Dr. Rosalie M. Mirenda to Retire
in June 2017
Dr. Rosalie M. Mirenda, Neumann University’s longest-serving president, will retire on June 30, 2017. She became president in 1996 and is in her twenty-first year at the helm of the University.
Dr. Mirenda’s Letter (pdf)
Mr. Delaney’s Letter (pdf)
Highlights: 1996-2016 (pdf)
Dr. Mirenda’s Bio (pdf)
In a heartfelt August 1 letter to the University community,
Dr. Mirenda wrote, “Together with my husband and family, I thought and prayed at length about this decision. The Good Lord has shown us in many ways that now is the right time for this transition for us and for our beloved Neumann University.”
In the letter, which was sent to faculty, staff and students, she expressed confidence in Neumann’s future: “Our leadership team is strong. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education reaffirmed our accreditation and commended our self-study process. Our University trustees are the most wonderful of people; they are courageous leaders with the acumen to continue to guide the institution to new and greater heights. The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, as they have for more than 50 years, continue their sponsorship and support of Neumann and its Catholic Franciscan identity and mission.”
James Delaney, Chair of the University Board of Trustees, wrote to the University community on the same day. “On behalf of the entire University Board of Trustees, I express my deep gratitude to Dr. Mirenda for her exceptional leadership of and unwavering devotion to Neumann University,” he said.
Delaney praised Dr. Mirenda as “a tireless advocate and savvy visionary for Neumann University while never taking her eye off its Catholic Franciscan identity.”
During Dr. Mirenda’s presidency, Neumann has grown from a commuter college of fewer than 900 students to a residential university of almost 3,000, annual and capital giving has increased, the campus has expanded from 14 to 68 acres, new academic programs have been added at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels, athletic teams have grown from 9 to 24, and state of the art residence halls were built to accommodate 700 students. She led the multi-year effort that culminated with Neumann achieving university status in April 2009.
“The Board is in the process of formalizing the search process to select Dr. Mirenda’s successor,” Delaney explained. “I will oversee the search committee that will be representative of our trustees, alumni, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, faculty, staff, and students. This committee, to be co-led by two experienced trustees, will review and interview candidates who respond to our search and recommend finalist(s) to the Board of Trustees for final approval and recommendation to the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for their affirmation.”
Dr. Mirenda’s letter expressed her gratitude for the privilege of serving as Neumann’s president. “I prayed daily for strength and wisdom to handle with integrity and authenticity the responsibility I viewed as vocation,” she wrote. “I have been and continue to be inspired by the goodness of our students, the talents of our faculty and staff, and the knowledge and generosity of colleagues across the campus, the region, and our Church. Most especially, I am inspired by our Catholic Franciscan identity - the rock on which Neumann University and my leadership has stood.”
She has served on many boards, including the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the PA Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Seton Hall University, Archmere Academy, Holy Child Academy, and the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. Recently, she served on the board of the World Meeting of Families 2015, Inc., and served as Chair of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary’s Task Force on College, which completed its work in June 2013.
She was appointed by the late Bishop Joseph McFadden to the Ex Corde Ecclesiae Working Group for the Committee on Catholic Education of the U.S. Conference of Bishops. Neumann University, through Dr. Mirenda’s efforts, spearheaded the formation of the Drexel Neumann Academy in Chester, PA, now celebrating its 10th year.
Dr. Mirenda has been recognized by a number of organizations for her steadfast faith, distinguished character and numerous accomplishments. She received the Gary Papa Award (2013) from the Delaware County Community Foundation, the Sons of Italy Distinguished Achievement Award (2013), the Sourin Award (2012) from the Catholic Philopatrian Society, the Catholic Graduate Hall of Fame Award (2011) from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Woman on the Move Award (2011) from Main Line Times, The Keys and Sword Award (2011) from Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, and the Catholic Leadership Institute Award (2010).
She also received the Outstanding Alumnus Award (2006) from Widener University, the Pontifical Honor of the Cross, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (2003), and the Nursing Alumna Award (1999) from Villanova University. In 2005, Dr. Mirenda was awarded the honorary degree from Saint Charles Seminary.
Dr. Mirenda earned her Ph.D. from Widener University, her M.S.N. from the University of Pennsylvania, and her B.S. in Nursing from Villanova University. She has been married to Anthony D. Mirenda for over 50 years. They have three children and five grandchildren.