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Photo Gallery: MMC’s 2023 Donor Appreciation Reception

Donors make a difference! On December 5, MMC held a reception celebrating alums and friends of the College who are helping to support student scholarships and programs.

The event took place in the Judith Mara Carson Center for Visual Arts, a state-of-the-art facility made possible by the generosity of Carson ’03 and her husband Russ. The Carson Family Charitable Trust funded the center’s creation and student scholarships with a $25 million gift, the largest donation in the College’s 85-year history.

In her remarks, Chair of the Board of Trustees Abby Fiorella ’83 recognized the Carsons, noting that their historic gift “is only the most recent example of their deep support of MMC.” She also extended a special welcome to the family of Trish Shortell, a beloved alumna and trustee who passed away in 2020.

Addressing Shortell’s brother Sean O’Connell, his wife, Suzanne, and their son, Will, Fiorella said the community “had lost Shortell all too soon,” but with the creation of the new Patricia O’Connell Shortell Endowed Scholarship in her name, “her legacy of altruism will continue at MMC.”

Fiorella also thanked each donor who had “invested their time, talents, and dollars into strengthening the MMC community,” reminding them of the impact of their generosity. “You’re helping to shape the people [our students] will grow into,” she said. “Your support inspires their dreams and lays the foundation they need to be changemakers and leaders.”

Fiorella recounted how, as an incoming MMC student, she received a full scholarship from a figure known well by the community: Joseph C. Nugent Sr., a past Board of Trustees chair and the namesake of Nugent Hall. Nugent was the president of the brokerage firm where Fiorella’s mother worked, and when he heard that she had been named first runner-up for an MMC Theatre scholarship, he offered her a full, four-year ride.

“I was so inspired that a stranger had opened a door for me that I spent my entire career as an executive and attorney helping to do the same for others,” she said.

The evening included performances by Class of 2025 BFA Musical Theatre majors Jake Bryan, Claire Baillie, and Rachael Sprankle. Baillie, a scholarship recipient, said the event helped her better understand how funding that makes it possible for students to pursue their dreams comes together.

“I realized that so much happens behind the scenes,” she said. “I’m so thankful for my scholarship, and I love that there are people like this behind it.”

View photos of the event below. 

Published: December 20, 2023