Sister Mary Persico Celebrates 50th Jubilee

Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D., president of Marywood University, was recently honored by the Board of Trustees with an endowed scholarship in her name to celebrate her 50th Jubilee. Since professing her vows in 1970, Sister Mary has been, and continues to be, a servant leader. 

Lisa Lori, Esq. ’93, chair of Marywood University’s Board of Trustees said, “She [Sister Mary] is an incredible leader and is an inspiration to many. She has been an inspiration to me, both professionally and personally. The Board wanted to endow this scholarship to honor her Jubilee Year, but, more than that, to signify the scope of her lifelong dedication to Marywood, as well as to her Congregation, which she loves and cherishes with all that she is. Through this scholarship in her name, generations of students, who might not otherwise have the means to do so will be able to pursue a Marywood education.”

Sister Mary Persico is the 12th president of Marywood University. She earned her undergraduate degree in education and French from Marywood, her master’s degree in French from Assumption College, and her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University. Sister Mary has served as a teacher, an administrator, and a leader in educational, health care, and congregation settings. She was the treasurer, then the president of the IHM Congregation, serving eight years in each role. 

Sister Terry O’Rourke, IHM said, “Sister Mary has always been a person of vision and a master of collaboration. Whenever Sister Mary served in her IHM Ministry, her many gifts and skills led her to ever increasing responsibilities and various leadership roles. Sister Mary has always been and remains a woman of prayer and discernment.”

Following her congregational leadership, Sister Mary went on to serve as executive vice president at Trinity Health, one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. Her lifetime of leadership and service to Marywood University was brought full circle when she took the role as president of the University. In her position as president, she has thrived by guiding Marywood through tough, but prudent decisions to position the University for the 21st century. Marywood has prospered under her leadership, even when facing unforeseen challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.

During her junior year as a student at Marywood, she entered the IHM community and finished her studies as a candidate. Sister Mary recalls, “I was attracted to the IHM Sisters because of their spirit at Marywood. I was impressed by the way they work, their community, and their sense of service to others, especially the poor and less fortunate. I was hooked.”

For additional information about The Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D. ’69 Scholarship, please visit Marywood University’s Advancement office, at

Governor Appoints Marywood President to Pennsylvania Humanities Council Board of Directors

MaryPersico_LACMarywood University’s President, Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D., was recently elected as the chair of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s (PHC) Board of Directors. Sister Mary joined the board in 2017 as an appointee of Governor Tom Wolf, and, in her new role, she succeeds Silas Chamberlin. Governor Wolf reappointed Sister Mary to the board, and her current term will expire in 2023. 

“The PA Humanities Council is energized to move vigorously forward at a time when the humanities speak to every part of the human person in addressing the need for beauty, truth, and purpose in the world,” said Sister Mary Persico. “The new Board members bring great enthusiasm and experience to an already accomplished and dedicated group of directors.”

PHC is governed by a 24-seat board of directors, which includes both elected individuals and governor appointees. Currently, 23 members serve on the board with backgrounds in business, law, education, philanthropy, government, arts, and culture. PHC is an independent nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities and is part of a network of 56 state humanities councils that spans the nation and U.S. jurisdictions. 

marywoodSister Mary is the 12th president of Marywood University. Her professional background includes extensive leadership experience. Prior to her presidency, Sister Mary served as executive vice president for Trinity Health, one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation, where she was a member of a 14-person corporate team and regularly participated in all financial and operational decision making. 

Sister Mary served as the president of the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, from 2002-2010. She also served as the IHM Congregation’s treasurer from 1994-2002. Prior to her presidency at Marywood, she served as the executive vice president of mission integration for Trinity Health, Livonia, MI, and the former Catholic Health East, Newtown Square, Pa. 

She also served in Catholic secondary education as a principal and a teacher. She earned her bachelor’s degree in French and education from Marywood University, her master’s degree in French from Assumption College, Worcester, Mass., and her doctoral degree in educational leadership from Lehigh University.

Husband and Wife Honored for Service to Marywood University

Marywood honors Sweeneys

At its recent Presidential Society Dinner, the late Regina P. Tirpak ’59 was inducted into the Saint Alphonsus Society, which honors benefactors whose lifetime commitments to Marywood have reached or exceeded $500,000. Her generous estate gift, exceeding $3 million, is one of the largest gifts to Marywood University to date. 

Regina Tirpak was a graduate of Marywood College, where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in home economics, a discipline that she taught at Wyoming Valley West for 30 years. 

Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D., president of Marywood University, said, “We are truly grateful to Regina for her generosity and vision, which made possible the establishment of the Tirpak Family Memorial Scholarship, benefitting female students studying Nutrition and Dietetics at Marywood.”

John P. Sweeney Sr.

Additionally, John P., Sr. and Jean Blackledge Sweeney were honored at the Presidential Society Dinner with the Presidential Mission Medal, for their service and commitment to Marywood’s core values of Catholic identity, respect, empowerment, and excellence. 

The Sweeneys exemplify philanthropy in action, and the cause of education is at the top of their agenda. They are faithful benefactors of several regional educational institutions, including Marywood University. Together, they established several scholarships to provide educational access and a world of opportunities to generations of grateful students. 

Mr. Sweeney served as the President of Specialty Defense Systems in Dunmore prior to his retirement. A graduate of the University of Scranton, Mr. Sweeney was president at the company’s inception and served in this capacity until 2000. He was a Marywood University Trustee from 2009-2018.

Mrs. Sweeney graduated from the Scranton State Hospital School of Nursing and attended Marywood. She had her own successful career as an occupational health nurse at the former Haddon Craftsman in Scranton. 

Presidential Mission Medal recipients inspire others to serve and advance the University’s commitment to excellence and empowerment through education. Sister Mary Persico said, “Mr. and Mrs. Sweeney’s enduring commitment to the mission of Marywood University, through the generous gifts of their time, energy, talents, and personal resources, will continue to benefit and transform the lives of our students, now and for future generations.”