Saint Mary’s awards seniors, members of College community with end-of-year honors
Many students at Saint Mary’s are given opportunities to display their dedication to the College and develop their skills in leadership and study. These accomplishments are honored during a series of commencement awards.
Every year since 1988, one student has be chosen to receive the Outstanding Senior Award. Communicative Sciences and Disorder major and senior Meredith Mackowicz was chosen as this year’s recipient and honored at the Alumnae Association Champagne Brunch.
According to an email sent to the students by the College administration, “The recipient of the Outstanding Senior Award exemplifies the spirit and values of her school and is distinguished by scholarship, leadership and outstanding dedication to Saint Mary’s through participation in both curricular and extracurricular activities.”
Mackowicz is graduating with a bachelors in Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) with minors in gerontology and Early Childhood Education. She plans to continue her education by pursuing a Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology at Purdue University. Mackowicz is graduating summa cum laude and most recently received a Communicative Science and Disorders Leadership award, the academic excellence award in gerontology and the Residence Life RA of the Year award.
Mackowicz has taken on many leadership and volunteering roles during her time at Saint Mary’s. She served as a student member of the Board of Trustees, mentor in the Belles Connect program and a student preacher for Take Back the Night. She was also president of Saint Mary’s’ College Democrats and a volunteer with the Saint Mary’s Parkinson’s Support Group.
Makowicz said she was surprised by the honor and feels lucky to have received it.
“I did not expect to win the award,” Mackowicz said in an email. “But I’m incredibly honored to be receiving it and want to thank both my nominators and the alumnae association for the award.”
Mackowicz said she has many people to thank for helping her along her college journey.
“The women I have met in my time here have assisted me in developing my own voice, and for that, I will be forever grateful. My parents have been a constant source of love and kindness, and I wouldn’t be here without them,” Mackowicz said. “Dr. Susan Latham is an incredible mentor and inspiration. My clinical supervisor Julie Voor believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself and [I thank] the entire CSD department for supporting me through successes and struggles over the last four years. Lastly, my friends — the strong, passionate and powerful women who have stood by me through the most difficult times — I will always keep them with me wherever I go.”
She said she is not only thankful for her parents and mentors, but also for the entire Saint Mary’s community.
“Reflecting on my time at Saint Mary’s has shown me that this experience has meant everything to me,” she said. “The women I have met in my time here have assisted me in developing my own voice and for that, I will be forever grateful.”
Looking back on her Saint Mary’s career, Mackowicz said there was a time when she was unsure of who she was or why she was at the College. However, she said she now realizes Saint Mary’s was the best place for her, and it helped her to become the woman she is today.
“We have been given an incredible gift — a Saint Mary’s education, grounded in the traditions and teachings of the Holy Cross,” Mackowicz said in an email. “It is now our job to go out into the world and do something incredible with it by sharing it with all of those we encounter throughout our lives. We have discovered our place in the world, so now it’s time for us to help others do the same.”
There are several other awards the College will impart during commencement.
Three members of the senior class have been named valedictorians: Natalie Dock, Monica McGrath, and Elizabeth Preister. They will deliver a joint address during the ceremony.
According to a May 14 press release, the recipients of two other awards — the Lumen Christi Award and the President’s Medal — will not be announced until the ceremony.
The Lumen Christi Award is given every year to a Saint Mary’s student found to have demonstrated a strong commitment to faith and leadership.
“Lumen Christi means ‘light of Christ,‘” vice president for mission Judy Fean said in an email. “[Each award recipient] is someone who has excelled in leadership and whose presence has had a profound impact on the College community. During spring semester, the Mission Council … extends an invitation to the community to nominate a senior who possesses qualities that distinguish her as an exceptional woman of faith; one who has contributed significantly to the vitality and growth of the Saint Mary’s community.”
According to a 2015 College press release, “As the valedictorian reflects the mind and the outstanding senior embodies the heart of the class, the Lumen Christi Award recipient represents its soul.”
The President’s Medal is used to honor long-standing contributions to Saint Mary’s by an individual or organization.
“The President’s Medal was established in 1967,” Haleigh Ehmsen, assistant director of integrated communications, said in an email. “It is awarded at the President’s discretion, to faculty, staff, administrator, alumnae or friends of the College for outstanding community service and contributions to the life of Saint Mary’s.”