Tribute Dinner honors President Mooney
Kathryn Marshall | Monday, April 18, 2016
A Tribute Dinner honoring the legacy of College President Carol Ann Mooney included the unveiling of an official portrait, the praise of students and alumnae and the presentation of two awards Friday night. Mooney, who has led the College for 12 years, will be retiring in May.
During her time with the College, Mooney demonstrated extraordinary leadership, Colleen Ryan, member of the President’s Circle, said. Mooney’s accomplishments include overseeing the successful capital campaign “Faith Always, Action Now,” the creation of three graduate programs and negotiating an unprecedented land purchase with the Sisters of the Holy Cross.
“Carol strengthened the mind, body and soul of this institution,” Ryan said. “She has been profoundly invested in the institution and brought others to the table who are equally invested. Her legacy will continue long after May 31 and will serve our next president well.”
Malea Schulte, class of 2014 and past member of the Board of Trustees, and Tom Black, current member of the Board of Trustees, unveiled the official portrait of Mooney. The portrait was painted by Daniel Adel.
Black said presidential portraits, such as the one of former College President Madeleva Wolff, are visual records of a College’s heritage.
“When we look down the row of presidents in the library we see a narrative of strong leaders, who worked to build Saint Mary’s into what we enjoy today,” he said. “And now it’s almost time for Carol’s presidency to be archived and preserved in the institution’s memory. We want to be sure that future generations remember the wonderful job she did, her profound leadership and her commitment to Saint Mary’s College.”
Following dinner, Kelly Walsh, president of the alumnae association board of directors, presented the title of Honorary Alumnus, a title given only six times in school history, to Mooney’s husband George Efta. The title of Honorary Alumnus is given to honor someone who has shown an extraordinary dedication to Saint Mary’s College and its mission, students, faculty, staff and alumni, Walsh said. Efta has shown notable support of the College’s mission through a variety of means, including traveling to alumni tailgates, supporting Mooney and supporting students at athletic events and performances.
“Though the recipient never stepped forth here as a student, they have pursued a membership with the Saint Mary’s community that is comparable to any alumna. They are someone the college is proud and eager to claim as one of its own,” she said.
While previous recipients were given a Saint Mary’s College class ring, the Board commissioned a lapel pin with the signature design found on top of the College’s class ring for Efta, Walsh said.
“His partnership with Carol has provided a remarkable example of marriage for our students and benefited our entire community,” Walsh said.
Student body vice president Maddie Kohler, sophomore Princess Mae Visconde and senior Jennifer Vosters also reflected on Mooney’s legacy. Editor’s note: Jennifer Vosters is a Viewpoint columnist.
Burke then honored Mooney with the inaugural presentation of the Moreau Medal, an honor created in 2007 by the Saint Mary’s College Board of Trustees to commemorate the beautification of Blessed Basil Moreau, the founder of the Holy Cross sisters, priests and brothers, she said.
“The purpose of this medal is to recognize outstanding individuals whose lives demonstrate extraordinary achievement or contributions to society,” Burke said.
Burke said Mooney’s transformational presidency includes many outstanding moments such as a trip to Rome to present over 200 letters from young Catholic women to Pope Francis, exceeding the goal of the college’s largest fundraising campaign, “Faith Always Action Now,” despite its timing during the economic recession, the construction and renovation of multiple campus buildings, the addition of graduate programs, a land purchase from the Sisters and a significant increase of faculty and students from historically-underrepresented groups.
After accepting the Moreau Medal, Mooney gave thanks to those in attendance.
“Usually this dinner is known as the donor recognition dinner,” Mooney said. “Right now, I want it to be that. Because there is no success at Saint Mary’s without you … your love of Saint Mary’s and your generosity ensures that a Saint Mary’s education will continue to be excellent, and it will be here for our daughters, our granddaughters, and their daughters. … There is nothing I can say, except a profound and heartfelt thank you.”