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SMC alumna delivers ‘Life After Music Degree’ lecture

Rachel Rahal | Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Saint Mary’s Department of Music hosted the final lecture in the “Life After a Music Degree” series Monday, bringing a College alumna in to speak on “How the Path Might Redirect Over Time.”

Patricia Doyle, director of corporate and foundation relations for the College, said she has always been passionate about music and her career path began long before her time as a music major at Saint Mary’s.

“My involvement in music started when I was eight years old,” Doyle said. “A piano was delivered to our house, and my mother told me I would begin lessons tomorrow.”

Doyle said she studied piano all through high school and entered the convent at Saint Mary’s after her high school graduation, where she declared a major in music.

During her time at the College, Doyle said she was interested in music theory, history, and form analysis.

“I like to see how things fit together, whether it be crossword puzzles or scheduling,” Doyle said.  

Doyle said she graduated with a degree in music but left the convent between her junior and senior year. During her senior year, she volunteered at a Children’s Hospital in South Bend, designing music programs for developmentally disabled children. Doyle took two classes about Special Eeducation that year, which she said made her career in music start to veer in that direction.

“I found out about a field called music therapy,” Doyle said.

At the time, Doyle said, there were only five programs in the United States that offered music therapy programs. She attended the University of Kansas, where she received a second Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy.

“I went in there Gungh, to make a career for children. That was my goal in life,” Doyle said. “At age 24, I felt I knew what I wanted to do in life.” She then moved to Minnesota, where she worked at a large psychiatric hospital as supervisor of music therapy. Doyle said at the start, she has four music therapists working for her. This number increased to 14 by the time she left.

“People saw I had the skills,” she said, “whether I did or not, I was going to try.”

An opportunity came up for work in California but fell through shortly after Doyle moved there, she said. At that point, she said she knew “something will come up.”

Doyle said she then encountered a school for struggling adolescents on a mountain in California, whict involved a two-year program that used music to create a better self-outlooksfor each child. She worked there for 19 years, running the school the last six years she was there.

In 2003, Doyle moved back to South Bend, where she began a career of writing grants for various institutions.
“My experience changed again, but what I kept going through always involved music,” Doyle said.

“If you have a laptop and internet access, you can write a grant.”

Doyle said she ran her own business of writing grants until 2012, when she spoke with a friend working in the developmental department of Saint Mary’s.

A grant writing position then opened up at the College, and Doyle applied for and accepted a job offer.

“Here I am today, writing grants for organizations, and we are doing very well,” Doyle said. “I had no idea I would end up back at Saint Mary’s.”

Doyle said throughout her career, connections with other people were crucial to encountering new careers and opportunities.

“If you can find someone you trust, they are a diamond, even if you don’t have a skill set,” she said. “The curious mind is also a diamond. It is a wonderful thing. If you have one, take it on.”

Contact Rachel Rahal at rrahal01@saintmarys.edu