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From The Hill title of “Alumni Distinguished Professor,” and she was elected to the Academy of Teaching Excellence. She also serves half time as associate dean of Virginia Tech’s graduate school. She’s done wide-ranging research through the years, with a special focus on resiliency – the quality that enables older adults to remain active and engaged in life even though they might have aches and pains, be widowed, or live on a low income. Rosemary’s latest book, due out this year, is titled Spiritual Resiliency and Aging: Hope, Relationality, and the Creative Self. Also coming out this year is a revised version of her popular textbook, Handbook of Families and Aging.

Mary Daly ’66, Rosemary Blieszner ’70, Kathleen Blieszner ’72

Three named Distinguished Alumni Mercyhurst University bestowed its Distinguished Alumni Award on three women during its annual Reunion Weekend held on the Erie campus June 1-3. Mary Daly ’66, who serves as President Thomas Gamble’s liaison to the Board of Trustees and board professional, was honored for a career spanning 46 years of service to her alma mater. Also honored were sisters Rosemary Blieszner, Ph.D. ’70, a professor of human development at Virginia Tech, and Kathleen Blieszner, Ph.D. ’72, regulatory affairs manager at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio. During much of her career, Daly was the highest-ranking woman executive at Mercyhurst. She left Mercyhurst only briefly, heading to Fairfield University to earn a master’s degree in corporate and political communication. Among many “firsts,” she was the first woman to serve as president of the Erie Ad Club and to earn the George Mead Award for a Distinguished Career in Public Relations and Advertising. 21

Daly introduced the concept of branding at Mercyhurst in the 1980s, launched the school’s first professional website, and founded the Mercyhurst Magazine and the Monday Morning campus newsletter. Her advertising campaigns captured many awards, including a pair of coveted silver awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. She’s well-known for the major events she managed, from graduations, Christmas parties and building dedications to the D’Angelo Young Artists Competitions and the popular Old-Fashioned Fourth of July celebrations. Outside of work, Daly’s active in a number of Catholic organizations, including the Mercy Associates, the Knights and Ladies of St. Patrick, and the Catholic Daughters of America. Rosemary Blieszner got her Mercyhurst degree in home economics, and returned to campus to teach after earning her master’s at Ohio State. Later, focusing in the emerging field of gerontology, she pursued a doctorate from Penn State and launched a 30-year career at Virginia Tech. A professor of human development, she’s one of only 10 faculty members at the Blacksburg campus to earn the coveted

Kathleen Blieszner followed a different but equally successful path than her sister. The only chemistry major in her class, she earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in organic chemistry at Ohio State. She did post-doctoral research there, and at other sites including Harvard Medical School and the University of Pittsburgh, before joining Proctor & Gamble. As a senior scientist with the well-known consumer-goods manufacturer, her work was creating, as she says, “better living through chemicals.” She worked on projects like making toilet tissue softer and stronger and baby wipes softer on skin. She also holds a U.S. patent for a silicone emulsion lotion for baby wipes. Eventually she added responsibility for regulatory affairs, handling P&G’s tissue, towel and facial products. In 2001 she moved into Procter & Gamble’s pharmaceutical division. Still specializing in regulatory affairs, she supervised relations with agencies like the FDA that work to assure quality and safety as the company developed new drugs. Today, she works especially with feminine care products that are heavily regulated as medical devices. Nominations are now being accepted for the Distinguished Alumni awards that will be presented during Reunion Weekend 2013. To recommend an outstanding graduate for recognition, contact Director of Alumni Relations Ryan Palm at (814) 824-3320 or

Mercyhurst Magazine - November 2012  
Mercyhurst Magazine - November 2012