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

MERVlous Trustees


Over the year’s Gwynedd Mercy University has been blessed with MERVelous trustees who give generously of their time, talent and treasure to the University in support of our mission.  The board includes 25 dedicated men and women and together they serve as the governing body of the University.  On occasion, upon completion of their term of service, trustees can be elected to Trustee-Emeritus status by their fellow-trustees in recognition of their extraordinary service.   Our longest-tenured Trustee-Emeritus, Frank Genuardi, celebrated his 98th birthday earlier this week.  Frank joined us on campus where we celebrated his birthday with Mass, followed by lunch and, of course, a birthday cake. (No, we did not insist that he blow out 98 candles.)  However, as is always the case, Frank shared some wonderful stories about the founding and evolution of Genuardi Family Markets, which he and his brothers started in the local area many years ago.  Our university community looks forward to celebrating many more birthdays with Frank!

MERVelous Mercy Pilgrims Return


Our Mercy pilgrims (see related blog) have returned from their trip to Ireland and will be sharing their experiences with various University constituents throughout the fall semester. Already, I have learned about their adventures in the North of Ireland, as well as their experiences in Dublin at Mercy International Center.  During their stay in Dublin, they had a great opportunity to learn about Catherine McAuley and the impact of her work in the 1800s, as well as its ongoing influence on subsequent generations.  To hear the students’ reflections about Mercy in their own words, I invite you to watch the video they have prepared.  I know you will find it inspiring.

MERVelous Mercy Orienation Leaders

Yesterday, we welcomed our new first-year and transfer students to the Gwynedd Mercy University community. The organization and administration of our orientation program fell largely to our MERVelous “Orientation Leaders.”   Through a rigorous nomination and selection process, upper class students were chosen to serve in this critically important role. They completed a comprehensive training program prior to the yesterday’s arrival of the Class of 2018.


The orientation program extends throughout the weekend, including a Day of Service today.   New students traveled to various locations in the Greater Philadelphia area where, along with their orientation leaders and a university faculty/staff member, they engaged in a service activity.

OL service OL service 2

Following their service activity, students returned to campus and engaged in a reflection activity, which was facilitated by their faculty/staff member and Orientation Leader. Our goal is to introduce our new students to the values that permeate our campus culture and to engage them in both education and action, especially as it pertains to the Mercy value of service. It’s a great start to the new academic year!

Find out more about our orientation program here–

GMercyU Down the Shore

GMercyU shore

As a former Midwesterner, one thing I have learned during my tenure at GMercyU is the draw of the Jersey shore. Over the last few summers, I have had the opportunity to visit many alumni, trustees and friends of the University in various locations up and down the shore. I am always amazed, but have come to appreciate, the generational family-draw of the different shore towns, as well as the distances former Philadelphians will travel every year to spend a week in the very same location where they spent their youth.

At first, I really could not understand the rationale for weekend trips that included hours-long traffic jams on Friday night and equally congested roadways on Sunday night’s return trip. Of course, over time, I came to learn about the all the tricks of extending the week-end trip, as well as the psychological impact of “crossing the bridge” on the way to the shore. My prior “beach” experiences had always about the Great Lakes, or smaller Midwestern lakes in Michigan or Wisconsin. The water was never warm and there were no boardwalks and no salt-water taffy; plus, no dolphin sightings!

Earlier this summer, the University sponsored a very successful alumni reunion at the Springfield Inn in Sea Isle. Additionally, on my most recent trip to the shore, I caught sight of the Gwynedd Mercy University banner flying along the beach. Thanks to trustee and pilot, David Mallach, for this great PR. While the peak shore season is coming to an end, the banner will continue to fly through Labor Day, so if you are a shore person, keep your eyes peeled for the GMercyU banner!

GMercyU shore banner

MERVelous News – GMercyU Named a Value All-Star


Last week, Gwynedd Mercy University was named as one of MONEY’s Best Colleges 2014-2015, ranking #11 on the list of “Value All-Stars”.  The story identifies institutions that deliver great value in three categories:  educational quality, affordability, and career earnings. As a “top value” university, GMercyU was recognized for launching students into successful careers, including students who might not otherwise succeed due to varied economic and/or academic backgrounds. 

What the article doesn’t say, but of equal and even more importance, is that we do all this in the tradition of Mercy.  Our Mercy charism is the distinctive style we bring to our Catholic Christian core belief system and it infiltrates every aspect of our teaching/learning community. Mercy underpins and infuses our commitment to academic excellence and lifelong learning; our respect for the dignity of every human person; our commitment to education of the whole person—mind, body and spirit; and through action and education, the promotion of compassion and justice toward those with less.

Our academic community is fully engaged in enabling our students to “discover the NEXT” by preparing them with those habits of mind and heart that will enable them to meet the great challenges of their day and assist them in their quest for truth and knowledge, for faith and reason and in their struggle to create a more just society for and with their fellow citizens.  I think you would agree that this is also a “value added” that we bring to our graduates!