s core values in so many ways—especially through her spirit of concern and her willingness to serve people in need. And, although retirement might give her more time for those service efforts so dear to her heart…she couldn’t QUITE abandon Marywood either. So happily…she’ll return to her role, part-time…continuing to serve the University students, as she has done so well for so long.


Just this past summer, we had to say farewell, also, to Cindy Kamora, who for nearly a decade had been keeping offices shining from the Terrace Floor and Admissions in the LAC to the School of Architecture, making friends, brightening days, and adding her own irrepressible humor wherever she went...which sometimes was all the way across the campus.

Cindy has a green thumb, and was quick to accept the offer of a campus garden plot. She and her friend and co-worker, Cheryl Kosydar, had a flourishing garden that would make the White House proud: peppers, celery, tomatoes, was such a beauty, they even put up a fence around it. Except their prize garden was, perhaps...too good. It apparently attracted the attention of raiding critters—to the exclusion of other less flourishing plots—that breached the fence and unabashedly cleaned out the crops.

Nevertheless, Cindy we are proud of your efforts on behalf of the cause of healthy eating and for helping promote Marywood’s unique community garden program. Retirement, we hope, will bring you more time to continue gardening...and exercise some of your multiple talents—knitting, crocheting, creating beautiful artwork, etching on glass...and, of course, camping with your family and enjoying those beautiful grandchildren, Ian and Emily.  


For nearly a quarter of a century before retiring last summer, Marlene Lapinski had brightened one Marywood department after another with her own special style of organizational expertise—which was not only wonderfully warm and welcoming, but distinguished by spot-on efficiency.

She started at Marywood as secretary in the Philosophy, Religion, and Foreign Languages departments. She moved to the Office of the Assistant Undergraduate Dean; then, with the advent of a new University structure, to the Office of Student Support Services. Actually, “Student Support” perfectly described Marlene. Students not only depended upon her help—they loved simply talking to her. She was there… always ready to listen…to offer encouragement, sympathy, advice, a smile or a hug if needed. She never forgot a face or a name—and in her position, that easily included hundreds of students.

Considerate and concerned for her co-workers, she was legendary for never failing to send cards for all occasions—whether a birthday celebration or a get well wish. Marlene, we miss those thoughtful cards and cheery greetings…and we mostly miss YOU…but we are delighted to have you back for a visit and hope retirement continues to bring you all good blessings.


For 21 years, until his retirement last summer, Jim Reese kept a watchful eye on all of us in the campus community—helping to maintain the safety record that made Marywood second to none among college and university campuses in Pennsylvania. 

Over the years, he was an invaluable resource in the Campus Safety Department.  As a Sergeant—and experienced “old hand”—Jim mentored many officers, both new and old. He had a reputation for reliability and for keeping a cool head in difficult situations. He was certainly a good man to have on hand to respond to emergencies, particularly when medical issues were involved. He was also known for his sly sense of humor. He had a history of pulling practical jokes on unsuspecting co-workers. One of his favorite ploys was his running joke with Pat Dunleavy, Assistant VP for Human Resources, whom he would ask with exaggerated seriousness “How about that raise?” Pat’s standard reply was that she’d put in a work order to get his chair elevated. 

Mike Finegan, Director of Campus Safety, said flat out, “I am proud to have known Jim,” and, he noted,  “As his long-time supervisor I can say without hesitation that I rested well, knowing that Jim was on duty when I left campus for the day.”

Jim, like Mike, we are proud to have known you. We might even admit to missing those practical jokes…sort of…but we hope you are enjoying your days of well-earned retirement.


Just this past month, we had to say goodbye to Patty Williams, who for some 18 years has been helping to keep track of and look after all of us in the Marywood community, as the caring, gracious, industrious, and extraordinarily efficient secretary in Health Services.

She has been the helpful voice on the telephone. She has been not only a record and appointment keeper, but clever creator of forms and documents that are so crucial to maintaining the effectiveness of Health Services Office. Though she modestly declines taking any credit for it, she has been the quiet, behind-the-scenes person responsible for the success of Marywood’s always well-organized annual Health Fair and Food Day—a project that requires monumental planning. We will surely miss her quiet efficiency and her thorough knowledge of the needs of the department. Most of all, though, we miss the generous spirit and caring friendship of Patty herself. 

“She is,” says Linda McDade, “simply one of the kindest individuals I have ever met.”  We do wish her all good things for the future...time to pursue a favorite pastime of haunting yard sales and flea markets with her family...and time to enjoy wonderful, sunny days at her favorite vacation spot: Rehoboth Beach.

She could not be with us this afternoon, but I did not want the day to go by without expressing my appreciation to Barbara Rohan, who has retired as a secretary from the Development Office. Not only was she an asset to the vital work of that division, but she was a loyal friend to her those in her department. She would go out of her way to help co-workers and to offer support and assistance during the busy times—which, in the Development Office, was practically constantly. As colleagues have said, “We’ll miss seeing her in the office…and we will especially miss seeing those updated pictures of her grandson, Miles.”

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As we conclude this wonderful celebration, I do also want mention some of our distinguished faculty members and administrators who were honored on Sunday night at the Cor Mariae Dinner for their service milestones. Inducted into THE ORDER COR MARIAE PRO FIDE ET CULTURA were Dr. Estelle Campenni, Dr. Craig Johnson, and Dr. Paulette Merchel. Marking 30 years of dedication to Marywood is Dr. Phyllis Black. Celebrating 35 years at Marywood are Dr. Alice McDonnell and Annette Fisher. Also, Dr. Lee Harrison has been honored for her remarkable 40 years of service. We bid a fond farewell to our dear friends and distinguished colleagues who are retiring, Dr. Raymond Heath, Stanley Skrutski, Dr. Doris Chechotka-McQuade, Dr. John Lemoncelli, and Sister Margaret Gannon, IHM.  

Please know that as you look back at the accomplishments of your years at Marywood…or at the accomplishments of the past semester…or even of your working day, you may truly do so with satisfaction, for you have done something of importance. You have helped assure a bright future for this University and for its students. You have all been partners in the important work of transforming today’s learners into tomorrow’s leaders. Finally, I would like to thank John Coval for his tireless efforts to coordinate this event and Tom Notchik and the Chartwell’s staff for their exceptional food service. God bless each and every one of you, this day and every day!