The 2023 Presidential Mission Medalist, Virginia Collins Shields '48, is pictured receiving a commemorative citation from Marywood University President Sister Mary Persico, IHM
Virginia Collins Shields '48, left, the 2023 Presidential Mission Medal recipient, receives a commemorative citation from Marywood University President Sister Mary Persico, IHM.

Major Benefactors Recognized at Presidential Society Dinner

At its recent Presidential Society Dinner, Marywood University recognized its major benefactors for their support and commitment.

As part of this evening of recognition, Virginia Collins Shields '48, Jacksonville, Fla., an alumna and trustee emerita of Marywood University, was announced as the 2023 Presidential Mission Medal recipient. Mission medal recipients are servant leaders who embrace a commitment to Marywood's core values of Catholic identity, respect, empowerment, service, and excellence. They inspire others to serve and advance Marywood's commitment to excellence and empowerment through education.

Shields, a member of Marywood’s Class of 1948, has been an integral part of Marywood’s life and longevity, with a remarkable record of extraordinary service that began as a campus leader during her student years and continued throughout her professional career—first as a teacher, then as a research analyst, and, finally, as a highly successful business partner to her late husband, Paul. To her Marywood baccalaureate degree, she added graduate study at Alfred University.

For many decades, Mrs. Shields has given of her time, energy, and resources through vital capital gifts, numerous alumni activities, and notable service on the Marywood Board of Trustees. Her tenure on the board—from 1993 through 2002—occurred during a time of extensive growth. Serving as board chairperson, she was the first Marywood alumna named to this crucial role. When she retired from the Board, Marywood recognized her accomplished leadership by naming her a Trustee Emerita, a distinguished honor bestowed upon those whose impact on Marywood and its students has been transformational. Her abundant generosity and far-reaching vision can be seen in the Shields Center for Visual Arts, which demonstrates her enduring support of the arts. Mrs. Shields has been recognized by Marywood University with the Presidential Medal, the Centennial Medal, and, along with her class, the Sister Denis Donegan Award for Long Term Service to Marywood.

Additionally, Mrs. Shields is a member of the Saint Alphonsus Society, which honors the University's most faithful benefactors. This year, Olin and Rhoda Hamill Cramer ’47 and the Sordoni Family Foundation also were inducted into the Saint Alphonsus Society, which honors benefactors whose lifetime commitments to Marywood have reached or exceeded $500,000.