On July 28, 2007, during a dedication ceremony, the Center for the Advancement of Clarion University became the Seifert-Mooney Center for the Advancement of Clarion University, in honor of the Seifert-Mooney family's strong contributions to the university. The event also celebrated the life and legacy of Mary L. Seifert, who died nine days prior to the ceremony. The newly named center, located at the corner of Greenville Avenue and Corbett Street, opened in 2004 and was constructed primarily through private restricted contributions. The building includes the offices of Advancement, Alumni Relations, Clarion University Alumni Association and Clarion University Foundation, Inc.
Mary L. Seifert's rich family history with Clarion University can be traced to 1907 with the enrollment of her mother, Sabina Mooney-Seifert, and her uncle, Charles A. Mooney. From 1909 to 1912 her grandfather, John A. Mooney, served as a trustee for the Clarion Normal School. Shortly after her mother and uncle's graduations in 1909 their two younger siblings, Thomas W. and John A., were to follow family tradition by attending Clarion. Two of Seifert's uncles became medical doctors after furthering their education at the University of Michigan. To date at least 18 members of her extended family have graduated from Clarion.
"I am excited and sad," said Clarion University President Joseph P. Grunenwald at the event. "I am sad because Mary is no longer with us, but excited about how her memory will live on. Mary loved music and the arts. As an investment in young people, she chose to endow a culture and lecture series at Clarion University to ignite the passion for learning that she encouraged. Mary's mission was to advance Clarion University, so it is appropriate that the Center for the Advancement of Clarion University is dedicated in her name. She was the heart, spirit and soul of Clarion University."
Seifert received B.S.E. degrees in secondary social studies and geography and a minor in English in 1946 from Clarion State Teacher's College. After graduation, she taught for 35 years and retired from Edison Junior High in West Mifflin School District. She was one of the first life members of Clarion University Alumni Association and became an active donor to Clarion University Foundation, Inc., in 1993. In 1998 she received the Clarion University Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award.
Lifelong Seifert acquaintance Charles Leach Jr., president of Clarion University Foundation, Inc., Board of Directors, said, "Mary wanted nothing but the best for Clarion University. She wanted the foundation to raise more money. Without Mary's support and leadership during our first capital campaign, the foundation would not be where it is today - annually providing almost $1 million in scholarships to students and over $3 million in total support of university programs. Mary acknowledged the need for an advancement center, and this is a place Clarion's alumni can be proud of."
Richard Malacarne, president of the Clarion University Alumni Association Board, said, "It is appropriate to name this building for Mary and her family. Mary is the ultimate alumna: she had a long and distinguished career, never forgot her roots, and provided time, energy and money. Her legacy is a model for all Clarion University alumni."
Throughout her lifetime Seifert created six endowment funds: Sabina Mooney-Seifert Scholarship Endowment (Education), Mary L. Seifert Scholarship Endowment (Music), Mary L. Seifert Cultural Lecture Series Endowment, Timothy John Mooney Theater Endowment, Dr. Helen M. Barton Basketball Scholarship, and an endowment to support piano maintenance in the Department of Music. Seifert's estate will add to the Cultural Series Endowment and will create a seventh fund, the Seifert-Mooney Endowment for the Advancement of Clarion University.
In addition to these endowments, she also supported the John A. Mooney, John F. Kuhn, Lyle G. Reinhard and Diane L. Reinhard scholarship endowments, as well as the Center for Advancement and Science & Technology Center campaigns.
At the conclusion of the dedication ceremony, Michael Keefer, administrative director of the Clarion University Foundation Inc., unveiled the plaque honoring the Seifert-Mooney family. The plaque was subsequently placed to the right of the main entrance to the building.
Rev. J. Richard Hartsfield, pastor of New Bethlehem Presbyterian Church, which Mary Seifert attended, presided over the memorial service and provided the invocation and benediction. Seifert's lifelong friend Sheila Nair provided a personal remembrance during the service.
Dr. Paula Amrod, professor of music at Clarion University, Dr. Marian Dura, assistant professor of music at Clarion University, and Katie Magnuson provided the musical interlude between the memorial service and the dedication ceremony. Magnuson, a May 2007 Clarion University graduate with a degree in music education, was a Mary L. Seifert Scholarship recipient.