A Bold Heart: the Centennial Campaign for Marywood University

Oct 17, 2013

Join our campaign. Together, our bold hearts can do great things!

Good evening, everyone! I hope you have been enjoying the festivities—the music, the food, the friendship, and the wonderful setting of our beautiful Center for Architectural Studies. I want to take this time to formally welcome you, and, most especially, to thank you for joining us at this exciting, historic time at Marywood University. Tonight’s event celebrates Marywood’s bold future. You are here with us because you believe in that future and you’re ready to move forward with us.

When we began thinking about our Centennial and the priorities that would ensure Marywood’s strong future for generations to come, we knew we wanted to put forth a campaign that would capture the essence of the Marywood story—the values, the mission, and the vision that have been with us for our entire history. It was absolutely essential, as always, that the students would be at the center of it all. We also understood that an effective, meaningful campaign would have to balance these enduring tenets with an eye towards the future.

So, with great joy, I announce to you that this moment marks the formal beginning of A Bold Heart: the Centennial Campaign for Marywood University!

This campaign provides a tremendous opportunity to craft another exciting century of transforming society through the students we educate. Our campus, our programs, and our numbers have grown because of a bold vision and because of generous individuals who believe in what we do.

At this time, I want to recognize those individuals whose leadership has paved the way; they will continue to drive this initiative, as we begin the extraordinary journey into Marywood’s second century.

I ask each of our Campaign Chairpersons to join me at the podium as I call your name:

  • Marion Munley 
  • Ed and Lynda Lynett  
  • Ann R. Henry, Ph.D.


All of you have guided and supported Marywood in significant, meaningful ways through the years, and you have been or are serving presently as trustees of this institution. Your commitment to Marywood is longstanding and loyal, and I commend each of you for taking bold steps as role models and leaders for this campaign. Please accept my deepest gratitude, on behalf of the entire University, for all you have done and continue to do to promote and support Marywood University and the Bold Heart Campaign.

In addition to our Campaign Chairpersons, we also have several individuals who are serving as Honorary Chairpersons. While our Honorary Chairpersons could not join us this evening, all of them have a great love for this institution and the important work we do.

These esteemed individuals have committed substantial support to Marywood for many years, both in their service to this institution as trustees and as major benefactors of the University’s initiatives.

Our Honorary Chairpersons are:

  • Paul and Sandra Gaudenzi Montrone 
  • Michael and Dolores Insalaco 
  • Virginia P. Shields


Of course, the chairpersons could only embark on a campaign of this magnitude with the able assistance and the insightful guidance of the Bold Heart Campaign Steering Committee.

As I announce the members of the Steering Committee, I ask them, if they are in attendance, to please stand at their seats and turn to face the audience.

The Steering Committee includes:

  • Patrick Brier
  • Joan Brooks
  • Joseph Garvey
  • Patricia Glinsky
  • Ann R. Henry
  • Patricia Horvath
  • Michael Insalaco
  • Monsignor John Jordan
  • Richard Kane
  • Peter Kilcullen
  • Edward Lynett
  • Lynda Lynett
  • Marion Munley
  • Tim Speicher
  • Mary Tracy
  • David Tressler


And last, but certainly not least, Renee Zehel. I am especially pleased to introduce Renee to you this evening, not only as a member of our Steering Committee, but as our Vice President for University Advancement. In this role, Renee will be your go-to person for this important campaign. I ask Renee to step forward to the podium and join me and the campaign leadership.

As you can see, this is clearly a team effort. A Bold Heart: the Centennial Campaign for Marywood University will rely upon the leaders who stand before you. However, its success is also incumbent upon those leaders still among you and those unable to join us this evening. In fact, each of you has the capacity and ability to be a bold leader in this campaign—and we need you to join us!

There are a few other groups I want to recognize as well; when I mention your affiliation with Marywood University, I ask that you stand at your seats and turn to face the audience so we can acknowledge your invaluable contributions to Marywood.

  • Would the Volunteer Leadership please stand and be recognized?
  • Would the Trustees and the Former Trustees please stand and be recognized?


Before the leaders of the Bold Heart Campaign take their seats, can we give them another round of applause in appreciation for their enthusiasm and leadership?

Thank you, each and every one of you for all you’ve done to make this campaign possible. Please take your seats again. Thank you. It is truly gratifying to hear your applause, because we have much to celebrate. A Bold Heart: the Centennial Campaign for Marywood University affirms and advances the vision of our founders, the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Over the past 100 years, the Sisters have exercised a certain boldness in the face of many obstacles—often overcoming powerful resistance—in order to ensure a brand of education that endures more strongly today than ever before. And they created this brand of education with passion, a sense of justice, and a commitment to serving others—in other words, they put their hearts into it.

When I think about the bold hearts of these Sisters, my own heart and my inner resolve are strengthened and encouraged. Marywood University is a thriving tribute to our founders and a vital contributor to the strength of our region and our nation. During our second century, we expect to be innovators of programs we can’t even imagine today.

All of us here tonight are part of Marywood’s history in the making. We’ve prepared a brief video to give you a deeper look into the heart of Marywood and the significance of this campaign. After the video, we will be having a very meaningful special participation event that you will not want to miss!

The video that you are about to see is a wonderful explanation of our campaign, full of sight, sound, and emotion. I invite all of you to turn your attention to one of the many screens throughout the building. Watch and listen carefully as the Marywood story unfolds before you.

Wasn’t that remarkable? That was an outstanding example of Marywood’s mission and values in action—providing the opportunity for our students to realize their God-given talents and bring them to their fullest potential. How about Maria Zeron—isn’t she an incredible young woman? We are so proud of Maria and the many students here this evening. We’re proud of all of our Marywood University students. Give them a round of applause.

That presentation was a vivid reminder of why we do what we do here at Marywood University. However, it was also a call to action. The priorities featured in that video are the blueprint for our success going forward. Indeed, Marywood has advanced through bold vision and strategic planning, true to its mission and committed to its students.

A Bold Heart: the Centennial Campaign for Marywood University is a $75 million dollar campaign; to date, we are at 52 percent of our goal. Now, we seek your help to attain or surpass our goal, as we approach our Centennial and prepare for Marywood’s second century.

The centerpiece, of course, is the Learning Commons. Much thought, work, and leadership have brought the prospect of this inventive facility to where it is today: ready to break ground, literally and conceptually. Tomorrow morning, we will be holding a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Learning Commons, which will be the first of many bold steps forward.

While the Learning Commons is a major part of the Bold Heart Campaign, it is not the only part. It is imperative that we build a strong endowment for a secure future; an increased endowment means we can create more opportunities for promising students like Maria.

We also need to leverage the power of annual giving by increasing the Marywood Fund and the Marywood Scholarship Fund. Our commitment to our students can also be seen in the programming and facilities supported through key capital projects. Tonight, you are sitting in one of them. The Center for Architectural Studies is an impressive example of the way we boldly addressed a critical need in the region several years ago; now, we have the first and only School of Architecture of its kind in Northeast Pennsylvania. It was an immediate success when it opened in 2009, and it continues to exceed expectations. Presently, we have 248 architecture students attending Marywood University.

This facility represents, in a very visual way, the style of teaching and learning environment that will be created in our new Learning Commons:  Open spaces for collaborative learning; plenty of natural light; and flexible work spaces that adjust for any need.

Our other key capital initiatives include support for Emerging Media, Performing Arts, Athletics Facilities, and a Motherhouse Memorial Garden. These campaign priorities make it possible for dreams to become accomplishments.

It is an ambitious, bold-hearted agenda…our founders would expect no less from us. Could they have imagined what Marywood would be in 100 years? Can we envision the next hundred? Like them, we have to build the opportunities that will make things happen beyond our greatest imaginings.

Remember when I mentioned a special participation event earlier? We’re about to embark on some time travel. I’m serious! While I don’t have plutonium-powered DeLorean to take us back in time (or back to the future for that matter), I do have even greater treasures, which I’ll get to in a moment. Speaking of treasures, the IHM Sisters could have no greater treasure than our rich history.

The Congregation was founded in 1845 on the banks of the Raisin River in Monroe, Michigan, by two bold-hearted visionaries, Theresa Maxis Duchemin, IHM and Louis Florent Gillet, C.Ss.R. In 1858, as the congregation grew in size and renown, our Foundress, Theresa Maxis, accepted Bishop John Neumann’s invitation to serve in the Diocese of Philadelphia, and, in 1871, a new foundation was established in the newly-formed Diocese of Scranton. For 168 years, we have carried the Good News of God’s unconditional love to all with the same zeal as our founders, always seeking to meet the needs of God’s people. Marywood University is an important part of that service.

The leaders of the IHM Congregation are here this evening, and I ask them and all IHM Sisters who are present to stand and turn to the audience to be acknowledged.

Now, I ask Congregation President Sister Terry O’Rourke, IHM to join me at the podium as I share with you a special part of tonight’s program. Remember when I promised you time travel? Well, we’re about to embark on our adventure, which we’re calling “A Walk through Time.”

We’re travelling to the year 1900. As many of you are aware, there once stood a grand Motherhouse on this campus. Dedicated in 1902, this building preceded the establishment of Marywood and was the site where it all began, when the first class of Marywood students convened in two rooms of the Motherhouse on September 8, 1915. Tragically, in 1971, a fire entirely destroyed this magnificent four-story structure. However, from the rubble, precious artifacts were removed from the cornerstone of the building. The contents of this cornerstone tell a story about the IHM Congregation and its longstanding dedication to this region.

At the turn of the century, our Sisters had little of material value to boast; they were, however, rich in faith. It is this deep faith that gave them the strength to move forward with the vision to establish an institution of higher education. This story, which would eventually become Marywood University, began with a commitment to serve; the items that you see here—statues, such as the Infant of Prague, signifying the call to go beyond ourselves and to bring the Good News to the world—prayer cards of various patrons of the Congregation, including Our Lady of Perpetual Help—show the many areas of concern, prayer, and service to which the Sisters were and have been devoted.

That’s why you see the statue of St. Joseph, a patron of the Congregation, and a prayer card depicting St. Anne de Beaupré, patron of the coal miners, who were prevalent in this region at the time, and whose daughters would eventually be educated at Marywood. Our sisters were never confined in spirit; they have always engaged in joyful, loving service in the context of the people of God.

The elements of faith are rich and deep, and they reach back to even our Foundress…note the framed picture of the Blessed Mother, which belonged to our Foundress, Theresa Maxis. There was a challenging time in her life when Theresa placed herself in voluntary exile with the Grey Nuns of Canada.

Yet, even during her years in Ottawa, she always considered herself a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; this framed picture was with her during that time. It was later given to the IHM Sisters in Susquehanna, who would become the Scranton IHMs. Her faithfulness is our faithfulness.

So many times during moments of challenge, we have looked to Our Lady of Victory—another statue found in the cornerstone. When the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad planned to extend its line directly across this property, the prayers of the Sisters and the bold-hearted courage of Mother Cyril Conway, Superior of the Congregation at that time, were able to overcome this challenge. A statue of Our Lady of Victory still stands on this campus today, on the very spot where railroad surveyors had been seen making their preliminary calculations.

All of these items have such a story and give you a glimpse of the deep devotion of an IHM Sister; the Book of Customs prescribed what a Sister should be doing at every moment of the day. A photo shows Marywood’s original Motherhouse Chapel. With a capacity of 400, it was the first campus chapel—sacred and dear to those who remember this beautiful, reverent space.

A 15-decade rosary always adorned the traditional IHM habit, often bearing the sacred patina of time and use; imagine the scores of prayers lifted with these holy beads in hand! Also, scapulars, worn next to crisply pressed habits, always close to the heart, were a constant reminder of devotion.

These items give you a taste of what religious life was like at that time, particularly the distinctive experience of our Scranton IHM Sisters who built Marywood, but other items demonstrate our Sisters’ far-reaching vision and commitment to the region where we served.

Various newspapers of the day are among the artifacts of the cornerstone that detail the context in which they served and provide an unvarnished look at what it was like to live, work, and serve in Northeast Pennsylvania at that time. Building the Motherhouse was a true act of faith.

The original property deeds and maps are canvasses of hope, from which the bold dreams of the Sisters, deeply rooted in faith, sprang forth with abundance. It is no coincidence that with these deeds stands the mission cross that was given to every IHM Sister on the day of her reception.

Our identity may have evolved through the years, but Marywood’s ties to the IHM Congregation endure. There is an uninterrupted line of IHM leadership here; in fact, the first few presidents of Marywood were also simultaneously Presidents of the Congregation. The support of the IHM Congregation continues today, and it is something for which we are deeply grateful and immensely proud.

Thank you, Sister Terry, for accompanying me on this nostalgic journey.

Our “Walk through Time” isn’t finished yet; we have another stop to make, this time in 1976. Many of you can remember that time; I think most of you can.

It was certainly a momentous era. We were celebrating the Bicentennial of our nation, and Marywood was even designated as a “Bicentennial College.” Sister Coleman Nee, IHM, our ninth president, persevered in her bold-hearted vision to advance Marwyood’s mission, even in times of challenge, such as the Motherhouse fire, which occurred early in her presidency.

As part of 1976’s commemorative events, a time capsule was buried thirteen feet behind the Memorial Commons monument, which stood in place of the Motherhouse. At the time, it was thought that this container would not be unearthed until 2076. However, even 37 years ago, no one could have imagined the growth and progress that Marywood would make.

With the construction of the Learning Commons, as well as a Motherhouse Memorial Garden, in our near future, it was necessary to excavate this piece of history a little sooner than anticipated. In fact, it was just unearthed last week—such is the landscape of progress!

As was evident in 1900, the artifacts from 1976 show that our commitment to service, to faith, to this community, and to the cause of education was unwavering.

The capsule contained newspapers of the day—the context in which we lived, worked, and served. Certainly this era marked the pivotal event of that time, which was the 200th anniversary of our nation, but it also served as a time of reflection for Marywood, which had just celebrated its 60th anniversary in the previous year.

It contained elements of our faith life at the time and expressions of our ongoing hope for the future—prayer missalettes, written prayers, and notes for the ongoing success of Marywood. One such note petitions the Blessed Mother to keep Marywood under her special care for the next century; it is a prayer we continue to offer today.

It contained signatures from members of Marywood and the surrounding community, namely, the famous Hank and Myra Landt, the original owners of Hank’s Hoagies, located just down the street from our campus, which has served generations of students and staff and still operates under new ownership today.

And, just in case someone parked illegally on campus while running to Hank’s for a hoagie, there’s a Marywood parking citation, summoning the offender to the Treasurer’s Office in the Liberal Arts Center to answer this charge—for a whopping fine of three dollars.

Publications that reflected our programs and campus at the time, such as catalogs and the campus map, were also included. Just a glance at any of them shows you how much progress Marywood has made in the three and half decades or so since that time capsule was assembled.

Certainly, no one thought it would be unearthed nearly six decades before its intended reappearance—which gives us great hope for what the future holds for Marywood University. Just as Marywood’s progress far exceeded expectations, so too do we envision with faith a Marywood that far surpasses our own hopes.

As I mentioned earlier, Sister Coleman Nee, IHM was the President of Marywood when the 1976 time capsule was assembled. Sister Coleman passed away just two years ago, so she did live to see much of the progress that has been accomplished so far.

Excerpts from her 1976 letter to Marywood’s future president reflect our present hopes and our forthcoming aspirations, as we approach the dawn of Marywood’s second century.

Sister Coleman wrote, “We never cease to marvel at the growth and transformations that have taken place…I end with a prayer that Marywood is still doing her best to accomplish the mission for which she was founded, in many different ways…and we pray that all of the Marywood community are radiant with hope, trust, courage, joy, and faith.”

Tonight, all of these apply—we never cease to marvel at the growth and transformation that have taken place at Marywood, yet we are eager to grow and transform new generations.

We are still doing our best to accomplish the Marywood mission, in many different ways…and we are radiant with hope, trust, courage, joy, and faith at the prospect of what we can boldly accomplish in Marywood’s next century and beyond.

We have one more step in our “Walk through Time,” but we will save that for the very conclusion of the evening in just moment.

This evening we’ve talked a lot about cornerstones—cornerstones of buildings, cornerstone priorities of this bold new campaign. However, the genuine value of any initiative is not realized when the cornerstone of a building has been laid, but when the foundation of its progress endures.

In order to build that foundation of progress, we need your help. You’ve seen what Marywood has done for nearly a century; you’ve witnessed the difference we make in the lives of our students; and you know what needs to be done to ensure our strong future.

Join the Bold Heart Campaign.

Speak with our campaign leaders, committee members, and development officers who are here this evening.

Volunteer for a committee.

Consider making a personal financial commitment.

I need you to spread the word about the outstanding things we are doing and planning to do here at Marywood.

Share with us your ideas on how we can celebrate our Centennial in 2015 in ways that reflect our remarkable history and drive the momentum of our exciting future.

Together, our bold hearts can do great things!

I ask everyone to please stay where you are for just one more moment, so you can participate in a fun and memorable conclusion to our “Walk through Time.”

Before we get to that, however, I want to make sure that as you leave the building at the end of the evening, you take with you a brochure that our students will distribute at each exit.

This piece will summarize all that we talked about this evening and will direct you to our Bold Heart website. There is also an envelope enclosed that will allow you to mail your commitment to volunteer and to donate to the campaign.

Now, it’s time for our last, important step in this evening’s “Walk through Time”—our next big step into the future. You’ve seen the artifacts from 1900 and the time capsule from 1976. Now, as we ask you to help us plant the seeds for Marywood’s next century through the Bold Heart Campaign, we are also going to ask you to help us prepare a time capsule for 2015. This Centennial time capsule will be buried on the site of the Motherhouse Memorial, linking our future to our very beginnings.  

What better symbol could we offer that is particularly meaningful to Marywood? Well, just to dispel any curiosity, it’s not squirrels. It’s close—I admit that the squirrels will probably want to get in on this event of ours, BUT this is just for you—commemorative acorns. These acorns are very special; they consist of a leaf to be signed and deposited into specially-designated receptacles.

Why acorns? Our founding Sisters, rooted in this community, planted the seed for an institution of higher education for women of the region. What began as a small seed of inspiration has grown, withstood challenges, and branched out with each generation to become an institution of incredible strength and new life. Just like a mighty oak, Marywood University stands tall and proud, ready to face a new day.

Before you do your part, I want to invite our Campaign Chairs—Marion Munley, Ed and Lynda Lynett, Ann Henry—to join me at the podium as the first to write their names on the acorn leaves. Sister Terry, please step forward as well. In so doing, our Campaign leadership will officially start the Bold Heart Campaign.

With that historic gesture, “A Bold Heart: the Centennial Campaign for Marywood University” has truly begun!

I now ask each of you here to sign your name on an acorn leaf and deposit it into the specially-designated receptacles in each area, commemorating your participation in “A Bold Heart: the Campaign for Marywood University”—remember to join our campaign—I need you—we need you!

Also, take a brochure on your way out of the building this evening. Finally, thank you for joining us for this exciting event; please feel free to join us tomorrow at 11 a.m. for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Learning Commons. Good evening, and drive carefully!