Cannon Remembers Parents Showing the Way

mary ann cannon

Mary Anne Cannon ’86 named a scholarship in honor of her inspirational parents.

It is fitting there is now an endowed scholarship at Stevens named for Teresa and Thomas Cannon M.S. ’63. The encouragement they gave while raising their daughter Mary Anne ’86 propelled a legacy that will continue for generations.

Mary Anne established the scholarship in honor of her parents in 2018. Now a corporate executive, she remembers the values she learned while growing up. Her father enjoyed a successful career with positions at RCA and MetLife, and he and Teresa inspired Mary Anne to think boldly about her future.

“When I was growing up in the 1970s along the Jersey Shore,” Mary Anne recalls, “it was almost unheard of for women to study engineering. However, my parents were extremely encouraging for me to get an engineering degree.”

When she was old enough for college, Mary Anne decided to apply to Stevens, the school her father talked about advancing his career with a graduate degree. In fact, she was so set on Stevens, it was the only college where she applied.

“I only needed one campus visit,” Mary Anne said. “I vividly remember that fall day, walking onto campus with my mother. This is where she saw me, as a student on this campus. That was her vision and dream.”

Mary Anne earned a degree in mechanical engineering. She was a member of the student council, honor board, and interdormitory council. She also competed on the women’s fencing team. “As tough as the course material was, outstanding professors really sparked an interest in me to continue and want to keep learning.”

Today, she enjoys a thriving career as a vice president with Pratt & Whitney, a global aerospace and defense manufacturer. Her responsibilities include developing product line life-cycle strategies and ensuring projects meet customer specifications. Mary Anne has been with Pratt & Whitney for 29 years, having worked as an engineer on parts for fighter planes, among other roles. She was also a vice president in charge of environment, health, and safety programs, and maintaining compliance with corporate, federal, and state requirements.

Mary Anne lives in Florida with her husband, and together they have a son. She has stayed engaged with her alma mater, including participating in a panel on the history of women at Stevens, and currently serving as a member of the President’s Leadership Council and on the selection committee for the Stevens Awards Gala.

In addition to the undergraduate scholarship honoring her parents, Mary Anne has supported pre-college scholarships through the ACES initiative. She is a member of the Gear Society, the Edwin A. Stevens Society, the Lifetime Giving Societies, and the Stevens Legacy Society, making her one of only a handful of alumni to complete the “philanthropy grand slam” by joining all four groups.

After establishing the Thomas and Teresa Cannon Endowed Scholarship, Mary Anne gave the keynote speech at the annual Scholarship Luncheon, sharing what inspired her to support a new generation of students at her alma mater.

“I’ve done well in life,” Mary Anne said, “and it really is because of the support of my parents. In giving back, I hope that current and future Stevens students take advantage of the same opportunities I had. It’s a hard journey to get to Stevens, it’s a hard journey through Stevens, but it truly is rewarding.”