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SMC president speaks to first-year students

Colleen Quigley | Thursday, September 8, 2011

As a 1972 Saint Mary’s College alumna, Saint Mary’s President Carol Ann Mooney has “distinct memories” of her time as a first-year student.

She gave advice to this year’s first-year students in the O’Laughlin Auditorium Wednesday.

“[Going to college] is a changing point in one’s life,” she said to the crowd.

The experience of Saint Mary’s was life changing, she said. She may have come into college feeling like she didn’t belong and didn’t know anyone, but her time at SMC changed her opinions.

“I hope all of you will leave [Saint Mary’s] with a sense of awe and wonder at the beauty and complexity of the created world,” she said.

Mooney’s words were comforting, first year student Ally Darragh said.

“I will get a special education here because at other schools, we would just be numbers,” Darragh said. “We would learn only the facts of a given subject instead of gaining different perspectives and becoming well rounded.”

Mooney told the students she wanted them to go beyond awe and wonder with their time at Saint Mary’s.

“I hope you will gain a deeper understanding of what it is to be human and [gain a] capacity to put yourselves in the shoes of another and have empathy for her situation,” she said. “Learning to be competent is the easiest part of the job.”

Aneth Batamuliza, a first year, said she believes the speech reaffirmed her decision to come to Saint Mary’s.

“After leaving Saint Mary’s in four years, I will have discovered my potential and gained what I couldn’t have gotten at any other college,” Batamuliza said. “It is such a blessing that I am here.”

Mooney told students she also wants them to develop a spiritual life at college.

“[It is not alright to be] content with the answers that sufficed in childhood,” she said.

All of these factors combined are why Mooney chose a liberal arts education, she said.

“You are here to learn not just a collection of facts … but also here to learn important things,” she said.