Marymount alumnae, administrators, members of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (R.S.H.M.), and their families gathered on Dec. 2 to celebrate the college’s founding by Mother Marie Joseph Butler.
At a Founder’s Day celebration honoring Marymount’s graduates and its founding religious order, alumnae fondly reflected back on their years at the college.
Andrea Carson, a MC ‘03, shared a lighthearted story that has stuck with her for more than a decade.
“During the fall of my freshman year, there was a widespread spraying for mosquitoes around the campus,” Carson said. “[One] student from California came running down the hallway screaming that the mosquito spray had changed the colors of all the leaves—she had never seen trees change color before.”
Carson, who was a member of the first graduating class after the merger of Marymount College and Fordham University, said she was grateful for the opportunity to be both a Fordham and Marymount alumna.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” she said.
Susan Gardella, R.S.H.M., executive director of the R.S.H.M. LIFE (Learning is for Everyone) Center—a community education center serving immigrants—in Sleepy Hollow, NY, expressed gratitude for the toys and clothes gifted in the Marymount-sponsored support of the center.
“There is a connectedness in our community,” Sister Gardella said. “Even though the physical space of Tarrytown isn’t there, the spirit still lives on through the wonderful people who carry Marymount in their hearts.”
Brigid Driscoll, R.S.H.M., former president of Marymount, said that Marymount was a school that gave its graduating women an essential tool for the real world: self-assurance.
“[Commencement] was an opportunity to watch the people that I had met as nervous, young freshman, walk across the stage as polished, confident young adults,” Sister Driscoll said. “I’ve had women come up to me at graduation and say, ‘I feel I can do anything now.’”
Joseph McShane, S.J., president of Fordham, told alumnae in attendance that Fordham is “your home as well as ours.” He also extended thanks to the Marymount Alumnae Association’s Legacy Fund for their contributions.
“There is extraordinary good that continues to be done through the generosity of Marymount, its students, alumnae, and donors,” he said. “For many students, the fund truly makes a difference in their lives. It makes it possible for them to come to Fordham and continue their college careers.”
Two legacy fund recipients this year are Annie Carter and Betsy Carter, both seniors at Fordham College at Rose Hill, who are pursuing careers in nonprofit marketing and film advertising, respectively. The legacy scholarships go to Fordham students who best exemplify the Marymount spirit of scholarship and service.
Both students felt an instant pull toward the ideals of Mother Butler and of Marymount, they said.
“We attended an all-girls high school so we really valued our all-women education and carried that over to our Fordham experience,” Betsy Carter said.
The event included a presentation recognizing the work of the R.S.H.M. LIFE Center, which offers education and advocacy services to all age groups, from toddlers to senior citizens.
“What a remarkable difference Marymount has made in the lives of so many of us,” Jane Barnett Galvin, the Marymount Alumnae Association president said. “We celebrate the mission that Mother Butler created so many years ago, and the spirit of Marymount that lives in all of us.”
– Angie Chen