The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) is honoring Sister Rosemarie Nassif, S.S.N.D., executive director of the Center for Catholic Education at Loyola Marymount University, on April 18, 2022, at its annual convention in New Orleans for her contribution to Catholic education. The NCEA will present her with the Leonard F. DeFiore Parental Choice Advocate Award. “Catholic school communities nationwide are blessed to have Sister Rosemarie Nassif who is a devoted and faithful servant of the Gospel values we hold dear, and we recognize her deep commitment to Catholic school education,” said Lincoln Snyder, the president of NCEA. Sister Nassif is one of five awardees and is now a member of the highly regarded President’s Circle.
“The primary goal of the Center for Catholic Education (CCE) is to advance the vitality of Catholic education on a national level and to ensure all students have the opportunity for a quality Catholic education,” said Sister Nassif. “This award is very dear to me as it highlights the critical importance of providing the opportunity for low-income families to choose the best education for their daughters and sons.” The center brings together a broad range of programs for the development of excellent leaders and attentiveness to the mission of educating the whole student, mind, body and spirit. “All of us dedicated to Catholic education, teachers, administrators, and staff, consider it a calling – a vocation – not just a job,” she said. “This is how God desires me to use all that I have been given in order to make a difference in the lives of others and, hopefully, create a better world for all. This is my understanding of the magis.”
In the past two years the CCE has been providing resources and supporting teachers, administrators and students throughout the pandemic. Sister Nassif said that Catholic school teachers and administrators have been and are giving of themselves totally and fully to assure their students and families are supported educationally, emotionally and prayerfully and that they feel the presence of a powerful faith community instilling hope. Many called the families regularly to see how they were doing and to let them know the school community cared about them and their well-being. Sister Nassif said there is a growth in enrollment in our Catholic schools since the pandemic and that families are witnessing the value of Catholic education academically, spiritually and hopefully in addressing difficult challenges through a faith-filled perspective.
Before joining LMU, Sister Nassif worked at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation as program director for the Catholic Sisters and Catholic Schools priority areas from 2012-17; served as the president of two universities, Notre Dame of Maryland in Baltimore, and Holy Names University in Oakland, California; and was president of the Fund for Educational Excellence.