MERVelous Donors

At Gwynedd Mercy, we are blessed with many friends and benefactors who support the University and primarily our students. Over 95% of our students receive financial aid from one or more sources, including the university, federal government, state of Pennsylvania and loans.  For GMercyU students, the largest source of aid comes in the form of institutional scholarships and grants.  This past year, the University awarded approximately $15 million dollars of institutional aid to our students.

In Pennsylvania, the most recent data available provides clear evidence that independent colleges and universities have done more to assist low-income students than other sectors.  In 2011-2012, first-time, full-time undergraduates at Pennsylvania independent institutions receiving financial aid received an average of $16, 401 in grant aid from institutional sources, compared to $5,520 at State-Related Universities, and $3,547 at the State System of Higher Education.  Moreover, independent college and university students are more likely to get their bachelor’s degree in 4 years than their public school peers, i.e., 61% at Independent Colleges & Universities; 35% at State-Related Universities; and 17% at State System of Higher Education. The extra time to degree in various higher education sectors is often a factor overlooked in discussions about college cost.

At Gwynedd Mercy University, our continued ability to support and prepare Distinctive Mercy Graduates, that is, graduates who exhibit professional competence in their professional field or academic discipline; a foundation in liberal learning; and a commitment to the core values of Mercy, especially the value of service—is in great measure a function of the on-going, valued support that we receive from our alumni, friends and benefactors.

Recently, members of our University community participated in the National Thank a Donor Day.  On behalf of our students, please know how grateful we are for your continued, loyal and valued support!

MERVelous Chicago-area Alumni

Just last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago to meet with several alumni who have long-ago relocated to the Windy City.  It was a great evening filled with good company, great conversation and tasty cuisine!

Aileen Schneidhauer '61, Carol Kirr '66, President Owens, Maria Bradley '73 and Mary Griffin '61

Aileen Schneidhauer ’61, Carol Kirr ’66, Maria Bradley ’73 and Mary Griffin ’61

It was wonderful to hear the stories of everyone’s experiences both at Gwynedd, as well as early career experiences and various transitions over the years.  The evening was equally enjoyed by our spouses, all of whom were from the greater Philadelphia area and had attended some of the nearby, then, all-male institutions in the region.


As always, the evening flew by way too quickly.  I truly enjoy the opportunity to visit alums around the country and to learn how their GMercyU experience shaped their journeys.  It’s equally rewarding to hear about the support and encouragement that was provided by so many of the Sisters who either taught at Gwynedd or were teaching at various Catholic high schools in the region and encouraged the young women to pursue their dream of a college education.

Along with GMercyU Alumni Director Gianna Quinn, I am looking forward to visiting alumni in San Diego in January, Florida in February and Baltimore/DC in April.  While I love Chicago, which is my home, I have prudently planned other locations for January and February!

MERVelous Griffins

Griffin Madness!

Griffin Madness!

It’s official…the basketball season is here!  Last week, the Student Government Association sponsored our annual Griffin Madness event on Thursday, November 6.  One of the many highlights of the evening was the faculty/staff game.  Fortunately for all in attendance, the faculty/staff play was helped along with a few student-athlete participants.  MERV also joined in the action along with his friend, Chick-fil-A Cow.

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At GMercyU, we are proud of our student athletes both on and off the court.  In addition to celebrating athletic performances on the courts and fields, every year I have the happy opportunity to acknowledge the athletic team that has earned the highest cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) during the prior academic year.  Last week, I recognized the 2013-2014 Women’s Cross Country Team for earning a cumulative  3.51 GPA, the highest GPA among all the University’s 19 NCAA Division III men’s and women’s teams.

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I presented the team with the University’s scholar-athlete plaque, which now lists their team as the 2013-2014 academic winner and is permanently displayed outside the Student Services Offices in the Griffin Complex.  This year’s presentation was made even more special since the team had just won the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) Championship and will advance to the NCAA Mideast Regionals at Dickenson College later this week.   Athletic Director, Keith Mondillo, had all of us chuckling as he described his “Glory Days” as a once-upon-a-time Cross Country Runner.

Gwynedd Mercy University, Cross Country Team

(Left to right) Junior Christina Smith, Senior Simone Rudich, Senior Lauren Manzi, Senior Holly McGarrity, Sophomore Hannah Geiger and Head Coach Kevin Clark

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Of course, I am always anxious to welcome future Griffins to our campus, even though they may be years away from “official” Griffin eligibility.

President Owens, Future Griffins

Quinn, Justin, Ava, Cate and Will Owens

Go Griffins!

MERVelous Halloween

On Halloween, Sister Kati McMahon and I visited various locations on campus and enjoyed a “reverse” trick-or-treat experience.  We passed out treats to colleagues and students, whom we met on our excursion to various buildings and locations.


On the Eve of the feasts of All Saints and All Souls, we decided to each play a role of Catherine McAuley (before and after), founder of the Sisters of Mercy.  As we met with various groups of students, it was a great occasion to remind them of the heritage and legacy we claim as a Mercy institution of higher education.  As part of our general education curriculum, all new students participate in our First Year Experience (FYE) program, where they are introduced to Catherine McAuley and to the history and traditions of Mercy.  It was affirming to hear students say, “Oh yes, I know who you are.”

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With some trepidation we even visited the Keiss Library and Learning Commons only to be welcomed with open arms by students looking to take a break from their studies. While we visited many places, our favorite was the School of Education’s Valie Genuardi Hobbit House.  Here we encountered our pre-schoolers and colleagues, all of whom were dressed for the occasion!

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MERVelous Celebration

On Sunday, October 26th, we hosted 50-year and 25-year alumni from the classes of 1964 and 1989 for a reunion Mass and luncheon on campus.  Former roommates Maria Moore Kelly and Janine Azzarano Mohan both graduates of the School of Nursing, reminisced about their student-days, while also sharing their stories with a few of our currently enrolled students.


Maria Moore Kelly ’87/’89 and Janine Azzarano Mohan ’87/’89/’08

I am grateful to so many of our alumni who offer to share their expertise and experiences with our students.  Special thanks to all who participate on panels, advisory boards, career services programs, mentorships, internships and so much more.  We are blessed by your ongoing involvement with your Alma Mater and our students.


(Left to right) Students Jasmin Hall and Chelsea Kahana with alums Catherine Ambroch Owens ’64 and Teresa McKelvey Caimie ’64

Our alumna from the Class of ’64 had so many wonderful memories to share with me, including their recollections of the many Sisters of Mercy who were involved in their education and influenced their lives, e.g., Sister Denise, Sister Fenton Joseph, Sister Mary Paul, Sister Elizabeth Marie, Sister Consuelo, Sister Kevin Mary, Sister Gregory, Sister Norbert, Sister John Aloysius, and Sister Cecelia.  While there are fewer Sisters on campus these days, the charism and traditions of the Sisters of Mercy are alive and well on our campuses and it the lives of our over 18,000 alumni.


(Back row) Helen Waugh Greenberg ’64, Catherine Ambroch Owens ’64, Teresa Caimi ’64 (Front row) Mary McFadden Paul ’64, Patricia Penrose D’Ambrosio ’64, Maria Palermo Voss ’64, Anne (Laura) Neumeister Marcoux ’64 and Margaret Coleman Covatta ’64/’94

MERVelous GMercyU Homecoming

On a recent beautiful fall weekend, the GMercyU campus was home to our annual Homecoming festivities and Fall Fest events.  Each year, Homecoming provides the appropriate time and venue to induct a new class into the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame.  Athletic Director, Keith Mondillo, served as Master of Ceremonies and recounted the impressive accomplishments, both on and off the fields/courts, of the Class of 2014. I was thrilled to greet our newest Hall of Fame members!


(Left to right) Kathy Snell ’04; Jim Algeo, on behalf of his brother, Dan Algeo ’90; Rebecca Algeo, on behalf of her father; Rashid Santiago ’07; Mark Mattes ’08

With so many different activities available for everyone in attendance, our current student-leaders needed a “time-out” from their duties.  As the photos here clearly shows, some of our students were engaged in very creative work.


(Left to right) Erin Park, Michael Czerwonka, Migdalia Brito and Chris Selke


Of course, Homecoming is always an invitation to our alumni to return to campus and to re-connect with faculty and friends.  Assumption Hall was the gathering site for both former and future Griffins. It was a great weekend!


Alum Haifa Tyler ’96 (middle) and Alums Tom and Samar Froman ’95 with their families.

MERVelous Mercy Golfers

As usual, our annual Golf Outing was the scene of some outstanding shots, as well as intriguing stories of shots that were “almost” extraordinary.  This year’s event, held at Manufacturers’ Golf and Country Club, provided a glorious venue for all golfers not only to challenge their game, but also to enjoy the beauty of a Flynn-designed course.


(Left to right) Kathy Cardano, Eileen Bahls, Trustee Regina Lowrie and Elise Johns.


(Left to right) Trustee Frank Palopoli, Trustee Joe Palmer and Christopher Finch

The winning team, led by Ken Lawrence, graciously accepted the well-deserved accolades of all participants.  I was hoping that they might somehow transmit some of their talent and skill to me (perhaps by osmosis) in this photo but, no such luck!

Winning Golfers

(Left to right) Noel Lowe, John Thomas, Ken Lawrence, and Ralph Major

Special thanks to our alum, Helen Pizak Nelson and her husband, Erik, for making it possible for us to enjoy the experience of Manufacturers’.

Erik and Helen

(Left to right) Tony Mauriello, Sister Kati McMahon, Erik Nelson, Helen Pizak Nelson

We had a wonderfully successful 28th Annual Golf Outing on September 22nd, where the funds raised helped to support scholarships for our students.  Next year, with your support, we hope to involve even more sponsors and golfers in our outing so that we can continue to enable our students to achieve their goal of earning a Gwynedd Mercy University degree.  I look forward to hosting next year’s event with great hopes that my game will miraculously improve!!

MERVelous Mercy Scholars & Authors

This year’s Mercy Week (September 21-28) was filled with too many great events to describe them all, but one of the highlights was the recognition of our amazing Mercy scholars and authors.


Back row, left to right: Roseann Regan, Denise Vanacore, Patricia Brown O’Hara, Michael Clinton, SoYoung Kang, Janis Chakars, Walt Zdunowski Middle row: Dona Molyneaux, Mary Hermann, Deborah Schadler, Michele Diehl, David McAllister, Donna Allego Front Row: Lisbeth Chapin, Robert Clewis, Ralph Hoffmann, Sister Catherine McMahon

It’s a privilege to acknowledge the scholarly excellence of so many of our distinguished faculty and staff colleagues, who are involved in scholarship at the cutting edge of their academic and professional fields.  Certainly their work reflects the commitment of Gwynedd Mercy University to prepare the next generation of Distinctive Mercy Graduates.  At this year’s celebration, the very impressive list of honorees and their contributions for the 2013-2014 years include those listed here.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of our faculty and staff colleagues who have influenced your academic and educational experience.  I know they would love to hear from you!

MERVelous Dedication Ceremony

On September 26, 2014, the University’s Library was dedicated in memory of Sister Isabelle Keiss, third president of Gwynedd Mercy University.  It was a great celebration of Sister Isabelle’s commitment to teaching and learning; to research and scholarship.

The event was a wonderful celebration of the legacy of someone who shaped forever the destiny of our University. Last year, we blessed and opened The Learning Commons, a state of the art facility in the Library that brings students, faculty, staff and many learning resources together in one location that allows for collaboration, interaction, and cooperative learning opportunities for our students.  The Keiss Library and Learning Commons was named in honor of Sister Isabelle Keiss, who was GMercyU’s biggest cheerleader and innovator, always looking for ways to elevate the institution to higher levels. Under her tutelage, the University soared to new heights with the addition of new academic programs, growth of the student population and new campus additions.


Sister Isabelle was an avid learner whose passion was literature and scholarship. It was only fitting that we dedicated this space that is filled with the tools and resources for our students to achieve their goals. We were thrilled that several members of the Keiss family joined us for the dedication ceremony.


(Left to Right) John Scanlin, Maureen Scanlin, Joan McGee, Sandra Keiss, Sue Keiss

The Keiss Library and Learning Commons now sits at the center of the University’s McAuley Academic Center with facilities named after our first two Mercy presidents, Mother Mary Bernard Graham (Saint Bernard Hall) and Sister Mary Gregory Campbell (Campbell Solution Center).  We were honored by the participation of many Sisters of Mercy whose presence at the event was a testimony to Sister Isabelle and to the great Women of Mercy on whose shoulders this University stands.


You are all invited to visit campus and stop in at our newly renovated, state-of-the-art Keiss Library and Learning Commons.

MERVelous Visiting Scholars from China


(Left to Right) Professor Christine Cai, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Dr. Lisa McGarry, Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Frank Scully, Dean of the School of Business Dr. Heather Pfleger and Professor Anna Zhang

Just last week, Gwynedd Mercy University welcomed two visiting scholars from Yang-En University in Quanzhou, China.  Professors Christine Cai and Anna Zhang will be spending the fall semester on campus with our students and faculty.  Professor Cai is Vice-Dean of the Foreign Studies Department at Yang-En University and Professor Zhang is Vice-Dean of the School of Economics.
Last year, Gwynedd Mercy University became one of the founding members of The Alpha Group (TAG),  a consortium of five Catholic colleges/universities across the country.  TAG members include Saint Thomas University (TX); Benedictine University (IL); Mount Saint Mary’s College (NY); Alvernia University (PA) and GMercyU.   Together we are developing relationships with Chinese Universities in order to provide more international experiences for our students and faculty.
Earlier this summer, two GMercyU students, Albert Rementer and Anna Lonergan, traveled to China with fellow TAG students to participate in an immersion study and travel experience.  You can read about their experiences in the most recent issue of Today
Dr. Frank Scully, Vice President for Academic Affairs,  is seen here welcoming Professor Cai, who will work closely with Dr. Lisa McGarry , Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences; and Professor Zhang, who will work closely with Dr. Heather Pfleger, Dean of the School of Business