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Faith Always, Action Now’

Carol Ann Mooney | Sunday, February 24, 2013

“If not now, when? If not us, who?” If you recognize that quote, it may be because United States presidents on both sides of the aisle have used it to inspire and lead a charge. The original quote is actually over 2,000 years old and was first written by Rabbi Hillel, a Jewish scholar. I believe the reason it has been used so often is the simplicity and power of its challenge to put our beliefs into action. It inspires us to move forward even when obstacles in our path seem insurmountable.  
In 2008, when the Board of Trustees of Saint Mary’s College approved the beginning of our $80 million capital campaign, “Faith Always, Action Now,” no one expected the financial world to be turned upside down and the country to enter a serious recession. But, that is exactly what happened. Since 2008, most people have been challenged by global economic uncertainty. But, because of our belief in the value of a Saint Mary’s education, and the support of alumnae, parents and friends, we forged ahead with our campaign and I am happy to announce that we have met with great success. On Feb. 22, having reached 75 percent of our goal, we launched the public phase of “Faith Always, Action Now.” Perhaps it is in our heritage at Saint Mary’s to ignore obstacles. In the 1840s, four young Sisters of the Holy Cross bravely left France, crossed the Atlantic and shortly after arriving in Indiana started the school that would become Saint Mary’s College. They could never have imagined what they would find in the New World. But they believed in the value and importance of women’s education, and with courage and perseverance they pushed onward.
And now it is our turn to push bravely onward. Saint Mary’s College provides an education that is second to none. In spite of the fact that there are relatively few women’s colleges left, and even fewer Catholic women’s colleges, those of us that remain are vibrant and strong. There are few topics I enjoy discussing more than the relevance of a women’s college in today’s world. I speak about it easily because I am the person I am today because of my Saint Mary’s education. My classroom experiences taught me to lead. I wasn’t the president of a club or an organization, but I left here confident of my ability to achieve any goal I set. No challenge was too large, and nothing intimidated me. 
Saint Mary’s prepares women to succeed in the world in which we live; a world that requires a global focus and the ability to adapt to change. I believe our strong liberal arts foundation enables us to do this. Our graduates are our best ambassadors. They are young women from every walk of life who will take what they have learned at Saint Mary’s College and spread it throughout the world for the rest of their lives. Saint Mary’s women make a difference.  They are confident, well-educated women who are agents of change, whether that means building backyard gardens for low-income families in Seattle, Wash. (2006 alumna Stephanie Snyder Seliga), or working in Afghanistan and Iraq to help communities rebuild through long-term recovery programs (1976 alumna Leslie Wilson, Save the Children). The women who graduate from here know that an education is both a right and a privilege. Our graduates understand that if they don’t use their education for good, then who will?