Manor College Celebrates 21st Founders Day

The day celebrates the institution’s founders, the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great

Manor College senior Tamara Ellerbe stands with President Dr. Jonathan Peri after receiving the Mother Josaphat Medal.

Manor College held its 21st annual Founders Day on Thursday, January 25. 

The day is a celebration of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, who founded Manor College in 1947. The institution remains the only higher education institution in North America founded by Ukrainian Sisters. 

The two-day event begins with Tea with the Sisters, a chance for students and faculty at Manor College to personally celebrate with the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, who live in a convent next to campus. 

The larger celebration, held Thursday, includes a ceremony, prayer service and accompanying reception. 

Dr. Joseph Gillespie, Provost of Manor College, delivered the institution’s keynote address. He spoke on the courageousness of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, their long trip to the United States from Ukraine and the founding of Manor College. 

“Yesterday, I asked Sister Clement and Sr. Joanne Sosler about why they came to Philadelphia to educate and care for Ukrainian American orphans and their answer, very humble and very sincere, ‘we did it because it needed to be done,’’ Gillespie said. “The Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, upon whose shoulders we stand, lived courageously. With their answer. The Sisters brought alive the words of Amanda Gorman and Maya Angelou, ‘If one has courage, nothing can dim the light that shines from within.’”

WATCH: Dr. Joseph Gillespie’s full Keynote Speech

The highlights of Founders Day are a pair of prestigious awards – the Mother Josaphat Medal and the Educator of the Year. 

Mother Josaphat Medal

Ellerbe receives the Mother Josaphat Medal from Provincial of the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great, Sister Joann Sosler, OSBM

The Mother Josaphat Medal is the highest award a student can earn while attending Manor College. The medal is given to a student who demonstrates strength of character and generosity of spirit. The recipient exhibits a responsible lifestyle evidenced through reverence, respect and service. Students are nominated by faculty and staff at the institution. 

Tamara Ellerbe, a senior studying Health Services at Manor College, received the 2024 Mother Josaphat Medal. She is a Presidential Ambassador and is often found giving tours and helping others around campus, especially new students. She is additionally a member of Rotaract and the Society of Justice, Law, and Policy. 

Ellerbe is known for helping around campus including with Manor College’s Career Closet. Off campus, she helps with her high school’s Philabundance, works for a cleaning service company and takes care of family members.

Finalists for the award besides Ellerbe included Sylvania Juste, Natasha Moore, Hailey Ramirez and Brooke Strassle.

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Educator of the Year

Professor Jennifer Buechel (right) receives the Educator of the Year award from Manor College President Dr. Jonathan Peri. Professor Jennifer Buechel received the Educator of the Year award for 2024. Buechel, the Program Director of Psychology and Human Services, first came to Manor College as an adjunct faculty member in 2017. She began her current role at Manor College in 2021. 

The Educator of the Year is given to a professor whose dedication and commitment goes beyond the classroom. This student-nominated award honors the selected faculty member who received the most votes. 

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Charity Efforts

As part of Founders Day, Manor College conducted a food drive for the institution’s Bird Feed Food Pantry

The pantry, located on campus, benefits Manor College students in need and their families. It provides a variety of non-perishable food items and basic necessities. 

With the help of 21 different community organizations, Manor College collected more than 500 pounds of food for the pantry.

More on the Founding of Manor College

In 1947, St. Macrina College began with 11 students on a mission to educate the underserved. Manor College grew significantly since those humble beginnings. 

At the center of the institution’s founding were the Sisters of Saint Basil the Great. They founded Manor College following two principal purposes – to establish a four-year liberal arts entity that would advance the professional lives of young women and an entity that would provide educational access to fellow members of their religious order. 

Today, Manor College is a four-year institution that continues to provide high-quality educational access and service-based opportunities to students.

More on Founders Day

Manor College Celebrates 21st Founders Day

Philadelphia Woman Wins Mother Josaphat Medal

Jennifer Buechel Named 2024 Manor College Educator of the Year

Watch to all the Mother Josaphat Medal Finalist’s Speeches

Watch Dr. Joseph Gillespie’s Keynote Speech

Meet Dr. Joseph Gillespie

Learn More about the Mother Josaphat Medal

Hear from Past Mother Josaphat Medal Winners

See Photos from Founders Day

See Photos from our Tea with the Sisters