MMC Celebrates First In-Person Alumni Reunion in Two Years
When Gisela Szurgot ’03 attended MMC two decades ago, she was struck by how quickly the College felt like home. Szurgot had emigrated to the U.S. in the ’80s from her native Germany, and in other American classrooms, she’d felt isolated.
“At Marymount, there was such a sense of togetherness—all the students helped each other,” said Szurgot, who spends her days singing and arranging music for the German chorus Liederkranz of New York City. “I never felt lost there—I always felt welcome.”
So, when the call went out to alumni to come back to 71st Street on May 21 for MMC’s first in-person Alumni Reunion in two years, Szurgot went, eager to see her classmates and how the College had changed. She was joined by more than a hundred like-minded MMC grads from across the country—including a few old friends who remembered her lilting voice and love of music—and alumni from other years she was happy to meet. Excited by the renovations, she eagerly snapped photos to send her son.
It’s the kind of experience the College wants alumni to have at the reunion—regenerating old friendships and making new ones, revisiting cherished spots on campus, and taking in the exciting new additions, including the Lowerre Family Terrace and renovated dining hall. Alumni also saw renderings of MMC’s Judith Mara Carson Center for Visual Arts, which is under construction and set to open in the fall.
“Marymount Manhattan College has such a unique history, and the reunions give our alumni a chance to go down memory lane and reconnect with the institution on an intimate level,” said Neil Gouveia, MMC’s director of alumni and family engagement. Moreover, he said the reunion’s events are “designed to allow and encourage everyone to take part.”
This year’s reunion included familiar staples, including an alumni mass, luncheon, and mixer at the Intercultural Center. But it also incorporated new elements: It was the first time the College invited all classes to attend and the first time the College separated out its alumni awards ceremony into an intimate stand-alone breakfast. The awards honor alumni who excel in their field and have also been strong supporters of the College, Gouveia said. (See below for a list of winners.)
Mary Peterson ’72, a professor and director of the Cognition Science Program at the University of Arizona, received the Colette Mahoney Award, which honors excellence in and commitment to the sciences or healthcare. She said she was delighted by the recognition and impressed by the reunion overall. “It was really well done—the whole event was well organized, and everyone was so friendly and helpful,” she said.
Moreover, her year had the largest turnout at the event, with some 21 members of the class of 1972 in attendance. For Peterson, who typically stays in touch with a small group of friends from the College, that offered a bigger opportunity to tap into the joy of their shared experiences. “As an alumna, I would say thank you to MMC for how they put the reunion together,” she said.
Ann L. Markham ’92, a member of the reunion’s steering committee who celebrated her 30th anniversary as an MMC grad, agreed. “Enormous thought went into the day,” she said. “It made me happy to see Marymount doing well, and they showcased a lot of the college beautifully. I left the alumni event just being very proud of the school.”
Contact Neil Gouveia at email@example.com for more on upcoming alumni events, and visit griffinnetwork.org to learn how alumni can find and reconnect with fellow graduates, leverage their professional networks, and serve as mentors to graduating students.
Alumni Award Winners
Raymunde McKay Award
in recognition of distinguished service and outstanding contributions to the community
- Maria Aponte ’97
- Barbara Lynch Loughlin ’70
Pere Gailhac Award
in recognition of continuous and outstanding service to Marymount Manhattan College
- Linda Basilice-Hoerrner ’71
- Angelette Verdena King ’00
Colette Mahoney Award
in recognition of excellence in and commitment to the sciences or healthcare
- Kathleen Burke ’72
- Mary Peterson ’72
- Umar Chouhdry ’97
Dean Peter H. Baker Award
in recognition of a lifelong commitment to education
- Patricia Lynch ’72
Rita Rowley Legacy Award
awarded to a member of the Rita Rowley Society for outstanding contributions to Marymount Manhattan College
- Susan McKeon ’66