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Saint Mary’s students celebrate College’s tradition with tea

Meaghan Daly | Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday afternoon’s teatime at the Riedinger House offered Saint Mary’s College students an opportunity to see some of the school’s traditions brought to life.

Director of Alumnae Relations Kara O’Leary said graduates of the school are crucial in keeping the College’s traditions alive.

“The Alumnae Association works to keep alumnae connected to each other as well as the College,” she said. “It represents decades [of alumnae] and geographical locations of the alumnae population at large.”

Tea in Riedinger House during Heritage Week began three years ago and has grown in popularity each year, O’Leary said. Along with the Student Government Association (SGA), she has had to schedule additional times for students to attend. There will be two more sessions held on Wednesday at 4 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.

O’Leary said the strength of the school’s alumnae is considerable, noting Saint Mary’s College possesses the top women’s Catholic alumnae association in the nation.

“Students realize their time here [at Saint Mary’s] is short, but they will be alumnae the rest of their lives,” O’Leary said.

SGA chief of staff Emily Skirtich said the events of the week serve to evoke the history of the school.

“The goal of Heritage Week is to remind veteran students and tell current students about the College and the rich traditions we celebrate here,” she said.

Skitich said SGA chose Riedinger House because of the building’s rich historical tradition on campus.

“It reminds students of what life here used to be like versus what it is now,” she said. “We are celebrating one of the storied places on campus.”

Adaline Crowley Riedinger, Class of 1864, was responsible for donating the majority of the funds to construct the house. Riedinger was also the first alumna to send her daughter, Mary Adalaide Riedinger, Class of 1889, to Saint Mary’s College.

O’Leary said the rich tradition of the house serves as a reminder of what it means to be an alumna of the College.

“We open Riedinger House because it is the first mother-daughter legacy connection at Saint Mary’s,” O’Leary said. “One of best parts of the tea is educating our students on what being post-Saint Mary’s means.”

Junior Madeline Meckes said she was initially unaware of the historical significance of the building, but appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the traditions of the College.

“I learned a lot about the history of the house and the alumnae association. I thought it was really cool that it used to be used as a practice house for home economics majors,” Meckes said.

Skirtich said students’ thirst to understand more about their school means Heritage Week gets stronger each year.

“Each year SGA (Student Government Association) strives to highlight all the really important parts of the College and its history,” she said. “Each year keeps getting better and better. The students appreciate where we came from and all the College has to offer.”