Mount Mercy Academy to hold annual Mercy Honors Dinner

Mount Mercy Academy will honor seven deserving individuals at its 18th annual Mercy Honors Dinner. The dinner will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at The Creekside Banquet Facility in Cheektowaga. Three alumnae will receive the Distinguished Alumna Award and four individuals, including two alumnae, will be honored with the Spirit of Mercy Award.

Dr. Cate Flanagan-Priore, Class of 1992; Dr. Nora Meaney-Elman, Class of 1971; and Cheryl Ann O’Connor, Class of 1973 have been selected to receive the Distinguished Alumna Awards. This award honors alumnae who have distinguished themselves as women of faith, knowledge, integrity and compassion.

Flanagan-Priore is a pediatric psychologist in the Hematology-Oncology Division at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. She provides essential psychosocial support to children and families affected by cancer and blood disorders. In addition, she is working on several research projects and has a private practice where she works with children and adolescents who are dealing with mental health issues.

Meaney-Elman first obtained her nursing degree and then after working as a nurse for a few years entered medical school. She began practicing family medicine. In 2015, Meaney-Elman converted her practice to a model that has a strong focus on wellness. Her practice was recently accredited by the National Committee on Quality Assurance as a “Patient Centered Medical Home,” one of only six to be so certified.

As the first woman regional chair of the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area in 2008, O’Connor was successful in launching the first sustainability initiative by a homebuilding association that endorsed mandatory green building standards. O’Connor is also the executive director of Home Aid Northern California, which offers a unique solution to building housing for homeless individuals and families. Home Aid Northern California has completed 38 shelter projects with $22 million in real estate serving over 7,500 homeless

Peter and Diane (Pascuzzi, Class of 1981) Clancy, Lisa M. Kirisits and Joan Meaney Ulsher of the Class of 1986 will be honored with the Spirit of Mercy Award. This award is presented to individuals who demonstrate commitment and dedication to their community in both their professional and personal lives. 

The Clancys are well-known volunteers in the South Buffalo community. Some of their many acts of service through the years include organizing collections for local refugees and immigrant families as well as the City Mission. Each year, they celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by gathering with their Edgewood neighbors to collect canned goods and warm clothes for the South Buffalo Community Table. They have also been a driving force in assisting Sr. Celeste O’Bryan in the annual “Get Together” fundraiser.

Kirisits formed her own business, Kirisits & Associates, CPAs where as managing partner she oversees 12 staff members. It is the largest CPA firm headed by a female in Western New York. She has served on numerous boards and has also served as an officer of the American Red Cross Services Board and the Professional Business Council. Kirisits has also served on Mount Mercy Academy’s Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees for the past 20 years. She has been an invaluable asset to the administration of the school, consulting on a wide variety of issues. 

Meaney Ulsher, a retired U.S. Army Major, was a platoon and executive officer, adjutant and most notably Chief of the 6th Infantry Division Support Command Medical Operations Center at Fort Richardson, Alaska. In addition, she was handpicked as the first Military Medical Coding Consultant to the Army Surgeon General, a role she spearheaded for the Department of Defense (DOD).

Alumnae, family and friends are all invited to attend this year’s dinner. All proceeds will benefit the Mount Mercy Academy Alumnae Scholarship Fund. For further information or to make reservations, please contact Tina Scarpello Webster ’91 at twebster@mtmercy.org. Online reservations can be submitted through the Mount Mercy Academy website at www.mtmercy.org. Specific information may be found under the Alumnae tab under the section titled Mercy Honors.

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