Sister Cor Immaculatum Heffernan
Class of 1953
According to contemporary American artist Jeff Koons, art "is a humanitarian act" that has "a responsibility…to affect mankind, to make the world a better place." Not many understand that distinctive philosophy better than Sister Cor Immaculatum Heffernan, I.H.M. There is a certain spark of life and compassion intertwined throughout her work that encourages the viewer to look closer, think more, and aspire to a higher ideal.
For over 50 years, Sister Cor has been able to deftly combine her artist's creativity with the joyful, loving service of her vocation as an Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister. Add to that her innate gifts as a motivating, encouraging educator, and you have the kind of art-and the kind of life-that do, indeed, "make the world a better place."
Sister Cor holds several degrees: a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Art and a Master of Science degree in Counseling, both from Marywood; a Master of Arts degree in Sculpture from the University of Notre Dame; and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Illustration from Syracuse University. Sister Cor joined Marywood's Art Department in 1978 and served as department chair for 14 years. She continued to teach until her retirement in 2008 and now holds the distinguished title of Professor Emerita of Art.
She is dedicated to her students, past and present, many of whom encouraged and supported her 2004 endeavor to author a book, titled Spirit of Light. The book includes photos of 38 pieces of her original work in sculpture, calligraphy, and mosaic. In keeping with her altruistic nature, as well as her abiding commitment to support students, all proceeds from the sale of the book have been used to fund a scholarship for graduate students in the "Get Your Master's with the Masters" summer M.F.A. program at Marywood, which she founded in 1984 and has supported every year since.
Sister Cor’s extensive body of work can be found in churches, colleges, and private collections across the country, as well as in various buildings at Marywood. Recently, she designed the fountain in the atrium of the Learning Commons, and her sculpture of a trio of life-size bronze figures will be featured in the nearby outdoor amphitheater.
2007 Marywood Alumni Humanitarian Award
2017 Distinguished Alumni Award