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JULIA CAVALLO, EdD – Executive Director, Ex Offico

Dr. Julia Cavallo became the Executive Director of the Conference for Mercy Higher Education (CMHE) in August 2021. Working in concert with a 12-member Board and the Mercy Presidents Council, Julia develops programs, policies, and practices and builds relationships intended to sustain and enhance the Catholic identity and Mercy ethos of the 17 US colleges and universities founded by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

Prior to joining CMHE, Julia served as Director of Assessment and Institutional Research at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and as the Executive Director of the Association for Benedictine Colleges and Universities. She is skilled at developing and implementing assessment processes institutionally, as well as experience with research and planning. Julia also served two years on the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium Board of Directors. Before working in higher education, Julia began her career as a staff writer for a daily newspaper.

Julia attended Catholic schools from K-12. She went on to earn her BA degree in Communication cum laude from Saint Vincent College as well as her Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction. In 2020, Julia completed her doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pittsburgh. Her dissertation looked at ways to create and sustain a culture of student learning outcome assessment. In 2021, she received the Outstanding Alumni Dissertation Award from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education.

DR. JANE GERETY, RSM  – Board Chair

Dr. Jane Gerety, RSM became the seventh president of Salve Regina University in July 2009.  Prior to becoming president, Sister Jane had been a member of Salve’s Board of Trustees since 1995. Dr. Gerety retired from Salve in June 2019.

Sister Jane left the position of Executive Board Officer for Saint Joseph’s Health System in Atlanta.  She entered the healthcare industry in 1992 when she joined Saint Joseph’s as Senior Vice President, Sponsorship and later Corporate Compliance Officer.

Prior to her move to Atlanta, Sister Jane was the Academic Dean at Carlow College in Pittsburgh, where she also served as an associate professor of English, and director of the Public Leadership Program. She earned a bachelor’s degree in French from Mount Saint Agnes College in Baltimore, a M.A. in French from Middlebury College in Vermont and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Michigan. She has also taught at the junior high and high school levels.

Sister has served on a number of not-for-profit boards including: Saint Joseph’s Health System, Saint John’s Mercy Medical Center, Mercy Housing – Southeast, Project Adventure and Mercyhurst University.  Sister Jane has served on the President’s Council of the Conference of Mercy Higher Education and as chair of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities/RI.

SISTER MARIE PARKER, RSM – Executive Committee Member

Sister Marie Parker, RSM is a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.  She served in educational ministries prior to extensive ministry in healthcare administration with Catholic Healthcare Partners (now Bon Secours Mercy Health) and Catholic Health East/Trinity Health. Through various Mission roles, she was active in sponsorship and governance activities, design and implementation of values integration in organizational processes, promoting and assessing Catholic identity, and facilitating processes for mergers and transitions of facilities.

Sister Marie also served in Incorporation/Formation and Leadership roles for the former Dallas Regional Community of the Sisters of Mercy.  During that time, she was a member of the original Sponsors’ Council for CMHE.  She currently serves on the boards of Marian Woods (Hartsdale, NY); Holy Cross Health (Ft. Lauderdale, FL); and The Mercy Foundation (Dallas, PA).  Previous board involvement included Mount Aloysius College, PA Catholic Health Association, and the United Way of Wyoming Valley.

Marie holds a Bachelor’s degree in French and English from Misericordia University, a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Duquesne University, and a Master’s degree in Theology from Boston College.


Kevin Glauber Ahern, PhD is a public theologian, educator, and organizational leader. He is an associate professor of Religious Studies at Manhattan College, where he has directed the Peace and Justice Studies and Labor Studies programs. His research focuses on the intersections of Catholic social ethics, ecclesiology, and peace studies. An award-winning author, Dr. Ahern has written extensively on the role of Catholic social movements, Dorothy Day, Catholic educational and institutional ministries, and the history of student organizing.

He is the author of Structures of Grace: Catholic Organizations Serving the Global Common Good and the (co)editor of several books, including God’s Quad: Small Faith Communities on Campus and Beyond. Dr. Ahern has been a leader in several national and international organizations and lay movements and recently completed a five-year term as president of ICMICA-Pax Romana, a global community of intellectuals and professionals engaged in the world with a spirituality of action. @kevin_ahern


Rhona C. Free, Ph.D., became the ninth President of the University of Saint Joseph in July 2015. During her time at USJ, she has guided the deliberations that led to the University’s decision to become fully-coeducational and championed the creation of the Women’s Leadership Center. She oversaw the University’s restructuring from five Schools to three; the consolidation of health care programs onto the West Hartford campus; significant expansion of athletic programs and facilities; the launch of the Catholic Promise Scholarship; and completion of numerous capital projects to enhance student life, campus accessibility, and classroom spaces. Dr. Free serves as Past Chair of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges Board of Directors, Vice-Chair of the Conference for Mercy Higher Education Presidents’ Council, and a member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Presidents’ Council; she also is a member of the Connecticut Science Center’s Board of Trustees and a Hartford Hospital Corporator.

Dr. Free came to USJ from Eastern Connecticut State University, where she served as vice president for academic affairs from 2007-2013 and provost from 2013-2015. She taught Economics at Eastern for 25 years before becoming an administrator. In 2004, she was recognized as the Council for Advancement and Support of Education/Carnegie Foundation National Professor of the Year from Master’s Granting Institutions.

Rhona Free holds a bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College, and earned both master’s and doctoral degrees in Economics from the University of Notre Dame.


Peter L. DeAngelis Jr. is a 2023 retiree from Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health where he most recently served as executive vice president and chief financial officer/chief administrative officer. This capped off an extensive career in healthcare administration including leadership positions at Catholic Health East, Trinity Health, and University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Pete has extensive experience and commitment to operational excellence, strategic leadership and financial management. He has led complex integrations of healthcare systems spanning several states and managing billion-dollar budgets. Additionally, he proactively and strategically prepared for major initiatives in healthcare such as repositioning the system for the Affordable Care Act. His career has been focused on growth and expansion of mission and vision.

Pete has also served on several boards including that of: Catholic Health Association, Healthcare Financial Management Association, and Gwynedd Mercy University. He is a former member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Pennsylvania Institute of Public Accountants. He had diplomat status with the American College of Healthcare Administrators. He has served as an adjunct professor for healthcare administration at LaSalle University. Pete earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and an MBA from La Salle University.

Peter L. DeAngelis Jr


Dr. Catherine Darcy RSM joins the Board with broad range of Church, mission and Mercy leadership experience. Her review of the CHA publication Mission Leader Competency Model, 2020 edition situates her in Tier II in most categories. This important review articulates the mission and values of an organization and expresses how to strategize with senior leaders to ensure the centrality of that mission within the fabric of the organization. Sister Catherine is versed in establishing and sustaining structures for on-going participative direction setting, providing opportunities for co-workers and employees to recognize and embrace their roles as integral members of the workplace community. She values discernment processes in an atmosphere conducive to authentic sharing in a context of mission, values and the common good.

Sister Catherine recently accepted a new position in Justice for the Sisters of Mercy. Previously, she served as Executive Director of Mission Integration at Mercy Hospital in Ada, Oklahoma where she influenced hospital administration and other leaders to use the Mercy Mission Statement and Values as the lens through which to make decisions. There, she supported the spiritual care of co-workers and patients. She also served on the second leadership team for the Mid-Atlantic Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, specializing in collaborative development. Her canonical ministry expands over three dioceses: serving as Vice Chancellor and Tribunal Judge for the Camden Diocese, Administrative Director of the Tribunal and Chancellor in the Diocese of Las Cruces, and Tribunal Judge at the Diocese of Trenton.

Dr. Darcy earned a JCD and PhD in Canon Law from the University of St. Paul in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; her JCL in Canon Law from Catholic University of America; an MPS. Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University of Chicago; and is a graduate of our own Georgian Court University with a BA in Mathematics.

DR. MARGARET ANNE DOUGHERTY, RSM – Executive Committee Member

Sister Margaret Anne is a member of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.  Sister recently retired as a Graduate faculty at Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania.  In her 20 years at Alvernia Sister Margaret Anne served as an Executive in Residence, Interim Provost and Vice President for University Life. She went to full-time faculty status as an Associate Professor in the Education Department in 2015.  Sister taught educational administration at both the Master’s and Doctoral level. 

Prior to her time at Alvernia, Sister Margaret Anne served as President of Chatfield College in Cincinnati and Vice President for Student Services at Gwynedd Mercy College (now University). During her time in higher education, Sister Margaret Anne served on Boards of Directors for several nonprofit organizations. In addition to her work in higher education Sister also served as an elementary principal and teacher. 

Sister Margaret Anne holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Gwynedd Mercy College, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Supervision from Temple University and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership from The Ohio State University. 


Katherine A. Greiner is associate professor of theology at Carroll College in Helena, Montana where she is currently holds the Schneller Endowed Professorship in Catholic Mission and Identity. She earned her Ph.D. in Theology and Education from Boston College. Her dissertation, “There is a Wideness to God’s University: Exploring and Embodying the Deep Stories, Wisdom, and Contributions of Women Religious in Catholic Higher Education,” focuses on questions concerning Catholic identity, charism, and mission in Catholic colleges and universities founded and sponsored by women Religious congregations. The Sisters of Mercy and Mercy higher education were at the center of her doctoral research and she has a deep and profound love for Catherine McAuley and the charism and deep stories of the Sisters of Mercy and their ministries. Her teaching and research interests include Christian spirituality, the theology of Christian medieval women mystics, contemporary lay ministry in the Catholic Church, and feminist and contextual theologies. She currently serves on the College Theology Society Board. She has been regular contributor to the blog Daily Theology and is a regular contributor to Liturgical Press’s Loose Leaf Lectionary.


Dr. Joseph R. Marbach became Georgian Court University’s ninth president on July 1, 2015. Dr. Marbach is charged with leading the strategic vision and growth of the university. He is the first male and first lay president in Georgian Court’s history. Dr. Marbach possesses a distinguished background in the academic arena as both an educator and thought leader.  In 2019 Dr. Marbach was given the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Boy Scouts of America Jersey Shore Council.

From 2010 to 2015, he served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at La Salle University. He is the former dean for the College of Arts and Sciences at Seton Hall University, where he also was a professor and former chair of the Department of Political Science.  Dr. Marbach is a past president of the New Jersey Political Science Association and has served on the council of the American Political Science Association’s Section on Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.

Dr. Marbach graduated magna cum laude from La Salle University in 1983, and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Temple University in 1986 and 1993, respectively. His areas of expertise include federalism and intergovernmental relations, state and local government, and New Jersey politics.  Along with several book chapters, Dr. Marbach’s work appears in numerous journals and encyclopedias. An award-winning radio analyst, he is often called upon by journalists for his expertise on state and local government, particularly on New Jersey politics.

RICHARD J. PINKOWSKI, JR. – Executive Committee Member

Mr. Richard J. Pinkowski, Jr., (Rick) is Vice President for Finance at Villa Maria College of Buffalo where he has been employed since 2019.  He had previously served as Vice President for Business/Finance for nearly 30 years at Hilbert College in Hamburg, NY.  Prior to joining Hilbert, he was employed at Villanova University and the University of Notre Dame.  Mr. Pinkowski has volunteered for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) for more than 20 years, primarily as a finance reviewer on visiting teams.  He is currently an MSCHE Commissioner having begun his second three-year term in 2021 and serves as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Finance.  Rick has also served as the Chair of EACUBO’s Buffalo Region Area Planning Committee and was a panel presenter on the topic Coming Waves of Affiliation in Higher Education at the NACUBO Higher Education Accounting Forum in 2015.

Rick earned a BBA in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame and an MSBA from Indiana University.  He is a CPA in the State of New York.

In his local community, Rick is the Chair of the Finance Council of Ss. Columba Brigid Church in Buffalo and was Treasurer of the Hamburg Youth Foundation from 1993-2007.  Rick and his wife Debbie live in Hamburg, New York with their two children.


Cheryl A. Fuller has been a nurse and nurse practitioner for over 50 years.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Vermont and Master of Science in nursing from the State University of New York, Binghamton. Dr. Fuller earned her Family Nurse Practitioner certificate from the State University of New York. She earned her Ph.D. in nursing research and theory development from New York University.

For 21 years, she taught at Misericordia University in the MSN and DNP programs as well as provided clinical supervision for graduate students in a Family Nurse Practitioner curriculum. During 6 of those years, she was the Director of the Graduate Nursing Program. She also provided care to students in the Health Care Center on campus. She is the former owner of Women to Women, Inc. a gynecological practice owned and run by Nurse Practitioners.

Dr. Fuller spent a year in Alexandria, Egypt as a Volunteer in Mission. She has participated in the care of the migrant farmworkers and incarcerated women. She has also spent time teaching research to nursing students abroad in Uganda, Africa at the ACCESS School of Nursing and Midwifery. Dr. Fuller has made multiple state and national podium and poster presentations.

Dr. Fuller is currently a Mercy Associate. She also works as a Pastoral Care Visitor for the Church of Christ Uniting in Kingston, Pennsylvania. Dr. Fuller’s passions include nursing, women’s health, serving the underserved, reading, travel, and nature. She lives in Dallas, PA and has two children and three grandchildren.

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