Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) welcomed more than 240 alumnae from 25 states to Reunion Weekend May 18-20. Campus took on a special excitement and energy to celebrate the friendships, legacy and traditions that have made The Woods a place like no other.
Alumnae enjoyed a weekend full of events and activities to commemorate their time at The Woods and celebrate its future. They participated in the annual Walk-in-the-Woods campus tour, attended class meetings and participated in a remembrance ceremony. They also learned about the strategic vision for the College from President Dottie King, Ph.D. Most importantly, they reminisced with friends, revisited old memories and made new ones.
When asked, why she attends Reunion every five years, Valerie Harbert Haggerty ’93 became teary. “This is our home. I love the signs on The Avenue that reads ‘Welcome Home.’ That says it all.”
She admits the strong connection to The Woods is difficult to describe. “The words to The Ring Song may capture it best. The words are ingrained in you that this (SMWC) is your place. And the class year doesn’t matter. Everyone feels the same. Everyone thinks this (SMWC) is theirs.”
During the weekend, many of the reunion year classes made gifts to SMWC in honor of their reunion. The class of 1968 generously donated $147,609.69 to the College. With all gifts to the College this fiscal year, contributions to the Woods Fund currently total $969,000.
Memories of a volatile time of American history in the late 1960s evoked emotion with a few members of the class of 1968 at their Golden Jubilee Reception.
“It was a profoundly troubling time,” recalled Midge Maroni ’68. “We were so young that we didn’t understand the complexity of all the issues. We were framed by it and in some ways sheltered… we were nurtured here (SMWC) in the best way that allows you to grow.”
Ellen Brown ’68 reflected on Maroni’s account. “We were grounded in a theology of action. When people talked about practicing their faith, we were living it here.”
The class of 1970 reconnected and celebrated their 70th birthdays during Reunion. The celebration was complete with a special cake and a resounding serenade of “Happy Birthday” by all in attendance.
Reunion Weekend culminated at the banquet with the National Alumni Board of Directors presenting its prestigious awards. Ellen Cunningham SP, ’61, Ph.D., received the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Award and Alice Sherfick Shelton ’87 received the Frances Rumely Award.
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About the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Award
Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, is a role model for those who know her. It is in her honor, and in recognition of the value-based educational legacy she established at SMWC, that the Alumni Association seeks to honor individuals of like purpose, devotion, community vitality, and leadership. This award is presented to an alumna/alumnus who embodies the spirit and virtue of our foundress.
About the Frances Murphy Rumely Award
The Frances Murphy Rumely award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to and leadership within civic, religious or educational organizations. The award is given in memory of Frances Murphy Rumely, class of 1935, whose life was a celebration of the education she received at her beloved Woods.