Former Villa Julie president dies

From Dr. Kevin J. Manning, president of Stevenson University:


“Stevenson University is deeply saddened to share the news that Carolyn Manuszak, former President of Villa Julie College, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, Feb. 10. She was 82.

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Long-time alumni, staff, and faculty here knew and loved Carolyn and understand the indelible mark of her personality on the institution. It was Carolyn’s forward-thinking and persistence that guided Villa Julie on the path to becoming a four-year, independent coeducational institution from its roots as a Catholic women’s secretarial school.

Raised in Reading, Pa., Carolyn attended Trinity College in Washington, D.C. There, inspired by the educational mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur who administered Trinity, she joined the religious order in 1952 and became Sister Mary Stephen. After teaching high school English in Media, Pa., she returned to Trinity College to teach while she earned her Master’s in English at Catholic University.

Although she planned to earn her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, her life took an abrupt turn in 1964 when her order directed her to postpone her studies and instead serve as President of Villa Julie College. That turn was to become the defining moment of both her life and career, making her the youngest college president in Maryland and setting in motion a 34-year career in higher education leadership.

Carolyn served as the third president of the College, but her time at Villa Julie was filled with many firsts: the first four-year degree programs, the first male students admitted, the first concerted efforts to market the College, the first master’s program, and the first endowment. When she retired in 1999, Carolyn offered these parting words: “Villa Julie is not one person. In fact, my greatest satisfaction when I walk out of here will be that, for certain, this College will do just fine.” Carolyn will be greatly missed, but her spirit of tenacity and indomitable commitment to the betterment of our students will continue to inspire us.”