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November 19, 2020

La Roche University Honors Former President, Dedicates Renovated Seminar Room in her Honor

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 19, 2020 – Today La Roche University paid tribute to its fourth president by dedicating The Sister Mary Joan Coultas Seminar Room in the Palumbo Science Center.

Sister Candace Introcaso, CDP, Ph.D., president of La Roche joined Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Howard Ishiyama, Ph.D., for a ceremony and video tribute honoring Sister Joan, as she is commonly known among alumni. The video was posted to the University’s website.

During her presidency from 1975 to 1981, Sister Mary Joan Coultas, CDP, PhD., launched La Roche’s first capital campaign to finance a new science building, which opened in 1980 and is now known as the Palumbo Science Center. In recognition of Sister Mary Joan’s efforts and leadership, former colleagues and students mounted a campaign to raise funds and name a prominent space in her honor. 

“It seems more than appropriate to honor the woman who led the capital campaign that built this academic space dedicated to the sciences with a learning space in that facility,” said President Introcaso. “It was Sister Mary Joan’s vision and leadership that made this a reality 40 years ago and laid the foundation for La Roche’s excellent academic programs in the physical sciences.”

As part of its recent capital campaign, La Roche committed to a multimillion-dollar renovation effort of the Palumbo Science Center, which officially opened in January 2020. The renovations included new laboratories, classrooms, a nursing simulation center, common areas and faculty offices.

The Sister Mary Joan Coultas Seminar Room, located on the second floor of the Palumbo Science Center, features glass walls and state-of-the-art technology. The space will be utilized for seminar courses where students discuss current research and primary research articles in their fields of study. Students also will use the area as a debriefing room following labs, to practice presentations, and to study while having access to a whiteboard for problem-solving.

Mike Mlinac ’77, president and CEO of the University of North Texas Foundation Inc., was a major supporter who spearheaded the campaign to raise funds in Sister Mary Joan’s honor.

A former student during Sister Mary Joan’s presidency and currently a member of the La Roche Board of Trustees, Mr. Mlinac said, “Sister Mary Joan’s committed and visionary leadership was exactly what was needed to guide a dynamic, growing institution. In addition to putting La Roche on a positive path, Sister Mary Joan has similarly touched the lives of hundreds of La Roche students.”

About La Roche University: A private liberal arts university in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, La Roche University offers 66 undergraduate programs of study, six master’s degrees and one doctoral degree, with particular strengths in education, business, criminal justice, psychology, and health and medical sciences as well as interior design and graphic design. This residential university provides a vibrant campus community for nearly 1,300 men and women enjoying 30-plus student organizations and an exciting NCAA Div. III athletics program. Founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche University embraces its Catholic heritage while welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds. With a legacy of social justice and a commitment to international exchange, La Roche University educates students to be lifelong learners and achievers in an increasingly diverse and global society.