Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College to celebrate 179th commencement

April 25th, 2016 | SMWC

Melody Birmingham-Byrd
Melody Birmingham-Byrd

One hundred forty-one Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) students are eligible to receive their degree and complete their journey toward becoming a graduate of The Woods. The College will proudly award 12 certificates, three associate’s degrees, 117 bachelor’s degrees and nine master’s degrees during the 179th commencement on May 7, 2016. The traditional baccalaureate mass begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Church of the Immaculate Conception; the commencement ceremony will begin at 1:15 p.m. in the Jeanne Knoerle Sports and Recreation Center, Hamilton Arena.

State President of Duke Energy Indiana, Melody Birmingham-Byrd, will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa from SMWC.

Byrd was recently promoted to state president of Duke Energy Indiana, part of Duke Energy Corporation, a Fortune 250 company. Since moving into this role in June of 2015, she has provided critical oversight and leadership to ensure approximately 800,000 households and businesses in 69 counties receive reliable, affordable energy solutions. Byrd has more than 20 years of leadership and managerial experience and a deep knowledge of corporate operations, strategy development and execution, resource management and regulatory compliance.

During the commencement ceremony, two SMWC alums will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for their professional achievements and dedication to their communities:

Sister Marie Brendan Harvey
Sister Marie Brendan Harvey

Sister Marie Brendan Harvey graduated from SMWC in 1951 and holds a master’s degree in music from Catholic University of America. Harvey began teaching at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in
 1954, where she taught voice, chorale and chant. In 1958, she
founded the Chorale and Madrigals. From 1972 to 1982, she managed the SMWC Alumnae Office, while continuing to direct the Chorale and Madrigals. Harvey spent a year at the University of Wisconsin-Madison working at the Newman Center, where she introduced English in the liturgy and served the University by working in the music education program. She also worked with the liturgy at St. Mary’s Parish in Champaign, Ill., and at St. Michael’s Parish in Duluth, Minn. During the 1970s, she was one of five who launched a liturgical music summer program for pastoral musicians at St. Joseph’s College. Later, Harvey taught voice and assisted with development work at Wayne State University. There, she was introduced to an AIDS Ministry and visited with patients helping them to understand God.

Mary Barrett
Mary Barrett

Mary Barrett graduated from SMWC in 1965 with a degree in journalism. An entrepreneur with business savvy, Barrett launched two companies during her professional career: Mary Barrett & Associates, a manufacturers representative firm, in 1979, and Glick & Associates, a firm specializing in mail order home furnishing sales and marketing, in 1995. She has volunteered for the House of the Good Shepherd in Chicago, Ill., mentoring troubled teenage girls, and was nominated as Volunteer of the Year by that organization. Barrett also volunteered at Family Shelter Service in DuPage County, Ill., working with victims of domestic violence. Barrett served on the SMWC Board of Trustees from 1999-2009, acting as Board Chair from 2005-2009.