Retiring President Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D. to Address Graduates at Marywood Commencement

Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D., Marywood University’s 12th president, who will retire from the institution on June 30, will address graduates at Marywood University’s 106th Commencement on May 18, 2024. She will be recognized with a special tribute at the ceremony, which begins at 1 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, Wilkes-Barre Township, Pa.

Sister Mary is a native of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. She attended Marywood as an undergraduate and, in her junior year, entered the IHM Congregation and finished her studies as a candidate. After earning her bachelor’s degree in education and French from Marywood in 1969, Sister Mary went on to earn a master’s degree in French from Assumption College and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Lehigh University.

During her professional life, Sister Mary has been a teacher, an administrator, and a leader in educational, health care, and congregational settings. She was the treasurer, then the president, of the IHM Congregation, serving eight years in each role. Following her congregational leadership, she went on to serve as an executive vice president at Trinity Health, one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. She became president of Marywood University in 2016 and has guided Marywood through tough, but prudent, decisions to position the institution for the 21st century, even when facing unforeseen challenges like a global pandemic.

Under Sister Mary’s leadership, strides were made in the scholarly life of the university by restructuring and streamlining the colleges within the university, adding or expanding several signature academic programs, and establishing the offices of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Global Education. Marywood also welcomed national retail partnerships to campus, including Starbucks, the Gear Shop, Apple, and Amazon stores. The university endowment has nearly doubled and maintained a fiscally responsible status, even during universally challenging financial times in higher education. To further strengthen Marywood’s future, Sister Mary is presently bringing the university’s $30 million comprehensive campaign, EMPOWER, to its conclusion.

Sister Mary’s engagement, both in the public arena and on campus, are two highlights of her presidency. She has represented Marywood University locally, nationally, and even internationally, but notes that the best part of her presidential tenure has been interacting with Marywood students.