Marywood to honor six graduates at upcoming Alumni Weekend

For Abington Journal | May 21st, 2016 12:10 pm

SCRANTON — During a weekend full of events for its returning graduates, Marywood University will honor six alumni with awards of excellence at a special reception. Marywood’s Alumni Weekend is set for Friday, June 3, through Sunday, June 5, on the university’s campus. The Alumni Awards Reception will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 4 at Marywood’s School of Architecture.

This year’s alumni award recipients are as follows:

• Michele Abbott McDade, of Scranton, will receive the Sister M. Denis Donegan Award for Long Term Service to Marywood.

McDade has devoted her life to serving her community and Marywood.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in French from Marywood in 1970, she went on to become an elementary school teacher, teaching kindergarten in the Scranton School District for many years until her retirement.

McDade’s volunteer efforts encompass a considerable range of community organizations, including the Keystone Chapter of UNICO National and St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen, among many others. She has been an active alumni volunteer at Marywood since her graduation. Presently a member of the Marywood Alumni Association Board, Mrs. McDade has served as an alumni mentor and as a member of Alumni Weekend and Homecoming Committees, her Class Reunion Committee, and Marywood’s 85th Anniversary Committee.

Along with her husband, Mark, she established the Abbott/McDade Endowed Scholarship at Marywood, in memory of their parents, to assist undergraduate students pursuing a degree in early childhood and/or elementary education.

• Karen Murphy, R.N., Ph.D., of Clarks Summit, will receive the Award of Excellence in Health and Human Services.

Murphy began her career as a registered nurse and presently serves as Secretary of Health in Pennsylvania. As the Commonwealth’s top health regulator, she is a liaison to the Governor for the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Her career has included a number of significant roles, such as President and Chief Executive Officer of Moses Taylor Health Care System and founder and CEO of Physicians Health Alliance, an integrated medical group practice within the Moses Taylor Health Care System. Prior to joining Governor Wolf’s cabinet, Murphy served as Director of the State Innovation Models Initiative, a $900 million investment by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation aimed at accelerating health care innovation across the nation.

She currently serves as a Clinical Faculty Member in the Medicine Department at The Commonwealth Medical College. Murphy holds an M.B.A. from Marywood University, which she earned in 2001.

• Marianne J. Gilmartin, Esq., of Moscow, will receive the Award of Excellence in Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Gilmartin is shareholder/attorney with the law firm of Stevens & Lee. She has tried and mediated dozens of significant catastrophic casualty cases throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, including some at the appellate level. She litigates federal claims under the Natural Gas Act, as well as oil and gas lease litigation in the Marcellus Shale Region.

She has been recognized as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer from 2009-2015, an honor accorded by her peers, which places her among the top five percent of lawyers in the Commonwealth. Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal listed her as one of its “Top 25 Women in Business” in 2010.

Gilmartin serves or has served on a number of boards, including those of Johnson College, Dress for Success Lackawanna, the United Way of Lackawanna County, Circle 200, National Association of Women Business Owners, Scranton Chamber of Commerce and more.

She earned her bachelor of arts degree, magna cum laude, in legal studies (with a minor in English) from Marywood in 1983.

• Patricia Cawley Joyce, of New Providence, New Jersey, will receive the Award of Excellence in Creative and Performing Arts.

Joyce is the founder and artistic director of the New Jersey Youth Chorus (NJYC), an auditioned choral program for children in grades two through twelve, divided into five ensembles. This prestigious group, which performs locally, nationally, and internationally, sang “America the Beautiful” with Queen Latifah at the Super Bowl and performed with six-time Grammy Award winners, The Chieftains, in New York City.

After teaching in schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Joyce served as an adjunct teacher in the Music Education Department of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, N.J., and at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University.

The NJYC is now in its 24th year, and she also has conducted countless choirs with singers of all ages, from elementary and junior high honors choirs to the New Jersey All-State Women’s Choir and children’s choir festivals in Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Virginia.

Joyce earned her bachelor of music degree from Marywood in 1979.

• Michele Rodeghiero Joerg, of New York, will receive the Award of Excellence in Education and Human Development.

Joerg has taught at Catholic and public schools in East Harlem, where she also got involved with Harlem RBI’s REAL Kids Program. This award-winning summer program for children, ages 9-12, uses the power of team activity to help youth develop literacy, academic, social, and emotional skills. The kids also play in competitive baseball and softball leagues and learn about healthy nutritional habits.

Joerg has been a member of Harlem RBI’s Board of Trustees since 2008. During her tenure, the organization has grown to serve 1,200 children in East Harlem and the South Bronx and developed the first new public school building in East Harlem in 47 years.

She was a lead selector for the NYC Teaching Fellows Program and worked with the Urban Education Exchange to provide customized workshops for individual teachers and schools, as well as model lessons and grade- and team-level meetings. In 2007, she became a founding member of the DREAM Charter School Board of Trustees in East Harlem.

Joerg holds a master of arts in teaching degree from Marywood, which she earned in 1995.

• Mandy Boyle Pennington, of Scranton will receive the Recent Alumni Award of Excellence for Professional Achievement.

Pennington has been the Director of Internet Marketing at Net Driven since 2014.

She started getting hands-on experience in the field during her sophomore year, working 30 hours a week at Solid Cactus, an e-commerce marketing and web development agency, while finishing school. After graduation, she was offered full-time work at Solid Cactus and its parent company,

Pennington also is the co-founder of NEPA BlogCon, the region’s only blogging and social media conference, and Squirrel Girls Tech Camp, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education camp for girls. She is a blogger and published freelance writer, as well as an adjunct lecturer in Marywood’s Communication Arts Department.

Outside of her career, Mrs. Pennington performs with local theater companies, including the New Vintage Ensemble.

Last year, the Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal named her as one of its “Top 20 Under 40.”

Pennington holds two Marywood degrees, including a bachelor of arts degree in communication arts, which she received in 2010, and a master of arts in communication arts, which she earned in 2011.

In addition to the Alumni Awards Reception, Marywood’s Alumni Weekend will feature many events for all alumni, with special parties for graduates of classes ending in 1s and 6s, as well as classes of the last 15 years.

Graduates can take advantage of overnight accommodations available on campus and attend various affinity group reunion events, as well as a pub crawl, a street fair, several athletic/fitness events, wine and beer tastings, an all-alumni homecoming celebration, an after-party dessert reception, a Sunday liturgy, and a farewell mimosa brunch.

For more information or to register for various Alumni Weekend events, visit, email or call 570-348-6206. Registration for Alumni Weekend is appreciated by May 27.


For Abington Journal

Information provided by Marywood University.