News & Events


Sister Mary Persico Featured in The Times Leader newspaper

Sister Mary Persico, IHM, Ed.D, president of Marywood University, was featured in the December 31, 2017 issue of the Times Leader.  Sister Mary was profiled among leaders of the region's institutions of higher education. Staff writer Brigid Edmunds noted Sister Mary, Marywood’s12th president, has a long history with the University. She taught as an adjunct in the education department and served on the university’s board for eight years. As a member of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, her bond with Marywood deepened on a spiritual level as well.

Before stepping into her role as president, Persico was the president of the IHM Congregation, and most recently she served as the executive vice president for Trinity Health, a national Catholic health system. She was elected president of Marywood University in April 2016. “I feel very excited about my connection to this university because I believe very strongly in the mission,” Sister Mary said. The mission of Marywood, at its core, is to “lift people up,” through education, and in her role as president, Persico says she is excited about moving that mission forward.

Sister Mary believes Marywood’s faculty and staff, who help hone in on individual education experiences, help set Marywood apart. “We try to meet each person where he or she happens to be,” she said. “And we try to help them accomplish their goals; we’re always interested in the success of our students.”

Sister Mary also believes the variety of athletic programs, as well as the sense of the arts at the university, make it unique. “We’re very proud of that,” she said.

Through Marywood’s curriculum, extra-curricular activities and student programs, Persico believes the work done at Marywood gets students “fully activated as human beings. It’s that care for the whole person,” she said. To accomplish that mission, there is a part of the university that needs to be agile. “The name of the game is being nimble.” With higher education changing rapidly, Sister Mary said, it’s important to be open to moving with the times to make sure students are getting a proper education.

One of the biggest changes is in Marywood’s core curriculum.  Traditionally, Marywood has had a model where students selected required classes, such as religion, philosophy and language. Currently, there is a task force exploring avenues that integrate the core curriculum more directly into the student's fields of study.   “That’s very exciting,” she said, “and it really goes along with the way education is today.”

Sister Mary said it’s also important that she is constantly listening to the demands of the students, and responding accordingly. For example, there have been certain majors, such as nursing and pre-physician's assistant, that have expressed interest in  resuscitation therapy, so Marywood is considering adding that program to the school.

Her favorite part of being Marywood’s president? “My favorite  part would have to be watching students grow and interacting with them. Socially, it’s fun. Academically, they make us proud.” Seeing their success, she said, "brings energy to my life.”

Her interaction with students does not go unnoticed either. Sister Mary created a Twitter account shortly after her tenure began, @SisPrez, where she shares photos of students around campus involved in various activities, and congratulates sports teams on wins. Students are interacting with her as well.  This past November, members of the student body as well as faculty and staff, arranged a surprise birthday party for Persico in the Learning Commons. “They seem to like me,” she laughed.

by: Brigid Edmunds, Times Leader Staff writer