President's Club Members Feted at "Secret Garden" Party
The 39th Annual President’s Club celebration drew 250 members to the Brothers’ private garden on Oct. 3, where they socialized with Brother President Ronald Gallagher, Provost Beth Dobkin and other community members.
More casual than the traditional dinner dance in light of the continuing recession, the event had a "secret garden” theme with guests entering the area through a long walkway decorated with gossamer and listening to a jazz band of SMC faculty and students. As most people do not get to enjoy the Brothers’ garden, the event allowed President’s Club members to be in a special place on campus as they were thanked for their support of Saint Mary’s.
"Here we are, standing in one of the finest educational institutions in the country, and also in the heart of the Brothers’ home — literally, in their backyard,” Dobkin said in her welcoming remarks. "Their love, wisdom and guidance have made us the very best kind of Catholic college, one that walks the talk, makes a difference in the lives of students and continues to inspire us as we journey through this world.”
Brother Ronald noted that the College began the academic year in the difficult economy.
"This year more than any other, we have had a surge in requests for financial assistance,” he said. "I have met with many of these needy students this fall and want to express their appreciation to you.”
More than 80 percent of current students need financial aid.
"They are all grateful for your support in making their education at Saint Mary’s College a meaningful period of development and transformation,” Brother Ronald said. "They come here looking not just for the great education, but for spiritual and social development, to get to know the faculty and staff and to participate in a vibrant education, social and athletic community.”
Brother Ronald noted that the incoming freshmen will graduate in the College’s sesquicentennial year of 2013, and asked that members join with them "as partners in securing their future.”
Ryan Kotarba ’98 said he enjoyed seeing so many Gaels at the event.
"It was the first President’s Club event that my wife, Dana, and I could attend, and it was made more special because it was held in the Brothers’ private garden.”