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Sister on a ‘mission’

Date: 9/2/2011

Sister Roberta A. McKelvie, OSF, Ph.D., has been appointed Special Assistant to the President for Mission and will join the president’s cabinet this fall, President Thomas F. Flynn announced recently. In this role, Sr. Roberta will lead campus-wide mission education and integration efforts. She will serve part-time during the fall 2011 semester, assuming the role in a full-time capacity beginning in January.
A member of the Alvernia community for many years, Sr. Roberta will work with Alvernia’s Vice Presidents to develop mission integration plans for each division of the university, and will also chair a campus-wide leadership group that will coordinate mission-centered initiatives. She will work closely with Father Kevin Queally, Alvernia’s chaplain and director of Campus Ministry, who is assuming responsibility for new mission education programs. 

In her role, Sr. Roberta will also draw on the expertise of Dr. Kevin Godfrey, faculty member and executive director of the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities, and Sister Margaret Carney, president of St. Bonaventure University and an Alvernia trustee.

“We are so fortunate to have someone with Sr. Roberta’s background and expertise to lead our campus mission efforts,” said President Flynn. “She has been a leader on our Board of Trustees and is an accomplished scholar with considerable expertise in the distinct spirituality and intellectual tradition of Fransicans.”

Since 2006, Sr Roberta has served on the Bernardine Franciscan Congregational Council. Prior to that, she was managing editor of Franciscan Institute Publications at St. Bonaventure University, shepherding nearly 30 individual titles to publication in less than five years. In addition, Sr. Roberta edited The Cord, A Franciscan Spiritual Journal and was part of the production team for several volumes of Franciscan Studies. Other academic contributions include service as a distance-learning teacher for the Institute of Contemporary Franciscan Life, sponsored by St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa.

Between 1998-2008, Sr. Roberta served as a pilgrimage leader for Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs. She has also worked as a retreat director and presenter at events for various Franciscan conferences and Third Order groups. She holds master’s degrees in English and franciscan studies and a doctorate in historical theology, in addition to her undergraduate degree from Alvernia.

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.