Sister Jane Scully, the Sixth President of Carlow University, Died on Saturday, February 17

Sister Jane Scully, the sixth president of Carlow University, died on Saturday, February 17, 2018. She was 100 years old.

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Sister of Mercy Served on Corporate Boards, First Woman Member of Duquesne Club


Pittsburgh, Pa. – Sister Jane Scully, the sixth president of Carlow University, who became the first woman to serve on boards in the corporate and civic worlds in Pittsburgh, died on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Oakland, located on the Carlow campus.


Sister Jane – who turned 100 years of age in November 2017 – became president of Carlow – then known as Mt. Mercy College – in 1966.  Three years later, the school underwent a name change to become Carlow College, a name that would last until Carlow achieved university status in 2004 and became Carlow University.


At the time of the change from Mt. Mercy to Carlow, according to Sister Jane, a new name had been discussed for 40 years because of confusion with other colleges that shared the same name or something similar.  “A college needs to have an identity of its own and that’s what Carlow College will be,” she told a reporter from thePittsburgh Post-Gazette in a 1969 interview about the name change.  In a 2004 interview with the Post-Gazette, she recalled the name change a bit more colorfully.  "There were more than 30 Mount-Mercy-Mary kind of college names, and I wanted to get this fine school out from the M's in the middle. Carlow is the name of the town in Ireland where the Mercies came from. It's short and strong, and right up at the top of the alphabet."


“Sister Jane Scully was an exceptional leader during a time of great change for the University in particular and for society in general,” said Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD, the tenth and current president of Carlow University.  “One of the first people I heard about when I became president of Carlow was Sister Jane.  She was a notable woman leader of her time, setting an example that is still talked about today.  She had the ability to create, engage others, and work toward a clear and inspiring vision that others could follow. While she served as a clear trailblazer for women, her work ethic, warmth, and great sense of humor was apparent to all.  She will be missed, not just by the Sisters of Mercy and Carlow University, but by many people throughout western Pennsylvania.”


Sister Jane was a Carlow graduate who was trained to be a librarian, but she became a leader in the higher education, business, and civic worlds.  She served as Carlow’s president until 1982 – her 16 years of service as president is the third longest tenure in the University’s history. 


While president of Carlow, she was invited to serve on the board of Gulf Oil Corporation.  She served ten years on Gulf’s board, through its takeover by Chevron in the mid-1980s.  She also became the first woman to be a member of the Duquesne Club, Pittsburgh’s Economic Development Commission, the board of the Pennsylvania Public Television Network Commission, and the board of the Allegheny County Port Authority.


In an interview with the United Press International in 1981, she recalled being asked by a television reporter at the time of her appointment to the Port Authority’s board if, as a woman, she felt qualified to be a board member.  “’I told him I didn’t know of a man on the board who had as much business experience as I had,’ she said sweetly.”


As president, Sister Jane is remembered fondly by students and faculty alike.


Friends will be received Monday, February 19, from 1-7 p.m. at the Convent of Mercy, 3333 Fifth Avenue. Funeral Mass will be celebrated Tuesday, February 20, at 11 a.m. in the Chapel at the Convent of Mercy, followed by interment in St. Xavier Cemetery, Latrobe. Arrangements entrusted to the EDWARD P. KANAI FUNERAL HOME, 500 Greenfield Avenue. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sisters of Mercy Retirement Fund or Carlow University Endowed Scholarship Program.




About Carlow University

Carlow is a private, co-educational, Catholic university located in the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Eds, Meds, and Tech” district. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow’s graduates, curricula, and partnerships reflect its strong commitment to social justice; ethical, forward-thinking and responsible leadership; and service to the community that has a meaningful impact. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in three colleges: Health and Wellness, Leadership and Social Change, and Learning and Innovation. Carlow graduates are in demand for their professional expertise, in fields ranging from nursing, the sciences, and perfusion technology to counseling, education, and forensic accounting; their entrepreneurial spirit and creative mindset; and their ability to manage change.  Carlow’s 13 athletic teams are known as the Celtics, a reflection of the university’s Irish heritage and roots.


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