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A Message from the First Lady

  • A Message from the First Lady

    Old Main - Iwanenko

    I am truly honored and blessed to serve as Gannon University’s first lady. Having been able to experience first-hand what it means to be a part of the Gannon family as a Gannon spouse, mom, student, alumni, faculty, advisor and staff member, I could not be more excited to serve the university in my new role.

    As a resident of the city of Erie, I am proud of the work that Gannon is doing, and the positive impact it is having on our community and in our neighborhoods. Through the outstanding efforts of our faculty, staff and students, this impact is even further-reaching than our Erie, Pa. and Ruskin, Fl. campuses, touching the lives of people and communities around the world.

    My faith as a Roman Catholic drives my desire to help the university realize and achieve its commitment to Laudato Si’ and maintain our Catholic identity while respecting the human dignity of each individual. I am proud to serve at one of the few Catholic-diocesan universities left in the country. 

    As a licensed occupational therapist in the health and human services profession, I am passionate about helping people to achieve their optimum level of performance, health and well-being. I can often be found around campus promoting health and wellness initiatives, and reminding people of the unparalleled health and well-being services the university offers to our students, employees and our surrounding community. Of particular interest to me in my new role, is bringing awareness to the important issue of college student hunger and assisting with growing the university’s food security initiative to include providing resources and strategies to help meet our students’ nutritional needs. 

    My journey as an Asian-American, first-generation college student and my upbringing in a military family who traveled the world have shaped who I am today. The struggles, joys and experiences of those unique circumstances led me to be involved with and support programs such as those through our Veteran’s Office, our Global Support and Student Engagement Office and our first-generation student efforts through our Student Success Center. Together with my husband and our President Dr. Walter Iwanenko, his brother and our sister-in-law, and our three children we have started the Iwanenko Family Scholarship for first generation college students, which we are extremely humbled, honored, and happy to fund.

    We have found our forever home here at Gannon University and our calling to continue to help transform lives. I am grateful to be a part of the Gannon family and proud to call myself a Gannon Golden Knight. As the university crests its 100-year anniversary, I welcome you to join us in our steadfastness to create environments where extraordinary moments and everyday connections inspire others to become their best selves, and where our students can truly believe in their possibilities.