Sister Eileen M. Campbell, RSM, a former leader of the Mercy Volunteer Corps who now serves as vice president of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, will be the keynote speaker when Misericordia University holds is 89th annual undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16 at 2 p.m.
For the first time, Misericordia will hold a separate graduate Commencement ceremony on May 16 at 10 a.m. W. Scott Blanchard, Ph.D., professor of English and director of the Misericordia University Honors Program, will present the address. Dr. Blanchard was selected to speak as the recipient of the 2014 Louis and Barbara Alesi Excellence in Scholarship Award at Misericordia University. The annual award recognizes and promotes the academic accomplishments of faculty members in terms of their scholarship and/or artistic achievements. The Faculty Awards Committee makes the selection.
Commencement activities also will include a baccalaureate Mass on Friday, May 15 at 4 p.m. All three events will be held in the Anderson Sports and Health Center on campus.
Sister Campbell is in her second term on the leadership team of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. Her areas of responsibility include addressing justice issues, anti-racism work and the creation of an inter-Congregational Collaborative Leadership Development Initiative and Program for younger and newer vowed religious women. She also is responsible for oversight of the Institute Office.
Prior to joining the Institute leadership team, she served 10 years as executive director of Mercy Volunteer Corps (MVC), an international volunteer program sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. As executive director, she prepared and managed a $500,000 budget; directed communications with 25 Sisters of Mercy Regional Communities throughout the U.S., and oversaw program and policy development to enhance the Mercy Volunteer Corps mission. During her tenure, the MVC program expanded to include international service sites in Guyana and South America.
During the previous six years, Sister Campbell was administrator of Mercy Hospice in Philadelphia, Pa., a residency program that serves more than 2,200 homeless women and children annually. She also served as administrator for Women of Hope, which consists of two boarding home facilities in Philadelphia for chronically mentally ill women who are homeless.
Sister Campbell was a member of the Cranaleith Spiritual Center advisory board for 10 years, and served in an ex officio capacity on the Mercy Hospice/St. John Hospice Board of Managers and on the Hall-Mercer Health/Mental Retardation Center-Community Council, all in the Philadelphia region. Currently, she serves on two planning committees for the Leadership Conference for Women Religious.
A resident of Silver Spring, Md., Sister Campbell earned her bachelor's degree in education from Gwynedd-Mercy College, Gwynedd Valley, Pa., and her master's degree in education with specialties in administration and supervision from Fordham University, Bronx, N.Y. She began her career as a middle and junior high school teacher, and also served as principal at Annunciation B.V.M. School, Havelock, N.C., and St. Michael the Archangel School, Levittown, Pa.
During the Commencement ceremony, Misericordia University will present Sister Campbell with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. She received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Gwynedd-Mercy College in 2005.
Sandy Insalaco, Sr., a valued member and former chair of the Misericordia University Board of Trustees, also will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the undergraduate ceremony. Mr. Insalaco is chairman of the board and CEO of Nature's Way Purewater Systems, Inc., Pittston, Pa., and a principal in Insalaco Development Group, which owns and manages commercial real estate in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He is chairman of the board of Landmark Community Bank, Pittston. He is also the former general manager and chief financial officer of Insalaco Supermarkets, and former chairman of the board of directors of Affiliated Food Distributors.
A member of the Misericordia University Board of Trustees since 1998, Mr. Insalaco was instrumental in establishing the Insalaco Center for Career Development. Having worked closely with high school and college students who worked at the family's supermarkets, he learned there was an educational void in the region that needed to be filled to ensure future success for students. The Insalaco Center for Career Development has helped prepare thousands of Misericordia students for employment or graduate school, and provided support for managing their careers since its inception.
Mr. Insalaco and his wife, Marlene, also have been recognized by Misericordia for being the lead donors in the campaign that led to the construction of a new academic building on campus. The couple was awarded the Founder's Medal in 2006 for their philanthropy. The 28,500-square-foot, technology smart Sandy and Marlene Insalaco Hall was dedicated in their honor in 2009. He was given emeriti status on the Board of Trustees in June 2014.
The greater community also has recognized Mr. Insalaco's leadership and generosity. The Ethics Institute of Northeastern Pennsylvania at Misericordia University honored him and his brother, Michael, in 2005 for their strong personal work ethic and moral integrity. The Greater Pocono Northeast Chapter of Fund-Raising Professionals awarded Sandy and Michael the Outstanding Philanthropist Award for their generous contributions.
Mr. Insalaco also received the McGowan Cornerstone Award in 2010 for his work as founder and chair of the Monsignor Andrew J. McGowan Cornerstone Committee, a group dedicated to continuing the legacy of service of the beloved clergyman, Monsignor Andrew J. McGowan who was well-known throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania as an academic supporter and leader in the community.
He and Marlene live in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Rosemary Sigmond, a revered member of the Board of Trustees since 1994 and a Mercy Associate, will receive the CatherineMcAuley Medal – Misericordia University's highest honor that recognizes significant service to the university and the values to which it aspires. A stalwart university supporter, she served as vice chair of the Board of Trustees from 2001-2006, and established the Rosemary A. Sigmond Scholarship in Business, which is bestowed annually upon an academically- and financially-deserving student at Misericordia University who plans to major in business or accounting.
Ms. Sigmond chaired the university's Marketing and Development Committee for many years, and remains a member of the committee. She also was instrumental in renovating the campus chapel in Mercy Hall. In addition, she served as the liaison for the Board of Trustees to the Ethics Institute of Northeastern Pennsylvania at Misericordia University. In recognition of her efforts and service, the Sisters of Mercy named her the Woman of the Year in 2000.
Ms. Sigmond also has been widely recognized for her service to the community. She is the 1994 recipient of the Athena Award, presented by the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce. This honor is presented to a person who has attained and personified the highest level of professional excellence in his/her business or profession, has devoted time and energy to the community in a meaningful way, and most especially, has generously assisted women in attaining their full potential. Also, she received the 1996 Woman of the Year Award, presented by the West Side-Kingston Business and Professional Women's Club; the 1996 Woman of the Year Award, presented by the Wyoming Valley Women's Club, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Environmental Partnership Award in 1999.
Prior to her retirement in 1997, Ms. Sigmond was vice-president and owner of Coon Industries, Inc., and secretary and owner of Pikes Creek Sand and Stone, Inc. She was the first woman elected to Luzerne Borough Council as president. She served in that capacity for several years. Ms. Sigmond lives in Luzerne, Pa.
A resident of Clarks Summit, Pa., Dr. Blanchard has been an English professor at Misericordia University since 1991. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vt., and a doctoral degree from Columbia University, New York, N.Y. He has been published widely and has made numerous presentations in the fields of Italian humanism and European literature.
Dr. Blanchard, along with Jeroen De Keyser, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, published an English translation and Latin edition of "On Exile," by Italian humanist Francesco Filelfo (1398-1481), as part of The I Tatti Renaissance Library Series from Harvard University Press. The book was released in March 2013. The fifteenth century dialogue on exile was written by Fifelfo on behalf of the exiled Florentine aristocrats forced out of Florence in 1434 at the rise of Cosimo de' Medici. "On Exile'' is the first complete edition of the Latin text and the first complete translation into any modern language. Dr. Keyser prepared the Latin text, while Dr. Blanchard prepared the translation.
A research paper he wrote about Fifelfo and his views on the ethics of world citizenship was published in Renaissance Quarterly in 2007.
Dr. Blanchard's talk is partly based on a forthcoming publication focused on the economic and theological ideas that 13th century Spiritual Franciscans developed in relation to the pursuit of "the deepest form of poverty," notions relevant to some of the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy and to the emerging ecology of sustainability.