“My interests rest with contact among the students over any college function.”
Sister Mary Edward Zipf (Elizabeth Diane) was born August 6, 1935, in Bronxville, New York, daughter of Edward and Mary Corbet Zipf. She grew up with siblings Edward, Emily and Ronald in Mount Kisco and City Island.
Elizabeth attended three elementary schools, beginning at Saint Francis of Assisi School in Mount Kisco, New York, then PS 17 in Yonkers, and graduating from Saint Mary Star of the Sea on City Island. She then attended Saint Barnabas High School, Bronx, before entering the Sisters of Charity of New York on September 8, 1953.
Sister Edward earned her BS in Biology from the College of Mount Saint Vincent, her MS in Biology from Fordham University and her PhD in Microbiology from the University of Maryland, College Park. She also obtained NYS Permanent Certifications in elementary education, biology, chemistry and general science (grades 7–12), and the supervision of chemical laboratories.
Sister Mary Edward spent more than sixty years in the ministry of education, fifty-eight as a classroom teacher and four as a student for her doctorate in microbiology. Her first five years of elementary school teaching were at Holy Trinity, Manhattan, and Saint Peter, Yonkers, after which she taught at Saint Raymond Girls High School in the Bronx for three years. Her four years of doctoral studies included teaching undergraduates, a requirement for the fellowships, assistantships, and grants she earned.
After receiving her doctorate, Sister Edward was assigned to College of Mount Saint Vincent where she taught in the Biology Department for the next fifty years. During these years, she served as Associate Professor and Professor of Biology, specializing in the areas of bacteriology, immunology, and microbiology. Former students who went on to graduate and medical schools knew themselves prepared above and beyond for their studies.
In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Sister Edward served as Chair of the Biology Department and Superintendent of the Science Hall for several years, while continuing her professional development through course work, conferences, and symposia. She continued to publish widely, was in demand as a graduation speaker, science fair judge, and mentor for anyone interested in a medical or scientific career. The list of college activities and committees in which she was involved is long, but as she self-declared, “My interests rest with contact among the students over any college function.”
In 1990, Sister Edward received the Sears-Roebuck Foundation “Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award.” In 2010, she was the recipient of the distinguished Ad Laudem Dei medal of College of Mount Saint Vincent for her lasting contributions to the field of biology and for embodying charity in her unique spirit of giving. She will be long remembered by the students she taught and the colleagues with whom she worked over these memorable fifty years.
We know Sister Edward for her broad smile and ready sense of humor, for her generosity with time and talent, and for her boundless energy. What we may not know is her love and care of nature, her oil and watercolor paintings, and her interest in other cultures which motivated her to visit many countries.
Rest in peace, Sister Mary Edward, Professor Emerita. We know you are now welcomed into your everlasting home where your faithful life as a Sister of Charity for sixty-six years is one with God.
Date of Death
August 11, 2019
Mount Saint Vincent Convent
6301 Riverdale Ave., Bronx, NY 10471
Friday, August 16, 2019
2:00 – 6:30 pm
Prayer Service: 4:30 pm
Saturday, August 17, 2019
8:30 – 9:15 am
Mass of Christian Burial
Chapel of the Immaculate Conception
Mount Saint Vincent
6301 Riverdale Ave., Bronx, NY 10471
Saturday, August 17, 2019
St. Joseph Cemetery
Archdiocese of New York
- Holy Trinity, Manhattan
1956–60, Teacher, Gr. 2
- St. Peter, Yonkers
1960–61, Teacher, Gr. 1,2
- St. Raymond H.S., Bronx
1962–65, Teacher, Rel., Gen. Science, Microbiology
- Manhattan College, Bronx
1978, Adjunct Prof., Microbiology
- College of Mount Saint Vincent, Bronx
1965–69, Instructor, Biology, Science, Microbiology
1973–88, Assoc. Prof., Biology
1988–92, Assoc. Chairperson/Assoc. Prof., Biology
1992–2002, Prof. of Biology
2002–2015, Prof. of Biology/Supt. of Science Hall
2015–18, Mentor and Advisor, Biology Dept.
Sister Mary was a great guide for me in my studies, I will never forget her smile and her excellent work, thanks for giving me so much, I learned a lot from her , rest in peace
Sister Mary Edward was a beautiful person and I am honored to have known her. May she rest in peace.
Sister Mary’s diverse scientific knowledge and excellent teaching skills prepared me well for medical school and indeed my professional career as a Dermatologist (Bahamas) where microorganisms reveal themselves in the form of skin diseases. I always remember her teachings through didactic lectures and lab sessions. May her soul rest in peace!
Sister Mary Edward was one of the most amazing teachers!! She was able to capture your attention and make every lesson interesting! She was an asset to the Mount and will be missed
A truly gifted mentor and scientist that demonstrated daily passion for biology and her pupils. I’m trully blessed to have had her as a teacher.
I visited the Mount around 2007 to see the newly renovated Science building, and was so pleased to see Sr Edward ‘zipfing’ around getting the lab ready, just as I remembered her!
I told Sr Edward then that she was my favorite teacher at the Mount. She was such an enthusiastic person, and her medical microbiology class inspired me to apply for a microbiology research job when I graduated in 1974. I ended up being a detergent chemist for Lysol, a research assistant on insulin structure at Mt Holyoke College, a analytical chemist for nucleotides in St. Louis and for industrial chemicals in the Chicago area. Many diverse jobs that the Mount prepared me for.
Some memories from Sr. Edward’s microbiology classes: She taught at a time when there were more men in the class (from Manhattan College) than women. When some of the young men said they were embarrassed by the slides about diseases, Sr Edwards was not shy. She said that we as future doctors and researchers needed to know how devastating bacterial diseases can be. I remember Sr. Edwards telling us she failed her first graduate exam due to lack of time, so she gave three hour exams to prepare us. Another memory was Sr Edward asking us if we needed any dye stains removed from our hands before the senior prom! Sr Edward truly put her students first, and was an dedicated, inspiring teacher.
I met Sister Edward through my cousin Sister Marie John Jimenez back in the late 60’s. I will always remember Sister Edwards smile, sense of humor, her dedication to her students and her genuine caring for all. Rest in Peace Sister. You will be greatly missed.
As I earned my diploma from St.Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing, I, with many others, took the bus up to “The Mount” for our weekly Science requirements. Microbiology was of course one of them and Sister Mary Edward was our Professor. I’ll never forget her expression, trying her best not to laugh the time that I stated “and the ‘orgasm’ is” instead of correctly stating “organism” in front of the class! She corrected me and went on to explain the difference noting I should be happy we were in the presence of only girls. Sister was really the brightest and shiniest light in our world. May she Rest In Peace.
Sr.Mary Edward Zipf, SC
Was truly a DIAMOND in the lives of MANY…
The funeral mass & eulogies were beautiful.
Happy to have been apart of this celebration of SMEZ
Here in Arizona via streamspot video.