Notre Dame College Presents Fidelia Award in 2018 to Sister of Notre Dame Alumna, Leader, Educator

Notre Dame College will honor alumna Sr. Mary Frances Murray, SND, ’64, Ph.D., who has served as both a vice president and a trustee and is a current staff member at the College.

Murray, an instructional advisor in the Notre Dame Academic Support Center for Students with Learning Differences, will receive the honor at an invitation-only event on Thursday, September 20, at the College. The Notre Dame Board of Trustees presents the Fidelia Award to persons who have demonstrated distinguished service and outstanding fidelity to the College and to the Catholic faith.

Murray was named provincial superior of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Chardon in 1993 and served as a member of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees from 1993-1998. She was the College’s commencement speaker in 1996. From 1998-2010 she served as a member of the General Government of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Rome, Italy.

Prior to her position as a trustee, Murray served as vice president for institutional planning and assessment and assistant to the president at the College from 1988-1993. She also spent a year as acting vice president for student development from 1988-1989.

Murray earned a Bachelor of Arts in social studies with a minor in French from Notre Dame, a master’s degree in East Asian history with a geography minor from the University of Minnesota and a doctorate in higher education administration with a concentration in organizational development from Kent State University. She has a post-master’s certificate in secondary school administration from John Carroll University and has participated in additional study at the University of Notre Dame, Ohio University and Cleveland State University.

With the Sisters of Notre Dame

As provincial superior of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Chardon from 1993-1998, Murray and her council oversaw the life and ministry of 500 Sisters serving mainly in Ohio, Virginia, Florida and North Carolina.

From 1998-2010, as a member of an international team of Sisters elected to the Congregation’s General Government, Murray advanced the mission and charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame serving internationally in 17 countries.

She celebrated her Golden Jubilee as a Sister of Notre Dame in 2012.

As a Teacher and Administrator

Murray served as both a teacher and an administrator for more than 50 years. Her teaching experience included theology, social studies, English and French at St. Peter High School in Cleveland and Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown. Murray also served a total of 12 years at Regina High School in South Euclid including as principal from 1973-1979. From 1979-1984 she was principal at Elyria Catholic High School.

For Professional Development

During her career in education, Murray has been enriched through her participation in the Society for College and University Planning, the American Association for Higher Education and the Ohio Conference for College and University Planning.

In Service to the Wider Community   

From 2012 to the present, Murray has been a member of the Interfaith Good Tidings Benefit Choir, which performs Handel’s Messiah twice a year in support of the Geauga County Hunger Task Force. From 2015 to the present, she is a member of the Board of Directors of Notre Dame Schools, Chardon, Ohio, advancing the mission of both Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School and Notre Dame Elementary School.

About the Fidelia Award

First bestowed in 1981, the College’s Fidelia Award is similar in scope to the Laetare Medal presented by the University of Notre Dame and the Cardinal Gibbons Medal presented by the Catholic University of America.

Recipients of the College honor receive The Fidelia, or Faithful One, a sculpture, which is 15 inches high and depicts Mary as a model of both reflection and service.

Sculptor Joseph Turkaly was commissioned in 1981 to fashion a distinctive image of Our Lady reflecting the ideals of the College. Sister Mary Inez, president of the College from 1963 to 1967, conceived the form and identity of this sculpture.

The award is granted by majority vote of the College’s Board of Trustees to a nominee deemed to have a record of distinguished service to Notre Dame and a lifetime of fidelity, described as allegiance, loyalty and faithfulness to promises, made to the College and to the Catholic faith. Only one recipient is honored in any calendar year, either in spring or fall, but the award does not have to be granted annually.

The Fidelia Award was last bestowed in 2016 to Gretchen Noetzel Walsh, the first director of the College’s Academic Support Center for Students with Learning Differences.

The Advisory Board to the president, now the College’s Board of Trustees, approved the criteria for this honor in 1980. Only alumni, board members, faculty, staff and administrators are eligible for the award, although an exception was granted by the College’s Board of Trustees in 1994 when Bishop Anthony Pilla was honored.

A complete list of award recipients is available online at

July 2018


About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or

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