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Hail Marymount Manhattan! MMC Welcomes Alums Back to 71st Street with 2023 Reunion

 

Margaret Moore ’73 and Carol Reynolds ’73 can rattle off stories about their freshman year at MMC as if it were yesterday. Back then, students were housed on campus in the building now known as Carson Hall, and even under the watchful eye of sisters from the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, the College’s founding order, there was lots of playful mischief to be had. Sneaking downstairs at midnight to pilfer snacks from the kitchen. Sneaking upstairs after hours for a quick dip in the pool. Or the time Moore hid in her dorm room a stray kitten they’d found.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of their graduating class—and brought an extra special reason to head to MMC Reunion, which they’d attended in the past. “I told Carol, ‘Let’s do this one more time,’” Moore said. In addition to the pull of old memories, there was also the appeal of seeing how the College had changed. “MMC has built [new facilities] and expanded, and I wanted to see what it looks like,” Moore said.

They were joined there by dozens of like-minded alums. MMC’s 2023 reunion took place on Saturday, May 20, welcoming all graduates back to 71st Street, but in particular those from class years ending in a 3 or 8. The event offered an opportunity to see familiar faces and engage in beloved traditions, such as the Alumni Mass and luncheon in the Great Hall. This year saw some new traditions take shape as well, including a margarita mixer at a nearby Mexican restaurant with special guest David Mold, a professor of Theatre Arts who has taught at MMC for 25 years.

And, just as Moore hoped, the day offered a look inside an evolving MMC. President Kerry Walk, who’ll be leaving the College at the end of June, and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty Peter Naccarato, Ph.D., who will take the mantle as Interim President, outlined several exciting developments. Among them: the opening of MMC’s 12,000-square-foot visual arts center, The Judy, as well as new Dance and Theatre spaces, and the resumption of Crossing Borders, an academic conference at the Bedford Hills Correctional facility, where the College runs a prison education program. Many alums were able to spot new upgrades to the facilities themselves strolling around campus.

“At Commencement, we tell our grads that 71st Street will always be their home, no matter where their careers and lives take them,” said Neil Gouveia, MMC’s director of alumni and family engagement. “Reunions are one opportunity to reconnect with the institution, honor the bonds formed there, and also forge new ones.”

For their part, Moore and Reynolds were happy to reconnect with Moore’s old roommate, Cecile Joaquin ’73, who splits her time between San Francisco and the Philippines. The women found each other on social media just a few weeks before Reunion, prompting Joaquin to travel to the Upper East Side. “We hadn’t spoken since the 1980s,” Joaquin said. “Because we were busy with careers, it was difficult to get together.”

But Reunion offered plenty of opportunities to chat. Smiling as they walked into the Great Hall arm-in-arm, Joaquin said, “We have so much to talk about. We’ve been leading parallel lives.”

For fellow alum Franny Borjas ’98, who served on the Reunion Committee for the first time—something she’d wanted to do for years and was grateful now to have the bandwidth for—the day offered a chance to take stock of all MMC had given her. “I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship, which is why I give back,” she said. “MMC has opened up a lot of doors for me, and I’m proud to say that I’m an alum.”

 

Honoring Esteemed Alumni

Another highlight of Reunion is the Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony, in which MMC honors alums who have excelled in their field and been strong supporters of the College. “The values on which MMC was founded—a love of learning, a commitment to social justice—live on, and our honorees exemplify those principles,” said President Walk.

The College bestowed two new awards this year, the Geraldine A. Ferraro and Dr. Marvelle Colby Alumni Award. Ferraro ’56 was the first woman nominated by a major party ticket for vice president of the United States and passed away in 2011. Professor Emerita Dr. Marvelle S. Colby served MMC for 21 years as a member of the Business Management and Accounting Division and passed in 2016.

The award recipients are:

Raymunde McKay Award
Presented in recognition of distinguished service and outstanding contributions to the community

  • Honoree: Donna Marshall ’83

Père Gailhac Award
Presented in recognition of continuous and outstanding service to Marymount Manhattan College

  • Honoree: Carol Berman ’13

Dean Peter H. Baker Award
Presented in recognition of a lifelong commitment to education

  • Honoree: Catherine Vincie ’73

Sr. Judith Savard Award
Presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the creative arts

  • Honoree: Eleanor M. Imperato ’68

Dr. Marvelle Colby Alumni Award
Presented in recognition of outstanding achievement in business

  • Honoree: Helen Demetrios ’73

Geraldine A. Ferraro Award
Presented in recognition of outstanding achievement in law or public service.

  • Honoree: Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan ’13

As she accepted her award, Imperato, an accomplished poet, writer, and photographer, said she was overwhelmed by the love and support she’d received from MMC, “her second home.” “I’d like every alum to feel the sense of belonging, enthusiasm, and love I feel every time I come to MMC,” she said.

Representative Allie-Brennan, who’s currently serving his third term in the Connecticut General Assembly and was appointed Deputy Majority Leader for the 2023-24 legislative session, said the recognition was a full-circle moment for him.

“This award is especially meaningful to me because it comes from a place that was essential in inspiring my commitment to public service,” he said. “Marymount taught me the importance of being a global citizen and that we all have a responsibility to each other and our broader community. I will continue to strive every day to live up to this honor.”

See below for event photos!

Published: June 27, 2023