Fall 2012

Giving Back to Move Forward

There is a nationwide push for more—and more proficiently-skilled—science graduates. Yet, some students presently pursuing science-related degrees couldn't do so without the help of scholarships.

In response to an urgent need for scientific researchers and health care professionals in the United States, Marywood alumni and their loved ones are giving back to help students move forward.

Samantha Heck '14, Ariadna Pedroza '14, and Katarina Soler '14 are all currently enrolled in the Nursing Program at Marywood University. They are all recipients of the Mary Alice Collins Murray '51 Scholarship, established by Michael and Mary Alice Collins Murray '51, Atlanta, Georgia.

Mrs. Murray, a trustee of the University, earned a bachelor's degree in Chemistry at Marywood. She realized a successful career in Medical Technology and, through her scholarship, wanted to emphasize studies in the sciences. "Scholarship assistance allowed me to attend Marywood. I feel strongly that I should leave a legacy that would permit other students to have the same advantage," said Mrs. Murray.

Samantha Heck '14 is one of three children. The financial worries that so often accompany the pursuit of a college education have been alleviated for her and her parents, largely due to the Murray Scholarship.
"My scholarship allows me to continue my days here at Marywood, with the confidence that I am getting part of my education paid for," Samantha says, reflecting on the meaning of this blessing. Noting that she comes from "a nursing family," Samantha has always wanted to continue this family tradition. The scholarship aid is helping to make that dream attainable. "The Murray Scholarship enables me to focus on my studies more," states Samantha.

In addition to fulfilling her nursing degree requirements, Ariadna Pedroza '14 is also pursuing a minor in Spanish. Her initial interest in Marywood was sparked by speaking with others in the nursing program and by Marywood's friendly atmosphere. She is overjoyed that the Murray Scholarship allows her to focus solely on her schoolwork, without having to simultaneously hold a full-time job to pay for tuition expenses. "I was one of those kids you see who always had a stethoscope around her neck," says Ariadna, "I've dreamed about becoming a nurse for a long time. This scholarship is helping me to realize that dream."

Katarina Soler '14 does not have to pursue extra employment to meet financial needs because of the assistance provided by her scholarship.

"The scholarship benefits more than just my daily and financial life at Marywood and at home," she observes. It recognizes my academic ability. Without the education and opportunities I have received, I also wouldn't have met the great friends I've made here at Marywood."

In addition to the Mary Alice Collins Murray '51 scholarship, other individual benefactors who are alumni of Marywood or have a personal connection to the goals and core values of the University have established scholarships that benefit students in the sciences.

Antonia Gerod Schierling '60, a Marywood alumna and trustee, established the Jean Gerod Scholarship to benefit science students at the University. Marywood's mission has remained with her since her days as an undergraduate.

"Throughout my time at the University, I have felt extremely blessed; now I need to share my blessings with current undergraduate students, so that one day they may do the same to help as alumni."

For Dawn Brennan, her husband's legacy at Marywood University has inspired her to help the future graduates of the University. The late Thomas J. Brennan, Ph.D. was a physics professor at Marywood University for 38 years and, during his time as a faculty member, he witnessed countless science students success stories. After he passed away, Mrs. Brennan wanted to continue to honor her husband's dedication to educating Marywood students. She established the Thomas J. Brennan Scholarship, which is awarded to students who major in science and who maintain high academic standing.

"The reason I give back to Marywood's science programs is to give recognition to Thomas and to the students who excel in the sciences, as they are our future," Mrs. Brennan said.

For more information on giving back to Marywood University through the establishment of a scholarship or other planned giving opportunities, please contact Elizabeth A. Connery, Director of Planned Giving at connery@marywood.edu or (570) 348-6200 ext. 2622. You can also visit Marywood’s giving opportunities web page.

Schierlings Take the Lead, Establish First Endowed Faculty Chair

Antonia M. Gerod Schierling ’60 and her husband, Hartmut (Hans) Schierling, have established the first endowed faculty chair at Marywood University. Through a deferred pledge agreement, the Schierlings made a leadership gift that supports the founding of the Gerod Schierling Endowed Faculty Chair in the Department of Science.

While an endowed faculty chair is not a new concept in the world of academe, this kind of endowment is a prestigious recognition of a university’s past and potential achievement. It is an elite benchmark of academic excellence, which attracts and retains faculty members who are leaders in their discipline and who will devote extraordinary commitment to Marywood University. For a thriving institution of higher education like Marywood, an endowed chair program is a logical, vital progression toward a strong future.

“We believe that a gift to Marywood for establishing an Endowed Faculty Chair has far-reaching consequences,” said Mrs. Schierling, who noted that this gift gives her and her husband great lasting and personal satisfaction. In addition to financially supporting Marywood and recognizing exceptional scholarship among the faculty, she said, “Our students are the ultimate benefactors…it is a super investment in our University and a win-win-win for all.”

The Gerod Schierling Endowed Chair is named in memory of the couple’s parents and in gratitude for the academic education and spiritual guidance received by Mrs. Schierling, now a trustee of the University, who earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Marywood in 1960. Additionally, the gift recognizes the dedication of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to education and service in the community.

The purpose of the Gerod Schierling Endowed Faculty Chair is to recognize, honor, and provide dedicated resources to an outstanding member of the science faculty for pursuing a scholarly activity in his or her field; for innovative teaching, including, but not limited to, conducting seminars, publishing the results of his/her research; and service to the University and the greater Scranton community.

“The Schierlings have long been interested in and committed to the cause of science education,” said Sister Anne Munley, IHM, President. “As Marywood approaches its Centennial, it is essential that our endowment, programs, faculty opportunities, and facilities grow and strengthen. Toni and Hans have taken the lead in this initiative. Their gift is a bold affirmation of the University, and I am deeply grateful for their generosity, vision, and leadership.”

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