picture of Mary Ellen McLane McDonough

Mary Ellen McLane McDonough

Marywood University is proud to bestow Mary Ellen McLane McDonough `73,  C.P.S. with the Lead On Award, which recognizes her energetic and faithful service to her alma mater, and reflects the light of hope that she has shared with so many in her community.

Born into the McLane family as the only daughter among six children, from a very early age, Mary Ellen became a nurturer and caregiver. She and her husband, James B. McDonough, welcomed four children and seven grandchildren. Her devotion to and caregiving of her family has extended to countless children, individuals, and families she has served in the community. Throughout her life, Mary Ellen has drawn strength, inspiration, and purpose from both her family and her long record of professional and community service. 

Mary Ellen graduated from South Catholic High School and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Marywood University. Her innate gifts as an educator and counselor were nurtured at Marywood. She followed in the steps of her mother, Miriam Gilroy McLane ‘42, also a Marywood graduate. Mary Ellen was involved in Student Government, serving as the Prefect of Day Students. After earning her degree in Elementary Education/Foreign Language, she worked for a time as an Admissions Counselor at Marywood. Further graduate studies followed at the University of Scranton in Substance Abuse Prevention and Education.

During the years when she was raising her family, Mary Ellen noticed a lack of a drug and alcohol curriculum in her children's schools. She decided to create the South Scranton Drug and Alcohol Task Force to raise money for drug and alcohol education in Scranton’s parochial school system. Mary Ellen, along with those whose help she enlisted, held training sessions about the drug and alcohol curriculum for teachers throughout the district. The task force also did community work in regional developments to directly educate parents and families. When she had to interview for grants to support the funding of this curriculum, the Drug and Alcohol Commission was, in fact, interviewing her, leading to a long, meaningful professional career as a Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS).

Drawing on her innate sense of hope and compassion for others, Mary Ellen’s professional world developed around her desire to do more and to do better for her community, and her professional life evolved out of her volunteer work. Mary Ellen is an educator who has always believed in and viewed prevention education as critically important for the community. Her longtime career of caring has had a positive, enduring impact on the many regional educators, parents, and students, who benefited from her compassionate expertise in prevention programming. As a CPS, Mary Ellen focused on drug and alcohol education, prevention, and intervention in schools and in community settings throughout Lackawanna County, including initiatives such as puppet shows with preschoolers, parenting programming, and college classes. As a certified trainer, she also did training for the Student Assistance Program throughout Pennsylvania.

Mary Ellen’s community involvement has encompassed board memberships, leadership positions, and volunteer efforts for Catholic Social Services, Divine Mercy Parish at St. Joseph’s Church, South Scranton Drug Curriculum Task Force, Red Ribbon Campaign, Scranton Prep Parents’ Club, American Cancer Society, and St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. During Mary Ellen’s four terms of service on the Marywood University Board of Trustees, she was Vice Chair and Secretary. She worked on the University Advancement, Shared Governance, and Executive Committees, as well as the Committee on Trustees, on which she served as Chair. She has been an alumni and fundraising volunteer and also stepped up to serve in key leadership roles, including board membership on the Marywood Alumni Association. In 2008, she merited the Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Education and Human Development, which recognized her many professional accomplishments. Additionally, Mary Ellen co-chaired the Inauguration Committee for Marywood’s 12th President and, along with Atty. Pat Brier, co-chaired Marywood’s Community Leadership Celebration at its inception.

Please join the entire Marywood University community as we honor Mary Ellen, shining a light on her many meaningful accomplishments and recognizing, with deep gratitude, her dedicated service, compassionate leadership, and inspiring example, which have made such a positive and enduring difference, both on our campus and throughout our community and our Commonwealth.

Learn more about the 11th Annual Community Leadership Celebration