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Alumna Named Wilmington Volunteer of the Year

MaryAnn Wallen
MaryAnn Wallen

MaryAnn Wallen ’04 recently received the Diocese of Wilmington Volunteer of the Year Award, recognizing her work with students at Padua Academy in Wilmington, Delaware.


The award, given annually to members of the community who are making a difference, shines a light on the best and the brightest leaders in youth ministry.

“I am one of the moderators of student council, and I lead an initiative about human trafficking. We educated the girls and had events to raise money for Dawn’s Place in Philadelphia,” she explained.

Dawn’s Place works to improve the lives of women who have been trafficked or prostituted.


As a high school theology teacher, Wallen developed a course called “Two Men Named Francis,” which focuses on the lives of St. Francis de Sales and St. Francis of Assisi.


“We really started from scratch with it and talked about what we wanted the girls to learn. We talk about events in the life of Francis (of Assisi) as well as Clare since we are an all-girls school,” Wallen explained.


To explore the lives of these two saints more deeply, Wallen is taking a group of Padua students to Italy this summer. It is a trip with which she is very familiar.


“When I was at Neumann, I was one of the two students picked to do the 2003 Assisi pilgrimage. We are taking the girls to France, Padua, Assisi and Rome. It will be really interesting to be back there and see it through the eyes of my students,” she said.  “Also we were able to get tickets to the Papal Audience in Rome.”

Wallen graduated from Neumann with a degree in early childhood and elementary education. She received her master’s degree in theology from LaSalle University and is currently in the doctor of ministry program at Duke University. In addition, she serves on the Neumann University Alumni Executive Board.


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