Holy Family Celebrates Student Success at 62nd Commencement


Holy Family University conferred 919 total degrees during its 62nd Commencement Ceremony on Tuesday, May 14 at the Kimmel Center.

Sister Maureen McGarrity, CSFN, PhD, President of Holy Family University, emphasized to the graduates to relish this moment and celebrate their success before making their mark in the world.

“On this occasion of Commencement, we congratulate the Class of 2019 for your accomplishments and acknowledge the long hours, diligent effort, and personal sacrifices that brought you to this very special and memorable day,” McGarrity said. “But at the same time we recognize that this is a time of beginning, of looking forward, and moving on. The Value of Family is now your stage. As you perform your lives on this foundation, our abiding desire is that your unique gifts and talents, honed and refined in accord with the University’s Mission, will have the power to create a culture of love and hope, recognizing the oneness of the human family and transforming the world in which we live.”

Program’s First Graduates


Among the 490 undergraduate and 429 graduate degrees were Holy Family’s first four Doctor of Nursing Practice students, a program that was established in 2017 to provide a doctoral nursing curriculum that is designed to address current and future global health care needs and issues in a variety of health care settings; to prepare graduates for positions of leadership in advanced nursing practice; and to provide a foundation for certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Student Awards


Two awards were presented to graduating seniors during the ceremony. Ashley Beam was named the Mother M. Neomisia Award winner while the Alumni Senior Award went to JoAnne Mamie.

After graduation, Beam is exploring graduate school for either higher education or school psychology while also looking for employment opportunities in a school setting to help students advance outside the classroom and prepare their next milestones in life.

The Mother M. Neomisia Award was established by the Board of Trustees of Holy Family to honor the foundress and first President of the University. This distinction is given annually to the Senior whose qualities of service and loyalty to the University merit particular distinction.


Mamie, a nursing major, is currently studying for the nurse licensing exam. After successful completion, she will start her journey as a nurse in the Navy by going to Officer Development School in Rhode Island and the San Diego Naval Medical Center.

The Alumni Senior Award honors a graduating student who best represents the student body through his/her campus involvement, community service on behalf of the University, life experience, and academic achievements.

Honorary Degrees


Holy Family University presented two honorary degrees during its 2019 Commencement ceremony. Thomas Peterson, Network Television Producer, Author, and Catholic Evangelist and Sister Norma Pimentel, MJ, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley were selected as this year’s recipients.

Peterson received his honorary degree during the graduate ceremony at 9:30 am while Pimentel received her degree during the undergraduate ceremony at 12:30 pm.


Holy Family University proudly bestows the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, to all of our recipients. It is the highest honor that the University grants and is presented to individuals whose contributions to the public good warrant exceptional recognition.

Retiring Faculty

Holy Family University also honored two of its retiring faculty during undergraduate ceremony: Dr. Leticia Diaz from the School of Arts and Sciences and Dr. Mary Wombwell from the School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions.


Leticia Diaz, PhD, Assistant Professor of Spanish, has been a dedicated member of the School of Arts and Sciences faculty since 1993. Prior to joining Holy Family, Dr. Diaz taught at Our Saviour Lutheran High School, North Central College, and Gettysburg College. During more than 25 years at Holy Family, Dr. Diaz has overseen several revisions to the Spanish curriculum and has taught Spanish Language courses at all levels, including courses in Spanish culture and literature. Among her many curricular contributions to the University, Dr. Diaz created common syllabi and standardized learning outcomes for all Spanish courses and worked to create a common set of learning and assessment experiences for all students taking introductory Spanish courses. She also created assessment procedures for the foreign language requirements of the General Education curriculum and Spanish placement protocols for all incoming Freshmen, often meeting with each student individually to ascertain the best language placement.

Dr. Diaz has served actively on numerous University governance bodies and committees, including the Diversity Team, the Residence Life Judicial Board, the Named Scholarship Committee and the Student Life Committee of the Board of Trustees. She has also served faithfully as a Faculty Mentor for students in the First Year Experience.

In gratitude for her years of service to the academic community, Dr. Diaz was awarded the Holy Family University Faculty Senate Golden Toga Award.


Mary E. Wombwell, EdD, RN, CNE began her career at Holy Family University as an adjunct faculty member in 1992 and assumed a full-time faculty position in 2004. She advanced in rank while at the University, earning the rank of full professor in 2012. A practicing registered nurse, Dr. Wombwell holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Holy Family University, a Master of Science in Nursing from Villanova University, and a doctorate in Higher Education, Leadership and Administration from Widener University.

At Holy Family, she has taught a variety of baccalaureate and graduate level courses including Research Methods, Assessment and Evaluation of Learning Outcomes in Nursing, Teaching and Learning in Nursing, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Introduction to Health Promotion and Wellness, Health Policy, Organization and Finance.

Dr. Wombwell has served as the RN-BSN coordinator since 2010 and in 2014-2015 she provided leadership for the School of Nursing and Allied Health Professions as its interim Dean. During the course of her clinical career of over 40 years, Dr. Wombwell has practiced as a medical surgical, operating room, and home services nurse. Earlier in her career she was certified in perioperative nursing practice by the Association of Operating Room Nurses. Certified by the National League for Nursing as a nurse educator (CNE), she has demonstrated expertise in the educator role and met the highest standards of excellence.

In 2016, Dr. Wombwell was recognized by the Pennsylvania League for Nursing with the Nurse Educator for BSN and Higher Education Faculty Award. She has served in leadership roles with Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Delta Tau Chapter-at-Large, National League for Nursing and Pennsylvania League for Nursing. A successful grant writer, she has secured nearly $150,000 in funding from organizations including the WW Smith Foundation, the Helene Fuld Foundation, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Library Science Technology Act.