Inspired by her friends, who were pursuing careers in nursing, Maire Mairead Liberace obtained a nursing degree in 1958 and began her career as an administrator at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin. A health professional with the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin from 1960 to 1961, she is very proud of her early work in nursing, citing that she learned a lot from working with patients in an inner city hospital. In 1962, she came to the United States and began working as a health professional supervisor for the operating room at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, and later at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
During this time, Ms. Liberace began doing work organizing management programs across the United States and Canada through her own company. She also spent time as a principal for Systems Transition Associates from 1968 to 1976 and a speaker for the American Management Association. She was also a principal and president of Management and Technical Resources from 1972 to 1976. Active with Barucco Associates from 1976 to 1981, she earned a Bachelor of Science in health sciences and communication from SUNY Empire State College in 1979 and a Master of Philosophy in from Manhattanville College in 1982. She received certification in biomedical ethics from New York University in 1990.
In 1982, Ms. Liberace joined Rockland Community College, part of the State University of New York system, as a professor of speech, philosophy and religious studies. She became the coordinator of the life skills program in 1987 and held both positions until 1991, when she became assistant dean. Becoming the chair of health sciences at Rockland in 1994, where she served until 2000, she also became a professor of biomedical ethics at the State University of New York, New Paltz, that same year. In 2000, she resumed teaching at Rockland as a professor of speech and philosophy until 2019, when she retired as distinguished professor emeritus.
Alongside her primary responsibilities, Ms. Liberace was a member of the Suffern Community Health Board from 1998 to 2000. Over the years, she has also held membership with the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, the Midwives Association of Ireland, the Irish Nurses Association, and the National Community College Chair Academy. She further spent time on the board of directors and as chair of the quality control committee for the Bon Secours Health System, and was on the board of directors of the Good Samaritan Hospital as well, where she is currently active on the ethics committee.
Active with the American Conference for Irish Studies, the Irish American Cultural Institute, the Irish Arts Forum of Rockland, and the Hudson Valley Irish Center and Library, Ms. Liberace is a member of the SUNY Distinguished Academy, Mensa, the International Thomas Merton Society and the Alpha Eta Society. She is the author of three books, “Ethics of Organizations: A Mandate for Management,” “Walking on Water” and “Lament in a Minor Key,” the latter of which was named Book of the Year by the Library Association of Rockland County in 2018, and was the editor of “Life, Career, Educational Planning Manual” in 1989. More local involvements of hers include previously serving on the boards of directors for the Rockland Opera and the local community theater group.
Ms. Liberace has been very involved with her local Catholic church, serving as a lector, event planner, minister, trustee and choir member. She is also presently a member of the New York Archdiocesean Chorale, through which she had the opportunities to sing for three different popes, Pope John Paul, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. In addition, she had the great privilege to sing at Saint Peter’s Basilica with the Sistine choir, something she considers to be a major highlight of her life.
For excellence in her career, Ms. Liberace has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades. In 2002, she was notably presented with the Excellence in Teaching Award from the State University of New York system. She has been recognized as a Distinguished Service Professor by the State University of New York, was named an Outstanding Teacher at a luncheon held in her honor by her colleagues at Rockland Community College, and was presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. Above all these accolades, she is particularly proud of her early days in nursing, noting that it is incredibly rewarding to be able to give back so directly to the community she lives in.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, to father Dr. James Patrick Keena and Ellen Keena, Ms. Liberace married her husband, Robert Liberace, in 1962. Together they are the proud parents of five children, Ellen Simon, Natalie Rose, James, Robert T., and Mairead, and grandparents to six grandchildren. In her free time, Ms. Liberace enjoys being with friends, traveling, meeting new people, swimming, walking, playing tennis and golf, singing with chorale groups, and acting and community theater.