GMercyU Honors Six Distinguished Alumni

September 18, 2018
The Distinguished Alumni Award recipients pose with Gwynedd Mercy University President Deanne D'Emilio.

Six outstanding Gwynedd Mercy University alumni were honored at the annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner on Friday, September 14. The annual event recognizes the hard work and dedication of GMercyU graduates who have represented the institution and its ideals in their work and everyday lives.
The 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award was given to these four deserving alumni:

  • Representative Mary Jo Daley earned her associate’s degree in medical secretarial science from Gwynedd Mercy University in 1969 and continued her studies at the University of Pennsylvania where she earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in public administration. Mary Jo grew passionate about civil and human rights and community service, which ultimately led her to pursue a career in government. Mary Jo’s life as a public servant began in 1992, where she served on the Narberth Borough Council for 20 years. In 2012, Mary Jo was elected to represent Montgomery County’s 148th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and currently serves on five standing committees.
  • Command Sergeant Major Sheldon Gray graduated from Gwynedd Mercy University in 2011 with his bachelor’s in business administration and is currently working on his master’s degree at John Hopkins University. Sheldon’s career with the United States Army began in 1985 and has served in every leadership position and most recently celebrated his promotion to the rank of Command Sergeant Major, the highest and rarest enlisted rank in the Army. He serves as the senior enlisted advisor to the 3rd Battalion, 108th Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 100th Division, where he is responsible for preparing approximately 80 soldier instructors for combat training. His undeniable dedication and hard work has earned him several awards such as the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and many more. 
  • Christine Smith graduated with her bachelor’s of science degree in psychology from Gwynedd Mercy University in 1987 and went on to earn her master’s degree in counseling psychology and human services from Chestnut Hill College. Christine is the co-founding director and board president of the Center for Loss and Bereavement in Skippack, Pennsylvania, which provides professional counseling and support for individuals and families dealing with loss. Previously, Christine worked in community mental health, hospital settings and public high schools providing individual and group support with an emphasis on crisis intervention. She also provided family education trainings to families at risk and conducted community grief and bereavement programs.
  • Barbara Tournier earned her master’s in nurse pediatrics from Gwynedd Mercy University in 1993 and began her nursing career as a Psychiatric Nurse helping schizophrenic patients on their road to recovery. Wanting to explore the research side of her profession, Barbara later joined Merck Pharmaceutical Co. for seven years where she reported on newly-approved drugs. She also worked at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia which eventually led to her to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where she was recruited to coordinate NIH-sponsored studies. All of her hard work and dedication to her research awarded her a University of Pennsylvania Nursing Excellence Award, as well as a position as a finalist for the State of Pennsylvania Nightingale Award in Nursing Research. Following her career at Penn, Barbara served as an Adjunct Professor at West Chester University, which in May 2017, announced the creation of the Tournier Ethics Research Award in appreciation of Barbara’s overwhelming dedication and commitment to her work.

In addition to the four Distinguished Alumni Awards, the Anne Fitzpatrick Murray Alumni Award for Distinguished Service is reserved for GMercyU alumni who have made significant public service contributions by sharing or volunteering their talent, time, and resources in the spirit of Mercy.
The following two alumni were recognized as this year’s recipients of the Anne Fitzpatrick Murray Alumni Award:

  • Ann Menna graduated from Gwynedd Mercy University in 1977 with her bachelor’s of science in elementary education. Ann later earned her master’s in religious education at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. She left teaching to be a stay-at-home mom, but was continually active in her church and other local parishes. She returned to teaching at Villa Joseph Marie High School as a theology teacher and chair of the theology department and became the director of Parish Elementary Religious Education in 2007. In 2014, Ann was appointed the first female Deputy Secretary the Archdiocesan Office for Catechetical Formation, a position which was traditionally a clergy appointment. As Deputy Secretary, Ann assists the Bishop with diocesan religious education and develops and implements comprehensive vision for catechetical formation and instruction for parish religious education programs, elementary and secondary schools, and Catholic Campus ministry.
  • Rashid Santiago graduated from Gwynedd Mercy University cum laude in 2007 with his bachelor’s degree in business administration. While here, Rashid was a four-year starter on the men’s basketball team, where he served as team captain for two consecutive seasons and was named the school’s Male Scholar Athlete his senior year. Upon graduation, he attended Widener University School of Law where he earned his JD in 2010. Rashid is admitted to practice law in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and in 2013, Rashid was elected as Magisterial District Judge in Lehigh County at the age of 29. Rashid has also served as an adjunct Criminal Justice Instructor at Lehigh Carbon Community College and is a volunteer youth sports coach in the Allentown area. 

Congratulations to all the honorees of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner!