The People Who Make it Possible

Without people like Margaret C. Perez, the involved, well-rounded education we are able to provide our students with would not be possible.
Margaret C. Perez, Bethlehem, had known Edward R. Leahy, J.D. ’68, H’01, for more than 60 years. She knew his wife, Patricia, and their late son, Edward Jr. She also knew of the work of The University of Scranton’s Leahy Community Health and Family Center and Edward R. Leahy Jr. Center Clinic for the Uninsured housed in the Panuska College of Professional Studies, and was so impressed by its mission that she bequeathed a portion of her estate to the Edward R. Leahy Jr. Endowment at the University – a gift of nearly $1 million.

“Margaret, or Marge as we called her, was a good soul and a life-long friend. She never said an unkind word to anyone and went to church nearly every day,” said Edward Leahy. “She had no children or living relatives and when she passed away at the age of 88, she gave her entire estate to charities, including a portion to the Leahy Endowment at the University.”

Leahy said Perez visited the Leahy Community Health and Family Center years ago and was deeply moved by the compassionate service shown to people with disabilities. Shortly after her visit, she told Leahy of her intent to bequeath a portion of her estate to the endowment at the University.

The Edward R. Leahy Jr. Endowment was founded by Edward and Patricia Leahy to honor the life and memory of their son, Edward R. Leahy, Jr., whose personal disabilities were attended to with compassion and skill by many health professionals over the course of his life. The endowment provides financial resources to support theoretical and applied research, faculty development, and support for programs that advance the cause of disabled persons who need long-term assistance.

The Panuska College of Professional Studies houses occupational therapy, physical therapy, kinesiology, counseling and human services, health administration and human resources, nursing and education. Every graduate of PCPS completes a community-based learning requirement for service.  In addition, PCPS houses the Leahy Community Health and Family Center with four clinics in medicine, physical therapy, counseling and low vision, and the Alice V. Leahy Food pantry, University of Success program and the new center of Autism.

Perez was born in 1930 in Allentown to the late Manuel and Terrsa (Yllanes-Lugris) Perez. She worked for 47 years with Western Electric, Bell Laboratories and Lucent, before retiring in 1995. She was a member of St. Simon and Jude Catholic Church, Bethlehem. She died in March of 2018.


Learn more about the Panuska College of Professional Studies.

Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate: Responding to the Growing need for ASD Support

Beginning in the fall 2019 semester, The University of Scranton will offer a post-graduate Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study. Applications are currently being accepted for the 18-credit program for professionals working in psychology, education, child care, occupational therapy, speech and language disorders, and counseling. The program will prepare students to meet the requirements needed to take the Behavior Analysis Certification Board examination. The course work is currently under review by the Association of Applied Behavioral Analysis International (ABAI).

According to the CDC, the estimated prevalence of children who live with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is one in fifty-nine. In response to this increased need, a multi-year, multi-million regional initiative, announced by AllOne Foundation in 2018, intends to enhance the service delivery system for individuals with ASD and their families living in 13 counties in Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania. The University will serve as the executive hub of five Autism Collaborative Centers of Excellence.

The University’s hub will be a family friendly place for information and referral. The hub also has three state-of-the-art assessment labs to aide in education and training of the graduate students, as well as for evaluation purposes.

“The University is committed to working with the AllOne Foundation and community partners in building a community of care for children with ASD and their families by offering family friendly hubs for information and referral, identifying gaps in services, and increasing the number of skilled professionals through the Applied Behavior Analysis certificate program who can offer proven evidence-based interventions,” said Debra A. Pellegrino, Ed.D., dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies.

Applicants to the post-graduate program must meet master degree, G.P.A. and other requirements for admittance.