Distinguished Alumni Award

S. Mary Hughes, O.P., Ed.D. '68
Prioress
Sisters of St. Dominic

S. Mary Hughes, O.P., Ed.D. '68

Awarded to a Molloy alumnus who demonstrates the true sprit of the College mission, and whose professional career is characterized by a series of outstanding achievements.

Mary Hughes OP, a 1968 graduate of Molloy College, credits the college with three important contributions to her life-a very fine undergraduate education, an environment that fostered her own leadership abilities, and her introduction to the Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville.

Immediately after graduation, Mary entered the Sisters of St. Dominic. She engaged in the ministry of education and began with her first love, early childhood education. The Congregation invited her to educational leadership by appointing her an assistant principal in a large elementary school and then to the position of principal.

At the same time, Mary pursued additional degrees. She earned a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education at Hunter College, a Masters and Doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Certificate in Public Education at St. John's University.

With these credentials, she engaged in the ministry of teacher education, first at St. Francis College in Brooklyn and then at Iona College. She was chair of Iona's Education Department when she was elected Prioress of the Sisters of St. Dominic in 1995. When she completed her term, she was invited to return to Iona as the Special Executive Assistant to the President. Her second departure from Iona came in 2007 when she was again elected as Prioress for her Dominican Sisters.

Mary would be the first to say that God has been very good to her. Her opportunities for leadership have been international, national, and local. She served three year terms as the North American representative to Dominican Sisters International and on the Directorium of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome. She is currently an elected member of the presidency of the national Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization that represents 95% of the apostolic women religious in the United States. As Prioress of the Congregation, Mary serves on the Board of Trustees of Molloy and was the vice-chair of this board from 1996-2001. She is frequently called upon as a speaker and has been the recipient of a number of awards. This Distinguished Alumni Award has special meaning for her because it comes from the college that gave her a foundation for achievement and a life-long desire to give back.