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SMC welcomes Mooney in style

Angela Saoud | Monday, January 17, 2005

As Carol Mooney processed into O’Laughlin auditorium Saturday following a procession of the senior class and faculty, she had a familiar smile on her face – a smile that said she was home.

Mooney was inaugurated as the 11th and first lay graduate president in an afternoon ceremony including greetings from Congressman Chris Chocola, Notre Dame provost Nathan Hatch and Executive Director of the Women’s College Coalition Susan E. Lennon.

Vice President and Dean of Faculty Patrick White welcomed students, faculty, staff and guests by speaking about the founders of the College and their dreams for the future of it.

“This is a day to celebrate where we have come from, and where we might be going,” White said.

Student body president Sarah Catherine White told Mooney she was excited for this time of change.

“We are so glad your life experience has brought you back to the strong commitment of excellence and service at Saint Mary’s,” White said. “It is a time of transformation and courage for this College.”

Chair of the Parents Council and 1975 graduate Catherine Hammel Frishkorn gave Mooney a powerful challenge.

“Our daughters come here as children and leave as adults,” Frishkorn said. “We challenge you to build on the foundation we’ve given them [our children] and lead them into the future.”

And while most of the greetings held messages of hope and encouragement for Mooney, a few used humor in their salutations.

Chair of the faculty assembly Don Miller spoke of Mooney’s days as a student at Saint Mary’s.

“I’m one of the few who can truly welcome you back – I led the procession when you graduated in 1972,” Miller quipped. “While you were out conquering the world, a few of us have kept the institution running.”

Chair of the Board of Trustees, 1974 graduate Deborah Johnson Schw-iebert, inaugurated Mooney and gave her the symbol of the office of the president, a gold French cross necklace, before Mooney herself spoke to the audience.

Mooney glowed as she spoke of the history of the College and her namesake.

“This is a college dedicated to a woman and named for her, and I believe there is significance in her name,” Mooney said. “We think of Mary as a loving mother, and of her soft qualities, but Mary was also full of strength and courage.”

Mooney shared a story about a day she spent with 30 middle school aged girls this past fall, discussing perceptions of the words ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’.

“What are little boys made of,” she asked, repeating the nursery rhyme. “Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails. But what are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice. Mary was made of stronger stuff than sugar and spice and so are the women of Saint Mary’s.”

After music from the Saint Mary’s women’s choir and a final blessing, the processional exited to a reception held in the Noble Family Dining Hall.

About 150 members of the senior class participated in the inauguration, and many were happy to be a part of the day.

Senior Becky Davies said she was impressed with the large turnout.

“It was nice to see all of the delegates from the different colleges and universities showing their support for our college and new president,” she said. “It was a neat way to see our president celebrated.”

And as inauguration weekend closed with a dance at the Angela Athletic Facility Sunday evening, many members of the community are ready to see where the future takes Saint Mary’s. Senior Mia Novak is one of them.

“It was exciting to be a part of such an important event in Saint Mary’s history,” Novak said. “I’m glad I got be here and participate in something so extraordinary.”