Five to Receive Honorary Degrees at University’s Commencement Exercises

May 6, 2016

 The University of Scranton will bestow honorary degrees to Sister Mary Scullion, R.S.M., co-founder, executive director and president of Project HOME (Housing, Opportunities for Employment, Medical Care, Education), and University benefactor and former trustee Margaret M. Condron, Ph.D., at its undergraduate commencement; and to Joseph P. Bannon, M.D. ’83, chairman of the Department of Surgery at Regional Hospital of Scranton, and Mary Lou and James L. Burne, D.D.S. ’63, founders of Family to Family Thanksgiving Food Basket Program, at its graduate commencement.

Sister Mary was selected by Time Magazine as one of the 100 “World’s Most Influential People” in 2009 and the organization she co-founded, Project HOME, has received national accolades and support by celebrities such as Jon Bon Jovi. Project HOME is a Philadelphia-based organization that provides supportive housing, employment, education and health care to enable chronically homeless and low-income persons to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty.

Sister Mary Scullion is also a leader on political issues affecting homelessness and persons with mental illness. Her advocacy efforts resulted in the right of homeless persons to vote, as well as a landmark federal court decision that affects the fair housing rights of persons with disabilities.

Sister Mary received her bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s University and her master’s degree from Temple University.

A longtime friend and supporter of Scranton, Dr. Margaret Condron co-chaired with her husband, Christopher (Kip) Condron ’70, H’03, the largest capital campaign in the University’s history, which successfully raised more than $129 million from nearly 28,000 donors.

Dr. Condron, Boston, has served as adjunct faculty at both Boston College and Marymount Manhattan University. Prior to teaching, she was an analytical chemist at the Campbell Soup Company and a partner at Environmental Communications Services, a consulting firm in Albany, New York. She currently serves as vice chair of the board of trustees of Marymount School of New York and as a member of the board of Loyola University of New Orleans. Previously, she served on the advisory board of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Dr. Condron earned her bachelor’s degree from Loyola University of New Orleans, her M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and her Ph.D. from Rensselaer University.

In 2008, the University dedicated a 386-bed, seven-story sophomore residence hall in honor of Christopher and Margaret Condron.

A former University trustee, Dr. Joseph Bannon is a founding member of the University’s Medical Alumni Council and has served on its executive committee for 20 years. He has also served on the University’s executive committee of the Pride, Passion, Promise Capital Campaign and Board of Regents.

Dr. Bannon is board certified in both general and colon and rectal surgery. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. He currently serves on the board of governors for the American College of Surgeons and is a member of the executive council of the Keystone Chapter of the American College. A clinical professor of surgery at The Commonwealth Medical College, Dr. Bannon, Clarks Summit, has authored and coauthored numerous journal articles and textbook chapters on surgery.

He received his Doctor of Medicine from Jefferson Medical College. He completed his residency in general surgery at Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, and completed a fellowship in Colon and Rectal Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Dr. James and Mary Lou Burne, Sarasota, Florida, founded the Family to Family Thanksgiving Food Program in 1986 and, since that time, the program has served more than 475,000 people in need. They have received numerous awards for this program including the UNICO National Civis Illustris Humanitarian Award, the National Association of Social Workers Public Citizens of the Year, Local and State Award, and the B’nai B’irth Americanism Award, among others. They have received Letters of Commendation from President George H. Bush and President George W. Bush.

Dr. Burne maintained a general dentistry practice in south Scranton for more than 40 years, and currently practices in Sarasota. He is a member of the American Dental Association and the Florida Dental Association, and had been an active member of the Scranton Dental Society since 1969, serving as its president, as a member of its board of directors and as chairman of its Dental Health Programs.

He earned his D.D.S. degree from Georgetown University School of Dentistry and served as a captain in United States Army Dental Corps. He is also a graduate of the L.D. Pankey Institute for Advanced Dental Education and the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Burne is a fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and the American College of Dentists.

The recipient of the University’s O’Hara Award, Dr. Burne served as a member of the YMCA board of directors, the Scranton Chapter of UNICO National, the Kiwanis Club and other organizations.

Mrs. Burne, a former special education teacher with NEIU #19, was the founder and director of its summer program for children with special needs. She was a member of the White House Conference on Children. She was also founder and director of the local Special Olympics, served as the local and state president of the Youth Association for Retarded Citizens, and as president of the Scranton District Dental Alliance. She served as a trustee of Keystone College, and as chair of the board of the Friends of the Poor.

Mrs. Burne is a graduate of Keystone College and Millersville University and pursued graduate studies at Marywood University.

Sister Mary will serve as principal speaker at the undergraduate commencement, which begins at noon Sunday, May 29, at Mohegan Sun Arena. Dr. Bannon will serve as principal speaker at the graduate commencement, which begins at 10:45 a.m. Saturday, May 28, in the Byron Recreation Complex.

Sister Mary Scullion

Margaret M. Condron, Ph.D.

Joseph P. Bannon, M.D.

James Burne, D.D.S.

Mary Lou Burne

Back to Top