August 27, 2019

Salve's New President Reflects on Personal Mercy Legacy

Dr. Kelli J. Armstrong, president, attends Salve Regina’s “Night at the Newport Gulls” baseball game on July 22 along with, from left, her husband, Brian, and sons, David and Jake

Salve Regina University Rhode Island welcomed Dr. Kelli J. Armstrong as the University’s eighth president on July 1. Reflecting on the Mercy mission, Dr. Armstrong tells the story of her maternal grandmother, “Nana,” who became an orphan at the age of eight. At the time of her parents’ death, Nana was attending the Cathedral Grammar School, a Mercy institution in Portland, Maine, and the religious community immediately took the young family under its wing. 

“The Sisters of Mercy essentially raised my grandmother and her seven siblings,” says Dr. Armstrong. “I’d always wondered where Nana had gotten her strong moral compass and her love of education. I’d grown up hearing about these sisters and when I was preparing my remarks for the first meeting with the Salve community, I asked my mother which order had raised Nana and she said, ‘Kelli, they were the Sisters of Mercy.’

“The Sisters of Mercy have been in my life always and I really owe my family’s legacy to them,” Dr. Armstrong continues. “Every sister I’ve met has been a strong, smart and compassionate woman who lives to do good for others. Their commitment to service, social justice, and to making sure that the students they serve see that their role is to make the world a better place is amazing. The Mercy mission lives in all of us at Salve. How the campus weaves that into everything we do is how we keep the Mercy tradition going. I am deeply committed to that and I know that I have the support of the Sisters of Mercy.”

By Mary E. Edwards, Director of Constituent Communications and Design, Salve Regina University

Messages to: Cathy Walsh - Communications Specialist, Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community

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