Carlow University Remembers Marylouise Fennell, RSM, EdD

Contact: Sean McFarland, MA
Public Relations & Communications Manager, Carlow University
Phone: 412-260-6807

Seventh President of Carlow University and Sister passes away at age 83 

PITTSBURGH – Carlow University is saddened at the passing of Marylouise Fennell, RSM, EdD, the University’s seventh president, serving from 1982-1988. She was 83 years old.

As Carlow University president, Sister Marylouise (“Weezie”) expanded Carlow University offerings to align with the current and future needs of the professional community. In her work, she partnered with the American Management Association to offer courses directly on the Carlow campus. Cutting-edge degree programs in computer science, chemistry and journalism were added. She would later continue to serve professionally as a mentor, counselor, and search consultant. 

“Sister Marylouise was a gracious and vibrant leader who made an immensely powerful impact as Carlow University’s President,” said President Kathy W. Humphrey, PhD. “Her influence touched lives nationally and internationally. Sister Marylouise never stopped giving back and advocating for the disadvantaged. She will be remembered as a model leader and pioneer for generations of Carlow University students to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family through this difficult time.” 

Her legacy at Carlow University continues through the Marylouise Fennell, RSM, EdD Endowed Scholarship, which supports full-time undergraduate students who have achieved academic excellence but present a demonstrated financial need. 

Sister Marylouise was also a dedicated author, having co-edited 18 books with her longtime writing partner Dr. Scott D. Miller. In total, Sister Marylouise wrote more than 150 articles on higher education.

She also lived the mission of the Sisters of Mercy, having led efforts to grow the Association of Private Universities of Central America (AUPRICA) through collaboration with American university presidents. After consulting with American accrediting agencies, Sister Marylouise empowered these Central American universities to seek formal accreditation.

Revered for a career of service, Sister Marylouise also received ample recognition for her efforts throughout her career. To name a few, she was bestowed with the Pittsburgh Leadership Award in Education, the Mercy Higher Education Colloquium Leadership Award, and the Pittsburgh Woman of the Year award. 

She was also recognized at a state government level at several points in her life. Then Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge named Sister Marylouise as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. Connecticut’s former Governor Ella Grasso appointed Sister Marylouise as Vice Chair of the state’s first Election Commission of the State of Connecticut. Governor Grasso also appointed her to Connecticut’s Adult Probation Board. 

Throughout her career, Sister Marylouise held numerous positions in higher education, including assistant dean of the Graduate Division of the University of St. Joseph, founding director of the Counseling Institute, director of the Pastoral Ministry Institute and founder of the Cross Cultural Counseling Symposium. 

After receiving bachelor’s degrees in education and counselor education from the Diocesan Sisters College, Sister Marylouise received a Master of Education degree and certificate of advanced graduate studies from the University of Hartford. She then went on to earn a doctorate in education from Boston University. 

Arrangements are being made through the Quattlebaum Funeral, Cremation and Event Center in West Palm Beach, FL. 

About Carlow University 

Located in Oakland, the heart of Pittsburgh’s “Eds, Meds, and Tech” district, Carlow University is a private, co-educational, Catholic university founded in 1929 by the Sisters of Mercy. Offering an intimate, personable environment and faculty focused on teaching excellence and experiential learning, Carlow is known for its strong commitment to social justice, ethical forward-thinking leadership and meaningful services that make a positive impact in the community and beyond. 

Carlow University is unique in serving babies to age three through its early childhood education center, children PreK to K-8 at its Campus Lab School, and students from high school to age 823 through its campus network and online educational offerings. From undergraduate degree programs to more than 50 graduate, doctoral and certificate programs, Carlow students graduate ready to meet today’s workforce demands for specialized knowledge and skills. Approximately, 98% of Carlow undergraduate alumni are enrolled in an advanced degree program or employed within six months of graduation. 

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