Marywood to Host 11th Annual Community Leadership Celebration

Members News

Marywood University’s 11th Annual Community Leadership Celebration will honor community leader and Marywood alumna Mary Ellen McDonough, with a special spotlight on retiring Marywood President, Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D, on Thursday, May 2, 2024, 5:30 p.m., at the Center for Athletics and Wellness on the University’s campus. During the celebration, Mrs. McDonough will receive the University’s Lead On Award, in recognition of her dedicated service as both a Certified Prevention Specialist and as a community volunteer leader.

The Community Leadership Celebration, Marywood’s signature fundraiser, provides special support to Marywood students and honors individuals in the community who exemplify Marywood’s core values in leadership and service to others. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit campus improvements as part of the EMPOWER Campaign.

Drawing on her innate sense of hope and her compassion for others, Mrs. McDonough’s professional world developed around her desire to do more and to do better for her community. She and her husband, Jim, have four children and seven grandchildren. Her devotion to and caregiving of her family has extended to countless children, individuals, and families she has served in the community. During the years when she was raising her family, Mrs. McDonough noticed a lack of a drug and alcohol curriculum in her children’s schools. She decided to create the South Scranton Drug and Alcohol Task Force to raise money for drug and alcohol education in Scranton’s parochial school system. Her professional life evolved out of her volunteer work, leading to a long, meaningful professional career as a Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS) with the Lackawanna Drug and Alcohol Commission, through which she made a positive, enduring impact on the many regional educators, parents, and students who benefited from her compassionate expertise in prevention programming.

Her community involvement has encompassed numerous board memberships, leadership positions, and volunteer efforts for Catholic Social Services, Divine Mercy Parish at St. Joseph’s Church, South Scranton Drug Curriculum Task Force, and more. At Marywood, Mary Ellen served as a Member of the Board of Trustees and on the Alumni Association Board. In 2008, she merited the Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Education and Human Development, which recognized her many professional accomplishments. She co-chaired the Inauguration Committee for Marywood’s 12th President and, along with Atty. Pat Brier, co-chaired Marywood’s Community Leadership Celebration at its inception.

To join Marywood University in honoring Mary Ellen McDonough and in recognizing Sister Mary Persico, IHM, at the Community Leadership Celebration on May 2, or for details about event sponsorships and items for auction, please visit, or call (570) 348-6238.