Lifetime Achievement Award
he Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to extraordinary individuals who embody the true spirit of Molloy College. The recipients are recognized as solid corporate citizens, and those who demonstrate exceptional leadership and service within their community, and who hold in high esteem the notions of volunteerism and philanthropy.
Laura A. Cassell - Executive Director/CEO Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockville Centre
Laura A. Cassell was appointed Executive Director/CEO of Catholic Charities by Bishop John R. McGann, effective December 1, 1999. As such, she is the first female to hold this position in the Diocese of Rockville Centre and is also the first lay female to serve in this capacity in any of the eight (8) dioceses throughout New York State. In December 2001, Bishop Murphy appointed Laura to the Bishop's Cabinet as Secretary for Social Services. In this capacity, she has additional oversight responsibility for the Diocesan Office of Prison Ministry.
Laura joined Catholic Charities in 1988 and previously held the positions of Chief Operating Officer and Director of Finance. As Executive Director, she is responsible for the service and administrative operations of this health and human service agency with an annual operating budget of over $37 million that serves over 60,000 persons each year. Formerly on staff at the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) in New York City, Laura went on to serve as Internal Auditor and Assistant Controller at Southside Hospital, a 500-bed facility, located in Bay Shore, New York. She is licensed as a CPA and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. In addition to her professional experience in industry, Laura also taught an evening accounting curriculum at the Grumman Data Systems Institute.
Laura serves on many committees and Boards including the Diocesan Lay Pension Committee and the Cleary School for the Deaf. She holds the office of president for the sixteen (16) Diocesan Housing Development Fund Companies. Under her leadership, Catholic Charities activated a Special Needs Shelter during both Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy and is actively involved in working with families impacted through the Agency's Disaster Response & Preparedness program. Laura also served as Chair of the Diocesan Relief Committee, established for the purpose of coordinating the Diocesan response to victims of the September 11 WTC Disaster.
Other professional affiliations include:
- Caritas Internationalis Review Committee - Member
- CCUSA - Catholic Identity Steering Committee - Member
- NYS Council of Catholic Charities Directors - Executive Committee - Vice Chair
- Molloy College Board of Trustees - Vice Chair
- Molloy College Executive Committee - Member
- Molloy College Fiscal Affairs and Audit Committee - Chair
- Molloy College Investment Sub-Committee - Member
- JP Morgan Chase Community Advisory Board - Member
- Manhattan College School of Business Board of Advisors - Member
- Manhattan College School of Business Mission & Strategic Planning Committee - Member
- Long Island Local EFSP (Emergency Food & Shelter Program) - Board Member
- L.I. Housing Partnership, Inc. - Member of Board & Finance Committee
- Community Development Corp. of Long Island Council of Advisors - Former Member
- Caritas Internationalis Finance Commission - Former Member (2007 - 2015)
In 2004, Laura received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Molloy College. In 2014, Laura was honored by The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Nassau County with the Denis Dillon Apparitor Fidelis Award at their Annual Red Mass. The Long Island Business News has recognized Laura twice; in 2012 she received the 50 Around 50 Award, and in 2003 they recognized Laura as one of the year's fifty most influential women. The Sisters of St. Joseph honored Laura for her outstanding leadership and performance in the not-for-profit field in 2002. In November 2000, Laura was the first female recipient of the Amityville Dominican Sisters Veritas Award, in recognition of her commitment to provide for the welfare of others and bring truth to the forefront in her endeavors. During 1996, she was recognized by the Long Island Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society with the MS Leadership Award. The "Class of '96" is a group of Long Island leaders who are honored for their outstanding contributions and commitment to the Long Island community.
Laura is a life-long resident of Long Island. She graduated, Summa Cum Laude, from Manhattan College in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. In November 1983, Laura received her CPA license. She and her husband, Gerald, are members of St. Patrick's parish in Bay Shore.