Remembering memorable moments

Throughout the decades, alum continue to embrace their Carlow education.

Carlow University, formerly Mount Mercy College, has seen thousands of graduates walk its halls since 1929. During this 90th anniversary year, a few took pause to reflect upon their decisions to attend Carlow and the ways in which their formal education at this mercy institution prepared them well for not only their careers, but their life’s journeys.

Jeanne Daugherty Lese, ‘61

Bachelor’s degree in English, sociology/psychology minor

I came to Carlow (then Mount Mercy College) because I was offered a partial scholarship and I could attend while living at home. I was the first girl in my extended family to go to college. We had little disposable income. With no car or even a bus available, I took the 77/54 streetcar to school every day! Most of the students were just like me — first generation girls of limited means — so I felt right at home.

Carlow brought out the best in me and gave me a good foundation for writing, research, critical thinking, graduate school, and life. I am grateful for the experience I had there.

Lese went on to earn a master’s degree in English and taught English at Rosemont College, Penn State Extension in McKeesport and Mount Mercy College. She also worked as a copywriter for Federal Investors, Pittsburgh.

Thelma Lovette Morris, ‘70

Bachelor’s degree in speech pathology

When I selected Mount Mercy, I said I wanted to be a name and not a number. I was a name, and people knew me. I wasn’t just another student in a class like someplace very large. We had great relationships and fond memories. For example, I saw Sister Jane Scully at a Carlow event, and I started introducing myself. She said, ‘Thelma, I know who you are.’ And she was the (6 th) president of Mount Mercy!

Sister Rita Alice Fitzgerald prepared us so well that when I went to graduate school, there were many things I did not have to take because I was prepared. My experience there gave me a greater appreciation for the field I chose to go into. I really value the experiences I had at Carlow.

Morris went on to earn a master’s degree in speech pathology and served as a speech and language pathologist and assistant director of human resources for Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Cynthia Busin Nicola, EdD, ‘78

Bachelor’s degree in business management

My aunt, a Sister of Mercy, encouraged me to attend Carlow for one of their newest majors, business management. At the time, women were just beginning to enter management positions in the corporate world.

The small environment, supportive faculty (many of whom were Sisters of Mercy), and an involved department chair, Dr. Emerson Milligram, provided me with direction and encouragement.

Looking back, there are several aspects that prepared me exceptionally well: high standards for assignments and class conduct; the liberal arts foundation; and the required internship experience. The college culture was one of respect, encouragement and quality.

As the years have gone on and my life has experienced its own challenges and changes, I credit Carlow with providing me with the skills that have carried me through.

Nicola went on to earn a master’s degree in adult education and a doctorate in higher education administration. She currently serves as a professor in Carlow’s School of Management.

Amy Johnston Allen, 00

Bachelor’s degree in philosophy

Carlow’s principal mission of educating its students, in all disciplines, with an eye toward justice and mercy prepared me well for my chosen career in the legal profession. During my 14 years as a prosecutor, I was faced daily with challenges that brought those tenets that were instilled in me at Carlow to the forefront of my decision-making.

Carlow adheres to providing a holistic education with the highest of ethical standards in mind. I have never regretted my decision to attend Carlow. I highly recommend this university to anyone with a desire to engage in transformational learning experiences in which they can realize their full potential and become career-ready ethical leaders committed to a just and merciful world.

Allen went on to receive a law degree and work as an assistant U.S. attorney and as a prosecutor in the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office. She’s currently a senior litigation attorney for FedEx Ground Package System, Inc. and is enrolled in Carlow’s E-MBA program.

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