Morristown, N.J. (September 30, 2013) – More than 200 of the College of Saint Elizabeth benefactors gathered at the Madison Hotel on September 26, 2013, for the 30th annual President's Council dinner. It was an occasion to celebrate the accomplishments of the College, thank its generous donors, introduce newly appointed president, Dr. Helen J. Streubert, and honor Margaret Ward Mahoney, '65, with the President's Award.
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The more than 400-member President's Council is made up of trustees, alumni, parents, students, faculty, corporations, foundations, and other friends who have contributed $1,000 or more in the current fiscal year and Lifetime members whose cumulative gifts are in excess of $100,000. Over the past year, the College raised more than $3.1 million dollars, with almost 80 percent of those funds from alumni, according to a report given by Deborah McCreery, vice president of institutional advancement.
"I want to thank you sincerely for your dedication and generosity to the College," said Dr. Streubert. "As Benjamin Franklin once said, an investment in knowledge pays the best interest." She elaborated on recent CSE accomplishments, such as the launch of a doctoral program in psychology, the construction of the new soccer/lacrosse field, and a Building Our Future Award received from the State of New Jersey that will enable further renovations in the chemistry, biology, and foods and nutrition labs.
"It is my utmost goal to honor the history of the College and use the lessons found in that history to meet the current needs of our community," she said. "We will continue the fine traditions of the College and infuse its mission and values into all we seek to accomplish."
The importance of scholarships in the lives of students was reinforced by the speakers for the evening, Mahoney, '65, and current student Chiamaka Nwangwu, '14.
"You are creating miracles. You are giving our students the chance to change their lives, but they do need our help," said Mahoney. "In the mid-60s ... the College of Saint Elizabeth was able to give me a scholarship because of the generosity of people like you. That scholarship changed my life." Mahoney has spent her life as a dedicated educator and is currently an adjunct professor at Marymount College, Manhattan. "Now," she said, "most of the students at Saint Elizabeth are like I was – they need our help. Together we can provide it ... we can change lives."
Nwangwu, who immigrated to the United States from Nigeria, gave a current student's perspective. "Without your generosity, students like me might not have the chance to pursue our dreams," she said in describing her post-September 11 life in Newark and East Orange, N.J. As an immigrant, she was bullied and teased, but took comfort in education. "I knew that I had to work hard and use whatever resources that were available to me to attain my goals and realize my dreams."
After meeting a CSE admissions counselor at a College fair, she visited campus. "Once I visited, I knew immediately that this was the place for me – it felt like a great fit for me – a home away from home where people were friendly, smart and caring." As she nears graduation in May, she is comfortable with her choice. "I could have gone to Rutgers; however, I probably wouldn't be the same person I am today. I have flourished as a student leader, grown confident in myself and my abilities and learned to care for those less fortunate. That is the difference in the person that I have become as a result of my CSE education."
After graduation, she plans to attend medical school, become a doctor and focus on international medicine, especially in third world countries that do not have access to quality health care.