MERVelous Doctoral Degree Programs in Nursing and Education

Left to right:  Janelle Clark;  Heidi Wright;  Joe Schatz;  Julie Britton

Left to right: Janelle Clark; Heidi Wright; Joe Schatz; Julie Britton

Summer is a very busy time at GMercyU! I chuckle when people say: “Don’t you have the summers off?” Well, that may be the folklore but the reality of the situation is that summer is a happenin’ time at the University. This summer is the inaugural season for our two new doctoral degree programs, i.e., doctoral degree in Nursing Practice (DNP) and doctoral degree in Education (EdD). Our DNP program started its first cohort in May and includes four students who are pictured above. Information about the program is included below, as well as by clicking here.

The EdD program has already accepted over 25 students and the first group will meet for their “kick-off weekend” in mid-September. Information about the program is included below, as well as by clicking here.

These new doctoral degree programs were developed with input from practitioners in the field and represent the cutting-edge of knowledge and professional practice in two fields that have always been a hallmark of Mercy higher education.

In her book, Tender Courage, former Gwynedd Mercy University President, Sister Isabelle Keiss paints a picture of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, which is one of “openness to new ideas, the readiness to adapt and assimilate, the ability to learn from the experience of contemporaries and the desire to share that experience with others…” (p. 88). Clearly, the University’s new doctoral programs will carry Catherine’s vision well into the 21st Century!

GMercyU EdD Information

GMercyU DNP Information

MERV Visits Denver

MERV Visits DenverJust last month, Distinguished Alumna and 2014 Commencement Speaker, Susan B. Kiely, BS ’70, DHL ’14, welcomed MERV to Denver, where MERV met Scott Mengel, Executive Director of the Downtown Denver Expeditionary School. Dr. Sandy Mangano, Dean of the School of Education, visited Denver to learn about the school and Susan’s involvement. Earlier this summer, Dean Mangano had shown Susan many of the state-of-the-art features in University Hall, including the Center for Advancing Technology in Teaching. The Center removes the distance-barrier between Denver and GMercyU so that collaborative efforts can proceed unimpeded.

It’s readily possible to conduct synchronous classes and/or engage in professional development activities with simultaneous vision and voice involvement among all participants, regardless of location. I hope that MERV is invited to visit other alumni and schools across the country, where we can forge partnerships that will enhance the educational opportunities for all students.

Connelly Center for Advancing Technology in TeachingThe Connelly Center for Advancing Technology in Teaching is pictured here. Above is Susan B. Kiely, BS ’70, DHL ’14, and Scott Mengel, Executive Director of the Downtown Denver Expeditionary School.


MERVelous New Alumnus

Kevin Bates '14 receiving his award at Honors Convocation from Gwynedd Mercy University Vice President for Academic Affairs Frank Scully, Jr., PhD.

Kevin Bates ’14 receiving his award at Honors Convocation from Gwynedd Mercy University Vice President for Academic Affairs Frank Scully, Jr., PhD.

Here at Gwynedd Mercy University, our faculty and staff take pride in watching our students flourish both academically and personally. Kevin Bates, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and secondary education on May 10th, has been a phenomenal contributer in campus classrooms and in our residence halls for the past four years.

In addition to being a resident assistant for three years and a math tutor at our Academic Resource Center, Kevin was the only senior student representative in Pennsylvania on the State Board of Education. During his service time, Kevin provided input on behalf of all students in the Commonwealth on topics such as career preparation programs and budgeting. Kevin provided a unique perspective to the Board as his collegiate studies provided him with first-hand experience into the world of education.

Kevin was awarded The Sister Anne Donigan Scientific Corporations Interested In Bringing Up Scientists (SCIBUS) Endowed Award for Outstanding Student in Science and Mathematics at this year’s Honors Convocation. Kevin plans on pursuing a career in secondary education by teaching mathematics in high school. Kevin embodies the true definition of what it means to be a Distinctive Mercy Graduate, and given his experience, we know he’ll make a phenomenal teacher.

Congratulations, Kevin!

*Resolution Honoring Kevin Bates – State Board of Education Student Member 2012-2014


Same but Different

OwensA few weeks ago three of my grandchildren, ages 10, 10, & 9, flew solo from Chicago for a three-day visit.  As they were exiting the plane in Philadelphia on Thursday evening, their first words, after “Hi Grandma” were: “Can we go to your school and eat in the cafeteria?”  Now such praise for campus dining is certainly not ordinary.  Of course, the endless scoops of ice cream and the never-ending supply of French fries were on their minds.  As a grandmother, naturally, I was only too happy to comply with their request.   This is from a mother who used to toss out all the boxes of sugar-coated cereal at least quarterly.  But now…I am the grandmother, not the mother.

Since we transitioned from College to University early last fall, one of the questions I am most frequently asked is: “So, what’s different now that Gwynedd Mercy is a University?” My response is that we are the same, but different.  The University continues to be a place for teaching and learning in the Mercy tradition, where we will perpetuate our commitment to prepare Distinctive Mercy Graduates…graduates who are competent in their academic and professional fields and thus able to both contribute to and prosper in an economy that is constantly adapting to new challenges, new technologies, and new forms of competition;  graduates who demonstrate a foundation in liberal learning including the skills, abilities, talents and values that are the basis for long-term employment and career success, as well as for the vitality of our democracy and the future of global understanding, engagement, and community; and graduates who live lives congruent with our Mercy core values, especially the value of service.

On the other hand, some exciting differences include an expansion of our academic offerings to include doctoral degree programs in nursing and education and online degree programs in business, nursing and education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  New on-ground locations beyond Gwynedd Valley, as well as establishing a consortium of five Catholic universities, known as The Alpha Group, that will collaboratively provide student and faculty exchange opportunities with Chinese Universities, and an agreement with Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland, where our first student exchange will occur during the next academic year– just to mention a few changes.  Our expanded academic facilities, including the just “blessed and dedicated” University Hall, reflect our commitment to academic excellence across all disciplines.  The new Trading Room in University Hall provides enhanced academic space not only for our undergraduate business students, but also for our new campus-based MBA degree program…another difference going forward.

During my weekend with Quinn, Ava and Will, there were differences, for sure: I watched them trampolining at Skyzone rather than joining them; likewise, I watched them tubing at Spring Mountain; and, along with other grandparents, I watched them building Lego animals at a Bricks for Kidz event in Center City.  On the other hand, some things were very much the same: we played Scrabble, Sorry and cards, plus I joyfully read stories and poems to them every night.

As we continue to transition and grow into our University status, please know that my appreciation and gratitude for your loyal and ongoing support remains constant, just bigger since there’s so much more for which to be thankful.

*This was originally featured in the Spring 2014 edition of the TODAY Magazine. Click here to explore further.

MERVelous Student Speaker at Commencement


At Gwynedd Mercy University, we have a tradition of selecting a graduating student to address the graduating class at Commencement.  Through a very competitive process, one student emerges, and this year, I was thrilled to introduce Sarah Huskin, Class of 2014, as our student speaker.

Sarah received the Master of Science degree in School Counseling last Saturday.  For the past 6 years, Sarah has been a Spanish teacher in the Council Rock School District.  Moreover, she is simultaneously completing a Masters of Arts degree in Spanish Linguistics through summer coursework at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Below is a link to Sarah’s address to her classmates:

Sarah Huskin

MERVelous Nurses

(Left to right): Leena Joseph, BSN, RN, Donna Jacoby, RN, CCRN, Nancy Allegrezza, Fred Allegrezza,  Tracey Tillger, RN and Dean of the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions, Andrea Hollingsworth.

(Left to right): Leena Joseph, BSN, RN, Donna Jacoby, RN, CCRN, Nancy Allegrezza, Fred Allegrezza, Tracey Tillger, RN and Dean of the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions, Andrea Hollingsworth.

Leading up to National Nurses Week, Gwynedd Mercy University awarded four Bucks or Montgomery County nurses with the Nursing Excellence Award for their outstanding contributions to the nursing profession on Thursday, May 1.

This year’s recipients were Elizabeth Abraham, MSN, CRNP; Donna Jacoby, RN, CCRN; Leena Joseph, BSN, RN; and Tracey Tillger, RN.

The award recipients were nominated by their colleagues for extraordinary service to patients, families, and the community. Most importantly, they have a deep commitment to the highest standards of nursing, professional growth in their field, mentoring fellow nurses, and an overall commitment to the profession through the services they provide each day.

I can think of no better place to celebrate the many hardworking, dedicated nurses that serve Bucks and Montgomery counties than at Gwynedd Mercy University. Our rich history of educating competent and compassionate nurses in the Mercy tradition is a hallmark of our University.

Two people who have a true appreciation for the nursing profession are Fred and Nancy Allegrezza. Through their support for the awards ceremony, they focus attention to something that we at Gwynedd Mercy University value so much – outstanding nurses in the community. I would like to thank the Allegrezzas for their loyal and ongoing support and sponsorship for the Nursing Excellence Awards . I would also like to thank the Nursing Excellence Awards Selection Committee and the Nursing Advisory Board.

MERVelous Honors Convocation


Once again, it’s that MERVelous time of year. On Friday evening,  April 25th, the University’s annual Honors Convocation recognized the outstanding accomplishments of our best and brightest students. With a standing-room-only audience in the Griffin Complex, student scholars and leaders were acknowledged. This year’s award winners include:

  • Outstanding Student Leadership Award: Alysia Torres
  • Catherine McAuley Award : Ashlei Miller
  • President’s Scholar Award: Mark Vattilana

The Alumni Association also presented three awards:

  • Outstanding Undergraduate Award: Danielle McCloskey
  • School of Graduate and Professional Studies Award: Fatmatta N. Ofori-Atta ‘13
  • Outstanding Graduate Award: Maryann S. Casino ‘11


Furthermore, the Academic Deans recognized students receiving program honors in the respective schools. Additionally all Honor Society members were acknowledged and honor chords were draped around their neck. These honor chords, symbolic of academic excellence, will be worn at Commencement on Saturday, May 10th which, in my mind, is the most MERVelous day of the academic year!

MERVelous Gift: $4 Million for Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions



At our recent Founders’ Society Dinner earlier this month, I was privileged to announce that Mr. and Mrs. James J. Maguire had given us a $4 million dollar gift for the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions, bringing their total gift to the University to $10M.

To say that I was thrilled to make this announcement is an understatement!  Mr. and Mrs. Maguire have been generous and loyal in their support of Frannie’s Alma Mater, thus honoring the Sisters of Mercy who had the foresight to establish the first Associate of Nursing degree program under Catholic auspices in the United States fifty-five years ago.  Today, our forward momentum is directly related to their support, encouragement and motivation.  Frannie and Jim’s partnership with the Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions has played a critical role in enhancing the excellence of our students, academic programs, faculty and facilities.

This is a phenomenal gift that could not have happened without the extraordinary leadership and dedication of Dean Andrea Hollingsworth and the faculty and staff of the Maguire School.  Our University community is truly blessed with MERVelous colleagues.


Frannie and Jim Maguire are pictured here with Dr. Tom Balshi, University friend and benefactor, and at the dinner at the time of the announcement (above).

MERVelous Sisters of Mercy

Sisters of Mercy

At the recent ceremony to dedicate and bless our new academic building, University Hall, we acknowledged and commemorated the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy who have served and continue to serve our University community.  These amazing women and their predecessors provide the foundation upon which our University continues to thrive. The Sisters in the posed-photo represent some of the Sisters in attendance at the ceremony.  If you look closely at the ribbon-cutting photo, you will see others in the audience. Hopefully, you will see some familiar faces, while also recognizing the blessing they are to our community and to our world!

Blessing of University Hall

MERVelous Party at Molly Maguire’s

Several GMercyU students and faculty will travel to Mercy International Centre in Dublin next August.  There they will join with other university students from Mercy Institution around the world to participate in the “Dublin Pilgrimage for Young Mercy Leaders.”   This is an extraordinary learning experience for our students and I am grateful to everyone who provided support of any kind for this trip.

As we gathered for our final fundraising event at Molly Maguire’s Irish Pub & Restaurant in nearby Lansdale, our very own Sr. Catherine (aka S.Kati McMahon) took a break from her assigned work station, which the photos depict.  We had a MERVelous time!!