Dr. Rosalie (Rosalina) Mary Ghilardi Mirenda

After a faith-filled journey with cancer, surrounded at home by her loving husband of 62 years and her children, the Mirenda and DelleMonache families announce the death of Dr. Rosalie (Rosalina) Mary Ghilardi Mirenda. She was 85.

In addition to the Good Lord, we have Rosalie’s parents the late Achille and Anna (Pierotti) Ghilardi, and her sister, the late Marisa Ghilardi Odzinski (Vincent), to thank for the strong Italian roots, an American dream that held no bounds and an unwavering faith that combined to launch Rosalie Ghilardi into this world.

She leaves behind her husband, Anthony (Tony), three children Anthony Jr. (Tracey Cornogg), John (Laura Knights) and Rosalie (Lee) DelleMonache (David). Her pride and joy were her five grandchildren, Anthony (AJ) and Steven DelleMonache and Justin, Alyssa, and Gabriela Mirenda. She also leaves behind in-laws, numerous nieces and nephews, cousins, and loyal friends who loved and admired her deeply.

Born to Italian immigrants and raised in South Philadelphia, Rosalie was a proud alum of St. Paul 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 Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Villanova University.

Thanks to a Frank Sinatra theme night at the Sons of Italy, Rosalie and Tony met and began a beautiful relationship characterized by love, family, commitment, support, humor, and respect for each other. Her late in-laws, Diego and Carmela (Carino) Mirenda welcomed her as daughter and sibling to the late Catherine (Sam) Anastasia, the late William (Inez) Mirenda, the late Theodore (Mary) Mirenda, the late Dominic (Rose) Mirenda, and Mary (Albert) Zurzolo.

Dr. Rosalie Mirenda earned her PhD from Widener University, her MSN from the University of Pennsylvania, and her BS in Nursing from Villanova University.

Rosalie’s 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 first 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.

Dr. Rosalie Mirenda forged a reputation as a tireless advocate, savvy visionary, and faithful Catholic in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. She enhanced and leveraged the University’s distinctive Catholic Franciscan identity while leading. Dr. Mirenda took great pride in sharing her Catholic faith, beliefs, and wisdom with others, not only as a leader but more importantly in how she lived her life.

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 9 to 24, and state of the art residence halls were built to accommodate more than 700 students.

In 2009, the University 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.

Designed to be more than an athletic center, the building used exhibits and storytelling to provide a unique perspective on sports, one that goes beyond the obvious element of competition to address the myriad ways in which students learns life lessons, develop character, and deepen their relationship with God through sports.

Athletic fields were added and/or upgraded and the science and nursing laboratories were renovated as was the library and the Chapel to ensure appropriate environments for student learning, faith formation, and success.

In 2016, the Communication and Digital Media program was enhanced with the construction of the John and Joan Mullen Communications Arts Center-a technologically advanced media arts center containing two television studios, a radio station with three broadcast booths, and technology and spaces dedicated to keeping students current and equipped to work in the ever-changing digital media profession.

Rosalie served on many boards, including the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the PA Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Seton Hall University, Archmere Academy, Holy Child Academy, and the Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. She also served on the board of the World Meeting of Families 2015, Inc., and served as Chair of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary’s Task Force on College.

She was appointed by the late Bishop Joseph McFadden to the ExCorde Ecclesiae Working Group for the Committee on Catholic Education of the U.S. Conference of Bishops.

In response to the scheduled closing of St Katharine Drexel School, the last Catholic school in Chester, Pa., Dr. Mirenda led efforts to form a partnership between the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Neumann University, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia and St. Katharine Drexel Parish to create Drexel Neumann Academy, an independent Catholic school with a Franciscan spirit which has been serving the Chester community since 2007.

Dr. Mirenda has been recognized by a number of organizations for her steadfast faith, distinguished character, and numerous accomplishments in education.

She received the Filitalia International Education Honor (2022); St. Norbert Award from Archmere Academy (2019); Commodore John Barry Award from the American Catholic Historical Society (2017); the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Francis (2016); St. Joseph the Worker Medal from the Malvern Retreat House (2015); Gary Papa Award from the Delaware County Community Foundation (2013); Sons of Italy Distinguished Achievement Award (2013); Sourin Award from the Catholic Philopatrian Society (2012); Catholic Graduate Hall of Fame Award from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (2011); Woman on the Move Award from The Main Line Times (2011); Keys and Sword Award from Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul (2011); Catholic Leadership Institute Award (2010); Outstanding Alumnus Award from Widener University (2006); Pontifical Honor of the Cross, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (2003); and the Nursing Alumna Award from Villanova University (1999).

Dr. Mirenda is also the proud recipient of honorary degrees from Neumann University (2017), Saint Charles Seminary (2005), and the Universidad lnteramericana Costa Rica (2002).

Family and Friends are invited to visit from 5:00 p.m.to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, at Church of Incarnation 240 Main Street Mantua, NJ 08051. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, at Church of Incarnation 240 Main Street Mantua, NJ 08051. Final disposition to be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you honor her love for her Catholic faith and her commitment to ensuring access to Catholic education by making donations in Rosalie’s name to one of the following: The Church of Incarnation, Mantua, New Jersey ; The Mirenda Family Scholarship Fund at Neumann University ; or The South Jersey Scholarship fund for Catholic Education.