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Capital Campaign begins

Jillian Barwick | Monday, February 25, 2013

On Friday, Saint Mary’s publicly launched “Faith Always, Action Now,” its largest endowment campaign yet, hoping to raise $80 million for scholarships, professorships, academic programs and campus renovation projects.

At a launch event Friday, College President Carol Ann Mooney said she was pleased with the progress the campaign has made since 2007, when Saint Mary’s opened the campaign privately and began accepting pledges. Since then, the campaign has reached 75 percent of its goal.

“The plan that was developed and approved back then formed the basis for this campaign,” Mooney said. “So there was widespread campus and board and alum consultation into that strategic plan. The people we had been working with through the quiet phase of the event are very excited and pumped up that we are going to be making huge steps forward.”

Mooney said the campaign name is meant to convey the ongoing commitment to advancing the College’s mission.

“Certainly the ‘Action Now’ is because that’s what we want now, we want people to come forward and recognize that it’s their responsibility, it’s all of our responsibility,” she said. “The ‘Faith Always’ is to reassure people that although we are working hard to make Saint Mary’s relevant and contemporary, we are not abandoning that, which is our bedrock.”

While $20 million of the campaign’s funds will go to scholarships and grants for students at the College, approximately $26.5 million will be dedicated to enhancing the academic and athletic facilities on campus.

“Through the campaign, the College seeks funds to expand and upgrade the Angela Athletic and Wellness Complex to meet students’ needs today,” a press release stated. “When the Angela Athletic facility was built in 1977, far fewer women played collegiate sports. Meanwhile, the demand for fitness has increased.”

A broad deliberation process determined the delegation of funds raised through the campaign, Mooney said.

“There was a strategic plan steering committee,” Mooney said. “As I developed that plan, I held listening sessions with every employee on the campus, listening sessions with the classes of students on campus, with alums and councils as well. Of course, then, you had to pick amongst the things in the plan that we thought could get funded and how much we thought we could get raised.”

Emcee Lindsey Anderson, a 2007 alumna and now opera singer, shared her experiences as a Belle during Friday’s launch event to emphasize the importance of the College’s endowment.

“These stories we see tonight, without financial aid, several of these stories would not have been told,” Anderson said. “Some of these women would not be here. I know I wouldn’t. Financial aid helped make all of this possible for me and I am so grateful. There are so many people here tonight whose generous gifts have made so much possible for so many of us.”

Anderson called upon the alumnae community to continue in this effort.

“Now we should take our cue from them and build on our support through faith and action, the touchstones of the campaign,” she said. “Because if the world is to have more Saint Mary’s women, and we agree on the wisdom of that idea, then the help must come from Saint Mary’s women.”

Seniors Silvia Cuevas, Mary Bevilacqua, Toni Marsteller and Carla Leal also shared their experience of Saint Mary’s in video messages played throughout the event.

“Saint Mary’s is a challenging school,” Bevilacqua, a dual-degree art and chemistry student, said. “It challenges you and pushes you in both the [science] and art worlds. I will miss the sense of community the most. We always stick together and help each other out.”

Cuevas, a business administration major, expressed similar sentiments about the College during her video clip in which she told her story of being a first generation student.

“I knew strongly I wanted to be a Saint Mary’s woman,” Cuevas said. “A Saint Mary’s woman is someone who is bold and not afraid to ask questions.”

Marsteller, a history and theatre major, said her college experience outside the classroom has been a rewarding one.

“College is a time where you question faith,” Marsteller said. “It is sometimes hard to connect to that. Being at Saint Mary’s, I have learned about opening myself up to new experiences and new people. It has been more than I could

have imagined for my college experience.”

Leal, a psychology and communicative disorders major, was the 2012 recipient of the Saint Catherine Medal, which is awarded to a sophomore or junior who has demonstrated high standards of personal excellence and scholarship and has contributed to the College community in the spirit of Christian leadership.

“I decided to become a speech pathologist because community is a part of everyone,” Leal said in her video clip. “I am so happy I came to Saint Mary’s. When I received my acceptance letter, I just knew.”

Student body president Maureen Parsons said sharing students’ and graduates’ diverse experiences at the launch event was a powerful reminder of the opportunities afforded at the College.

“Hearing some of the stories was my favorite part?” Parsons said. “Everyone has a story about how they got here, why they stayed here, what they’ve done while they’ve been here, and I think hearing some of those stories has been really fun. Knowing that we each have our unique story but we are all Saint Mary’s women is really cool that connects us.”

Contact Jillian Barwick at jbarwi01@saintmarys.edu