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Neumann University president Rosalie Mirenda passes at 85

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Dr. Rosalie (Rosalina) Mary Ghilardi Mirenda, who served 21 years as president of Neumann University in Aston, Pa., passed away on May 13 at age 85.

She is survived by her husband, Anthony; three children, Anthony Jr. (Tracey Cornogg), John (Laura Knights) and Rosalie (Lee) DelleMonache (David); and her five grandchildren, Anthony (AJ), Steven DelleMonache, and Justin, Alyssa, and Gabriela Mirenda.

Born to Italian immigrants and raised in South Philadelphia, Dr. Mirenda was a proud alum of St. Paul’s and John J. Hallahan High School for Girls. She was the first in her family to go to college and one of the first to earn a nursing degree from Villanova University.

Her career began as a nurse at St Agnes Hospital in South Philadelphia and continued at Fitzgerald Mercy in Darby, Pa. It was at St. Agnes where Rosalie fi rst met the late Sister Margaret Bonner and the late Sister Kathleen Cronin, two of the finest Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, who saw in Rosalie a quality to teach. Under their mentorship, Rosalie’s career evolved into a nurse educator, dean, provost and, ultimately President of Neumann University (formerly known as Our Lady of Angels College) in Aston, Pa. After serving 21 years as president, Rosalie retired from the presidency as President Emeritus in 2017.

During her presidency, the total enrollment tripled, annual and capital giving increased by more than 30 percent, the campus expanded from 14 to 68 acres, new academic programs were added (including three doctorates), athletic teams grew from nine to 24, and new residence halls were built to accommodate more than 700 students. In 2009, Neumann opened the Mirenda Center for Sport, Spirituality and Character Development, a 72,000-square-foot facility named in honor of Dr. Mirenda and her husband, Tony.

Dr. Mirenda received numerous awards and honors, including the Filitalia International Education Honor (2022),
St. Norbert Award (2019) from Archmere Academy, the Commodore John Barry Award (2017) from the American Catholic Historical Society, the Benemerenti Medal (2016) from Pope Francis, the St. Joseph the Worker Medal (2015) from the Malvern Retreat House, the Gary Papa Award (2013) from the Delaware County Community Foundation, the Sons of Italy Distinguished Achievement Award (2013), the Sourin Award (2012) from the Catholic Philopatrian Society, the Catholic Graduate Hall of Fame Award (2011) from thexArchdiocese of Philadelphia.

Services were held on May 16 and May 17.

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