Carlow University Names 2015 Carlow Laureates; University’s Most Prestigious Alumni Honor

Carlow University has named the 2015 Carlow Laureates. This is the University’s most prestigious honor for alumni.

University Communications For Immediate Release
Drew Wilson, Director, Media Relations
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Five Laureates to Be Honored on Friday, May 8, 2015, during Luncheon at Rodef Shalom Congregation

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Carlow University has named five distinguished alumni as its 2015 Carlow Laureates, the University’s most prestigious alumni award.  The Laureates will be honored at a special luncheon at Rodef Shalom Congregation on Friday, May 8, 2015, at noon.

“Carlow Laureates are alumni whose work, thought, and action demonstrate the highest standards of professional accomplishment and leadership, whether it is in their chosen disciple, in academics or through community service,” said Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD, president of Carlow University. “Recipients of this award are lasting tributes to their own professional excellence, the transformational education they received at Carlow, and the dynamic environment which helped to fuel their ambitions and their desire to make a difference in the best ways they can.”

The 2015 Carlow Laureates are (Complete biographies are included at the end of this release):

Sister Grace Ann Geibel, RSM, PhD, class of 1961, piano and music education, President Emerita, Carlow University.  Sister Grace Ann will receive the honor posthumously.

Barbara Capozzi Kirr, class of 1960, sociology, Executive Director (retired) of Leadership Bartholomew County, Ind., Carlow University Trustee from 2006-2011, and philanthropist.

Louise Reiber Malakoff, JD, class of 1967, biology, attorney (retired), Carlow University trustee, community volunteer, and philanthropist.

Margaret Quinn Rosenzweig, PhD, FNP-BC, AOCNP, FAAN, class of 1981, nursing, associate professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing,

Ellie Buntag Wymard, PhD, class of 1958, English, director, Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Carlow University.

The Laureates will also participate in Carlow’s Spring Commencement at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum on Saturday, May 9, 2015, at 12:45 p.m.


About Carlow University

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carlow University was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1929. Offering both undergraduate and graduate programs, Carlow University is a comprehensive master’s institution dedicated to learner-centered education at the collegiate levels and at the elementary school level in the Campus School of Carlow University.

2015 Carlow University Laureate Biographies

Sister Grace Ann Geibel, RSM

Sister Grace Ann Geibel, RSM, was a Carlow Alumna and the institution’s eighth president.  She served the university for more than three decades as a faculty member, department chair, academic vice president, and president.  Her 17 years of service as president rank as the second longest tenure in Carlow’s history.  Upon her retirement in May 2005, the Board of Trustees honored her with the title President Emerita.

As president, Sister Grace Ann provided leadership during a time of substantial growth for the institution. In addition to being instrumental in obtaining university status for Carlow, she spearheaded the capital campaign for the A.J. Palumbo Hall of Science and Technology to help meet a national need for educating women in these areas. This latter initiative was recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), who honored Sister Grace Ann for her research and commitment to the needs and significance of educating women in the sciences.

During her presidency, Carlow also became a pioneer in the region for adult education through its accelerated learning program for working adults. Additionally, more than 40 new programs were launched; the institution expanded its reach through satellite campuses in Greensburg and Cranberry; and the Women of Spirit program was introduced to recognize outstanding women, who, as leaders in the community, exemplify the Carlow University mission.

In 2004, The Grace Ann Geibel Institute for Justice and Social Responsibility was created to develop a women-centered approach to leadership that seeks to challenge systemic oppression by engaging students, faculty, staff, and community in research, education and service-learning, and outreach. Through her namesake, dozens of life-changing projects have received funding, including Dionne’s Project, the Project to End Human Trafficking and the Youth Media Advocacy Project (YMAP).

This is just a sampling of the many extraordinary initiatives launched under her leadership.

Sister Grace Ann’s leadership touched the lives of thousands of students and influenced the direction of Catholic higher education for this region and beyond.

Barbara Capozzi Kirr

Barbara Capozzi Kirr, the former executive director of Leadership Bartholomew County (Indiana) and a former member of the Board of Trustees at Carlow University, has been a community leader, philanthropist, and volunteer since graduating from Mount Mercy College (now known as Carlow University) in 1960.

Born in Canonsburg, Pa. to Michael J. Capozzi and Sophia Matusic Capozzi, she graduated from Canonsburg High School in 1956 and from Mount Mercy College (now Carlow University) with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology/psychology in 1960.

Employed as a Social Worker for the Pennsylvania Department of Social Welfare from 1960 until 1963, Barbara married David M. Kirr in September 1961 and resided in Kitzingen, Germany from 1963 through 1965.  They settled in Columbus, Ind., in May 1965 and still live there through the present day..

Her community service includes serving as Board President of the Columbus Regional Hospital Foundation, Board President of the Columbus Philharmonic, Board President of Leadership Bartholomew County, President of the Psi Iota Xi Sorority, Co- Chair of the St. Bartholomew $ 10 million Capital Campaign, and on The Salin Bank Board of Directors.

She was recognized for her community service by the Carlow Alumni Association in 1990 when she was presented with the Community Service Award, and Leadership Bartholomew County named her their Outstanding Leader for 1992.  To support her alma mater, she established The Capozzi Kirr Endowment Challenge in 2005, which raised more than $1.6 million  for Carlow’s endowment.

The Kirrs have been blessed with three children: Susan Kirr Martin, Carolyn Kirr Chadwick, and Matthew D. Kirr, and four grandchildren.

Margaret Quinn Rosenzweig

Margaret (Peggy) Quinn Rosenzweig has been a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator and researcher for over 30 years. Peggy grew up in North Side of Pittsburgh, the sixth of nine children of Maryellen and James Quinn. Maryellen was a Mercy Hospital Nurse and instrumental in Peggy’s career choice.

Peggy attended Perry High School, initally attended Gannon College and was a transfer student to Carlow (then) College in 1978 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1981. During her clinical rotations at Carlow she realized that cancer nursing was of great interest to her. Upon graduation she worked at Shadyside Hospital in medical oncology as a staff nurse. After 1 year she left Pittsburgh to work with the Jesuit Volunteer Corp working as a clinic nurse in an underserved farm worker clinic in rural Louisiana. In this role she was introduced to the great health care needs of minority and poor patients and of the potential of the expanded nursing role in meeting these needs.

After returning to Pittsburgh Peggy enrolled in a Family Nurse Practitioner program. After becoming a nurse practitioner Peggy worked in the new field of Bone Marrow Transplantation. Peggy was a pioneer oncology nurse practitioner in the Pittsburgh area.  Nurse practitioners in specialty areas were not common at that time and she created the role for this expanded nursing practice. She developed the outpatient program for Bone Marrow Transplantation at both Montefiore and West Penn Hospitals and worked in this rapidly developing field for 8 years. Married in 1985 to her husband Michael, she also had her 4 daughters, Mollie now age 27, Emily age 26, Amy age 24 and Kate, Age 22 in those years.

In 1994 Peggy went to the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing as a clinical instructor. She had the opportunity to develop a new Nurse Practitioner Program specifically for oncology nurses To this day she continues to direct and mentor nurse practitioner students interested in cancer care. Her experience with preparing nurses for cancer care led to the development of a federally funded nationally disseminated curriculum for nurse practitioners new to cancer care.  Locally, nationally and internationally Peggy has mentored over 100 nurses and other health care providers in cancer care research and practice, growing the next generation of cancer and palliative care nurses well versed in research and clinical care. In addition to research and practice, Peggy is a tireless advocate and consultant for integration of empathic communication skills across levels of nursing education. Her workshops to teach difficult communication skills to nurse practitioners are now integrated into curricula, and widely replicated.

She has maintained a clinical practice as an oncology nurse practitioner in cancer care, specifically breast cancer care for over 27 years.  She also volunteers as a nurse practitioner in the community with underserved patients at the Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center.

Peggy received a PhD in 2001 from the University of Pittsburgh with an emphasis on cancer nursing and received tenure in 2010.. She’s had uninterrupted funding from federal, philanthropic, and intramural sources for 15-years and has become an indefatigable leader in better clinician preparation and improved patient outcomes, (esp., underrepresented populations).  She developed a stellar community-based research team of AA women, deeply invested in promoting culturally sensitive research for systematic investigation to mitigate disparity for underrepresented women in breast cancer. This team won a 2014 Racial Justice Award from the Pittsburgh YWCA. She also developed and leads an interdisciplinary team of basic researchers, oncologists and epidemiologists in the analysis of a clinical data base of over 1000 women, contributing important knowledge regarding the clinical course and end-of-life care for women with metastatic breast cancer.

Peggy energetically models role integration and translational research. She holds local and national leadership positions and sustained commitment to the Oncology Nursing Society and The American Nurses Association, including the Pennsylvania PSNA Practice cabinet. In 2014 she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing.

Louise Reiber Malakoff

Like so many of Carlow’s past and present students, Louise was a first generation college student.  The oldest of eight children of Margret and John Reiber, she grew up in West Deer Township.   Thanks to the encouragement of a dedicated high school guidance counselor, she found her way to Mount Mercy College, and with the financial support and opportunity provided by the school, she graduated in 1967 with a degree in biology/medical technology.  After working in hospital laboratories in Pittsburgh and San Francisco, Louise attended the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, graduating in 1973 at a time when women were still a conspicuous minority in law schools and in the legal profession.

The 1960’s and 1970’s were also, of course, a tumultuous period of protest, progress and social change – an exciting time to be beginning a career in civil rights law.  Louise litigated cases: challenging Pennsylvania’s post Roe vs Wade anti- abortion law; asserting sex and/or race discrimination in employment against, among others, UPS, Volkswagen, Horne’s Department Store, and Bell Telephone, and for the ACLU focusing on First Amendment rights.  But during this period, she also became involved in organizational work for the causes she believed in.  She was a founding member of a Pitt chapter of the Law School Civil Rights Research Council, and a founding member and officer of the Oakland NOW chapter, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (PAAR), and the women’s section of the Allegheny County Bar Association.

In 1979, Louise was recruited for the board of directors of a newly forming social service agency, Alternative Program Associates, whose founder’s pioneered community based and in-home family therapy for children and families involved in the child welfare and juvenile court systems.   The organization expanded its services to include foster care, adoption, and residential and mental health services for children as young as four. It eventually merged with other smaller agencies to become Spectrum Family Services and is now part of Wesley-Spectrum Institute. In more than 20 years of active involvement, Louise chaired the APA Board, numerous committees and events, and went on to start and chair it’s fund raising arm, the APA Foundation.

After leaving her law practice, Louise worked on innumerable political campaigns, and volunteered for many organizations in many capacities.  Some of her more intense and prolonged efforts were on behalf of Temple Sinai, where she served as President from 1995-97, held various other Board executive titles, organized the Temple’s active, inclusive women’s group, and chaired or co-chaired various search committees, and fund raising campaigns and programs.  Similarly, she served on the board of the Western Pennsylvania American Civil Liberties Union, on a number of its committees and in its fund raising efforts.

And, then there is Carlow.  Since 1967, Louise has actively and lovingly engaged in alumnae activities.  She co-chaired the National Alumnae Campaign, to raise funds for the A J Palumbo science and technology building, is completing nine years of service on the University’s Board of Trustees, three years as Board Chair, and is a Carlow Woman of Spirit.

Through and with the support and generosity of her husband Michael, the Malakoff family has also been able to provide financial support to the organizations Louise has worked for as well as many others in the community.

Louise and Michael recently celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary. They are the very proud parents of Sara Malakoff (Horn) and Daniel Malakoff, and grandparents of Madeline and Alexandra Horn.

Ellie Buntag Wymard

Ellie Wymard, is the director of Carlow University’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. She is the author of four books: Talking Steel Towns: The Women and Men of America’s Steel Valley (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2007); Conversations With Uncommon Women: Insights from women who’ve risen above life’s challenges to achieve extraordinary success (AMACOM, 1999); Men On Divorce (Hay House, 1994); and Divorced Women, New Lives (Ballantine, 1990). Conversations was translated and published in South Korea.

Her critical essays on Kate Chopin, Barbara Pym, J.F. Powers, Annie Dillard, John Irving, John Fowles and Mary Gordon are published in academic journals, such as Modern Fiction Studies, Southern Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the South, Studies in Short Fiction, Cross Currents, Commonweal and The Month (London, England). Her scholarship on women writers is evident in “The Quest for Ritual and Celebration in the Comedic World of Barbara Pym,” in All This Reading: The Literary World of Barbara Pym (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press and London: Associated University Press). She has written the biography of J.F. Powers for the Oxford University Press for American National Biography Online.

As an author, she has appeared on radio and television shows throughout the United States and spoken before professional and general interest groups on topics related to her books. For The Critic, she wrote a series of essays based on interviews with Anna Quindlen, Alice McDermott, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lee Smith, Mary Higgins Clark, Patricia Hampl and Jane Coleman, among others. Before an audience of 1,200, she interviewed Amy Tan for the Drue Heinz Lecture Series in Pittsburgh.

During her tenure at Carlow, Wymard developed the Madwomen in the Attic poetry workshops, the Women’s Studies program, the Marie Torre Lecture, The Honors Program, and the Focus on Women lecture series.  She received her PhD with a concentration in American literature from the University of Pittsburgh and she has been a Distinguished Speaker for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council Commonwealth speakers program.  She was named a finalist for the Athena Award.  In 2012, she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humanities by Carlow University.

Wymard lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, attorney Joseph Wymard. They have two sons and seven grandchildren.

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