By Lydia Szyjka

Flag Football

The Atlantic East Conference, in partnership with the NFL and RCX Sports, along with support from the Philadelphia Eagles, announced its plan to be the first NCAA conference—Division I, II or III—to offer varsity female flag football with an anticipated start date of spring 2025. Immaculata, as a member of the conference, will be one of five institutions competing in the first season. Currently, Immaculata students can participate in club-level opportunities and weekend flag football tournaments.

NCLEX Pass Rate

Nursing students achieved a remarkable 97.92% first-time pass rate on the registered nurse licensure exam, or NCLEX, in the 2022-23 academic year. The national NCLEX pass rate for 2022-23 is 90.16%. Immaculata’s students have exceeded the national average NCLEX pass rate for the past seven years. Faculty support the students with extensive resources to prepare for the exam, including a personal NCLEX success coach, progress monitoring, assessment testing and strategic review courses, all of which contributed to the high pass rate of nearly eight percentage points above average.

Home Swim Meets

On Saturday, Oct. 21, the Immaculata University men’s and women’s swim teams held their first home meets in program history against Moravian University. They were a success as the men won 100-28 and the women dominated 130-41. Over the summer, a new scoreboard, lights and electronic touch pads (to record swimmers’ final times) were added to prepare for home meets. New head coach Josh Pace acknowledged that the students now have a “home field advantage.”

Swimmers diving into the pool during a meet
Members of the men’s and women’s swim teams held their first home meet in program history.

“It’s very exciting that we are now able to host swim meets,” stated Gabriel Bocaj ’25, a biology major. “Being able to race and compete at home is an exhilarating feeling, and it marks a huge step in building the team.”

Renovations to Good Counsel Hall

Built in 1955, Good Counsel Hall recently received a makeover, with major renovations to classrooms that included new flooring, furniture, lighting and computer equipment and paint. Faculty and students have complimented the space.

High Praise

Forbes Advisor Education named Immaculata one of the 10 best online colleges in Pennsylvania, citing the University’s affordable tuition, flexible classes, high student retention and high graduation rates. Forbes also released national rankings for online graduate degrees in specific disciplines, scoring them based on credibility, affordability, student outcomes, student experience and the application process. Forbes ranked Immaculata University’s Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition and the Master of Science in Health Care Management among the best graduate programs in their fields. The online Ed.D. in Educational Leadership was among the top ten online Ed.D. programs in the U.S.

Fashion Students Create App for Retailer

Fashion merchandising students in the Industry Challenge class partnered with entrepreneur and fashion designer Bela Shehu, who owns NINOBrand, to create a functional app to highlight her new clothing line, Unbranded. The students were divided into two groups that created competing apps.

A group of women facing camera
Students in the Industry Challenge class, pictured from L to R: Hailey Murphy ’26, Alison Furman ’24, Bela Shehu (shop owner), Elysia Smith ’24, Sarah Klaproth ’26, Lina Castro (director of fashion merchandising program at Immaculata) and Olivia Thorpe ’25.

New Majors and Minors

A new Master of Science in Criminal Justice program begins in fall 2024. This 30-credit, fully online, accelerated master’s program focuses on the theoretical and practical applications of the study of criminology and the criminal justice field. The degree is ideal for anyone interested in the deeper study of behavioral analytics, criminal justice, cybercrime, forensics, homeland security, policing and community relations, the American legal system and sociology. Immaculata also offers a bachelor’s degree in criminology.

An Associate of Arts in Social Sciences launched in fall 2023, along with three career-oriented minors in emergency management, digital forensics and applied politics and policy.

New Partnerships

Immaculata University undergraduates majoring in emergency planning and management can further their education with a Master of Science in Emergency & Disaster Management from Thomas Jefferson University through a new admissions partnership. This partnership, which guarantees Immaculata students admission into Jefferson’s master’s program and waives the application fee, also applies to Immaculata students majoring in public health or minoring in emergency planning and management.

People at a table signing agreements
Attending the signing were Immaculata representatives (L to R) George Schwartz, associate professor for Department of Civic Engagement; President Barbara Lettiere and Provost Angela Tekely. Representatives from Jefferson included (L to R): David Nitsch, assistant professor and program director of emergency and disaster management, Michael Dryer, dean of Jefferson College of Health Professions and Peter Miller, senior associate provost for academic enterprise initiatives.

Collegiate Recovery Program

Immaculata University was recently awarded a grant through the Independence Blue Cross Foundation (IBX) in collaboration with the Association of Recovery in Higher Education to launch a Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP) on IU’s campus. A CRP is a community of students who identify as being in recovery from substance use, process addictions and/or mental health conditions as well as allies of people in recovery. Graduate faculty members in the Department of Psychology and Counseling, David Martinson, Ph.D., and Mary Tabit, Psy.D., are co-directing the IBX grant with support from Jolie Bell, Psy.D., and two research assistants, Carly Koenig and Emily Price.

The purpose of the CRP is to foster a sense of community through peer-to-peer support and outreach. Although in its early stages, the initiative has celebrated several accomplishments, and plans are currently underway to expand the CRP by implementing regular programming for students and allies, such as peer support groups, skills training, social outings and yoga classes.

St. Catherine Medal

Ava Thorley ’24 received the prestigious Saint Catherine of Alexandria Medal for 2023-2024. President Barbara Lettiere ’72 presented the medal to Thorley during the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Aug. 31. The medal is given to a junior student who is selected by University faculty and leadership on the basis of scholarship, leadership and service to the institution. Thorley will graduate with a degree in elementary and special education this spring.

Woman draping medal over women in chapel
Immaculata President Barbara Lettiere presents Ava Thorley ’24 with the 2023-2024 Saint Catherine Medal.

2023 Awards Reception

On Oct. 6, 2023, family, friends and classmates gathered in the Great Hall to celebrate outstanding Immaculatans during the 2023 Awards Reception. Immaculata University bestowed awards on four deserving individuals for the impact they have made in their commitment to the University, their communities and/or their careers. Shown from L to R are award recipients Melanie Dudley ’14 (Scientia Floret Virtute Award), Jo Anne McAdams ’84, ’87 M.A., ’96 Ed.D. for Patricia McAdams ’65, Ph.D.* (Amethyst Award), President Barbara Lettiere ’72Theresa Major Payton ’89 (Mother M. Camilla Maloney Award) and Kelly Clark Thompson for Kathleen Mulhern Clark ’70* (Alumni Medal). 
*Awarded posthumously