Carlow University Honors Five Distinguished Alumnae as Carlow Laureates

Recognized for outstanding academic achievement, professional contributions, and service.

University Communications & External Relations For Immediate Release
Drew Wilson, Director of Media Relations May 03, 2013
412.578.2095 (phone)
412.260.6807 (cell)

Pittsburgh, Pa. - Carlow University selected five distinguished alumnae as its 2013 Carlow Laureates, the University's most prestigious alumnae award. The Laureates were honored at a special luncheon at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association in Oakland on Friday, May 10, 2013.

"Our Carlow Laureates are recognized for their outstanding academic achievements, professional contributions, and serving leadership," says Dr. Mary Hines, president of Carlow University. "Recipients of this award have risen to the highest ranks of their chosen professions, have contributed to new knowledge in their disciplines, and have been guided by the principles of a Carlow educationone tied to academic rigor, but one also tied to service."

The 2013 Carlow Laureates were: 

  • Margaret Meis Armen, JD, chief president and executive officer of MicroCredit NOW. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish in 1969.
  • Barbara K. Mistick, PhD, president of Wilson College. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration in 1990. 
  • Carol Awkard Neyland, vice president of community development at Dollar Bank. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in classical languages in 1973.
  • Sister Cynthia Serjak, RSM, minister in the Office of New Membership, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in organ, music education, and theology in 1972 and her Master of Science in professional leadership in 1997. 

Another Carlow Laureate award was presented posthumously to Rita McGinley, educator and philanthropist. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and English in 1940.

The Laureates participated in Carlow's Spring Commencement at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum on Saturday, May 11, 2013.


About Carlow University

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carlow University was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1929. Offering both undergraduate and graduate programs, Carlow University is a comprehensive master's institution dedicated to learner-centered education at the collegiate levels and at the elementary school level in the Campus School of Carlow University.

Carlow Laureate Biographies

Margaret Meis Armen, JD

Margaret (Margie) Armen, JD, attorney and activist in womens causes, graduated from Mount Mercy College in 1969 with a major in Spanish and a minor in secondary education. She taught in Pittsburgh and in Washington, D.C., until 1973 when she began working for Stouffer Foods Corporation at its headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. She decided to go to law school in 1975 and enrolled in the Cleveland Marshall College of Law of Cleveland State University. Margie served as executive editor of the Cleveland State Law Journal and received several academic prizes. 

After graduation, Margie joined the General Counsels Office of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). GAO is the investigative arm of Congress. It studies the implementation of Federal programs and the propriety of Federal expenditures. Because of the breadth of GAO's mission, it was like having many careers in one job. Margie worked in energy, transportation, housing, environment, defense, criminal investigations, Social Security, and education. In 2006, Margie retired from GAO with the title of Deputy Assistant General Counsel and a real sense of satisfaction in her career of public service. 

In addition to her work at GAO, Margie led several professional organizations. She was general counsel of the American Association for Budget and Program Analysis for more than 10 years, and she served as the associations president from 1993-1994. Margie also served on the Board of Public Financial Publications, Inc., as secretary from 1996-2000 and as president from 20032008. Margie joined Executive Women in Government and was that organization's vice president from 2002-2003. When she joined The International Alliance for Women (TIAW), Margie immediately became active in TIAW's Micro Credit Program. She worked with TIAW Micro Credit from its founding in 1999 to 2013, serving as legal adviser, chief operating officer, and ultimately, director. During her tenure, TIAW Micro Credit founded 125 village banks and supported economic opportunity for thousands of very poor women in 26 countries around the world. Margie was also TIAW secretary (2003-2005) and counsel (20052008). 

Continuing her work for women entrepreneurs in the developing world, Margie recently founded her own firm, Micro Credit NOW, a think-tank for developing impartial and reliable metrics for the success of micro credit, cataloging best practices for the microfinance industry, and promoting innovation in providing financial services to the world's hardest working women. 

Margie has been published in professional journals and received many professional awards. She is married to her high school beau, Bob Armen, and they live in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Barbara K. Mistick, PhD

Barbara K. Mistick, PhD, began her tenure as the 19th president of Wilson College in 2011, where she is also a tenured professor of business. She served as president and director of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh from 2005 to 2011, making history as the first woman president of the first public library in the nation, founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1895. Previously, she was a distinguished service professor of public policy and management in the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University. 

Barbara holds a prominent leadership role in some of higher educations most influential state and national organizations. These include membership on the board of directors of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities (APCU) and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania (AICUP), as well as the Pennsylvania Library Association (PaLA). 

Highlights of Barbara's presidency at Wilson include the formation of a Commission on Shaping the Future of Wilson College, which has led to the adoption of "Wilson Today," a set of historic changes that will institute a new division of health sciences; establish a new model value equation for higher education, including an innovative loan buy-back program for graduates; and the adoption of coeducation across all cohorts of the College. 

Barbara received her Bachelor of Science from Carlow College, her Master in Business Administration from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, and her Doctorate in Management from Case Western Reserve University.

Carol Awkward Neyland

Carol Neyland, vice president of Community Development at Dollar Bank, has worked in the financial services sector for more than 30 years. Prior to her assignment as vice president of Community Development, she served as a private banker at Dollar Bank where she enjoyed building a portfolio of high-net-worth clients. 

Prior to joining Dollar Bank, Carol was responsible for regulatory compliance for the local office of TIAA-CREF and was specifically responsible for the regulatory supervision of financial advisors that delivered wealth management services to professors and physicians at local colleges and universities in Pennsylvania.

Before joining TIAA-CREF, Carol spent 26 years at Mellon Financial Corporation, now BNY Mellon, where she held a number of positions in increasing scope and responsibilities. Some of these positions included commercial lending officer, senior credit officer for the Private Bank, and business development officer for Private Wealth Management. As a commercial lender, one of Carol's biggest accomplishments was arranging the $400-million financing of 900 North Michigan in Chicago, Ill., through a syndicate of domestic and foreign banks. As a business development officer for Mellon Private Wealth Management, Carol brought in more than $69 million in assets over a two and a half year period. 

Carol graduated from Carlow University with majors in Latin and Greek and later won a teaching fellowship to teach Latin at the University of Pittsburgh. After achieving her master's degree in classical languages and unable to find suitable employment, Carol won an appointment as an academic advisor and was then able to complete her master's degree in business administration at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Over the years, Carol has served on a number of non-profit boards, some of which included: Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania, the Urban League, Family Health Council, Pittsburgh Dance Council, Parental Stress Center, Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program, Pittsburgh Civic Garden Center, Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers, and the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. 

Carol lives in Bradford Woods, enjoys casual games of golf, fitness, and experimenting in the kitchen. She has a 29-year-old daughter, Lindsey, who lives in Ross Township and is the executive assistant to the dean of students at the University of Pittsburgh.

Sister Cynthia Serjak, RSM

Sister Cynthia Serjak, RSM, graduated twice from Carlow, completing a BA in theology, music education, and organ performance in 1974, and an MS in professional leadership in 1999. She also has a MFA in musicology from Carnegie Mellon University. 

After serving for more than a dozen years as a music teacher and pastoral musician in schools and churches in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, she was elected to two terms on the leadership team of the Sisters of Mercy of Pittsburgh. Her love for music, and her desire to work with others in making music wherever they are, led her to create a music program for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in the city of Pittsburgh. 

Sister Cynthia served as coordinator of music for the Mother of Mercy Chapel at the Convent of Mercy, and in 2001, began working with young women preparing to become Sisters of Mercy. In 2010, she was appointed to serve as the director of the New Membership Office for the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, coordinating vocational activities and designing programming for women in the formation process in the United States. 

She is a speaker and writer about music and spirituality, having authored two books and co-authored a third, as well as many articles. She also composes music, particularly for the Sisters of Mercy.

Rita McGinley

Rita McGinley, educator and philanthropist, was born and raised in Braddock, Pa. After graduating with degrees in biology and English from Mount Mercy College in 1940, she embarked on what would be a 45-year career as a teacher and guidance counselor in General Braddock and then Woodland Hills school districts. 

Rita credited her time at Mount Mercy, along with her upbringing in Braddock, with inspiring her to dedicate her career, and her life, to student success. As a philanthropist, she maintained that dedication to student success by generously funding The Rita M. McGinley Center for Student Successthe core of the newly envisioned Carlow University Learning Commons. Soon to be located in the repurposed Grace Library at the center of campus, the new Learning Commons will become a focal point of the Carlow student experience. 

In addition to her Bachelor of Arts degree, Rita holds an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Carlow University and is one of Carlow's Women of Spirit®. 

"Along life's journey, we are blessed to encounter and embrace wonderful people who are God's gifts to us. Rita was God's presence and grace in the lives of all whom she met, served, and loved in the spirit of the Gospel: 'Love one another as I have loved you.' She was a woman of faith, hope, joy, generosity, and graciousness. We all recall her warmth, hospitality, respect, humor, insights, memory, and lessons. 

"Rita was always the teacher and the counselor who both taught lessons and showed examples of how to apply those lessons in continuing joyful commitment to service. Rita constantly sought to identify and meet the needs of others, never seeking anything in return but always interested in the outcomes of her generosity. She was truly the Gospels good neighbor in service to others, the daughter of Catherine McAuley in meeting the next great need, and the benefactor who made good things happen in the lives of others. 

Today, Carlow University is honored to bestow its highest honor upon Rita McGinley, not only because her life was the ideal manifestation of the fruits and fruitfulness of a Mount Mercy/Carlow education, but also because she remained loyal to her faith roots and Mercy values throughout her long and gracious life." 

  • News
  • Academics
  • Alumni
  • Students
  • Faculty/Staff
  • Community/Service