There was a retirement celebration for Sister Sharon Shear at Notre Dame of Maryland University (previously the College of Notre Dame of Maryland) on May 11. Sister Kathleen Feeley shared her reflection on the contributions Sister Sharon made during her 34 years at "the College."
Blessed is the institution in which an educational leader serves for over 30 years with unremitting dedication, creativity, determination, and spirit.
Notre Dame of Maryland University has been so blessed.
Sister Sharon brought deep knowledge of her field, signified by her PhD with highest honors from Boston University. To it she has added deep knowledge of her territory—educational programs needed by teachers in the state of Maryland.
With intellectual knowledge and street smarts, she applied her creative spirit. She promoted educating teachers in cohorts, valuing learning together and bonding. She searched for and found satellite campuses of reduce travel time. During the pandemic, she and her faculty climbed over mountains of problems to establish distance learning.
Always looking ahead, she created many new educational programs to meet new needs. Always aware of the competition, she and her colleagues created programs with a unique aspect that differentiated them from broadly-similar programs, and they were approved.
She has been recognized and lauded by the three “publics” that she esteems. ( I limit myself to two examples of each.)
- The first public: her Alma Mater. She received the College of Notre Dame of Maryland Alumnae Award in 1965. She received the Notre Dame of Maryland University Mission Medal Award in 2018.
- Second public: the citizens of Maryland. She was named one of Maryland’s Top100 Women in 1999, again in 2006, and again in 2009. This places her in the Maryland’s Top 100 Women Circle of Excellence.
- Third, her home public: School Sisters of Notre Dame. In the SSND Associate Program, Sister Sharon has mentored eight of the present SSND Associates, and is now mentoring four new Pre-Associates. This dedication and service is unmatched, and deeply appreciated.
She and a strong group of NDMU educators have brought education to Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western world. Their program of training teachers will have long-lasting effects. This is an SSND priority ministry.
Blessed is the institution in which an educational leader has served for 34 years with unremitting dedication, creativity, determination and spirit. Blessed is this university.