Dominican Sister Janet Fitzgerald, Ph.D., former president of Molloy College, Rockville Centre, died December 1st. She was 78.

Sister Janet began her ministry Molloy in 1969 as a faculty member in the philosophy department. In 1972 she was named the fourth president of the school, which was founded as Molloy College for Women by the Dominican Sisters of Amityville in 1955.

Sister Janet led the college through 24 years of significant changes, including becoming co-educational, the addition of three new buildings, the institution of a master’s program and becoming part of the National College Athletic Association (NCAA)

Always the teacher, she taught a philosophy class until she retired in 2009. In 2012, the school’s new residence hall was named in honor of Sister Janet. As much as she was admired as an educator and administrator, speakers at the dedication spoke with evident emotion of her loving attention to people. Molloy president Drew Bogner said his children speak often of how Sister Janet showed up on their doorstep the day after they moved to New York from Kansas to make sure they felt welcomed.

Fitzgerald was born in Woodside and attended Catholic schools, including Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School in Brooklyn, where some Dominican sisters taught. After graduation, she entered the order and was soon teaching in Catholic elementary and high schools on Long Island.

By 1965, she graduated from St. John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and the highest grade-point average of her class, according to Molloy.


Wake and funeral information follows:

Wednesday, December 4: Prayer service at 7 p.m.

Thursday, December 5: Prayer Services at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.

St. Albert Chapel

Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse

555 Albany Avenue

Amityville, NY 11701


Friday, December 6: Morning prayer at 10:10 a.m. followed by Mass of the Resurrection at 10:30 a.m.

St. Albert Chapel

Queen of the Rosary Motherhouse