Coming Together for Good
A conversation with Alfred “Al” J. Arcidi, Jr. ’84 P’06 P’18 and Mary Louise Arcidi P’06 P’18. Senior Vice President of Whittier Health Network, Al is Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Merrimack College. Al and Mary Louise are serving as co-chairs for the Together for Good Campaign.
How have your skills and background been helpful in your role at Merrimack?
Al: In my mind, healthcare and academics aren’t really all that different. They are heavily regulated, people-dependent entities. I think a lot of my skills and experience managing people and dealing with regulations helped me understand the challenges and opportunities in higher education.
Mary Louise: As the mother of four children, as well as a music and choir director at Saint Theresa Church in Rye Beach, NH, my faith is very important to me. I find meaning in being able to contribute to a cause that promotes both strong family values, as well as Catholic Augustinian values. I delight in seeing the gospel at work on the Merrimack campus, helping nurture the spirit of students by teaching kindness, wisdom, compassion, and faith in God, as well as each other.
What differentiates Merrimack?
Al: I’m proud of Merrimack’s Catholic Augustinian heritage and the message it sends. Through various efforts like Mack Gives Back we are spreading Augustinian values throughout the greater community. We are truly devoted to “making good kids great.”
Mary Louise: St. Augustine was all about bringing education to the masses. His desire to spread education to the common man drives the whole idea of the Augustinianism. With Merrimack, you get a beautiful melding of education and Catholicism.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being involved with Merrimack College?
Mary Louise: I love that our sons are there. Like other students, they’re there for an education, but they’re also having a great experience and being taught values. Merrimack students often volunteer and go out into the community, which helps build the whole person—individuals who are developing personality as well as intellect.
Al: Initially I got involved because I graduated from Merrimack, and my brothers and dad are alumni. But my drive to give back continues to grow as I become more involved with the College. I now feel that I’m part of a greater community that really wants to do well. And when I see the changes that are taking place on campus and the level of excitement among the faculty, students, alumni, and the entire Merrimack community, frankly, it’s hard not to get involved.
What does Together for Good mean to you?
Mary Louise: We are part of a community that is thriving—one that is growing for the good and committed to spreading the good around.
Al: On the campus it means we’re working together to make each other better. On a larger scale, it means that we’re bringing our Catholic Augustinian values out into the community and the world to make it better.
Q: What would you say to someone who hasn’t been back to Merrimack in a while
Mary Louise: I think people would be surprised at all the changes. We’ve been able to see all the development that’s taking place inside the school and the vibrancy of the student body. You can just feel the energy on campus.
Al: For alumni, seeing the changes at the school and feeling the pride of being part of the school again, is exciting. That can happen with the donation of time, money, or both. They can become part of this institution and realize the benefits of joining a special community that embraces good values and spreads them out into the world.